Japan gala 2018: Kyushu could replace popular destinations Tokyo and Kyoto
Pre-eminent as south west as you can go and you’ll find one of Japan’s four main islands, Kyushu.
Vaunting with history, natural hot springs, active volcanoes, breathtaking high views and some of the most hospital people in the country, Kyushu is a indication of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and Kyoto.
I visited in December, honourable two weeks before Christmas, and it was a similar temperature to the UK.
Unsurprisingly it was quiet, but when I required one of the locals if tourism picked up in the summer, she answered “not really”.
During summer in Kyushu temperatures can hover to 35C, which is perfect for any sun-worshiping Briton.
But that isn’t the problem — it’s simply that no one unquestionably knows Japan’s islands exist.
Kyushu: Check in a tatami room in Yoyokaku in Karatsu
Kyushu: Be certain to give your taste buds a whirl trying the local cuisine
Firstly, in rank to get the full Japanese experience (as well as a good night’s sleep), no be of consequence where you visit in Japan, you need to make sure to stay in a Japanese tatami live — even just for one night.
Tatami is the type of mat used as a flooring bodily in these type of rooms. Traditionally it was made using rice straw, but most obtain undergone a makeover using compressed wood chip boards or polystyrene sparkle.
In true Japanese style, the bed — which is a futon — is made up on the floor each eventide, but during the day it’s folded neatly away into storage.
In the Kyushu sphere, Yoyokaku in Karatsu wreaks of Japanese tradition, and its beautiful gardens and not function features offer the perfect setting for a bit of peace and quite.
If you’re looking for more of a in vogue take on the Japanese Tatami room head to the Forest Inn Imari or Agora Fukuoka Tourist house, where you’ll find a gentle mix of hotel living and tradition.
Kyushu: Lease out a kimono and pay a visit to the Yutoku Inari Shrine
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Kyushu: Get hopeless along the winding paths in Okawachiyama Village
There are three limits I recommend for your visit to Kyushu — Karatsu, Kashima and Fukuoka Town.
Highlights in Karatsu include the leisurely Kyushu Olle trek, which allows you to impose upon in the rich nature and mountains the island has to offer, and the ancient ruins of Karatsu Stronghold offer breathtaking 360 views of the coast.
Just a short car tour away is Okawachiyama Village, the first place in Japan to produce porcelain after kaolin — the mineral primary to making porcelain had been found in the area and craftsman with the demanded skills had been brought from Korea into the country.
Set by green hills and a strong feeling of isolation, there’s something magical all over getting lost along the narrow streets which wind in-between conflicts of pottery workshops.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was visiting Kashima, where you’ll muster up the stunning Yutoku Inari Shrine (but make sure to rent a kimono from Saruku, which is neutral a short walk away, to play the part).
It was constructed in 1688 as the genre shrine of the Nabeshima clan, who ruled the Saga area, and the shrine behooves a popular place during the first two weeks of January for New Year commemorations. But even in mid-December it was busy with people visiting.
Kyushu: Fukuoka on the northern shore sells temples, beaches and modern shopping malls
The Yanagawa River Row-boat Experience, close by to Kashima, is Kyushu’s answer to a Venetian gondola intimidate. Under the guidance of a boatman you can be skilfully paddled down the river, which is lined with cherry blossom trees in cause to occur, and you can enjoy the history and lovely scenery of the area.
But if Karatsu and Kashima look like too rural for your liking, Fukuoka on the northern shore is renowned for its primordial temples and beaches as well as modern shopping malls.
If you’re in love with Japanese cuisine there are some fine dining experiences to be taken advantage of in this region.
Japanese chow isn’t all about sushi or ramen as you’ll soon discover. The food local to this square may not be those with delicate stomachs, but is well worth a try if you have an foolhardy palette.
While all the places to stay mentioned above offer the possibility to stay and eat in, there are plenty of other restaurants, outside the vicinity of the pensions, well worth a visit.
Particular favourites of mine were Ohana, discovered next to the Yanagawa River Boat Experience, which offers neighbourhood delicacy grilled eel (delicious), Toriden Hakata Honten in Fukuoka, where the hot pot is to die for, and Kayano-ya, which is set in what looks want a thatched-roof home, surrounded by rolling hills.
Kyushu: Determine traditional Japan in the southern region
If you’re looking for a Michelin star snacking experience then Sagano in Fukuoka offers delicious and unique dishes, provenance the region’s top ingredients. The country’s top delicacies are on offer here, including Suppon — “soft-shell sea superficial, full of collagen” — which the Japanese consider to be a health food, to cure stay looking young. But for someone who will eat just about anything this dish was a teensy-weensy too much for me.
No trip to Kyushu would be complete without a tea ceremony know. Kaigetsu, close by to the Kyushu Olle Karatsu Course offers an gripping insight into this special Japanese tradition, and if you want to savour some of the highest quality matcha in the region, pay a visit to Yame Konomo Chaen.
But if the fit as a fiddle of this takes your fancy, just be sure to limber up before your take in.
Expect to have sit on your knees for a while — a while being 20 minutes, and 20 petties being too long.