Welcome to Kyushu, the southwesternmost of Japan’s main islands and a treasure trove of natural wonders, rich history, and vibrant culture. This enchanting region is known for its breathtaking landscapes, hot springs, delicious cuisine, and warm-hearted locals. Whether you have 5, 7, or 10 days to spare, this comprehensive Kyushu itinerary will ensure you make the most of your visit.
As you embark on your journey through Kyushu, you’ll be greeted with a perfect blend of ancient traditions and modern comforts. From the bustling streets of Fukuoka to the serene countryside of Miyazaki, each day will be filled with unforgettable experiences.
Day by day, you’ll discover the unique charm and beauty of Kyushu’s major cities and hidden gems. Explore vibrant markets, historic landmarks, ancient castles, and soak in rejuvenating hot springs. Indulge in mouthwatering local delicacies, such as Hakata ramen, Nagasaki champon, Kumamoto’s horse meat cuisine, and Kagoshima’s famous black pork.
Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a serene getaway, Kyushu has something for everyone. Marvel at the magnificent volcanic landscapes of Mount Aso, unwind in the therapeutic waters of Beppu, and discover the intriguing history of Nagasaki and its role during the Second World War. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Yufuin’s tranquil countryside, and witness the breathtaking coastal scenery of Miyazaki and Kagoshima.
With its efficient transportation system, exploring Kyushu is a breeze. The Shinkansen, local trains, and buses connect all the major cities and attractions, making it convenient to navigate the region.
So, whether you’re planning a short getaway or a longer adventure, let’s dive into the perfect Kyushu itinerary. Pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in this captivating corner of Japan.
Day 1: Arrival in Kyushu
Welcome to Kyushu, the gateway to an incredible adventure! Upon your arrival at Fukuoka Airport, take a moment to soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this thriving city. Known for its shopping, gastronomy, and warm hospitality, Fukuoka is the perfect starting point for your Kyushu journey.
After checking into your hotel and freshening up, head out to explore the city’s bustling streets. Begin your exploration in the lively district of Tenjin, known for its shopping arcades and department stores. Wander through the vibrant Nakasu area, renowned for its bustling nightlife and delicious street food stalls. Don’t miss the chance to try Fukuoka’s famous Hakata ramen, a savory noodle dish known for its rich, pork-based broth and thin, firm noodles.
- Visit Fukuoka Castle: Step back in time as you explore the ruins of Fukuoka Castle, a historical site that offers panoramic views of the city. Admire the surrounding gardens and learn about the castle’s significance in Japanese history.
- Discover Ohori Park: Escape the bustling city and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Ohori Park. This vast park features a large pond, beautiful walking paths, and a traditional Japanese garden. Take a leisurely stroll or rent a paddleboat to explore the park’s serene surroundings.
- Explore the Fukuoka City Museum: Dive into Fukuoka’s fascinating history at the Fukuoka City Museum. From ancient artifacts to interactive exhibits, this museum offers a comprehensive look into the city’s past.
As evening falls, indulge in the vibrant nightlife scene in Nakasu. Explore the countless izakayas (Japanese pubs), where you can enjoy a variety of delicious dishes and drinks while experiencing the lively atmosphere.
End your day by taking a relaxing stroll along the waterfront at Momochi Seaside Park. Admire the stunning views of Fukuoka Tower, one of the city’s iconic landmarks, as it lights up against the night sky.
After a full day of exploration, return to your hotel and get a good night’s rest, as tomorrow you’ll embark on a new adventure in Nagasaki!
Day 2: Exploring Fukuoka
After a good night’s sleep, get ready for another exciting day in Fukuoka. Today, we’ll dive deeper into the city’s rich culture, history, and culinary delights.
Start your day with a visit to the iconic Fukuoka Tower, the tallest seaside tower in Japan. Take the elevator to the observation deck and marvel at the breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the surrounding ocean. Don’t forget to snap some pictures to capture the moment!
Next, make your way to the beautiful Shofukuji Temple, the first Zen temple established in Japan. Immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere as you explore the temple’s elegant architecture, peaceful gardens, and intricate stone Buddha statues.
For all the shopaholics out there, a visit to Canal City Hakata is a must. This enormous shopping complex offers a wide range of shops, boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment. Stroll through the bustling canal walk, shop for souvenirs, and indulge in a delectable meal at one of the many international or local eateries.
When it comes to Fukuoka’s food scene, you simply can’t miss out on the mouthwatering street food at Yanagibashi Market. From fresh seafood to local produce, this lively market will tempt your taste buds with its array of unique flavors. Try some grilled yakitori skewers, savor fresh sushi, or sample some of the region’s famous mentaiko (spicy cod roe).
In the afternoon, take a leisurely stroll through the peaceful Maizuru Park. This historic park is home to Fukuoka Castle Ruins, cherry blossom trees, and various monuments that commemorate the city’s past. Enjoy a relaxing picnic or simply find a spot to sit back and soak in the tranquil surroundings.
Wrap up your day by exploring the vibrant nightlife scene in the quirky neighborhood of Daimyo. This trendy area is filled with stylish cafes, bars, and local boutiques. Enjoy a nightcap at a hip cocktail bar or join the locals in a lively izakaya for some drinks and delicious small plates.
After an exhilarating day in Fukuoka, return to your hotel and get a good night’s rest. Tomorrow, we’ll continue our Kyushu adventure as we head to the historic city of Nagasaki.
Day 3: Discovering Nagasaki
Welcome to Nagasaki, a city that beautifully blends history, culture, and stunning natural landscapes. Today, we’ll delve into the rich heritage of this historic city and explore its iconic landmarks.
Begin your day with a visit to the Peace Park, a solemn reminder of Nagasaki’s tragic past as the second city to suffer a nuclear bombing during World War II. Take a moment of reflection at the Peace Statue and pay your respects at the Peace Memorial Hall, which commemorates the lives lost in the bombing. The surrounding park also features beautiful gardens and sculptures that symbolize hope and peace.
Next, immerse yourself in history by exploring the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. This thought-provoking museum provides a comprehensive understanding of the devastating impact of the nuclear bomb, as well as the city’s journey towards recovery.
From there, take a short ferry ride to the picturesque island of Gunkanjima (Hashima Island). This abandoned island was once a bustling coal mining community and now stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join a guided tour to explore the eerie remnants of the island’s deserted buildings and gain insight into the lives of the people who once called Gunkanjima home.
For a change of pace, venture to Glover Garden, a beautiful open-air museum located on a hill overlooking the city. This Western-style residence complex showcases the influence of foreign traders during Japan’s Meiji Restoration era. Stroll through the meticulously maintained gardens, admire the architecture of the historic mansions, and enjoy panoramic views of Nagasaki Harbor.
In the evening, head to Chinatown, one of Nagasaki’s most vibrant and colorful neighborhoods. Prepare your taste buds for a culinary adventure as you indulge in Chinese cuisine at the numerous restaurants and street food stalls. Don’t miss out on the chance to try the local specialty, champon, a tasty noodle soup loaded with fresh vegetables and seafood.
As the night falls, take a moment to visit the Nagasaki Lantern Festival, held annually in February. Marvel at the magnificent light displays, lantern decorations, and traditional performances that illuminate the city streets and celebrate Nagasaki’s rich cultural heritage.
After a day filled with exploration, history, and culinary delights in Nagasaki, return to your accommodation and rest up for tomorrow’s journey to the captivating city of Kumamoto.
Day 4: Journey to Kumamoto
On day 4, we embark on a scenic journey to Kumamoto, a city steeped in history and famous for its breathtaking castle. Get ready for a day filled with cultural exploration and natural beauty.
Start your day by visiting the iconic Kumamoto Castle, one of Japan’s most renowned castles. Marvel at the impressive architecture and the castle’s magnificent stone walls. Take a stroll through the surrounding Suizenji Jojuen Garden, a traditional Japanese garden that offers a peaceful retreat with its meticulously landscaped features and tranquil ponds.
Next, head to the Kumamon Square, a must-visit for fans of the beloved Kumamon mascot. Explore the gift shop, find adorable Kumamon merchandise, and strike a pose for a photo with this lovable bear.
For lunch, indulge in Kumamoto’s famous horse meat cuisine. Whether you opt for basashi (raw horse meat) or a hearty horse meat hot pot, you can savor the unique flavors and experience a specialty of the region.
After lunch, venture to the nearby Mt. Aso, one of the world’s largest volcanic calderas and a true natural wonder. Take a scenic drive to the mountain and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views along the way.
Make a stop at Kusasenrigahama, a stunning grassy plateau nestled within the Aso region. Take a leisurely stroll amidst the lush green fields, soak up the tranquility, and capture some mesmerizing photos of this picturesque landscape.
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider taking a helicopter ride over the Aso region for a unique aerial perspective of the volcano and its surrounding beauty (weather permitting).
In the evening, return to Kumamoto city to explore Shimotori Arcade, a bustling shopping street filled with shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Browse for souvenirs, sample local snacks, or dine at one of the many cozy eateries offering a variety of cuisines.
As the day winds down, take a moment to relax and reflect on the beauty and history you’ve experienced in Kumamoto. Rest up for tomorrow’s adventure as we journey to the hot spring paradise of Beppu.
Day 5: Exploring Mount Aso and Aso City
Day 5 takes us to the awe-inspiring Mount Aso and the charming Aso City, where you’ll witness the power of nature and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Begin your day by heading to Mount Aso, one of the largest active volcanoes in the world. Take a drive up to the Aso Caldera and be prepared to be enchanted by the breathtaking views of the volcanic crater. If weather conditions permit, consider taking a cable car ride or hiking to the summit for an even more exhilarating experience.
Next, venture to the town of Aso, situated at the foot of the mountain. Explore Aso Shrine, a sacred sanctuary surrounded by lush forests. Learn about the shrine’s historical significance and take a peaceful stroll through its serene grounds.
Afterwards, visit Aso Farm Land, a unique eco-inspired theme park that offers a wide range of attractions and activities. From hands-on craft workshops to a petting zoo and hot spring baths, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Marvel at the stunning flower fields and immerse yourself in the peaceful countryside atmosphere.
No trip to Aso City is complete without indulging in the local specialty, Akaushi beef. Savor the rich flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture of this premium Wagyu beef at one of the many restaurants in the area.
In the afternoon, take a leisurely drive through the scenic Aso countryside, exploring the quaint villages and picturesque landscapes. Visit local farms and engage in activities such as fruit picking or cheese making. Immerse yourself in the rural charm and experience the authentic rural life of Kyushu.
As the day comes to an end, make your way back to your accommodation in Aso City or consider staying at one of the nearby traditional ryokans (Japanese inns) for a truly immersive experience. Unwind in the soothing hot spring baths and savor a traditional kaiseki dinner before retiring for the night, rejuvenated and ready for tomorrow’s adventure.
Day 6: Heading to Beppu
On day 6, get ready to experience the hot spring paradise of Beppu, a city known for its therapeutic waters, unique hot spring baths, and stunning natural scenery.
Start your day with a scenic drive to Beppu, admiring the picturesque landscapes along the way. Once you arrive, make your way to the famous Jigoku Meguri (Hell Tour), a collection of colorful and striking thermal hot springs. Explore the various hellish hot springs, each with its own distinct characteristics, such as the blood-red waters of Umi Jigoku or the boiling mud of Oniyama Jigoku.
After your visit to the “hells”, it’s time to relax and rejuvenate in one of Beppu’s many hot spring baths. Beppu is renowned for its diversity of hot spring experiences, including sand baths, mud baths, and even steam baths where you can be enveloped in therapeutic vapor. Indulge in a soothing soak, allowing the mineral-rich waters to melt away any stress and tension.
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a visit to Beppu’s Ocean Tower, an observation deck that offers panoramic views of Beppu Bay and the surrounding mountains. Enjoy the breathtaking vistas and capture some memorable photos of your time in this beautiful coastal city.
For a unique cultural experience, visit Takegawara Onsen, a historic hot spring facility that has been welcoming visitors since 1879. Enjoy the traditional Japanese onsen bathing experience, complete with wooden bathhouses and serene surroundings.
As evening approaches, make your way to Kannawa district, known for its steamy hot spring vents and picturesque foot baths. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets and immerse your tired feet in the warm, healing waters of the foot baths.
End your day by treating yourself to a delicious seafood feast in one of Beppu’s seaside restaurants. From fresh sashimi to grilled specialties, Beppu boasts a wide range of mouthwatering seafood dishes that will leave you satisfied and longing for more.
After a day of relaxation and indulgence in Beppu’s hot springs and culinary delights, return to your accommodation and get a restful night’s sleep, ready for more adventures in the days to come.
Day 7: Onsen Experience in Yufuin
Day 7 brings us to the charming town of Yufuin, renowned for its picturesque landscapes, tranquil atmosphere, and relaxing hot spring resorts. Today is all about embracing the healing powers of nature and immersing ourselves in the soothing onsen culture.
Begin your day with a leisurely stroll through Yufuin’s quaint streets, lined with charming boutiques, cafes, and art galleries. Explore the local handicraft shops and admire the unique artworks created by talented artisans.
Next, make your way to Lake Kinrinko, a small crater lake surrounded by lush greenery. Take in the serene beauty of the lake and the reflections of the surrounding mountains. Enjoy a peaceful walk along the lakeside path or rent a paddleboat to explore the calm waters.
After enjoying the tranquility of the lake, it’s time to indulge in Yufuin’s renowned hot springs. Choose from a variety of ryokans and hotels that offer onsen facilities, ranging from traditional communal baths to private open-air baths. Immerse yourself in the mineral-rich waters, feeling the soothing warmth seep into your body and relax your muscles.
For a unique experience, you can also try a Jikan-yu, a special foot bath where you can relax and soak your feet in the hot spring waters while enjoying views of the surrounding nature.
In the afternoon, visit the Yufuin Floral Village, a delightful garden filled with vibrant flowers and lush greenery. Take a leisurely stroll amidst the colorful blooms, enjoy the fragrant aroma, and capture some Instagram-worthy photos.
As the day winds down, treat yourself to a traditional kaiseki dinner at your ryokan or explore the local dining scene. Yufuin is known for its farm-to-table cuisine, fresh produce, and delicious local specialties. Sample dishes like toriten (tempura chicken), Yufuin soba (buckwheat noodles), or creamy Yufuin pudding.
After dinner, you can take a relaxing nighttime stroll through the streets of Yufuin, enjoying the tranquil atmosphere and the soft glow of the streetlights. Reflect on the day’s experiences and take a moment to appreciate the serenity and natural beauty of this charming onsen town.
As you retreat to your accommodation for a restful night’s sleep, feel grateful for the rejuvenation and relaxation that the onsen experience in Yufuin has provided. Tomorrow, we’ll continue our exploration of Kyushu as we head to the captivating city of Miyazaki.
Day 8: Discovering Miyazaki
Welcome to Miyazaki, a city known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. Today, we’ll delve into the cultural and natural treasures that make Miyazaki a must-visit destination.
Begin your day by immersing yourself in the rich history of Miyazaki at Miyazaki Jingu, one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines. Admire the grandeur of the shrine’s architecture and take a leisurely stroll through the peaceful grounds. Don’t forget to stop by the sacred tree, known as the “Tenshin Tree,” which is said to have divine powers.
Next, make your way to Aoshima Island, a small island located just off the coast of Miyazaki City. Connected by a picturesque red bridge, Aoshima is known for its unique rock formations, sandy beaches, and lush greenery. Take a walk around the island, explore the mysterious Devil’s washboard (a natural rock formation), and enjoy the serene coastal views.
If you’re a fan of Japanese animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki, a visit to the Miyazaki City Phoenix Zoo is a must. Home to a wide variety of animals, including the iconic red-crowned cranes, the zoo offers an opportunity to observe and learn about the local wildlife.
For lunch, savor Miyazaki’s famous local cuisine, which centers around delicious seafood and succulent chicken. Indulge in a plate of the region’s renowned chicken nanban, a dish featuring crispy fried chicken topped with a tangy sweet and sour sauce, or enjoy fresh sashimi made from the bountiful catches of the nearby Pacific Ocean.
In the afternoon, escape to the enchanting Takachiho Gorge, a natural wonder that is sure to take your breath away. Walk along the scenic walking trail that follows the gorge’s edge, marvel at the soaring cliffs and cascading waterfalls, and take a boat ride on the emerald green waters for a unique perspective.
As the day comes to a close, head to Heiwadai Park, a peaceful park that offers panoramic views of Miyazaki City and the surrounding coastline. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through the park’s beautifully manicured gardens, visit the Peace Tower, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere.
End your day by experiencing the vibrant nightlife in downtown Miyazaki. Explore the bustling streets filled with izakayas, bars, and restaurants. Sample local delicacies, share drinks with locals, and savor the lively atmosphere of this charming city.
After an eventful day in Miyazaki, return to your accommodation, reflecting on the beauty and unique experiences you’ve encountered. Rest up, as tomorrow we’ll continue our Kyushu adventure in the captivating city of Kagoshima.
Day 9: Exploring Kagoshima
Welcome to Kagoshima, a vibrant city located on the southern tip of Kyushu. Known for its scenic beauty, geothermal activity, and historical significance, Kagoshima offers a perfect blend of natural wonders and cultural attractions.
Start your day by visiting Sakurajima, an active volcano that sits just across Kagoshima Bay. Take a short ferry ride to the island and witness the power of nature as you explore the volcanic landscape. Enjoy panoramic views of Kagoshima City from the observation decks and visit the volcanic sand baths for a unique therapeutic experience.
Next, head to Sengan-en, a beautifully preserved Edo-period garden that was once the estate of the powerful Shimazu samurai clan. Take a leisurely stroll through the meticulously landscaped gardens, visit the traditional tea houses, and learn about the Shimazu family’s fascinating history at the onsite museum.
For lunch, indulge in Kagoshima’s famous Kurobuta pork, known for its succulent and flavorful meat. Try dishes like tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) or shabu-shabu (hot pot) featuring this prized local ingredient.
Afterwards, make your way to Kagoshima City Aquarium, home to a diverse range of marine life. Marvel at the breathtaking displays of dolphins, sea turtles, and tropical fish, and catch an exciting dolphin show.
Continue your exploration with a visit to the Shiroyama Observatory, located atop a hill overlooking the city. Enjoy panoramic views of Kagoshima and its surrounding scenery, including Sakurajima and Kinko Bay.
If time permits, take a short trip to Chiran, a town known for its beautifully preserved samurai residences and tranquil gardens. Explore the historic streets lined with traditional houses and immerse yourself in the ambiance of feudal Japan.
In the evening, head to Tenmonkan, Kagoshima’s bustling shopping and entertainment district. Browse through the shops, sample local snacks, and dine at one of the many restaurants offering a variety of cuisines.
End your day by taking a relaxing soak in one of Kagoshima’s natural hot spring baths, allowing the mineral-rich waters to melt away any remnants of fatigue. Enjoy a peaceful night’s rest, knowing that you’ve experienced the beauty and charm of Kagoshima.
Day 10: Farewell to Kyushu
On the final day of your Kyushu adventure, take a moment to reflect on the incredible experiences and memories you’ve made during your journey through this captivating region. While it may be time to bid farewell to Kyushu, the memories you’ve created will last a lifetime.
Depending on your flight or travel arrangements, you may have some time in the morning to explore Kagoshima once more. Consider visiting the Kagoshima Botanical Garden, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and enjoy a peaceful stroll among the diverse collection of plants and flowers.
Alternatively, you can make a visit to the Reimeikan Museum, which showcases the history and culture of Kagoshima through a wide range of exhibits and artifacts.
Before you depart from Kyushu, take the opportunity to savor one last meal of the region’s delicious cuisine. Whether it’s a bowl of rich and flavorful tonkotsu ramen, a plate of fresh sushi, or a hearty bowl of champon, indulge in the flavors that have made Kyushu’s cuisine so renowned.
As you say goodbye to Kyushu and board your flight or head to your next destination, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and diversity of this captivating region. From the bustling streets of Fukuoka to the tranquil onsens of Beppu, the historic landmarks of Nagasaki to the natural wonders of Kagoshima, Kyushu has offered a truly unforgettable experience.
Remember to cherish the memories you’ve made and carry the spirit of Kyushu with you as you continue your adventures around Japan and beyond. Whether it’s the warm hospitality of the locals, the breathtaking landscapes, or the rich cultural heritage, Kyushu will always hold a special place in your heart.
Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey through Kyushu. We hope that you’ve had an amazing time exploring this enchanting region and that you’ll come back soon to uncover even more hidden gems that Kyushu has to offer.