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Kyushu Highlights

Did you know that according to myth, Kyushu was the starting point for Japan’s legendary first emperor Jimmu’s efforts to unify the country? Many Japanese people therefore view the island as their nation’s birthplace. Kyushu also boasts a long history of ties to Europe and China, which translates to historical sights and, even more importantly, delicious food such as Fukuoka ramen and Nagasaki castella.
Kyushu is brimming with history, culture, natural beauty, and best of all, hot springs. Go forth and experience your island! Here are some of the top sights on Kyushu–chances to really make the most of your time here.

Nagasaki Peace Park is a poignant reminder of the savagery of war, commemorating the horrific events of the atomic bombing of the city in 1945. On August 9 each year, a solemn ceremony is held in remembrance of those who died. The park is well signposted throughout the city. Nagasaki can be reached from Hakata station or by car on the Saga Expressway.

Ibusuki’s Hot Sand Baths Ibusuki, located in the southeastern end of Kagoshima prefecture, is especially known for its natural steaming sand baths heated by subterranean geysers. One hour by train from Kagashima-chuo station. Taxis run from the station to the sand baths just five minutes down the road.

Kumamoto Castle is noteworthy as Japanese castles go, not for its aesthetic qualities, but rather for its pragmatic design. Suizenji-joju-en, a beautifully landscaped garden famous throughout Japan, encircles the castle grounds. The site is well signposted in English throughout the city.

Yabake Waterfall Jumping is an absolutely incredible experience in the summer. A car is necessary for this little trip to Oita-Ken. Located off Route 10 past Yabake town, turn right on Route 2 and follow this small country road until you see a stone swimming pool marking the entrance on your left. The waterfall itself is located a short walk through the bamboo nearby.

Yakushima Island is covered in primeval forest and boasts incredible hiking. You can catch a ferry in Kagoshima from the Kita-Kagoshima port. The island is small and buses are available. However, a car is certainly a bonus. You can take cars on the ferry, but book in advance as it does get busy. The best months to go are March and April to avoid the blinding heat and bugs of summer or the torrential rain of winter.

Kirishima National Park is a naturelovers paradise, home to a number of crystal clear lakes and exquisite onsen. From Nishi-Kagoshima Station, 50 minutes by JR Nippo Honsen Limited Express to Kirishima-jingu Station.

Sakurajima Volcano & Furasato Onsen Home to one of the most scenic onsen in Japan, Furasato onsen is a must. It is an outdoor unisex onsen that is in fact a shrine. Entrance is only ¥600. A ferry takes you to the island from Kagoshima-kita port, leaving every 15 minutes. Buses or taxis can take you to the onsen from Sakurajima port.
Mt. Aso is located in Kumamoto-ken. It is the world’s largest volcanic crater and an excellent option year-round. An hour by Limited Express train from Kumamoto to Aso on the JR H