Best Travel Destinations in Kyushu

Udo Shrine

Udo Shrine ©natiboy2008/Flickr

Kyushu is one of the four main islands of the Japanese Archipelago. It is the third largest and the southernmost big island as well. The island is divided into seven prefectures and from all these areas, Fukuoka is the largest city. The name of the island origins from the Japanese expressions for ‘Nine states’ and ‘West of the Pacified area’.

The island of Kyushu is mainly a mountainous area, enriched with active volcanoes and other tectonic phenomena, such as the famous hot springs or onsen. Kyushu has dozens of tourist sights and it is quite difficult for the visitors to choose from the best sights of Kyushu. In this article I attempted to collect four of these travel destinations. Hopefully, it will be useful for everyone who plans to travel here.

Arita

Arita

Porcelain collection exhibited in Arita ©Bytemarks/Flickr

Arita is a very famous pottery town in the Western part of Saga Prefecture. The famous Arita porcelain, one of Japan’s most beautiful handicrafts is produced in this city. The city has dozens of sights and all of them are somehow connected to pottery: museums, shrines, souvenir shops and archaeological sites have porcelain as a common ‘theme’.

Arita is also popular for the Arita Ceramic Fair, one of the largest pottery festivals of Japan. It is usually held between April 29 and May 5, on the Golden Week. This fair attracts thousands of visitors every year.

 

Shimabara Peninsula

Mount Unzen

Mount Unzen: the most important landmark of the peninsula ©hwat/Flickr

Shimabara Peninsula is located near Nagasaki. The peninsula was created by the eruptions of the Mount Unzen. Unzen is a very active volcano: the 1990’s eruption destroyed significant parts of Shimabara city.

The peninsula is famous its hot springs (Unzen Onsen is the best one), and it is an important hiking destination as well. As part of the Unzen Amasuka National Park, it largely preserved the natural aspects of the environment and probably this is the reason of the peninsula’s popularity.

 

Kurokawa

Kurokawa onsen

Kurokawa Onsen ©David McKelvey/Flickr

Kurokawa is considered one of the most beautiful hot spring places of Japan. The environment is very intimate: Kurokawa is neither loud, nor crowded: it is a traditional Japanese city. Even though it is quite difficult to get here (there are no trains, and the bus service is more or less unreliable), once you arrive in Kurokawa you will see the beauty and the value of this place.

The visitors can choose from a large variety of baths: indoor and outdoor baths (rotenburo) are available as well. The best hot springs of the city are: Sato no Yu Waraku, Yamabiko Ryokan, Oku no Yu, Kurokawaso, Hozantei and Yamamizuki. The admission is 500 Yen for every onsen.

 

Udo Shrine

Udo Shrine

Udo Shrine: an amazing underground building ©natiboy2008/Flickr

Udo Shrine is located near Miyazaki and it is a temple dedicated to Yamasachihiko, the father of the first Japanese emperor, Jimmu. The shrine is built in a cave and it faces towards the sea, so it has a very nice and unique environment.

The habit of throwing undama (small ceramic ‘lucky’ balls) is also related to this place: people throw them from the terrace and they are trying to hit the marked target on the rocks. If you hit one of those targets, you are considered to be lucky: hitting the target will also bring good luck.

 

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