With its ancient cedarwood forests and volcanic mountainscapes, Kyushu’s nature is one of fantasies. Each region has its own charm, from the spirited city of Fukuoka to the unspoilt natural beauty of Amakusa. The Kuju and Taisen mountain ranges run across the main island, with the formidable Mt Aso volcano in the centre, offering beautiful views from the ground to the summit. And when you’re not hiking through a forest of 7,000 year-old cedar trees or relaxing in some of Japan’s most invigorating onsens.
Our journey begins in Karatsu, famous for being one of the birthplaces of ceramics in Japan. The streetscapes are dotted with ceramic work and filled with charming alleys, old buildings, and protruding chimneys from the pottery kilns. Within Karatsu is the sanctuary that is Yoyokaku. In a region where ryokans are a strong part of the culture, this quaint inn, has a rare charm.
We then travel further south, passing through the city of Nagasaki, visiting the Peace Memorial Park before continuing to the Amakusa islands. As the birthplace of Christianity in Japan, the island of Amakusa is where the west harmonises with the east. With Christianity came European ideas, music and literature, creating a fusion of the two distinct cultures. Amakusa today is abundant in stunning rustic nature but also museums and churches depicting the island’s special history.
Leaving Amakusa, we drive to Kirishima, where we reconnect with nature through the lands of Kirishima. Amongst our favourite properties is Tenku No Mori, overlooking the impressive Kirishima mountain range. Kirishima is home to some amazing hikes within its’ mountain range.
Our journey then concludes on the island of Yakushima, where the dewy climate and national parks create a unique mystical landscape.
These are some of the oldest trees in Japan, scattered across lush groves, crawling ravines and vibrant mossy stones. It’s no wonder this forest inspired the Japanese favourite anime, Princess Mononoke.
These are a selection of lodges that we feel combine well for this journey. However we do also have a range of options to consider in each region, and can tailor them to you preference.
Yoyokaku is a traditional Japanese inn with a history going back 120 years. With English-speaking staff, we have been welcoming visitors from overseas for more than half a century, and the owner’s family personally welcome all guests. With its excellent reputation for both food and service, Yoyokaku genuinely represents the best of Japan.
Gosoku-no-kutsu is an exclusive getaway spot located on the island of Amakusa, on the west coast of Kyushu in southwestern Japan. We offer deluxe accommodations in fifteen unique villas, each with its own private open-air bath fed by a natural hot spring. Open the door and enjoy a pleasant, fascinating stay on this amazing island.
Tateo Tajima, the master of Tenku, spent twenty-five years building his idea for a new form of luxury that would not be available anywhere else. Tenku has vast grounds of 60 hectares, but only five villas, each with its own onsen. Each is situated well away from the others, so you have the expanse of nature all to yourself. People sometimes say that the dress code here is ... naked.
The hill overlooking the sea where sankara hotel & spa Yakushima is located is an area where subtropical forests and the subalpine climates intersect. This is a perfect location to enjoy the rich fragrance aroma of greenery and a sumptuous, refreshing breeze. It has a retreat atmosphere and a sophisticated and chic interior design, perfect for an adult getaway. The hotel has its own brand of linens and amenities that are gentle on both your body and the environment. Five types of guestrooms are available from 126 m2 suites to 53 m2 villas