The Sub-tropical Island Paradise of Kyushu Japan

Kyushu History and Culture

The Kyushu region is the third largest island of Japan and is found in the southernmost area of the country. Its name literally means ‘Nine Provinces’ because in history it is comprised of nine ancient provinces. Today, on the other hand, there are eight provinces which are divided into two regions. The northern Kyushu region is made up of Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Oita, and Saga. The Southern Kyushu is made up of Kagoshima, Miyazaki, and Okinawa.

It is a great place to visit for a complete travel experience. There are places for adventure, for nature, for culture, and for history. It is also a great place to relax because of its onsens and for its wonderful beaches. Because this place is the only region in Japan which has a subtropical climate, it is comprised of photo-worthy beaches. There are hidden paradises within its island which are worthy of long, relaxing vacations. Anyone can just stop, take a step back, and relax.

Must-Eats in Kyushu Japan

Kyushu Ramen and the Kyushu Ramen Menu

Tasty soup, chewy noodles, topped with pork tonkatsu – this is the best Kyushu-Style ramen. It is usually served in different noodle shops all over the islands. This particular food is best to share even during the hot seasons of summer. Usually, this style of ramen has very thick broth as their soup which is made from pork bones and fat. Flavor is added with the aromatic oil from crushed garlic or sesame. This is a must-have in Kyushu, bring a friend and share the delicious taste of Kyushu Ramen.

So popular is the Kyushu Ramen that there are restaurants all over the world that serve its delicious, spicy soup on their menu. One of these is the Hanabishi by Kyushu Ramen in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California (Ca).

Kyushu Sushi

Since Kyushu is made up of islands, there is an abundance of seafood all over the place. Just imagine platters of delicious sushi and sashimi made from the freshest treasures of the sea. On top of these, there is also a good menu of maki rolls. So popular are the Kyushu-styled sushi that there are restaurants that offer up these goodies on their menu. An example would be the Kyushu Japanese Sushi in Virginia Beach, Virginia (Va).

Things to Do in Kyushu Japan - Living like a Royal

Kumamoto Castle

Located in the Kumamoto prefecture of the Island of Kyushu, this hilltop castle is built during the late 1400s. It was the home of the Ideta clan, the Kanokagi clan, the Jou clan, and more families through the centuries. During the 16th century, the castle has been transformed and expanded to house several facilities. Because of such expansion, the entire castle keeps measures a total of 1.6 km from east to west and 1.2 km from north to south. The height of the Kumamoto castle is about 30.3 meters tall.

However, some parts of the Kumamoto castle was damaged during the 6.2 magnitude earthquake April of 2016. A stone wall at the foot of the keep partially collapsed. A day later, a stronger earthquake of magnitude 7.3 completely destroyed some portions of the castle. The great thing is that the castle itself remained intact with very little structural damage.

Fukuoka Castle

Another beautiful castle located on the Kyushu Island of Japan is the Fukuoka Castle. Also known as the Maizuru Castle, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. Anyone trying to get a good historical or cultural trip in Kyushu should not miss the experience of walking around the Fukuoka castle.

This castle was built during the Edo Period and is now considered as a historical and national heritage in the country. Centuries after it was built, the entire castle is transformed into a park. There are sports facilities like basketball stadiums inside the castle grounds. Other than that, there is an art museum inside that exhibit old-school furniture, art, and artifacts that came from this period of Japan.

Things to Do in Kyushu Japan - The War and the state

Nagasaki Peace Park

During the Second World War, Nagasaki was bombed alongside with Hiroshima. This was a way for the Allied Forces to get the Japanese army to surrender. At this time, Nagasaki was completely devastated. There were more than 150,000 casualties that died immediately after the detonation of the bomb. More people perished due to the side effects of radiation exposure.

As a way to commemorate the lives of all those innocent people who died, the Nagasaki Peace Park was established. A pillar was built at the exact epicenter where the bomb was detonated. Inside the park are statues and sculptures made by different artists to provide their interpretation of the pain, hardship, and devastation the Japanese experienced at this time.

This was also a commemoration, as well, of the way that the Japanese people survived and flourished after the bombing. Decades later, Nagasaki has become a flourishing city. Although they are now over the war, the Japanese are sure to keep the lessons they learned close to their hearts.

Kyushu University

The Kyushu University, also known as the Kyudai is one of the oldest universities in the entire country. It is known to be the largest public university in Kyushu. It was established in the late 1800s as a medical school for the feudal government making it one of the most important Imperial Universities in Japan. With this, it has gained a prestigious status - an honor given exclusively only to a distinct few.

One of the most notable achievements of the Kyushu University is the fact that they have discovered element number 113. They have named it Nihonium as a way to commemorate the fact that it was discovered in Japan. This is a similar system of naming as Poland with Polonium and France with Francium (originally known as Virginium).

In 2009, the Kyushu University has established a program known as the Global 30 Project whose primary aim to promote globalization in Japanese education. They aim to accommodate about 300,000 international student graduates by the year 2020, not only in the University of Kyushu but through all campuses in Japan.

Things to Do in Kyushu Japan - Theme parks and other specialties

Huis Ten Bosch

This place is a popular theme park located in the Nagasaki prefecture. This has become a popular tourist destination because it has been designed to recreate a Dutch town. There are western style canals, windmills, and gardens that can provide tourists a full European tour experience. What people like best about this place is the seasonal flowers that make it feel as if the place really is in Europe – the most popular is the tulip. 

As it is a theme park, it is expected that the European architecture is not the only aspect that makes this place attractive. In particular, there is a haunted house, a Ferris Wheel, and a mirror maze. There is also an art museum and a theater.

Mitsui Greenland

This place is among the largest theme parks in the entire island of Kyushu, making it a popular destination in the area. Inside the compound, there is a hot spring, restaurants, a golf course, and more on top of the main amusement park. It is estimated that it gets roughly three million tourists and visitors every year.

The most popular rides in Mitsui Greenland are the nine roller coasters that offer up different heights and speeds. The Haunted House is also a visitor favorite. However, the ultimate theme park favorite is the “Chair Lift of Death” which is unique only to Mitsui Greenland. It seems like an ordinary Ferris Wheel, but it is much scarier than that at high speeds and turning chairs.

Things to Do in Kyushu Japan - Parks and Nature

Hells of Beppu

This place does not actually look like hell, it is a place with seven spectacular hot springs which are not for bathing. These are tubs of naturally hot water which spurt out very hot steam. Getting close to it can be very dangerous. Originally just found on the mountainside, now it has been turned into a park with chairs, railings, and bridges.

Umi Jigoku is the sea hell and it is made up of hot, blue water. The Oniishibozu Jigoku is made from mud bubbles which are large in diameter and extremely hot. There is also a white colored pond called the Shiraike Jigoku. There is also a blood colored pond called the Chinoike Jigoku. The other pond is actually a hot geyser that spouts out water every 30 minutes known as the Tatsumaki Jigoku.

Kyushu Japan Travel Tips: Kyushu Map and Other Must Knows

Kyushu Weather

Since the Kyushu Island is found in the southernmost parts of the country, they are quite near the equator. Because of this most of Kyushu experience a tropical climate. During the months of May and June, it is mostly rainy and cloudy in this region. Often times until the months of October, they experience strong typhoons coming from the Pacific Ocean. The good thing is there are sensors that could send messages to monitoring centers in the event that a low-pressure area will become a typhoon.

During the wintertime, the region still does experience mild coldness. Although the temperatures rarely go down below zero, comparatively to other tropical countries in the world the temperature can still be very cool. Springtime is a great time as well to enjoy the blooms of flowers and trees, especially cherry blossoms. There are festivals that could be enjoyed during the spring and summer time.

Where to get Kyushu Japan Maps

Since there is a total of eight prefectures in all of Kyushu visiting in a day would be impossible. The good thing to do is to plan ahead and schedule itineraries. Maps for all prefectures are usually available in English for most tourists and can be obtained at reception areas and tourist service stations all over the city. There are also websites online that offer up downloadable and printable maps. This will usually show which train lines to ride and what stations to get down at for easier travel. These are mostly available in the English language as well.