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KYUSHU Tour Report

  • About KYUSHU

    Kyushu is an island located at the southwest of Japan. It is the third largest island in Japan. The island is generally referred to as Kyushu region, consisting of seven prefectures - Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima, as well as the surrounding islands.

    Kyushu boasts of unique history with Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples where myths and legends passed down from ancient time in Japan are still alive and many remains of foreign cultures from international relations, such as western style buildings.

    This article will be introducing charming tourist attractions in Kyushu!

  • Hakata & KYUSHU Shinkansen / Fukuoka

    Fukuoka City is located in the west of Fukuoka Prefecture in the north of Kyushu Island and home to about 15.5 million people.

    Serving as an entrance to Kyushu and the rest of Asia, this city has continued developing, mainly around Hakata Station, Fukuoka Airport, and Hakata Port.

    Kyushu Shinkansen launched its complete line in 2011, connecting Hakata City to central Kagoshima in about an hour and 27 minutes. Kyushu Shinkansen shortens travelling time within Kyushu. It plays a vital role in revitalizing the interchange of people, economy, and culture, as well as serving businesses and tourism that connect the Keihanshin and Sanyo regions.

    How to Get There

    • Hakata Station: 5 minutes by subway from Fukuoka Airport.

  • Kagoshima / Kagoshima

    Kagoshima is located at the most southern part of Kyushu. It covers an area of about 9,189 square km, which is about four times larger than Tokyo, making it the largest prefecture in Kyushu and the tenth largest prefecture in Japan.

    Kagoshima is blessed, from warm climate to an abundant of nature, with something that can be enjoyed every season, such as alpine flora of Kirishima, flowers in Satsunan Islands, and the world heritage site of Yakushima.

    “Sakurajima” is said to be the symbol of Kagoshima Prefecture. Sakurajima is an active volcano and small eruptions occur repeatedly and regularly even today. It spews out volcanic ash when it is not erupting.

    Sengan-en is a famous garden that incorporated or “borrowed” the landscapes of Sakurajima and Kagoshima Bay.

    Sengan-en was constructed in 1658 as a villa by Mitsuhisa Shimazu, the 19th leader of Satsuma Clan.

    How to Get There

    • Sengan-en: 20 minutes by car from Kagoshima Chuo Station

  • Ibusuki/Kagoshima

    A city at the southeast end of the Satsuma Peninsula, Kagoshima Prefecture. This area is famous for its hot springs or “onsen”. There are sand baths at Surigahama. Here, horticulture utilizing the heat from hot springs is also flourishing.

    Sand baths have spead in Ibusuki for more than 300 years and they are rarely found elsewhere in the world. Visitors can refresh their body and spirit by burying themselves in warm sands while enjoying the sun and sea breeze.

    Nagasakihana is a promontory that jutted out to the end of Satsuma Peninsula.
    Crescent-shaped sandy beach continues to the west of the promontory with Mt. Kaimondake towers at the end.On clear-weather days,Yakushima, Takeshima and Iwojima can be seen floating in the southern sea.

    Mt. Kaimondake is located at the southernmost of Satsuma Peninsula and one of the 100 famous mountains in Japan with 924 m elevation. Also known as “Satsuma Mt. Fuji”, it is a beautiful mountain worthy of being called the symbol of Ibusuki.

    How to Get There

    • Ibusuki Onsen: About 1 hour 15 minutes from JR Kagoshima-Chūō Station, get off at JR Ibusuki Station.

    • Nagasakibana: 15 minutes by car from JR Yamagawa Station

    • Kaimondake: 20 minutes by foot from the JR Kaimon Station

  • Chiran/ Kagoshima

    Chiran is a town in Kagoshima Prefecture that is called Satsuma’s Little Kyoto. This is the town where the army located its Kamikaze base at the end of Pacific War.

    Stepping into the Samurai Residence and Garden is like stepping into another world as this site continues to maintain its appearance that remains unchaged for more than 260 years. Amidst the quietly blowing wind, we can almost feel the passionate spirit of long-ago Satsuma warriors. The beautiful townscape with the backdrop of elegant Hahagatake Mountain is also a popular tourist attraction.

    Satsuma Kiriko cut glass is a luxury glass art work that fully combines beauty, delicacy and warmth that can only be experienced in hand-made products. The outside of clear glass is covered with colored glass of about 1 to 3 mm thick, and this colored glass is then shaved off. This technique gives cut glasses their best feature, which is the beautiful gradation called “Satsuma Bokashi”, by blurring the border between the outer layer of colored glass and the inner layer of clear glass.

    Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots collects, preserves and displays invaluable materials, such as portraits of the deceased, articles left behind and records of the army’s Kamikaze squad who became the human bullet bombarding enemy ships in airplanes armed with bombs never seen before in human history.

    How to Get There

    • Samurai Residence Garden: About 50 minutes by car from JR Kagoshima-Chūō Station

    • Satsuma Kiriko Glass: About 50 minutes by car from JR Kagoshima-Chūō Station

    • Chiran Peace Museum: About 1 hour 5 minutes by car from JR Kagoshima-Chūō Station

  • Kirishima Shrine/Kagoshima

    Kirishima Shrine is a shrine dedicated to Ninigi-no-Mikoto, the hero of the nation founding myth. It is a shrine with a long and proud history that begins with its establishment back in the 6th century. The shrine is famous as a power spot, with 800 years old sacred tree, crushed rocks and legends of seven wonders of Kirishima.

    About 1.5 million worshippers visit this shrine every year to pray for peaceful country, safe family life, prosperous business, and to stay safe on the road.

    The temple grounds are famous for its seasonal flowers and autumn leaves where cherry blossoms are in full bloom by late March untul early April, rhododendrons blooming in late June, and the leaves turn color by late November.

    How to Get There

    • Kirishima Shrine: About 1 hour from JR Kagoshima-Chūō Station, get off at JR Kirishima-Jingu Station.

  • Kumagawa Cruise/ Kumamoto

    Considered as one of Japan’s three major rapids, Kumagawa measures about 115 km from its source at the border of Miyazaki Prefecture in the Kyushu mountainous region to Yatsushiro Sea. The river flows gently through the Hitoyoshi Basin. However, the channel suddenly narrows at around Kuma Village causing the river to flow roughly and violently. Thus, this river is well known as a place to shoot rapids since long ago.

    The main attraction of going down the Kumagawa is the thrill of getting wet from shooting the big and small rapids called “The five great rapids of Kumagawa”, such as “Takasou Rapid” while enjoying the beautiful views of nature.

    The superb handling of boatmen steering clear of rocks in the water right before being hit is also awesome.

    How to Get There

    • Kumagawa Kudari : 20 minutes by foot from JR Hitoyoshi Station

  • Suizenji Park/Kumamoto

    Suizen-ji Joju-en or Suizen-ji Garden for short is the most famous garden in Kumamoto. It is a scenic garden loved by the locals and people of Kumamoto since long ago.

    It is a Momoyama style Kaiyu garden constructed in 1636 as a tea retreat by a relative of an Edo period clan chief, the Hosokawa family. This is a place where visitors can promenade elegantly while looking at artificial mountain, floatstones and pine trees around a pond gently fed by Aso underground water. Every year, Izumi Shrine that was build in 1878 after the Satsuma Rebellion hosts Takigi Noh and Takeda-ryu Kisha Yabusame (Takeda style horseback archery).

    How to Get There

    • Suizenji Park: 25 minutes tram ride from Kumamoto Station, get off at Suizenji Park

  • Wakuwaku-Za

    Waku Waku Za is a historical culture experience facility. It is an entertainment area where visitors can see, listen, touch, gain experience and impression of history and culture. It is a discovery zone of history and culture that makes Kumamoto Castle more exciting.

    “Kumamoto Picture Scroll of Now and Then” introduces the complete history of Kumamoto that spans for about 300 years from the time Kiyomasa Kato entered the Higo Province until the Satsuma Rebellion. Visitors can also watch large-scale picture-story show and recreate Kumamoto Castle during the mid-Edo period using awesome, cutting-edge virtual reality (VR).

    What’s more, visitors can “impersonate” anyone, such as lords and ladies of the castle, ninjas, or town girls by wearing various clothing they like.

    Visitors can also experience the size and how comfortable the lords of the castle travel during that age by riding a full-scale sedan chair and horse.

    How to Get There

    • 10 minutes tram ride from Kumamoto Station, get off at Hanabatacho or Kumamoto Castle/City Hall.

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