Travelling In Northern Kyushu
Get set to explore the Northern Kyushu region when you purchase a JR Northern Kyushu pass, giving you the chance to discover breathtaking attractions in Beppu, Kumamoto, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Oita and more.
Travelling Northern Kyushu by rail is the perfect way to explore the top region of this island, as it allows you to take in all the incredible sights from the comfort of a high-speed train and stop and travel around the areas you like.
With attractions such as Beppu's sumptuous hot spring resorts and the active Mount Aso volcano on offer, there's no reason not to book in your holiday immediately.
Travelling By Rail In Northern Kyushu
There are several different options when it comes to rail travel in northern Kyushu. One of the best - and most flexible - is the Japan rail pass, which allows unlimited travel across the whole country via rail and some buses and ferry networks for the duration of your pass.
With a Shinkansen (bullet train) network spanning the country and reaching speeds of over 300km/h, this is an incredibly convenient way to get around, and lets you to alter your travel plans are you go. Purchase your Japan rail pass before you leave home and you're free to travel as the mood strikes you. Spend days at a time in Northern Kyushu or drop in and out on your travels through the islands - the choice is yours.
The JR Northern Kyushu pass is another excellent option, particularly for those travellers who want to devote all of their time to this enchanting region. Choose between a three or five day consecutive pass and get set to roam!
Fukuoka is at the tip of Kyushu, surrounded by sea and with a rich history. In fact, the city was Japan's first place to be exposed to the culture of Asia, and it has since become the real hub of Kyushu. Fukuoka is also known as Hakata and is famous for its port festival held each summer, known as the Hakata Dontaku. This showcases children in traditional dress and adults dressed up in costume, with dancing through the streets. More than two million people view this festival each year, with around 31,000 citizens participating.
The waterfront area is particularly breathtaking, featuring the 324-metre tall Fukuoka Tower, which is encompassed by 8,000 pieces of mirror that lights up to reflect the seasons of the year. Sports fans will love the Fukuoka Dome, which is an all-weather baseball stadium with a swivel roof to protect you from the elements.
With its plethora of natural hot springs, Beppu is kind of like one big hot bath. Located in central Oita, hot water gushes out of the ground in many areas around the city, making it the perfect destination for anyone wanting to indulge in a little bit of spa therapy.
Eight hot spring areas make up the Beppu-onsen Spa, including Myoban, Beppu, Hamawaki and Kannawa. These are the more traditional, rustic places to enjoy a no-frills splash in the natural warm waters, while there are plenty of more modern, luxurious spa resorts to enjoy while you're in the neighbourhood.
Make sure you check out the bright blue waters of the Umi-jigoku (also known as sea hell) and red clay-streaked hot pools of Chi-no-ike-jigoku (blood pond hell, of course).
If you're in Beppu over Christmas, don't miss Beppu Christmas Hanabi Fantasia, which features fireworks and Christmas carols.
Nagasaki is a city with million dollar views, but you don't have to be rich to visit. Its ampitheatre-esque orientation sees houses extending up the slopes and onto the surrounding mountains, casting their lights down toward the sea.
Make sure you venture out at night in Nagasaki to witness this in person, as it's truly spectacular. Head up the Inasa mountain range on the ropeway operating from the Fuchi Shrine, taking in the 360 degree view of the scenery below.
Watch out for glimpses of tour boats entering the port, along with a clear view of the coastline and mountains that surround the area.
Pay your respects at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, which commemorates the 150,000 victims killed or injured by the atomic bomb dropped over the district in 1945.
Nagasaki Peace Park is also a must-visit, built as a place of reflection and prayer following the attacks. Take in the 9.7 metre tall Peace Statue erected to show Nagasaki citizens' desires for peace, and head to the Fountain of Peace, built to remember a young girl who wandered off to find water.
Kumamoto is rich in natural beauty and has the history to match. Venture to Kumamoto Castle to soak up some of the area's culture and explore the castle built more than 400 years ago.
It's also worth your while to check out Mount Aso, which is a volcanic caldera with a whopping five peaks complete with craters, thanks to volcanic activity. If you're lucky, you'll even see Mount Nakadake emitting smoke.
It sounds odd, but be sure to drink plenty of the water in Kumamoto. This is because it's believed to be the highest-quality in all of Japan, thanks to the prefecture's abundance of green forests. This natural wonder has also led to many of culinary delights in Kumamoto, including high quality seafood, fruits, vegetables and rice.
Bargain hunters will be inspired in Kumamoto City, which boasts the largest shopping arcade in western Japan. Explore stores stretching over one kilometre and pick up electronics and boutique goods. Also worth checking out is Amakusa, which is an archipelago of 120 islands.
A Japan Rail Pass or the JR Northern Kyushu Pass is your key to unlocking all the hidden beauty of Japan. To learn more about travelling in Japan with the JR Pass, visit our Japan by Rail page.