Kyushu is Japan’s third largest island, after main island Honshu and northern Hokkaido and before Shikoku, smallest of the big four islands which constitute the Japan Archipel. Kyushu’s shape is quite irregular. Thus it is gifted with mountain ranges, outer islands, inland seas, peninsulas and sharp capes. And outlying islands stretching almost all the way to Taiwan offer that typical Japanese ocean coast landscape.
Sefuri Range 脊振山地 （せふりさんち）: Fukuoka prefecture, southwest of Fukuoka city, with many passes around 500m up to 800m.
Mt Aso Vulcano Massif
Izumi Plain: wintering grounds of thousands of cranes.
Nishi-Sonogi Peninsula: west of Omura Bay. The Saikai Pearl Line is now closing the loop.
Amakusa: in the north connected to mainland Kumamoto by the 5 bridges of the Pearl Line.
Nagashima: connected to mainland Kagoshima by the Kuranoseto Bridge.
The northern prefecture of Fukuoka will be the arrival point for most visitors to Kyūshū, whether they cross over by road or tunnel from Shimonoseki or fly straight into Fukuoka city’s international airport. (Lonely Planet)
Nagasaki-ken is the westernmost prefecture of Kyūshū, taking in the Shimabara Peninsula as well as its regional capital Nagasaki. Nagasaki has become synonymous with the atomic bomb that levelled the city in August 1945, but this fascinating city offers wonderful temples, great food, top museums and a fascinating, if at times tragic, history. (Lonely Planet)
Kumamoto-ken (熊本県) is the crossroads of Kyūshū. Chief draws are the city of Kumamoto, whose castle played a key role in Japanese history, and Mt. Aso (Aso-san), the gigantic and mysterious volcanic crater at the island’s centre. (Lonely Planet)
Shaped like a southward-facing dragon with a pearl in its mouth, Kagoshima-ken (鹿児島県) is mainland Japan’s southernmost prefecture, and one of the nation’s most beautiful and relaxed. Kagoshima city lies in the shadow of the highly active Sakurajima volcano (the pearl, in the middle of Kinkō-wan), with the fertile coastal plains of the Satsuma Peninsula to the south. To the north is the striking Kirishima-Yaku National Park, with its own string of volcanoes. (Lonely Planet)
Miyazaki-ken (宮崎県) is best known for its palmy, balmy coastline from the city of Miyazaki southwards. Surfing, fishing boats and picturesque coastal drives here may remind you of California or the Italian Riviera. At the prefecture’s northern reaches is lovely Takachiho, mythical home of the sun goddess Amaterasu. (Lonely Planet)
Ōita-ken offers Japanese onsen mania, Beppu and the traditional town of Yufuin. The region also bears some traces of Japan’s earliest civilisations, particularly on the Kunisaki Peninsula. (Lonely Planet)
Japan‘s southernmost prefecture, Okinawa Prefecture (沖縄県; Okinawa-ken) makes up the southern half of the Southwest Islands. The prefecture stretches from the southern islands in Kagoshima Prefecture to within 110km of Taiwan. (Lonely Planet)