More than anything, the charm of Kyushu lies with its diversity. It has hot springs, nature, food, and a unique culture, despite being a part of Japan. So, without further ado, here is Kyushu Island – a region that is full of color and rich in history.
FEEL THE KYUSHU ONSEN
Kyushu is located in the southwestern part of Japan. Many people visit Kyushu Island, attracted by its grand nature that is overflowing in greenery, onsen (hot spring) culture that is unique to Japan, and delicious local dishes. This region has also been gaining attention as the venue of the Rugby World Cup for 2019. Below are pictures and a video showcasing the charms of Kyushu.
Mt. Aso (“Aso Kazan” in Japanese) symbolizes the “country of fire”. The Aso Caldera is the largest in the world. The massive base of this mountain basks in the blessings from the volcano, such as onsen (hot springs) with beautiful water, and a land that is filled with clear and pure spring water. The appeal of sightseeing in Aso is that you get to see different sceneries depending on when you come – in the spring, summer, autumn, or winter.
Kurokawa Onsen is one of the leading hot spring areas in Japan that was awarded an unprecedented two stars by the Michelin Guide Japan in 2009. Based on the concept of the entire Kurokawa Onsen being a single inn, the roads here are considered corridors, while the trees on the streets are the plants in a garden. This design makes it feel like there are many baths inside an enormous inn. They say that one of the appeals of this hot spring town is exploring the various outdoor baths.
Unzen Onsen is also known as the Unzen jigoku (hell) zone, since the area between Furuyu and Shinyu is fully covered in white soil. While the term “jigoku” in Buddhism refers to a place where people are punished for their evil deeds in their past lives, it is said that this hot spring area is called the hell of Unzen because of the high-temperature hot springs and fumes that violently erupt everywhere, and the thick steam emanating from the ground amid the strong smell of sulfur. All of it conjures up images of a dreadful hell.
Shimabara is said to be the “city of water”. Within Shimabara, however, the Shinmachi area in particular has a supply of spring water that is so abundant that if you dig a 50cm hole in the ground, spring water will come gushing out.
Under a program in this town that is spearheaded by the neighborhood association, nishikigoi (colored carps) are released to the clear stream flowing inside the town in a bid to foster the empathy of children, leave the rich spring water source to future generations, and use them to attract tourists and sightseers. The so-called “town where carps swim” is kept clean and beautiful by the local residents. These red, tricolor, and golden nishikigoi swimming in clear water are one of the highlights of Shimabara – the city of water.
Floating at sea about 60km south-southwest from Cape Sata at the southernmost tip of Kyushu, Yakushima is the seventh largest island in Japan, with a circumference measuring approximately 130km. A mountain here seems to have emerged from the water, towards the sky. This island is home to more than 40 mountains with elevations of around 1,000m, led by Mt. Miyanoura – the highest peak in Kyushu, and one of the Top 100 mountains in Japan. With its numerous mountains, Yakushima is also called the Alps in the Ocean. Each of these peaks possesses a unique beauty, so you will never run out of interesting things to see when you go hiking. You can walk through the virgin forest filled with yakusugi (Yakushima cedar), and feel the overwhelming and mystical presence of the forest.
Takachiho Gorge was formed when the lava that gushed out after the eruption of Mt. Aso eroded, becoming cliffs with wonderful columnar joints. It was designated as a place of scenic beauty and a natural monument of Japan in 1934. Here, there is a promenade where you can enjoy the beauty of the columnar joint gorge, as well as the Manai-no-taki waterfall that is listed as one of the Top 100 waterfalls in Japan.
Introduction of ONSEN ISLAND KYUSHU (YouTube)
Comment from the Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organization
Kyushu is home to pristine nature, rich history, and a wide array of delicious dishes and alcohol. A major feature of this region is its onsen culture that can only be found in Japan. So, please enjoy the charms of Kyushu Island.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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