AIf one were to think of Japan, they’ll probably book flight tickets to the more popular destinations such as Tokyo or Hokkaido. Many has neglected the reserved region, Kyushu.
Kyushu is my favorite region to visit. Yes, it might seem a little dull at first glance, without the bustling shopping streets and dynamic night life, but the qualities it encompasses truly makes Kyushu a place worth visiting. There’s a good mix of sightseeing, hands-on activities, scrumptious local delights and culture.
If you’re finally convinced and have bought your plane tickets, let me introduce to you the top 10 places to go in Kyushu that you wouldn’t want to miss out.
#1 Kyushu Safari | 九州自然動物公園
I’m sure many have had the chance to feed gentler animals such as zebras and giraffes. What about the fearsome large cats and bears? Instead of locking them in cages or enclosures, the guests are the ones that are trapped in a caged bus! For ¥1,100 (SGD$13.60) per person, take a ride on the Jungle Bus through various enclosures, where you can feed lions, bears, zebras etc. up close!
The safari also has other feeding and petting areas, including monkeys, donkeys, dogs and even guinea pigs.
#2 Kinrin lake | 九州湯布院民芸村
For those who wish to take a breather from the suffocating metropolis, Kinrin Lake is the perfect refuge for you. The area has numerous cafes and restaurants, most of them with a great view.
#3 Takachiho Gorge | 高千穂峡
Take a morning hike at Takachiho Gorge, one of the most famous tourists spots in Miyazaki. Be careful not to trip as you admire the grandeur greenery, with not a single skyscraper or telephone wire in sight.
However, if hiking isn’t your thing, then try out their boat riding. For ¥2,000 (SGD$24.17) you can rent a 3-seater boat for 30 minutes to row through the rivers. Just be careful to steer away from the magnificent Manai Waterfall!
#4 Kumamoto Castle | 熊本城
For the ones who have a slightly sadistic (kidding) or curious side to them, why not visit Kumamoto City? Located beside a live volcano, one can not only revere the grand Kumamoto Castle, but also the unfortunate ruins of the city caused by an earthquake.
#5 Suizenji Garden | 水前寺成趣園
Suizenji Garden is traditional Japanese-styled garden featuring historical sites of from the Edo period. It is such a pretty spot for instagrammable photos and very close to Kumamoto Castle.
#6 Kirishima Shinwa no Sato Park | 霧島神話の里公園
A fairly renowned tourist attraction in Kirishima, the Shinwa no Sato Park offers not only a magnificent view of sunsets and mountain ranges, but also exhilarating rides such as the super slider and grass skiing.
For the more laid back visitors, indulge in a relaxing game of miniature golf or learn the art of soba making with their exclusive Kirishima buckwheat.
#7 Hells of Beppu | 別府八地獄
The Hells of Beppu refer to the blazing hot springs that are more for viewing than bathing (unless you do not mind getting 3rd degree burns). You can buy a concession card that grants you entry to all eight ‘Hells’, but if you’re short on time, the more interesting ones are Oniyama Jigoku, Chinoike Jigoku and Umi Jigoku.
#8 Huis Tein Bosch | ハウステンボス
Of course too much sightseeing can make a holiday slightly mundane. Well, fear not. Although Kyushu isn’t home to Disneyland and Universal Studios, it does have its very own Dutch-themed theme park! While most of the characters featured aren’t familiar to most tourists, they do have a special area for fans of the popular anime, One Piece.
Moreover, the traditional brick houses and colorful gardens, coupled with the glittering night scene makes this place a perfect date location for you and your significant other!
#9 Mahoroba no Sato | 霧島高原まほろばの里
Mahoroba no Sato is a mini theme park with a magnificent view. It is filled with fun activities for adults and children like go-carting, golf and grass-skiing. There are also numerous DIY experiences such as ceramic classes and glass making.
Do check the weather beforehand as outdoor activities might be ceased on rainy days.
#10 Sakurajima | 桜島
Sakurajima was initially a volcano, which eruption formed an island. The most famous spots on the island are the Arimura Lava Observatory, which is on an extensive lava field, and the Yumihara Observatory, which is the closest spot to the crater.
As there are car-carrying ships to transport you to the island, it is advisable to rent a car before heading off to the island to visit more attractions with convenience.
Of course these are just some of the attractions that appeal to me. So to cater more to your taste and preferences, head on to welcomekyushu.com or other tourist attraction sites for more places to go!