Get ready for an epic road trip adventure through the captivating island of Kyushu! If you're seeking the freedom to explore at your own pace, a road trip is the perfect way to discover the hidden treasures and breathtaking landscapes of Kyushu. In this comprehensive itinerary, we'll guide you through the must-visit stops, share travel tips, and ensure you make the most of your Kyushu road trip experience. Buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable journey!
Plan for a minimum of 7 to 10 days to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of Kyushu. This allows for ample time to explore each destination and soak in the natural beauty along the way.
Begin your road trip adventure in Fukuoka, the vibrant gateway to Kyushu. Spend a day exploring its bustling streets, indulging in delicious street food at Nakasu Yatai stalls, and visiting historic sites such as Fukuoka Castle and the serene Kushida Shrine.
Stop 1: Kumamoto (Approx. 2-3 days)
Head south to Kumamoto, known for its rich history and stunning landscapes. Explore the magnificent Kumamoto Castle and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Suizenji Jojuen Garden. Take a day trip to Mount Aso, where you can witness the breathtaking volcanic landscapes and visit the Aso caldera.
Stop 2: Nagasaki (Approx. 2-3 days)
Drive west to Nagasaki, a city with a fascinating blend of cultures and a poignant history. Visit the Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum to pay tribute to the city's past. Explore Glover Garden, Dejima, and the iconic Nagasaki Chinatown. Don't miss the stunning views from Mount Inasa, especially during sunset.
Stop 3: Yakushima (Approx. 2-3 days)
Board a ferry from Kagoshima or take a flight to Yakushima, a mystical island covered in ancient cedar forests. Spend your days hiking through Yakusugi Land, marveling at thousand-year-old cedar trees and refreshing waterfalls. Don't forget to explore the breathtaking Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine and enjoy the island's serene beaches.
Stop 4: Beppu (Approx. 1-2 days)
Return to the mainland and drive east to Beppu, a paradise of hot springs and natural wonders. Relax in the therapeutic waters of the various onsens and explore the unique "Hells of Beppu," colorful hot springs that offer a visual feast. Take a detour to Yufuin, a picturesque town known for its beautiful lake and charming streets.
Stop 5: Kagoshima (Approx. 2-3 days)
Drive south to Kagoshima, a city boasting stunning landscapes and a vibrant cultural scene. Witness the power of Sakurajima volcano, either by taking a ferry or viewing it from observation decks. Explore the historic Sengan-en Garden, soak in the relaxing hot springs, and indulge in local delicacies like Kagoshima black pork.
Make your way back to Fukuoka to conclude your road trip adventure. Take the opportunity to visit any missed attractions, immerse yourself in the city's lively atmosphere, and savor the local cuisine one last time!
1. Rent a car: Reserve a rental car in advance, ensuring you have the appropriate international driving permit. Choose a car size suitable for your travel party and consider renting a GPS or using a mobile navigation app to navigate smoothly.
2. Road conditions: Kyushu has well-maintained roads, but some rural areas may have narrower and winding roads. Drive cautiously, especially in mountainous regions, and be prepared for occasional tolls.
3. Parking: Research parking options in advance, as some attractions and hotels may have limited parking space. Utilize paid parking lots or park-and-ride facilities near train stations when exploring city centers.
4. GPS and navigation apps: Use GPS or navigation apps on your mobile phone to navigate to destinations efficiently. Familiarize yourself with the Japanese characters for destinations, as some road signs may be in Japanese.
5. Cash and IC cards: Carry enough cash, as some toll booths and parking lots may only accept cash. Additionally, obtain an IC card (e.g., Suica or PASMO) for convenient payments at gas stations, toll booths, and convenience stores.
6. Fuel stations: Keep an eye on fuel levels, especially when venturing into remote areas. Familiarize yourself with self-service fuel stations or look for stations with staff assistance if you're uncomfortable with self-service.
7. Travel insurance: Prioritize travel insurance to ensure you're protected in case of any unforeseen circumstances, including accidents or vehicle-related issues.
Embarking on a road trip through Kyushu allows you to discover the region's beauty and cultural richness at your own pace. From Fukuoka to Kumamoto, Nagasaki to Yakushima, and Beppu to Kagoshima, this comprehensive itinerary ensures you make the most of your Kyushu adventure. So, fuel up, hit the road, and create lifelong memories as you explore the captivating landscapes, immerse yourself in local traditions, and experience the warm hospitality of Kyushu. Safe travels and enjoy every moment!