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Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/24 20:48
Hello

Some days ago I posted my Kyushu plan for this august. 9 nights including a visit to Yakushima.
After considering it I realized that it was too packed and involved a lot of driving instead of enyojing these places.

I have modified the rest of my Japan trip and we have 5 extra nights. So now I'd like to know the best way to achieve my desired plan in a (more) relaxed way.

Anyway, I know that usually people recommend a very slow pace (and I like it) but unfortunately it is not easy for us to travel to Japan (although is our 3 trip). So we are ready to make an extra effort: we are aware that some of our emust-seef are scattered: Yakushima, Miyazaki coast, Takachiho and Aso.

I have a new sketch that hopefully is more enjoyable.

Disclaimer: It is still a north to south to north itinerary, but I managed to reduce significantly our driving times using a 7day rail pass for these long journeys and discarding some places (Fukuoka just one day and no time for Kumamoto).

We arrive from Kyoto so a JR pass is a reasonable option and saves us from driving to Kagoshima and Miyazaki.

Our next stop is Tokyo, so our idea is fly from Kyushu (JAL air pass makes ir very convenient). So far we are considering Oita as a good exit point. But we could change it if necessary.

Please tell me what are your thoughts!

Day 1: Arrive to Hakata from Kyoto in an early train. Spend all day in Fukuoka. Overnight Fukuoka (JR PASS BEGIN)
Day 2: Early train to Kagoshima plus a jetfoil to Yakushima arriving around 14h. Overnight Yakushima
Day 3: Full day Yakushima. Overnight Yakushima
Day 4: Full day Yakushima. Overnight Yakushima
Day 5: Half day Yakushima. Last jetfoil to Kagoshima. Overnight Kagoshima
Day 6: Full day Kagoshima: Sakurajima and Shiroyama park, Overnight Kagoshima

(Day 2,3,4,5,6 can be arranged differently. For example arriving Kagoshima, next day Yakushima, and then one night in Kagoshima or 2 nights in Kagoshima then 3 nights in Yakushima and then leave to Miyazai after jetfoil. But despiste the hard transfer day, it seems better this Yakushima and then 2 Kagoshima nights)

Day 7: Morning in Kagoshima. Senganen garden (or Exchange senganen with Shiroyama on day 6). Train to Miyazaki just to overnight Miyazaki (JR PASS END)
Day 8: Rent a car and visit Ninchin coast: Udo Shrine and Obi. Optional Aoshima. Overnight Miyazaki
Day 9: Drive to Takachiho. Depending on day 8 visit Aoshima before leaving. It is just a driving day stopping where recommended. We donft count to visit Takachiho, just overnight there. Overnight Takachiho.
Day 10: Full day Takachiho: Gorge, cave and shrine. Overnight Takachiho
Day 11: Leave early and visit Aso area onroute to KuroKawa Onsen. Probably crater will be closed, so it is a day to drive and stop in lookouts (Kamishikimi Kumano imasu shrine, Kusaenri, Dakainbo). Arrive around 15-16h to Kurokawa Onsen to overnight.

From this point on I am not so sure how to continue. I have 3 full days to fill, with rental car and some points of interest but any of them is an abolsute must-see. Ifd really appreciate any suggestion on what to add and how to arrange it.
In principle I am reluctant to add days before Miyazaki since it will prevent the use of a 7 day pass JR to save both long drives even though I realize it is quite tight .

Places that I consider are Beppu, Yufuin, Usuki and Kunisaki península. This is why flying from Oita seems so convenient (Fukuoka is quite far driving).

What other places Will fit in this other days? 3 nights plus a Kyushu-Tokyo flight.

Day 12: Enjoy Kurokawa and drive toc Overnight c
Day 13:
Day 14:
Day 15: c Fly from Oita (it can be an afternoon flight)

A slight variant would be add a Aso night between Takachiho and Kurokawa, so we could explore deeply Aso area and then next day Will be a full Kurokwa onsen one, so no need to spend next next morning there.

A more important variant is adding Nagasaki buying some extra trains. Maybe after Fukuoka and before Kagoshima. And then buying the Kagoshima to Miyazaki train apart. But it seems to me that it is too much effort..

Any recommendation?

Thanks for your help!


by calabiyau  

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/25 08:40
Just a few comments:
- I think your plan from Kyoto to Kurokawa onsen makes sense. It seems to be sufficiently relaxed (and I am a very slow traveller).
- However did you consider flying from Itami directly to Yakushima? Just asking. There is a direct flight once per day.
- I dont know the North Eastern part of Kyushu to give you advise on the last 3 days


Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/25 13:45
I very much like Nagasaki. It has a lovely atmosphere, fascinating history of the Dutch influence and of course the peace park and atom bomb museum, as well as a very interesting and quite lovely temple district. It's a bit remote and time-consuming to get to, but we've been twice and I'd go again.

I don't have a view about what's best, but I didn't find Fukuoka terribly interesting, apart from Nanzo-in which only took a few hours, including delicious noodles. If I was doing it again I might be inclined to press on to Nagasaki rather than spend a night in Fukuoka.

Have a wonderful time in Japan.
by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/25 16:37
Thanks @LikeBike for your quick answer and reading such a brick post!

Hahaha, actually you've read my mind... I've justI re reworked my sketch to accommodate Nagasaki at the very end. It looks like an amazing city and maybe a good end for the Kyushu trip. To achieve this I have to change something, And the first one is entering through Yakushima, do a linear trip and end in Nagasaki.

In this scenario, there makes no sense the full JR pass so maybe just more driving. This is the re-reworked sketch which now seems more reasonable and similarly paced..

Day 1: Flight to Yakushima. Yakushima overnight
Day 2: Full day Yakushima, Yakushima overnight
Day 3: Full day Yakushima, Yakushima overnight
Day 4: Half day Yakushima, jetfoil to Kagoshima. Just overnight Kagoishima
Day 5: Sakurajima visit and Shiroyama or Senganen visit. Kagoshima overnight
Day 6: Rent a car before after a Senganen or Shiroyama visit. Then head for Miyazaki city. I just to plan to get there to overnight, not to visit anything. So even if it is a long drive we should have 3/4 day. In a later post I'll ask for a recommended route (maybe stop in Kirishima Shrina on route, or other places). Miyazaki overnight
Day 7: Udo Shrine and Obi castle. Optionally Aoshima if we have time. Miyazaki overnight
Day 8: Head for Takachiho. I'll ask again later what road use, expressway or coastal, if stops are worthwhile. I plan to stop in Hyuga/Umagase. Overnight Takachiho
Day 9: Full day Takachiho: Gorge, Cave temple and Takachiho shrine. Overnight Takachiho
Day 10: Leave early and visit Aso area onroute to KuroKawa Onsen. Probably crater will be closed, so it is a day to drive and stop in lookouts (Kamishikimi Kumano imasu shrine, Kusaenri, Dakainbo). Arrive around 15-16h to Kurokawa Onsen to overnight.
Day 11: Enjoy Kurokawa morning. Optionally Yufuin quick visit. Drive to Beppu and visit Umi jigoku hell before returning car. Optionally a sand bath in Beppu. Overnight in Beppu
Day 12: Activate 3 days JR Northern Kyushu pass. Early train to Fukuoka. Visit Fukuoka and yatai stalls. Fukuoka overnight
Day 13: Early train to Nagasaki. 3/4 day in Nagasaki. Nagasaki overnight
Day 14: Full day nagasaki. Nagasaki overnight.
Day 15: Fly to Haneda. Unfortunately this day has no JAL flight so I'll have to leave Nagasaki in a 12.30h flight, leaving slightly more than 1.5 days in Nagasaki.

All in all, what are your thoughts now?

It seems more balanced than the other one for me (linear trip instead of loop one).
And somehow Nagasaki could be a nice place to finish our Kyushu trip...

I have some doubts in days 8-9-10. Maybe day 8 is too relaxed and however day 10 is too rushed, but I can't see how to improve it...

Day 11 seems quite busy but here I can't discard things with no remorse (Yufuin quick visit for example)

Day 6 is just a morning visit and then the rest of the day just to get Miyazaki before dusk. I hope this is feasible despite the slow roads...

Anyway, if you see a day that it is too slow paced, please tell me... It is difficult to say when you have not been there...

Well, any comment will be appreciated...

Thanks!
by calabiyau rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/25 20:35
Thanks @Who?

For some reason I didn't see your reply before sending my new sketch...

As you see I've come up to the same conclusion and added Nagasaki using these last days, which allows almost 2 full days and 2 nights. I hope this is enough.

We could add a third night skipping Fukuoka but somehow I feel it could be interesting to spend some hours there and try the famous Yatai stalls...

Thanks!!
by calabiyau rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/25 23:17
Odd question - but how are you getting around Yakushima.

Also - how big are you into hiking? I've just visited Yakushima and found three full days was a lot for people who only complete light hiking.

Takachiho is one of the jewels of Kyushu - but it only takes 2-3 hours to drive from Miyazaki which I have done. I feel as though this could easily be achieved overnight. Also - what are your hobbies as interests. As a person who has visited Kyushu in a bit too much depth, my suggestions could provide a lot of problems with too many options.

Basically all of the places you are visiting I have visited and have written blog posts for (click on my name). I do really like the Kunisaki Peninsula which is probably my favorite place on Kyushu
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/25 23:52
Thanks @mfedley!

I am a big fan of you travel reports... I read them looking for clues on what to visit and how long to spend as you seem to travel quite slow as we like...

"Odd question - but how are you getting around Yakushima."
Rental car to maximize our time...

"Also - how big are you into hiking? I've just visited Yakushima and found three full days was a lot for people who only complete light hiking"

Good question. We are nor avid neither expert hikers but we know that sometimes you need to hike to fully appreciate some places. Specially nature ones.

Our plan for Yakushima would be: first day just settle down (plane arrives at 14h). Second day full day in Shiratani Unsuikyo (considering that we travel with children it will take all day to do a medium-long route). Other full day would be to drive around the island and stop whatever seems nice. And the final half day would be for Yakusugi land (2-3 hours hike).

Considering that weather can be awful is fine for us having some margin. And also is so expensive going there that somehow we consider that 3 nights is a minimum to justify it.

Takachiho is one of the jewels of Kyushu - but it only takes 2-3 hours to drive from Miyazaki which I have done. I feel as though this could easily be achieved overnight.

So you are proposing a one night Takachiho and visit some places the same day and others next morning before heading for Aso, isn't it?

Also - what are your hobbies as interests. As a person who has visited Kyushu in a bit too much depth, my suggestions could provide a lot of problems with too many options.

Hehe... We'd like a balanced trip. We enjoy nature, wildlife (not here...) but also history, temples and food. Before our previous trip we read some books about history and myths of Japan. And was rewarding to connect it to the sights. Not just wander and watch but also understand. Takachiho could be one of these places (we read a lot about Amateratsu).

We also enjoy both rural and modern cities. Our previous highlights would be Koyasan (although is not incredible scenic it was very moving being there), and Miyajima. But also Tokio and of course Kioto (we repeat both).

On the other side, Takayama and Osaka were kind of disappointment. Takayama was so gorgeous but soooo crowded that it was spoilt.

Basically all of the places you are visiting I have visited and have written blog posts for (click on my name). I do really like the Kunisaki Peninsula which is probably my favorite place on Kyushu

Ops. I'm afraid I have to choose between Nagasaki or Kunisaki, unless I compact my days more... How long does it take to visit Kunisaki from Beppu? Does it make sense to visit it as a day trip? Otherwise it will be a Nagasaki vs Kunisaki contend...

Thanks for your help...
by calabiyau rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/26 01:11
Simple - choose Nagasaki over Kunisaki.

So you have kids. How old are they? The reason I ask is it often helps to include stuff that they like to do so we can do stuff we like to do. One option of this is the strange but fun Huis Ten Bosch near Nagasaki as an example.

Here is my suggestion from Kagoshima onwards.

(Day 1) Kagoshima - get a bus pass for the day which costs 500 yen per person (available from hotels and tourism bureau). Visit Kagoshima City Aquarium, Sengen-an and Reimeikan (potential Museum of the Meiji Restoration - better for kids but also feels like rehash for previous museum mentioned below). You will find these interesting and be kid friendly as well.

Day 2 - Pick up car and catch Ferry to Sakurajima. Visit Yunohira + Arimura Lava Observatory. Have a swanky lunch with nice views at Sakamoto Kurozu and head down to Tanaka residence which is close. Potential side trips which are in the area include the Kanoya Airbase Museum (lots of old aircraft + good Kamikaze museum which is free to enter). Uenohara Jomon Site which is an archeological site. Or - visit Obi town in the afternoon and stay locally overnight. All covered in upcoming posts with websites for extra info.

Day 3 - Udo Shrine, Aoshima, potential visit to Miyazaki Science Museum and drive to Takachiho. Depending on time, possibly visit some of the shrines. Do think about visiting Takachiho Shrine and watching the performance at night. It's all in Japanese but you do get a pamphlet in English.

Day 4 - morning in Takachiho. If it's nice weather - do consider hiring a boat and paddling around the volcanic cliffs. Absolutely amazing. Drive to Aso but note that Kurokawa Onsen is REALLY EXPENSIVE!!! I stayed a 20 minute drive away and had a room with my own onsen for under 10,000 yen a night. Not sure about prices as a family. Could get pricey but note that food options were limited as well!

Personally I found Beppu and Yufu ok but would drop both in a heartbeat for the Kunisaki Peninsula + Kitsuki. Note it's difficult driving. Look at my posts to see if it's your thing.

I'm currently about to post about my travels to Yakushima along with Kagoshima prefecture. They should come out in the next month.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/26 14:01
Kagoshima thoughts...

We're Australian and have found Japanese aquariums very depressing places for the animals, compared to what we're used to.

When we went you could go on a tour of the fish market, the local tourist association was organising it. Very worthwhile, and we got ourselves a delicious sushi breakfast at the restaurant behind.

The little bus is great for getting around.

Sengen-an is one of the best gardens we've been to, and when we were there the little restaurant in the grounds had the most delicous ramen.
by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/27 00:24
Gotta agree with many aquariums in Japan are pretty sad. Osaka, Kagoshima, Okinawa and Kamo from the ones I have seen are the exception.

Sengen-an is nice - but it's really the borrowed scenery of Sakurajima which steals the show. There is also a nice Amami Garden in the city but I don't think it's that interesting for kids. Sengen-an is another story though (in a positive way).
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/27 03:38

Thanks to both!

I'll probably try to visit Obi castle on route to Miyazaki. I have read that it is not very close to Miyazaki city so maybe doesn't make sense skipping it when coming from Kagoshima.

But I feel that visiting Sakurajima the same morning I have to get to Obi with enough time to visit could be difficult. To overcome this I have this option. Please tell me if I am in the right way :)

Day 6: Full day Kagoshima. Start the rent a car period this day for two reasons. First I could spend the day visiting Sakurajima full loop and Senganen later with my own car. The second advantage is that next day, which is potentially a rushed one I'll have my car already instead of wasting some time in the rental process.

I appreciate the aquarium idea but in general we are not keen on zoos or aquariums. So we'll skip ir and focus on this two main attractions.

Day 7: Leave as early as possible (car in hotel parking :) ) and drive to Obi to visit the town / castle. Later head for Udo shrine and later to Miyazaki. Optionally Aoshima and overnight there or Miyazaki.

Day 8; Head for Takachiho.... So we'll save one night in Miyazaki and . I've read that driving to Takachiho is at least 3h using expressways (much more in regular roads).

And if we stay just one night in Takachiho I face one problem. Even If I just drive and don't stop, I would arrive there around noon, and probably this is not enough to visit all sights this day: Gorge (both row and walk), Shrine and cave temple.

The easy solution is visit next morning whatever we need but then, as we head for Aso and finish in KuroKawa after Takachiho I'm afraid that Aso visit is going to be very rushed (I should be in Kurokawa around 14-15h), specially if we visit some spots in Takachiho. This would leave very short time in Aso area, isn't it?

So one solution is add a second night in Takachiho but maybe I am overkilling with 2 nights...

What do you think?

On the other hand I am considering to use the Miyazaki night that i could save in the Kunisaki area. I'll post a different question since it is a very specific one and not a general trip related.

Thanks a lot for your patience!

It is being very helpful

by calabiyau rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/27 03:44

By the way, I've read that most people is fan of rowing in the Takachiho Gorge.
Despite this, it is the most striking part of Gorge or just walking is also scenic?
Maybe if we skip this we could do all the visits in just one day...

Last year we (try to) Kayak in laguna Quilotoa. One adult with one children per kayak. It was too hard to keep us in the good direction, and it was just a closed lagoon... :)

We ended soaked and in a very bad mood even though the scenery was otherworldly. Worst 30 minutes of that wonderful day...

Are these boats easily driven?
by calabiyau rate this post as useful

Re: Two weeks in Kyushu (reworked) 2020/1/27 06:05

Thanks to both!

I'll probably try to visit Obi castle on route to Miyazaki. I have read that it is not very close to Miyazaki city so maybe doesn't make sense skipping it when coming from Kagoshima.

But I feel that visiting Sakurajima the same morning I have to get to Obi with enough time to visit could be difficult. To overcome this I have this option. Please tell me if I am in the right way :)

Day 6: Full day Kagoshima. Start the rent a car period this day for two reasons. First I could spend the day visiting Sakurajima full loop and Senganen later with my own car. The second advantage is that next day, which is potentially a rushed one I'll have my car already instead of wasting some time in the rental process.

I appreciate the aquarium idea but in general we are not keen on zoos or aquariums. So we'll skip ir and focus on this two main attractions.

Day 7: Leave as early as possible (car in hotel parking :) ) and drive to Obi to visit the town / castle. Later head for Udo shrine and later to Miyazaki. Optionally Aoshima and overnight there or Miyazaki.

Day 8; Head for Takachiho.... So we'll save one night in Miyazaki and . I've read that driving to Takachiho is at least 3h using expressways (much more in regular roads).

And if we stay just one night in Takachiho I face one problem. Even If I just drive and don't stop, I would arrive there around noon, and probably this is not enough to visit all sights this day: Gorge (both row and walk), Shrine and cave temple.

The easy solution is visit next morning whatever we need but then, as we head for Aso and finish in KuroKawa after Takachiho I'm afraid that Aso visit is going to be very rushed (I should be in Kurokawa around 14-15h), specially if we visit some spots in Takachiho. This would leave very short time in Aso area, isn't it?

So one solution is add a second night in Takachiho but maybe I am overkilling with 2 nights...

What do you think?

On the other hand I am considering to use the Miyazaki night that i could save in the Kunisaki area. I'll post a different question since it is a very specific one and not a general trip related.

Thanks a lot for your patience!

It is being very helpful

by calabiyau rate this post as useful

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