Route: Hiroshima Yamaguchi Fukuoka Nagasaki Kumamoto Kagoshima Miyazaki Beppu
Duration: 13 nights
Transport: This route is a 14 day trip covering 8 of Southern Japan’s most popular cities. You’ll spend 13 nights in your accommodation and travel by train during the day
Summary: Enjoy Japan on the beach! Explore and eat your way around southern Japan with this 2 week long trip from south Honshu to the whole of Kyushu. Get your fill of history and culture with cities like Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Kumamoto. Relax on the beaches and hot springs of Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Beppu and party all night in the buzzing Fukuoka.
Hiroshima is a charming town worth visiting for its historic past and relaxed atmosphere. The Peace Memorial Park, which features the WWII bombing museum, is enlightening and tranquil despite its tragic past. Take the time to visit the impressive Hiroshima Castle which will give you a panoramic view of the city, before trying some local delicacies such as an oyster hot pot or even fried oysters and the famous maple leaf cake. There is a laid back feel here; wander around Hondori or Nagerakawa to try the restaurants and sample the nightlife. The perfect day trip from Hiroshima would be Miyajima Island; which offers a peaceful green forest and well preserved temples. It also features the famous big red tori gate in the water which is stunning at sunset.
Peace Memorial Park
Train to Yamaguchi – 1 hour
In this city you will have plenty of temples and shrines to visit, including Yamaguchi – one of the countries most traditional temples – or Rukikoji Temple, which features a national treasure pagoda. Hop on the Yamaguchi steam train which will take you back in time with its picturesque drive and beautiful landscapes. For a more scenic view we recommend the Chomonkyo Gorge and the Ichi no Sakagawa trail. Do not forget to make your own chopsticks at the Furusato Denshou Sogo Center! Try the famous fugu fish sashimi or a soba dish made with green tea before you leave the region!
Furusato Denshou Sogo Center
Yamaguchi Daijingu Shrine
Train to Fukuoka – 1 hour
Fukuoka is the biggest city in Kyushu. As a harbour town close to the Asian mainland, you will experience a buzzing city influenced by Chinese and Korean culture. Fukuoka is home to Japan’s first Zen Temple, Shofukuji, but also a huge Buddha statue lying on the ground. If you’re looking for a unique experience, the beautiful Futamigaura beach featuring a white torii in the water and huge “wedded rocks” in the distance is the perfect picture spot. Wander around on the beach or in one of its peaceful parks before your night out in the Canal city or Nakasu to eat the famous Hakata Ramen and then hit the many bars and nightclubs this young city has to offer.
Train to Nagasaki – 2 hours
Despite its tragic history, it is a vibrant and lovely city. Get lost in the oldest Chinatown in Japan, and explore Gunkanjima, the battleship island, before heading to the Nagasaki Peace Park to learn more about what happened during WWII. The impressive Sofukuji Temple, with its chinese architecture, is a sight to behold. Climbing Mount Inasa will show an impressive view of the city – one of the three great night views of Japan. Wander around in Glover Garden, the district where foreign traders used to settle, before taking a picture of the Megane Bridge, or”Glasses Bridge”, as it looks like a pair of glasses reflected on the water. In Daikoku you will find plenty of bars and restaurant – try the Nagasaki Beef, less known than Kobe Beef but just as delicious (it has won many awards, making it the best wagyu in Japan). Get a taste of sea food hot pot, Guzoni, or the sea bream dish, Tameshi, famous in this region.
Train to Kumamoto – 3 hours
In this city full of charm, why not visit one of Japan’s most impressive castles, Kumamoto Castle, before relaxing in Suizenji Garden,with its own reproduction of Mt Fuji. The Honmyoji Temple will give you a traditional vibe, with its stairs lined with Japanese lanterns. If you are brave enough, you should definitely try Basashi, raw meat horse sashimi, or Kurashi Renkon, a fried lotus filled with mustard and miso paste. Impressive Kumamoto Castle is a sight to behold! We then recommend visiting the Hosokawa Residence, former home of a high-ranking Samurai in the region. Mount Aso is close to the city and is one of the largest active volcano in the world.
Train to Kagoshima – 1 hour
Voted the friendliest city in Japan, it has one of the best sake in the country, brewed from Satsuma sweet potatoes. Home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Sakurajima is nicknamed “Naples of the Eastern World”. Wander around Senganen Garden, which has a great view of the volcano, or hop on a cruise ferry to get as close as possible, as the volcano is an island close to Kagoshima shores. Black Pig and chicken sashimi are local delicacies and a must try whilst in Kagoshima!
Saigo Takamori Statue
Train to Miyazaki – 2 hours
Work on your tan in Miyazaki by relaxing on the beach or in Aoshima with its tropical atmosphere. Then stroll down the iconic Heiwadai Park with its Peace Tower before going to Udo Shrine, located on a cliff near the sea. Being a tropical city, you should definitely try mango and lobster, as well as chicken nanban, a local fried chicken dish.
Train to Beppu – 4 hours
Famous for its hot hot springs – hottest in Japan, and second hottest worldwide (after Yellowstone) due to the volume of geothermal water. 8 of the springs are nicknamed “Hell” and make up a Hell circuit tour. Each of them is unique, from red water to muddy bubbling ones. Why not experience a neck-deep sand bath heated by a hot spring while you’re there? Relax in a hot spring in Beppu to end your journey and try to cook your food with the hot spring water. You can do it in an onsen house, or you can relax your feet in an Ashiyu free of charge! Visit the Monkey Park with free-roaming snow monkeys, or try your hand at bamboo crafting before leaving. Mount Tsurumi and its observation decks showcase impressive views of the city. Don’t forget to try the local chicken tempura, as well as soft ice cream, with unique flavors such as lobster or ramune!