As you head west and cross into Kyushu, the landscapes begin to change. Kyushu is an island of the elements: bubbling, sulphurous waters rise up from the ground, heated by the volcanic lava that lies just below the surface of this living, breathing landmass.
At its centre you'll find Mount Aso, the world's largest volcanic caldera; to the west, Yakushima, a small island covered with dense rainforest and the inspiration for Miyazaki's animated masterpiece Princess Mononoke; on the south coast is Nagasaki, where for nearly three hundred years the Dutch factory at Dejima Island functioned as Japan's sole contact point with the West.
Kyushu's capital, Fukuoka, is best known for the yatai food stands serving some of the most delicious ramen noodles to be found anywhere in Japan!Katrina Cordery - Sales Team Leader
Kagoshima City is the capital of Kagoshima Prefecture. The city originally prospered as the castle town of Lord Shimazu, and was the first city to introduce Western civilization to Japan. Today, it is the largest City in Southern Kyushu with about 540,000 people.
Fukuoka is a laid-back, youthful, fun-loving city with good shopping, live music, a major baseball team and great restaurants. Due to its location Fukuoka is a great starting point for exploring the rest of Kyushu.
Built on the shores of a natural bay, Nagasaki's rich history as a trading port is reflected in its local culture, cosmopolitan atmosphere, and the diversity of its architecture. This is a city that deserves to be renowned for a lot more than the atomic bomb.
Hirado lies off the north west coast of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan`s four main islands. And while this small island might not be the first destination travellers think of when planning a trip to Japan, Hirado has a history and beauty unmatched anywhere else.
Arrive in Unzen on a cold day and it will be obvious that the area is a hotbed of volcanic activity. Steam rises from every crack in the pavement and on either side of the high street fumerols bubble and boil giving the town an unearthly feel.
Beppu is probably Japan's favourite Onsen (hot spring) resort; it certainly produces the most spring water. The town has made a showcase of its volcanic activity.
This small coastal resort town has bucket loads of laid back charm and makes for a great stop on any indepth journey round Japan's southern island of Kyuhsu. The abundance of palm trees, mild climate and surf-topped waves can't help but put you in the holiday mood.
Yakushima is an almost-circular, mountainous island lying 60km southwest of Kyushu Island. Designated a Natural World Heritage Site since 1993, Yakushima's main attractions are its primeval forests, with their ancient trees and dizzying array of flora and fauna.
Set in the heart of rural Kyushu, the Mount Aso area is the place to come to find a slower, more traditional take on Japanese life. The momunental form of Aso-san dominates the area and many of the farming villages lie within the calderas themselves.
Located on the west coast of Kyushu Island, Kumamoto is a city rich in samurai history and provides an excellent base for exploring Kumamoto Prefecture's many areas of great natural beauty.
Yufuin is located on Kyushu and is very close to Beppu – one of Japan's most famous spring resort. Somewhat smaller than Beppu, Yufuin is a charming, typical Japanese onsen town that offers a more relaxing atmosphere than its bigger counterpart and is well worth a visit.