Translated by GonzalezLaura
Japanese Encyclopedia: Kyushu Region
Written by MATCHA
Kyushu is a warm region consisting of seven prefectures. Its largest city is Fukuoka. Fukuoka Airport is very convenient for accessing international and domestic locations.
Kyushu is an area that was previously made up of 9 provinces, that is why its name translates as "the nine provinces". It is a warm island located in the South-Western part of Japan and presently consists of 7 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 features international and domestic flights, as well as a subway line which can be used to reach Hakata Station, one of the Shinkansen stops. This airport is very convenient for reaching Kyushu's main city, as well as international and domestic destinations.
Kyushu's World Natural Heritage Sites
Kyushu has a fascinating natural landscape. Of the many famous places, Yakushima is registered as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, and is a sightseeing spot you shouldn't miss. The 7200 year old Jōmon-sugi Cedar is known as the symbol of Yakushima, and is well worth the 22 km walk in the forest. One the way there, there is a stump called the Wilson Stump, which looks like a heart-shape cut out. It is a good omen for couples who visit this site.
Also, Shiratani Unsuikyo is a must-visit spot for anime fans. It is a quiet forest that is said to have inspired the setting of Studio Ghibli's film "Princess Mononoke".
Take a Hot Spring Trip and Relax
Photo by Fredrik Rubensson on flickr/small
Hot springs (onsen) are the best for helping weary bodies tired from travel to rest. There are several onsen areas in Kyushu, but Oita Prefecture is especially famous for its hot springs. In fact, Oita Prefecture is home to 10 of the 11 types of hot springs that exist in the world. It might be good to tour around some of the onsen, and try and see which one you like the most.
There are not only regular, but also sandy hot springs where you can lay down on the sandy beach, as well as steam sauna-like onsen, and other onsen facilities where you can take a dip into some white mud in mud baths. Here you will be able to relax and detox. Of course, onsen baths are also great for your skin.
Although you won't be able to take a dip inside, you can enjoy the onsen trip called "Beppu Hell Tour", which costs 2,100 yen and allows you to see the deeply red Chinoike jigoku pond ("the blood pond"), and the beautifully cobalt blue Umijigoku ("Hell's Sea"). There are 8 unique onsen areas you can take a look at on this tour.
Kyushu Area's Famous Cooking
Picture from: ばりかた”？”替え玉”？知っておきたい「博多ラーメン」の知識 (MATCHA article, Japanese)
Every prefecture in Kyushu has its own special food culture and specialty foods.
Fukuoka prefecture is famous for its spicy cod roe and pork broth ramen. We recommend you try the various foods of different famous food stands, closing the night off with some pork-broth ramen.
In Saga Prefecture you can try the famous Saga beef, and of course other kinds of dishes featuring rare seafood that you can't try anywhere else.
Photo by Tokyo Times on flickr
Nagasaki Prefecture has a long history of cultural exchanges with foreign countries. Its characteristic foods are fusion dishes such as sponge cake, chanpon (Chinese noodles served with pork and vegetables in a hot broth), and sara noodles, which are noodles topped with fried vegetables and meat.
Photo by George Alexander Ishida Newman on flickr
Kumamoto's horse meat sashimi, karashi renkon or lotus root with mustard and Oita Prefecture's toriten (tempura-style fried chicken) and dango jiru (Japanese-style wonton soup) are simple yet delectable dishes.
Miyazaki Prefecture features several rich treats such local chicken, Miyazaki beef and mangos, which come about due to the warm weather of the area.
Photo by Jun OHWADA on flickr
Kagoshima is famous for the sakurajima radish and satsumaimo (sweet potato), which grows in the area fertilized by the ash of the active volcano nearby. The satsumaimo is used to make imoshōchū, an alcoholic drink made from sweet potato.
The real pleasure of Kyushu, though, is enjoying all the specialty foods and dishes brought about by the various climates and natural features of each prefecture.