Translated by MATCHA_En
Kyushu Region - Japanese Encyclopedia
Written by MATCHA
Kyushu is the southwesternmost region of Japan and consists of seven prefectures. The largest city in Kyushu is Fukuoka. Fukuoka Airport is very convenient for flying to international and domestic destinations.
Kyushu is a region that consisted of nine provinces in the past, that is why its name translates to "the nine provinces". Kyushu is one of Japan's four large islands and is located in the southwestern part of the country.
The Kyushu Region presently consists of seven prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. Kyushu's largest city, Fukuoka, is home to a population of 1.46 million people (as of January 2016).
Fukuoka Airport is a major air transportation hub for international and domestic flights. It is served by a subway line that can be used to reach Hakata Station, a major stop on the Shinkansen line. This airport is very convenient for reaching Fukuoka and all the cities in Kyushu, as well as international and domestic destinations.
Kyushu's World Natural Heritage Sites
Kyushu boasts rich and truly fascinating natural scenery, created and influenced in great part by the volcanic activity of Mt. Aso and the Aso Caldera. The Aso Caldera is so immense that the five peaks of Mt. Aso have formed within the caldera. The fabulous hot springs and the rich water resources of Kyushu all exist due to this geographical feature of the region.
The Aso Caldera and its surroundings are part of the Aso-Kuju National Park, a global geopark that is home to rare species and natural habitats.
Of the many famous places in region, Yakushima Island is known worldwide and is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The 7200-year-old Jomon-sugi cedar tree is known as the symbol of Yakushima and is well worth the 22-km walk through the forest. On the way, hikers can enjoy the impressive sight of the heart-shaped Wilson Stump. It is thought to be a good omen for couples who visit this site.
The valley of Shiratani Unsuikyo is a must-visit spot for fans of Studio Ghibli movies. This quiet forest is said to have inspired the setting of Princess Mononoke.
Kyushu - A Hot Spring Heaven
There is nothing better than hot springs (onsen) to help you relax and destress your body after a day of travel. There are several onsen areas in Kyushu, but Oita is especially famous for its hot springs.
In fact, Oita Prefecture is home to ten of the eleven types of hot springs that exist in the world. It might be a good idea to tour some of the hot spring towns, and see which one you like most.
In addition to regular ht spring baths, there are also sandbathing facilities, as well as steam sauna-like onsen. For beautifying effects, try the white-mud baths, where you can relax and detox. Of course, regular hot spring baths are also great for your skin.
Oita also boasts the so-called Hell Onsen in Beppu, which are exclusively for viewing. The Beppu Hell Tour, which costs 2,100 yen, allows you to see up close amazing hell onsen like the deeply red Chinoike jigoku (Blood Pond) and the beautiful cobalt blue Umijigoku (Hell's Sea). There are eight unique hell hot springs that participants can view during this tour.
Kyushu Cuisine - Famous Worldwide
Picture from Hakata Ramen - How To And Where To Eat In Fukuoka
Every prefecture in Kyushu has its own unique food culture and specialty foods. Many of these regional dishes are extremely popular in Japan and have earned a reputation worldwide.
The best example is Hakata ramen. Fukuoka is famous for its pork broth ramen, also known as Hakata ramen. Cod roe, called mentaiko in Japanese, is another local specialty. When in the area, we suggest you try the dishes offered at the food stalls in the city, closing the night off with some pork-broth ramen.
In Saga, try the famous Saga beef, as well as the exquisite seafood from Ariake Sea. Many of these dishes feature rare seafood that you won't find anywhere else.
Photo by Tokyo Times on flickr
Nagasaki has a long history of cultural exchanges with foreign countries. Many local dishes are fusion dishes such as sponge cake, chanpon (Chinese noodles served with pork and vegetables in a hot broth), and sara noodles topped with fried vegetables and meat.
Photo by George Alexander Ishida Newman on flickr
Kumamoto's horse meat sashimi and karashi renkon (lotus root with mustard), as well as Oita's specialty toriten (tempura-style fried chicken) and dango jiru (Japanese-style wonton soup) are simple yet delectable dishes.
Miyazaki boasts several rich treats such as local chicken, Miyazaki beef, and mangos, which grow due to the warm climate of the area.
Photo by Jun OHWADA on flickr
Famous Kagoshima specialties are the Sakurajima radish and satsumaimo (sweet potato), which grow in the area fertilized by the ash of the active volcano nearby. The satsumaimo is used to make imojochu, an alcoholic drink made from this delicious sweet potato.
The greatest joy of traveling in Kyushu is enjoying all the delicious specialty foods and dishes made possible by the rich natural environment of the region.
Save at least a few days for exploring the marvels of this region whose beauty will leave a lasting memory that compels you to visit again.