What next after Tokyo? Kyushu!
Many of our Maction Planet tour guests are already planning their return to Japan, and want to go further from Tokyo on their second trip to the Land of the Rising Sun. One option is to head south and discover the spectacular countryside of Kyushu island. Read on for tips, info and advice about one of Japan’s most amazing islands courtesy of my friends at Kyushu Journeys.
From Tokyo to Fukuoka (the main city in Kyushu) takes around 1.5 hours by plane or 5 hours by bullet train. Kyushu is a small island so after you arrive it’s easy to explore by rental car or train.
Ancient Forests, Ancient Trees
The ancient forests of Kyushu are some of the most unspoilt areas of Japan. Tucked away in Kyushu, the modern world has passed them by. Wander amongst vast forests of 1,000 year-old trees. From the 6th century Kyushu was home to many of the major Buddhist pilgrimage routes in Japan. Even today you can follow those awe-inspiring trails that the Buddhist monks once trod. Along the way discover stone carvings and temple ruins leading you back into the mists of time.
For those of you who love all things about Japanese food, take the time to visit a shitake mushroom farm while you’re in the forests. If you go in the right season you’ll be able to pick your own!Take a look at this video which shows shitake mushroom and bamboo shoot harvesting from the forests of Kyushu
Wide Open Spaces
Escape the crowded cities and discover the wide open spaces. All around the area of Aso Volcano find vast open prairies, verdant grasslands and hills rolling into mountains. Cattle roam freely producing some of the finest beef and dairy in Japan. Treacherous in winter, at other times of year there’s no better place to escape the hustle and bustle of our modern world.
Boiling and Bubbling Volcanic Worlds
Mount Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan and one of the largest in the world. Amazingly you can walk right up to the crater rim! The smoke that billows out dominates the skyline for miles around. You can smell the devilish sulphur pong and don’t be surprised to find your car coated in ash. Stroll amongst landscapes that seem almost alive as smoke and steam burst to the surface from deep underground. It’s an unforgettable adventure and incredibly photogenic.
Head to the Coast and Smell the Sea
Kyushu is famous throughout Japan for the freshness and quality of its seafood. At the quiet fishing harbours time seems to stand still. Get up early and see the day’s catch being auctioned and enjoy the freshest seafood breakfast of your life. Explore the dramatic coastline and smell the sea.
Where Rice and Tea is Still Grown
Yes, they still grow rice and tea in Kyushu! There are still parts of Japan where they haven’t concreted over the rice terraces and tea plantations yet. Kyushu has some iconic views. Come when the rice seedlings have just been planted or the green tea is ready to harvest. You’ll be in for a visual treat.
This is just a fraction of the adventures to be had in Kyushu! Simon, Moo and I hope that it has whet your appetite to explore more in this undiscovered part of Japan.