Known as the Land of Fire, Japan’s third largest island of Kyushu is a lush oasis punctuated by some of the country’s most active volcanoes. Ancient forests, unique hot springs and jagged mountains show a distinctly different side to Japan. UNESCO World Heritage Sites, historic locations like Nagasaki and a visit to the home of Japanese porcelain provide a varied travelling experience.
Kyushu’s green landscapes are a hideaway for Sakurajima and Mount Aso volcanoes, and wily wildlife. Take a cable car to the bright blue crater lake at the top of Japan’s most active volcano, Mount Aso, and cruise to see monkeys and deer cavorting amidst the twisted tree branches of Yakushima. The island is also fantastic for those wanting to understand Japanese history. Visit Nagasaki, the final city to be struck by an atomic bomb, and the abandoned mining island of Gunkanjima, made famous by James Bond’s Skyfall.
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Mount Aso, Japan
Best for: Culture, Off the beaten track, Spa & health
Takefue is a beautiful ryokan nestled in a bamboo grove in the heart of the Mt Aso range. There is a lovely traditional and rustic feel to this property and the natural hot stings at Takefue are powered by the same volcanic source of Mt Aso itself.