What can we see on the isle of Kyūshū?
Kyūshū signify 9 provinces, in reference to the previous provinces of Chikuzen, Chikugo, Hizen, Higo, Buzen, Bungo, Hyūga, Satsuma and Ōsumi. Since 1871, this island and all the dependent island and islet, are divided into 7 prefectures : Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Ōita and Saga. Kyūshū is easily accessible by ferry, shinkansen (bullet train), coach and of course, plane, from Honshū (main island) and Shikoku.
On the South of Honshū (main japanese island), Kyūshū has a subtropical climate and a strong volcanic activity that makes its soil fertile (citrus fruits, daikon, …). As an island, you can find plenty of fishes and seafood. And last but not least, there are the Akaushi of Kumamoto (beef) and the Kurobuta of Kagoshima (pork). It's not astonishing that its cooking is soo famous.
Its proximity to the Korean peninsula made it, for a good while, the gateway to Japan. As an example, the first Europeans who came to Japan (the Portugese), arrived in Kyūshū. This island took benefit of foreign influences in art and culture. You'll see, for instance, the Portugese and Dutch influence in architecture, in Nagasaki. But Kyūshū has also created its own style. In the Kyūshū ceramics museum, Saga Kenritsu Kyūshū Dōji Bunkakan, in Arita, you'll discover their history and the different styles of ceramics and porcelains of the island, like the Hizen porcelains. In Takachiho, people practices a folk dancing called Takachiho Kagura, which you can see demonstrations every night, at the shrine. Kagura est mainly practiced in Miyazaki, where Gods are believed to come on Earth. For a full folk dancing yokagura (Takachiho Kagura by night), come on the 22nd and 23rd of Novembre, in Takachiho shrine.
Thanks to the myth of Japan's creation, it would be in Kyūshū that Gods and Godesses would have given birth to the imperial lineage. In more concrete terms, this island has a rich past historic, you'll discover in those sites :
Volcanism and earthquake have modeled this archipelago with a wild and sublime nature. The best example is the subtropical island Yakushima, 60km South of Kyūshū. About 20% of the isle is classified UNESCO world heritage since 1993 and the whole isle is a national park.
- Kyūshū National Museum, in Dazaifu, present the History of the island and its interactions with Asia and Europe.
- Nagasaki A-bomb museum, in Nagasaki.
- Kumamoto castle, in Kumamoto.
- Shimabara castle and the samurai residence Shimeisō, in Shimabara.
- Historic Park Yoshinogari Rekishi Kōen, in Kanzaki, that is one of the most important Japanese archeological sites of the Yayoi period (-300 à 300).
- Underwater coal mine of Hashima or Gunkanjima island, classified UNESCO world heritage since 2015.
- Kirishima-jingu shrine, now in Kirishima. The former shrine, where Ninigi-no-Mikoto, grand-son of the Goddess of Sun, Amaterasu, would have come to Earth and marry a local princess to give birth to the Japanese imperial lineage, was periodically destroyed by eruptions and relocalised here in 1715.
- Yūtoku Inari-jinja shrine, in Kashima. It's one of the three main shrines dedicated to the God of harvest and business, Inari.
- Amano-Iwato-jinja shrine, in Takachiho. After having an argument with her brother Susanō, Amaterasu-Ōmikami, the Goddess of Sun, would have hidden in a cave, opposite the shrine, taking the light of the world with her. She was pulled out of the cave by the other Godds, cunningly and by force.
- Sengan-en garden and the first european style industry museum Shōko Shūseikan, in Kagoshima, two of them classified UNESCO world heritage since 2015.
Kujukushima, in the national park Saikai Kokuritsu Kōen, near Sasebo appeared in the beginning of the film The last samurai with Tom Cruise (2003).
Sakurajima (alt. 1 117m), accessible by ferry or car, is an island but also a volcano, symbol of Kagoshima city.
In the national parc Aso Kujū Kokuritsu Kōen, you can get up to the Aso Nakadake Kakō crater, of the mount Aso-san volcano.
Finally, the coupled rocks Meoto Iwa, of Sakurai Futamigaura, in Itoshima, like those of Ise (Mie prefecture), are linked by a sacred rope called ōshimenawa.
After all those visits, you may want to relax in a onsen. Try the Ibusuki Sunamushi Onsen in the South of Kagoshima, where you can have a sandbath, dressed in yukata (thin cotton kimono).