Kyūshū (九州) is the southernmost of the four main islands of Japan. The climate is slightly warmer and more tropical than Honshu, and the southern and eastern coasts are regularly battered by typhoons each year. The terrain is generally mountainous with very fertile valleys much like the rest of Japan, except for the wide plain area at the top of the island - the location of the largest cities of Fukuoka and Kitakyushu.
There are seven prefectures in Kyushu:
- Fukuoka - home of the cities of Fukuoka and Kitakyushu
- Saga - small and rustic, famous for pottery and pre-historic village ruins
- Nagasaki - best known for the eponymous city of Nagasaki, a hilly city with more than its fair share of history - major "foreigners port" during the closed-Japan period, and target of the 2nd US atomic weapon attack during World War II
- Oita - rural area well known for abundant onsen hot springs, especially Beppu, the Las Vegas of Japan
- Kumamoto - center of the isle of Kyushu, location of the Aso caldera, largest in the world, and the beautiful Amakusa chain of islands
- Miyazaki - the surfers' destination of Japan - big beaches, big waves
- Kagoshima - dominated by the Sakurajima volcano, hot enough to grow sugarcane - get buried on hot-sand beaches, or visit the two famous islands of Yakushima and Tanegashima
- Fukuoka - the gateway to Kyushu
- Kitakyushu - not just an industrial city
- Nagasaki - of the A-bomb tragedy
- Sasebo - U.S. Navy base is here
- Miyazaki - tourism and resort area in southern Kyushu
- Kumamoto - featuring one of the best Japanese castles, the Kumamoto castle
- Kagoshima - southern city in the shadow of the Sakurajima volcano
- Beppu - hot springs are more abundant here than anywhere else
- Amami Islands - subtropical archipelago halfway to Okinawa
- Mount Aso - an active volcano
- Tanegashima - home of Japan's space program
- Yakushima - subtropical island famous for its giant cedars
- Usuki - home to some of Japan's best ancient stone Buddha statues
Kyushu is home to dialects of Japanese that are almost incomprehensible to speakers of standard Japanese. Even native speakers of Japanese from Honshu often have problems understanding the conversations of locals. However, most younger people would be able to speak standard Japanese so it should not pose much of a problem.
123bus  is a company which provides daily night time bus services between Tokyo and Kyushu, Osaka and Kyushu. With an online booking service in English.
The Kyushu Rail Pass  offers unlimited travel on JR Kyushu's lines, including the Kyushu Shinkansen but not the San'yo Shinkansen to Hakata. As of 2005, the pass costs ¥16,000 for five days; you'll have to travel quite a lot to make this pay off and most visitors, especially those not flying in directly to Kyushu, will find the ordinary Japan Rail Pass a better deal.
Kyushu is the home of shōchū (焼酎), the fiery Japanese distilled liquor. It's typically around 25%, but some varieties can be much stronger. It can be distilled from nearly anything including rice, barley, brown sugar and buckwheat, but Kyushu is best known for potato shōchū (芋焼酎 imojōchū), particularly that from the ancient province of Satsuma (modern-day Kagoshima).
Chugoku - The Chugoku region offers many great experiences for travellers, such as Hiroshima, the first city to experience an atomic bombing, Okayama, home to one of Japan's Three Famous Gardens, Izumo, with the second holiest Shinto Shrine in Japan, and Tottori, with Japan's only sand dunes.
This page was last edited at 16:29, on 3 March 2009 by Jani Patokallio. Based on work by Olli Salonen and Colin Jensen, Wikitravel user(s) ChubbyWimbus, Episteme, WindHorse, InterLangBot, Mnd and Historian, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.