Kyūshū, Japan’s southernmost island, delights its visitors with beautiful volcanic landscapes strewn generously with steaming onsen, scenic coastlines, historic treasures and cosmopolitan cities. It’s also the friendliest, boasting a rich history of cultural exchange with the West. While there are numerous places on the island that are interesting to explore, let’s discover the magnificent offerings of two amazing cities.
Fukuoka, Kyūshū’s largest city, has always been an important harbour city. It has a long history of trading that goes back to around 2000 years. It was also the point of entry for the invading Mongols in the 13th century. It comprises two former towns, the Fukuoka Castle Town and Hakata, found on either side of the Naka River.
Visit Fukuoka’s Nanzoin Temple in Sasaguri, and witness the world’s largest reclining Buddha. Impressive, at a height of 11m and length of 41m and weighing 300 tonnes, it demands reverence and awe. Hold tight to the five coloured strings while you say your prayer. Then walk around to the soles of the Buddha’s feet. It is said that good luck blesses those who touch these soles. Look beyond the Buddha and you’d find that the temple is actually a large complex with shrines dotting the hillside. You will also come across a giant Acala reaching up to a height of 11m, and while he has a severe expression with burning flames carved behind him, he is a kind and blessing Buddha.
Don’t miss the Melody Bridge that connects the station to Nanzoin. Tap the metal chimes in order and the bridge will play you a tune! Also, visit Nakasu for a taste of local specialties like Hakata Ramen. The Shofukuji Temple, Momochi Seaside Park, Ohori Park and the Fukuoka castle are all excellent destinations in Fukuoka.
Beppu has a wealth of hot springs. In fact, if you visit in winter, the entire town seems mistily covered in a haze of steam. Charming and quaint, modern yet traditional, Beppu caters to everyone’s desire.
Perhaps the most famous attraction is the Jigoku Meguri or the Hell Circuit where hot springs bubble up boiling water. Too hot for bathing, they are still stunningly scenic. There are eight stops in the circuit, and each has a designated theme. Some of the springs are brilliant cobalt blue in colour others are bluish white while some are red in colour. Catch the Tatsumaki Jigoku where a geyser erupts every 35 minutes. If you’re adventurous, you might want to try the beach sand bath where you are buried in naturally heated sand wearing a yukata. Visit the Takegawara Bathhouse, the oldest onsen in the town, offering hot springs and sand baths.
Travelling in Kyūshū will make you appreciative of its rich natural beauty, its onsen, and the mix of history and culture. It’s the perfect holiday destination for you and your family or friends.
If you are planning a trip to Fukuoka and Beppu in Kyūshū, do not hesitate to contact your luxury travel designer Mr. Isao Numano.