Kyushu Restaurants

Fresh fish is served everywhere on Kyushu. Appetites are on the hearty side here, so there's lots of meat, too. Local specialties abound and are often reasonably priced. In the bigger cities like Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima—and along the stylish new streets of Yufuin—you'll find plenty of Western-style restaurants.

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  • 1. Tour De Château

    $$$

    This romantic restaurant on the 11th floor of the Kumamoto Hotel Castle has stunning sunset views of Kumamoto Castle. During the day the restaurant is...

    This romantic restaurant on the 11th floor of the Kumamoto Hotel Castle has stunning sunset views of Kumamoto Castle. During the day the restaurant is used for wedding receptions, but at night (when there are not events) it opens to the public for dinner.

    4--2 Jotomachi, Kumamoto, Kumamoto-ken, 8608565, Japan
    096-326–3311

    Known For

    • Stunning views
    • French-Japanese fusion dishes
    • Elegant service

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch, Often booked for weddings and events, so check in advance for availability
  • 2. Aoyagi

    $$

    The extensive menu here includes regional favorites in addition to sushi and tofu dishes. You can relax in a booth or sit at the counter...

    The extensive menu here includes regional favorites in addition to sushi and tofu dishes. You can relax in a booth or sit at the counter and admire the skilled chefs.

    1--2--10 Shimotori, Kumamoto, Kumamoto-ken, 860-0807, Japan
    096-353–0311

    Known For

    • Basashi
    • Tempura-style karashi renkon (lotus root stuffed with fiery chile and mustard powder)
    • Near Kumamoto Castle tram stop
  • 3. BudouYa

    $$$$

    Part of the Yufuin Tamanoyu hotel, which until 1975 was a lodging for Zen Buddhist monks, this restaurant retains an air of solemnity. Multicourse menus...

    Part of the Yufuin Tamanoyu hotel, which until 1975 was a lodging for Zen Buddhist monks, this restaurant retains an air of solemnity. Multicourse menus include dishes such as salt-grilled fish, seasonal vegetables, and homemade kabosu (lime) sherbet, while vegetarian or vegan options can be prepared if given advanced notice.

    Yunotsubo, Yufuin-cho, Yufu, Yufuin, Oita-ken, 879-5102, Japan
    0977-84–2158

    Known For

    • Fine local ingredients
    • A tranquil atmosphere
    • Impeccable service

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations essential
  • 4. Dejima Wharf

    $

    Warm evenings draw crowds to the outdoor terraces of this trendy two-story wooden complex on the pier next to Nagasaki Port. Just a short walk...

    Warm evenings draw crowds to the outdoor terraces of this trendy two-story wooden complex on the pier next to Nagasaki Port. Just a short walk from the historic buildings at Dejima, you'll find a sprawl of tantalizing seafood restaurants—the oysters come highly recommended—along with Italian, Chinese, and steak restaurants.

    1--1--109 Dejimamachi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki-ken, 850-0862, Japan

    Known For

    • Fresh seafood
    • A range of restaurants
    • Harbor views
  • 5. Garde

    $

    Crispy thin-crust pizza and tasty pasta dishes are the mainstays at this Italian restaurant in the Shian-bashi entertainment quarter east of Chinatown. From the Shian-bashi...

    Crispy thin-crust pizza and tasty pasta dishes are the mainstays at this Italian restaurant in the Shian-bashi entertainment quarter east of Chinatown. From the Shian-bashi tram stop, head two blocks north into the arcade and one block west. It's on the corner.

    1--20 Kajiya-machi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki-ken, 850-0831, Japan
    095-826–1302

    Known For

    • Local institution
    • Eat in or take out
    • Reasonable prices

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Tues.
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Ichi Nii San

    $$$

    The novel idea behind this restaurant is to serve pork shabu-shabu in soba broth. The broth imparts a delicate flavor to the thinly sliced pork,...

    The novel idea behind this restaurant is to serve pork shabu-shabu in soba broth. The broth imparts a delicate flavor to the thinly sliced pork, which is served with seasonal vegetables.

    540--3 Kokubunoguchinishi, Kirishima, Kagoshima-ken, 899-4343, Japan
    0995-48–8123

    Known For

    • Shabu-shabu dishes
    • Popularity with the locals
    • Elegant interior
  • 7. Ichi-ran

    $

    Folks in Fukuoka wait in long lines for these rectangular black boxes of extra-thin noodles swimming in pork-bone broth and topped with tasty char-shu (slices...

    Folks in Fukuoka wait in long lines for these rectangular black boxes of extra-thin noodles swimming in pork-bone broth and topped with tasty char-shu (slices of roasted pork), negi (green onions), and sprinkles of togarashi (red pepper). Fill out an order form (available in English) to indicate exactly how you like it, then buy a ticket from the machine outside the door and place your ticket and order form on the counter.

    1--2--22 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ekimae, Fukuoka-ken, 812-0018, Japan
    092-263–2201

    Known For

    • Customizable dishes
    • Within Canal City
    • Chewy noodles
  • 8. Kagetsu

    $$$$

    Billing itself as "one of the most important historical restaurants of Japan," this quiet hilltop retreat is Nagasaki's most prestigious dining room with fine cuisine...

    Billing itself as "one of the most important historical restaurants of Japan," this quiet hilltop retreat is Nagasaki's most prestigious dining room with fine cuisine that matches its reputation. The interior wooden beams date to 1618. Meiji Restoration leader Ryoma Sakamoto once took a chunk out of a wooden pillar with his sword during a brawl; you can still see the gashes in the main dining room. With notice ahead of your visit, Kagetsu can provide special meals including vegetarian, nut-free, and halal.

    2--1 Maruyama-cho, Nagasaki, Nagasaki-ken, 850-0902, Japan
    095-822–0191

    Known For

    • Well-priced lunchtime bento boxes
    • Geisha can be booked in advance to perform during meals (extra fees)
    • Kaiseki (multicourse meals)

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Reservations essential
  • 9. Kairakuen

    $

    This ornate Chinese restaurant is a local favorite, and it's easy to see, smell, and taste why. Kairakuen serves the best chanpon—Nagasaki's signature dish of...

    This ornate Chinese restaurant is a local favorite, and it's easy to see, smell, and taste why. Kairakuen serves the best chanpon—Nagasaki's signature dish of Chinese-style noodles, vegetables, and pork-based broth—in town.

    10--16 Shinchi-machi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki-ken, 850-0842, Japan
    095-822–4261

    Known For

    • Large bowls of champon
    • Variety of dishes
    • Reasonable prices
  • 10. Kumasotei: Traditional Satsuma Cuisine

    $$

    This restaurant offers the best of Kumamoto specialties in a maze of private and semiprivate Japanese-style rooms. There's an English-language menu with helpful photos, and...

    This restaurant offers the best of Kumamoto specialties in a maze of private and semiprivate Japanese-style rooms. There's an English-language menu with helpful photos, and staff can give recommendations for dishes.

    6--10 Higashi Sengoku-cho, Kagoshima, Kagoshima-ken, 892-0842, Japan
    099-222–6356

    Known For

    • Satsuma-age (fish cakes filled with potato or burdock root)
    • Kurobuta tonkotsu (breaded, fried pork cutlets from locally bred black pigs)
    • Multicourse menus with a selection of local dishes
  • 11. Nagomi

    $$

    This restaurant serves the famous local beef, which I can be cooked in the teppan style, table-side. The most popular menu is steak, but they...

    This restaurant serves the famous local beef, which I can be cooked in the teppan style, table-side. The most popular menu is steak, but they also have yakiniku (Japanese beef BBQ), beef on rice, and beef hamburger steak.

    1099--1 Mitai, Mitai, Miyazaki-ken, 882-1101, Japan
    0982-73–1109

    Known For

    • Yakiniku
    • Wide selection of steak dishes
    • Beef and more beef

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Wed.
  • 12. Sobadokoro Ten'an

    $

    Stop for lunch at the wonderful soba shop run by Sayoko Kojima. The delicious soba and soup are served with different kinds of tempura and...

    Stop for lunch at the wonderful soba shop run by Sayoko Kojima. The delicious soba and soup are served with different kinds of tempura and other dishes made with Kojima's own organic vegetables. Evening meals are possible if you call in advance and make a reservation, including a Japanese kaiseki course menu.

    1180--25 Takachiho, Miyazaki-ken, 882-1101, Japan
    0982-72–3023

    Known For

    • Fresh ingredients
    • Family-run restaurant
    • Delicious, crunchy tempura
  • 13. Sonu Sonu Vegan Cafe & Restaurant

    $ | Chuo

    Keema curry, pizzas, burgers, and burrito bowls are staples at this trendy vegan café in Tenjin. Also a great place to get coffee and a...

    Keema curry, pizzas, burgers, and burrito bowls are staples at this trendy vegan café in Tenjin. Also a great place to get coffee and a slice of cake when you're taking a break from the shops of west Fukuoka.

    3--6--29 1F Tenjin, Fukuoka, Fukuoka-ken, 810-0001, Japan
    070-2299--7338

    Known For

    • Fantastic vegan burgers
    • Modern minimalist design of café
    • Friendly bilingual staff
  • 14. thé théo, Theomurata Tea Room

    $

    Located in the forest beside the Artejio gallery, the Sansou Murata ryokan, and a small chocolate factory, the Theomurata Tea Room provides the perfect place...

    Located in the forest beside the Artejio gallery, the Sansou Murata ryokan, and a small chocolate factory, the Theomurata Tea Room provides the perfect place to relax. Sample the exquisite handmade chocolates or the delicate roll cakes.

    1272--175 Yufuin-cho Kawakami, Yufuin, Oita-ken, 879-5102, Japan
    0977-28--8686

    Known For

    • Luxurious hot chocolate drinks
    • Fine chocolates
    • Serene atmosphere
  • 15. Horin

    $
    Closed Permanently

    To prepare for a big night in Tenjin, this is a convenient, delicious, and inexpensive place to grab some ramen. For ¥690 you can dive...

    To prepare for a big night in Tenjin, this is a convenient, delicious, and inexpensive place to grab some ramen. For ¥690 you can dive into a big bowl of thin noodles in a steamy, pork-based broth garnished with sliced pork and chopped onions.

    3-21-15 Haruyoshi, Fukuoka, Fukuoka-ken, 810-0003, Japan
    092-716–6755

    Known For

    • Hearty bowls of tonkatsu ramen
    • Kikurage toppings ("tree jellyfish," or black mushrooms)
    • Central location
  • 16. Moustache

    $$$$
    Closed Permanently

    Started by a Japanese chef who wanted to create a European atmosphere, Moustache is a café and restaurant with a flair for hearty, country-style French...

    Started by a Japanese chef who wanted to create a European atmosphere, Moustache is a café and restaurant with a flair for hearty, country-style French fare. At lunch you can order à la carte, and in the evening there is a selection of set meals. The chef recommends the rainbow trout.

    1264–7 Kawakami, Yufuin, Oita-ken, 879-1502, Japan
    0977-84–5155

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
  • 17. Suganoya Kamitoriten

    $$
    Closed Permanently

    Basashi—raw horse meat— is a populuar dish...

    Basashi—raw horse meat— is a populuar dish in Kumamoto, and at Suganoya it is their specialty. You can get it served in all its forms: there's a starter of raw tidbits with garlic, ginger, and assorted dunking sauces; or a finale of hari-hari nabe, a soup of thinly sliced delicately flavored meat and vegetables cooked in a folded-paper vessel.

    2-12 Joto-machi, Kumamoto, Kumamoto-ken, 860-0846, Japan
    096-355–3558

    Known For

    • Horse served in miriad ways
    • Expansive course meals
    • Elegant surroundings

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