Jul 23, 2019

5 Must-visit Attractions in Kyushu

If you have been following my Instagram, you will know that we visited Kyushu during the June school holidays. Kyushu consists of 8 prefectures (inlcuding Okinawa) so it is HUGE, and definitely will require mulitple visits to see everything. A lot of Kyushu's attractions have to do with history and lush nature so it is a welcome change compared to modern cities like Osaka and Tokyo.

Fukuoka city is the main gateway to Kyushu, and that was where to flew to from Singapore. There are tons to explore - from the multicultural metropolis of Fukuoka to the cherry-blossom adorned slopes of Kumamoto Castle, and from the shores of the smoldering volcanic island of Sakurajima to the rejuvenating hot springs of Beppu. 

We had originally planned to spend 10 days in Kyushu but unfortunately, our holiday was cut short due to the passing of my grandfather-in-law. As we had to fly back home on the fourth day, we decided to change our itinerary and visit the most famous attractions in Kyushu... even if it meant driving for hours. 

So while I cannot provide a day-by-day Kyushu itinerary, here are the attractions we managed to visit during our short visit... which in my opinion, should NOT be missed if you are planning a trip there.

Miyazaki Prefecture

Oh Takachiho Gorge, what a gorgeous beauty you are.

Takachiho Gorge was formed from the lava of Mount Aso volcanic eruptions 100,000 years ago. Over time, the area was eroded to create 100m-high cliffs of volcanic basalt columns, one mersmerizing waterfall and a calm river that flows through it.

A must-do when visiting Takachiho Gorge in Kyushu is renting a boat at the south end of the gorge and rowing along the peaceful Gokase river... and coming face to face with the magnificent 17m-high Minainotaki waterfall.

The boat rental costs 2,000 yen for 30 minutes. Each boat can sit up to 3 persons.

It really is simply breathtaking.

Another way to enjoy the gorge is from above - walking along the paved path that runs along the edge of the gorge (third pic). There are beautiful views all along the 1km trail.

My recommendation? 𝗗𝗢 𝗕𝗢𝗧𝗛! 😄


Oita Prefecture

Nestled in the hills of Beppu, Kijima Kogen Amusement Park is a gem. There're a total of 38 (😱) attractions, ranging from the exciting wooden rollercoaster & absolutely thrilling Flume ride to less heart-pumping rides like the merry-go-round and train rides. There was even a less scary rollercoaster that Ale mustered enough courage to go on!

It really has something for all ages so I have no idea why the park was so empty when we were there. 🤔 Not that I'm complaining, because that meant we didn't have to queue for any of the rides. 😆 And the monkies rank this theme park as one of the best they have been to!

Oh, and you have to go on Japan's first wooden roller coaster! A 1.6km-long track consisting of undulating twists and turns, Jupiter at Kijima Kogen Theme Park had us whizzing up to 91km/h and reaching a dizzy height of 42m.

And we went on it TWICE! Thank goodness I had 2 boys' screams to mask mine. LOL.

You can buy the entry only pass at S$19 for adults and S$7 for kids but you have to pay individually for the rides which in my opinion, isn't worth it if you wish to try almost all of the rides. So we got the all-access pass at about S$50 for adults and S$40 for kids which allowed us to go on unlimited rides!


Oita Prefecture

Yufuin is a popular hot spring resort, located about ten kilometers inland from Beppu, and a few minutes drive away from Kojima Kogen Amusement Park. Yufuin has a wealth of art museums, cafes and boutiques, and it is great for a day trip.

The highlight in Yufuin has got to be Yufuin Floral Village which looks straight out from a fairy tale! Definitely made for IG for sure. 🤣

It occupies a relatively small area and consists of mostly souvenir shops. For kids, there is also a cat cafe and owl zoo but those are payable. Worth a visit just to snap photos, if you ask me.


Nagasaki Prefecture

Located in Hirado city, the Kawachi Pass is a popular spot for hikers, tourists and even locals. This series of grassy hilltops offer a fantastic panoramic view; from the Northern 99 Islands in the south, to Iki and Tsushima Islands in the north.

But even though we couldn't identfy the islands, the scenery at the top was too beautiful for words. All I can say is if you can only visit one natural spot in Hirado, make Kawachi Pass the one.

You can even hike up the mountain but we chose to drive up to the summit... simply because this area has been selected as one of Japan’s 100 Best Roads. 😆 There is a car park near the summit, and a flight of steps to reach the top.

Location: Mountain south of Hirado city centre (Google Maps)

Nagasaki Prefecture

Hirado is a special place where you can still experience the beauty of the Japanese countryside... and of course, fresh sashimi!

It's a pity that we did not have enough time to explore the quaint city but my limited impression of Hirado is it is not touristy at all compared to the likes of other Japanese cities. It was all very laidback, and everywhere was not crowded at all.


We put up at a vacation home rental in Hirado via HomeAway Asia, and what a gem of a find it turned out to be!

For starters, the private villa is a ryokan-styled one, with tatami-matted rooms and sleeps up to 9 pax. And we have the entire home to ourselves!

As you can tell, the space is huge and comes with a washing machine and full-fledged kitchen.

The property even has a separate shed where we could have a BBQ if we wanted to. Love it!

What we did have was a hotpot session on our final night!

You can view details of the property via here: https://hmwy.io/cheekiemonkies-in-nagasaki.

Obviously, it sure didn't feel like we have seen Kyushu in its entirety. I think even if we had stayed for 10 days, we would only have scratched the surface in terms of attractions. It exudes a totally different vibe from the other Japanese cities - Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo - that I have been to. If you love nature attractions, then Kyushu will be where you might want to plan your next holiday to!

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