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  • Writer's pictureJapan Travel

Best time to visit Kyushu

Kyushu, Japan's third-largest island, offers breathtaking landscapes, distinct cultural experiences, and sumptuous cuisine that entices travelers from around the world. We delve into the wonders of Kyushu's four seasons, exploring each period's unique charm and detailing the ideal time to visit so you can plan your perfect trip to Kyushu.

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Spring is the most popular time to visit Kyushu due to the beautiful Sakura blooms.

Spring (March - May)

Arguably the best time to visit Kyushu, spring promises pleasant temperatures averaging 13°C (55°F) in March and gradually rising to 20°C (68°F) in May. This period ushers in a burst of colour as sakuras (cherry blossoms) adorn the island, particularly enchanting in Fukuoka's Maizuru Park and Kumamoto's Suizenji Park. A quick tip, though, while sakuras usually bloom in Kyushu from late March to early April, the timing may vary every year, so do check ahead for the annual sakura forecast to time your visit accordingly.

Spring also marks the start of the festival season, with highlights including the Kurume's Azalea Festival. Don't miss out on seasonal delicacies like takenoko (bamboo shoots) and sakura mochi, which perfectly epitomize spring's culinary delights.

Summer (June - August)

Kyushu's summer temperatures can reach upwards of 30°C (86°F), with high humidity and intermittent rain due to the early summer rainy season (usually lasting between early-June to mid-July). Nonetheless, the region's diverse natural scenery beckons outdoor enthusiasts to explore striking locations like the Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki and the refreshing waters of Yakushima Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its lush forests. Stay cool by savouring seasonal sweet treats like kakigori (shaved ice) and visit vibrant festivals such as Hakata Gion Yamakasa in July and the energetic Yosakoi Soran Festival in Fukuoka.

Photo Credit: Natsuko Aoyama on Pexels

Autumn is the other peak season to visit Japan due to the vibrant red maple leaves that transforms the entire landscape.

Autumn (September - November)

As temperatures begin to cool, averaging 20°C (68°F) in September and falling to around 15°C (59°F) in November, Kyushu's forests erupt into vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. Taking in the fall foliage (koyo) at destinations like Nabegataki Falls in Kumamoto and Nagasaki's Unzen Jigoku will make for unforgettable memories. The area's citrus fruits, like mandarins and persimmons, surely add a tangy zest to the season's culinary offerings.

Don't miss the chance to visit the breathtaking Aso-Kuju National Park, where the vibrant autumn foliage contrasts with the majestic Aso Caldera, one of the world's largest volcanic calderas. Cultural events also abound in autumn, with one particularly noteworthy celebration being the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival in October. This vibrant event showcases colourful floats, traditional dances, and mesmerizing performances over three days.

Winter (December - February)

Kyushu's winters are relatively mild compared to other regions of Japan, with average temperatures ranging between 5 - 10°C (41 - 50°F). While snowfall is rare (except in the mountainous regions), the chillier weather is perfect for indulging in the island's famous hot springs, or onsen. Experience the onsen culture in destinations like Beppu and Kurokawa, where steaming mineral-rich hot springs provide a therapeutic retreat for body and soul.

In winter, you can also attend striking seasonal events like the Nagasaki Lantern Festival and savour comforting dishes like oden and nabe (hotpot) to truly immerse yourself in the season.

All in all, each season offers its unique character, flavours, and experiences in Kyushu. Spring brings ethereal cherry blossoms and comfortable temperatures, summer presents lush nature and vibrant festivals, autumn enchants with its captivating foliage and bountiful harvest, and winter soothes with its restorative hot springs and heartwarming festivities. Regardless of when you choose to embark on your Kyushu adventure, the island's charm will undoubtedly captivate your senses, leaving you with memories to last a lifetime!

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