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Japan's third largest island Kyushu lies at the southern end of the archipelago. It's a relaxed and friendly place, with an impressive mountainous interior and indented sandy bays off which lie many smaller islands. One of these, Yakushima, may be the rainiest place in Japan but it's also where you'll find the awe-inspiring yaku-sugi, towering cedars that are reckoned to be among the oldest trees on earth. Get another thrill from nature by staring into the mammoth caldera of the active volcano Aso-san. All that thermal activity can be enjoyed in more beneficial ways, for example, by being smeared in skin-softening volcanic mud at Sakura ...

Japan's third largest island Kyushu lies at the southern end of the archipelago. It's a relaxed and friendly place, with an impressive mountainous interior and indented sandy bays off which lie many smaller islands. One of these, Yakushima, may be the rainiest place in Japan but it's also where you'll find the awe-inspiring yaku-sugi, towering cedars that are reckoned to be among the oldest trees on earth. Get another thrill from nature by staring into the mammoth caldera of the active volcano Aso-san. All that thermal activity can be enjoyed in more beneficial ways, for example, by being smeared in skin-softening volcanic mud at Sakura Sakura Onsen near the shrine town of Kirishima Jingu, or buried up to your neck in pipping-hot sand on Surigahama beach in Ibusaki. Nagasaki, one of Japan's more picturesque cities, is a fitting location for Madame Butterfly with an interesting history of international contact long before its fateful date with the second A-bomb. Thoroughly modern Fukuoka, the island's largest city, is the main cultural and economic hub west of Osaka. Its state-of-the-art baseball stadium is a top place to watch Japan's favorite team sport, while open air stalls around the city serve delicious ramen, Fukuoka's signature noodle dish.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

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Simon Richmond for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Kyushu is the third-largest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands.
  • Language: Japanese
  • Currency: Yen
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Kyushu has a good climate year-round although it can get rainy in June in September.