It’s time for the seventh entry in my series of itinerary ideas for my potential trip to Japan and Korea later this year. Today I’m focusing on Kyushu, which I’ve colored red in the Google Maps screenshot below. Kyushu is the westernmost of Japan’s four main islands and its name literally translates to “nine provinces.” In 2017 I spent a few days in Kyushu before flying up to Korea, so I didn’t see a ton of it. If I’m able to return this year I again might not have a lot of time for Kyushu depending on my schedule, but I’m going to try to stop by at least one or two new places while I’m there.
Under my current travel plans I’d most likely be arriving on Kyushu by flying into the city of Kagoshima, which is towards the southern end of the island. Right now I’m not sure if I’d be there for a single day or longer but at the very least I’d like to be there long enough to see a little bit of the city and check out one or two attractions like the Senganen Garden. If I have time (and if the volcano permits) maybe I’ll be able to do a half-day trip out across the bay to Mt Sakurajima.
After finishing up in Kagoshima I might need to immediately move north to Fukuoka but if I have a couple of days to spare I’ll take a longer route that curves around the eastern part of Kyushu. One of the places I’d stop by is the town of Miyazaki. While Miyazaki itself doesn’t look like it has too much that I’d be interested in, it would be a good place from which to do a day trip south to Aoshima Island and the Udo Shrine. Once I’m done in Miyazaki I’m not yet sure exactly where I’d go next but if I was to continue along eastern Kyushu I might end up in the region around Beppu and Yufuin before ending up in Fukuoka.
If I need to take a more direct route north from Kagoshima I might stop for a night in Kumamoto. In 2016 an earthquake severely damaged a number of Kumamoto’s notable attractions, including its famous castle, so there might not be a lot things for me to see while in the city, and hence why it would probably be a short visit. If I’m short on time I might also just completely skip Kumamoto and continue north to Fukuoka.
Kyushu’s largest city is likely the last place I’ll stay on the island before heading east to Honshu. In 2017 I spent a single night in Fukuoka and saw a couple of the city’s landmarks but otherwise it was just a stopover before I flew out to Korea. For 2019 I’ll try to stay at least two nights and experience more of the city, and maybe also do a day trip south to the town of Dazaifu. If the weather is clear while I’m in Fukuoka I’ll definitely want to check out the observation deck at Fukuoka Tower to get a better view of the city and surrounding area.
Several miles west of Fukuoka is the town of Itoshima. In 2017 I spent a day exploring Itoshima and the surrounding area and it turned out to be one of the most notable parts of my entire trip that year. The region around Itoshima has almost nothing to attract tourists to it, and consequently it gets relatively few visitors, but this also means its a good place to see a part of Japan that’s off the beaten path. I don’t know if I’ll have time to revisit Itoshima on this next trip but if I do I could see myself once again just renting a bicycle and aimlessly wandering to my heart’s content.