Located closest to South Korea, Kyushu (九州) is Japan’s third largest island located in the southwestern part of the country. Apart from having a warmer climate than the rest of the Japanese states, Kyushu also belongs to an active volcanic region. This lead the island to have the abundance of hot springs. As many areas in Kyushu are untouched, this is a perfect destination for anyone who wishes to experience Mother Nature.
Kyushu is divided into seven prefectures or cities. They are Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Oita, Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima. Together with my family, we have travelled the whole of Kyushu in 10 days by car during this autumn season. The temperature of Kyushu in November ranges between 9 degrees to 17 degrees with little rain. We did encounter some cloudy days but it doesn’t stop us from our holiday activities. The wettest months falls during the summer season, which is from April to July.
In my travel order, here are the 8 hidden gems in Kyushu you might not know.
Nagasaki Peace Park
To many who are familiar with history should know what happened to Nagasaki (長崎市) during World War II. After the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima by the Americans, Nagasaki is the second city to suffer the atomic bombing.
To commemorate the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, the Nagasaki Peace Park is built. With an entrance fee of 200 Yen, visitors will get to see the gigantic Peace Statue, view the building remains after this horrific bombing and the name list of the victims.
In this park, you will get to learn the aftermath of the atomic bombing, lives of the survivors and how Japan rebuilt it’s nation again.
Unzen Amakusa National Park
Located in Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima, there is a national park called Unzen Amakusa National Park (雲仙天草国立公園). Established in 1934 and later renamed in 1956, this national park is the best place in Japan to experience the beauty of the four seasons and enjoy the nature.
To get a good view of Unzen Amakusa National Park, take a cable car ride to the peak of the mountains to enjoy the cool breeze and beautiful sight.
November might not be a good time to visit Unzen Amakusa National Park due to its extremely cold temperature, strong winds and poor visibility due to fogs on the top of the mountains.
Walk through Unzen Jigoku, or Unzen Hell, to experience the hot spring water, strong smell of sulphur and steam sprouting through the ground. Located in Nagasaki, Unzen Jigoku requires more than 1-hour drive by car from the city and it is admission free.
Besides viewing the nature’s hell, this area has many Japanese traditional delicacies which may interest and fascinates shoppers.
Located in Miyazaki prefecture and along the Nichinan coastline, Sunmesse Nichinan is one of the best places for selfies in Kyushu. In this attraction, you will get to enjoy the beautiful panoramic sea view, the iconic 5.5 meters tall Moai statues and domestic animals.
The actual Moai statues are located on Easter Island and they belong to one of the seven wonders of the world. At Sunmesse Nichinan, the Moai statues are the only permitted replicas in the world.
The entrance fees for an adult is 700 Yen while a child is 350 Yen. Check out this attraction and get ready your selfie sticks!
Devil’s Washboard and Aoshima Jinja
Aoshima is an island located at Miyazaki and it is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Totally mesmerising, there are two beautiful hidden gems on this island. They are the Devil’s Washboard and Aoshima Jinja.
The uneven sand rocks and mud rocks formed along the coastlines are the works of nature for over 2 million years ago. Calling this natural sighting “Aoshima Upheaval From The Sea Floor And Wave-Shaped Rocks”, or Devil’s Washboard, these rocks are formed due to erosion by waves and the density difference between sand rocks and mud rocks.
Believe in bringing luck to married couples and people seeking for love, the Aoshima Jinja is a beautiful and traditional Japanese shrine which is located in the centre of the island. Dedicated to the Japanese three deities (Hikohohodemi-no-Mikoto, Toyotamahime-no-Mikoto and Shiotsutsu-no-Okami), these deities are known for providing blissful marriages, safety during childbirth, and safe travel over sea and land.
Totally breathtaking, the steep cliffs of Takachiho Gorge (高千穂峡) are formed by the rapid cooling of the volcanic lava from Mount Aso 120,000 years ago. After this ancient eruption, Gokase River becomes a narrow and calm river. To truly appreciate the Takachiho Gorge, visitors can take a 30 minutes boat ride for 2000 Yen.
A true work of Mother Nature, Takachiho Gorge is a peaceful place to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge
Embrace yourself with Japan’s highest and longest suspension bridge, Kokonoe Yume. Located in Oita, this suspension bridge measures 173 meters high, 390 meters in distance and able to handle up to 1,800 adults at one time.
On the Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge, visitors can enjoy the magnificent nature view of Kyusuikei Valley (九酔渓) and Shindonotaki Waterfalls (震動の滝). Visitors can also take a look down below their feet through the metal grates.
There will be an official personnel at the centre of the suspension bridge to ensure the safety of all visitors. To and fro, I spent about 45 minutes at the Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge. There are also souvenir shops available for visitors to purchase. The entrance fee for an adult is 500 Yen, a child is 200 Yen and toddler enters free.
In Kyushu, there are definitely more than the 8 hidden gems. I will continue to blog about my Kyushu experiences so that my readers will benefit from it and I will have my digital diary updated.