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Day Trips in Kyushu

There are many interesting places to visit within and near Fukuoka prefecture. Check out the regional sections for more detailed and extensive listings, or see the highlights below.  

In Fukuoka

Shimonoseki  Across the Kanmon strait in Yamaguchi prefecture on Honshu, Shimonoseki has a fantastic fish market and some interesting places to visit. It is possible to walk or cycle to Shimonoseki from Mojiko via an underwater tunnel.

Mojiko Retro is at the very tip of Kyushu, part of Kitakyushu-shi. It features many buildings from the turn of the 20th century, including the old Mojiko Customs Office. Heading out to Mekari Park, you can go underneath the Kanmon Bridge that links Kyushu and Honshu. Take any Mojiko-bound Kagoshima line train to its final destination. Refer to the Kitakyushu regional section for more information.

Hiraodai is a large country side park located in the southern ward of Kokura.  There are a variety of different activities and sights to see including: limestone plateau, stalagtite caves, soba field, and fruit garden.  For more information: http://www.hiraodai.jp/sato/english/index.html

Space World is an amusement park in Kitakyushu. They boast training of NASA standards and the chance to see a lot of space-related items. Get off at Space World Station along the JR Kagoshima line. A one-day entry with unlimited rides is ¥4200 for adults. Fore more information: http://www.spaceworld.co.jp/english/

Dazaifu  Home to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine and the grave of Tenman-Tenjin, God of learning, among other nearby temples and historical relics, such as Komyozenji with its moss garden. There is also the chance to try Japanese mochi (rice cakes) straight off the griddle. Kyushu National Museum is also located very close to the Tenmangu Shrine. Access is easy via the Kyushu Expressway or by Nishitetsu train from Tenjin, with a change at Nishitestu Futsukaichi.

Fudo Iwa

Fudo Iwa, literally “unmovable rocks,” are a fantastic sight; 3 unmistakable cylindrical rocks nestled on the side of the mountain. Near Yamagashi, northern Kumamoto-ken.

Keya Oto Park, an hour’s drive from Fukuoka City along unspoiled coastline, features beaches, a pleasant fishing village, scenic walks, and a sea cave. It is also one of a few surfing spots in the prefecture.

Yanagawa  in the Chikugo region has a famous boat tour that is highly recommended. Cruising on a poled boat called a donko, you go from Nishitestu Yanagawa station to Ohana around the old Yanagawa Castle. A guide gives commentary along the way. The trip itself takes just over an hour and costs around ¥1500 with a return trip to your point of origin included in the price. Boats are easy to find and can be picked up at many places along the river.

 

Beyond Fukuoka

Yufuin

Yufuin is a quaint onsen town in Oita Prefecture. Slightly less famous than its neighbor Beppu, Yufuin is still well-known in Japan as a prime onsen destination. Enjoy a dip in a first-class rotemburo while gazing up at the imposing peaks of Mt. Yufu. Yufuin also offers extensive shopping, cafes, local delicacies, art galleries, a minor Chagall museum, and excellent hiking.

To Do

Onsen: The Japan Guide (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4750.html) has a comprehensive list of the best onsen and rotemburo in town. You can get a map of these locations from the tourist desk in the JR Yufuin train station.

Shopping: Walk straight out of the JR train station and you will hit the town’s main street. It’s lined with small artisan and craft galleries, cheaper omiyage shops, bakeries offering Yufuin’s famous roll cake and baumkuchen, and much more. The main road is about 1.5 km long, and ends at the small, steaming Lake Kinkrinko, a good photo spot.

Hiking: Mt. Yufu is a 1,500m tall volcano that is usually surrounded by clouds, but provides stunning views from the top on a clear day. In the winter the mountain is covered in snow, so hiking in spring or fall is recommended.

From the Yufuin bus center, located only about 20 meters down the main road from the JR station, you can catch a bus to the start of the hiking trail. The bus costs about 360 yen. Make sure you are going to 由布登山口 , or “Yufu tozan guchi,” the main entrance.

Ask for a map at the JR Yufuin tourist office. The hike only takes about 90 minutes.

getting there…

Take JR to the Yufuin stop, which is located in the center of town. For a special ride, pay 1000 yen extra for the Yufuin no Mori, a famous wood-paneled luxury train. The Yufuin no Mori starts in Hakata and passes through Kurume on its way to Yufuin. There are 2 roundtrip trains per day, which can get booked up on busy (especially holiday) weekends, so make reservations in advance.

Getting around Yufuin town is easy enough by foot, but you can also rent bicycles at the JR train station.

Mount Aso

Mount Aso is one of the largest volcanoes in the world, and ranked as a top 100 hike in Japan. Located in Kumamoto Prefecture, it is a great spot for a day trip, especially combined with a visit to Kumamoto city and Castle.

Because Aso is an active volcano, the peak is often closed when winds are strong. There are various hiking trails in and around the mountain, however, so you will still find great views and beautiful scenery even if the crater route is closed.

To Do

Hiking: You can spend hours hiking through the Mt. Aso mountains, or you can head straight for the top. Mt. Nakadake is the largest and only active crater, accessible by paved road or ropeway. Ask for a hiking map at the JR Aso train station.

Onsen: Mt. Aso is surrounded by many excellent onsen, which are a little difficult to reach without a car. See this website: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/kumamoto/aso.html and this site http://www.welcomekyushu.com/area/aso.html for a list of some of its best.

getting there…

Getting to Mt. Aso by train is a little lengthy, so you might consider combining it with an overnight stay in Kumamoto City. Transfer at JR Kumamoto to the JR Hohi line. The local train to JR Aso takes about 1.5 hours, while the more expensive express gets there in just over an hour.

Once in Aso you can catch a bus straight to the mountain for 540 yen, and then continue to the peak on foot or via ropeway.