Speak of Japan and places likes Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Takayama spring to mind. All these places are on the main island of Honshu. There is an island in Japan that is steeped in history, has wonderful natural wonders (like volcanoes), is renowned for food & festivals and yet it is less visited. You may have already guessed; I am speaking of Kyushu. Kyushu is the home of our first foodie’s tours to Japan.
The success of those early food tours in Japan lead to the food tour of Kyushu in Autumn with the culinary experiences almost being sup-parsed by the gorgeous golds and browns of Kyushu’s Autumn leaves. The food tours didn’t end in Kyushu and now there are specialised food tours in Central Japan and Hokkaido too.
In Kyushu, the magic in places like Yanagawa, the ‘VenicIe of Japan’, it is something you would not expect. Yanagawa is just over 1 hour from the capital of Kyushu (Fukuoka) near the mouth of the Chikugo-gawa River. You can glide along the river and through the moats of this old castle town on poled boats called “Donko”. Some oarsmen may even sing for you as they skilfully guide you from one beautiful sight to another.
Nagasaki, again only about 2.5 hours from Fukuoka is most well known for being the location of the second atom bomb explosion. Visitors feel real emotion when they go to the peace park. However, there is so much more history in this part of the world and it is fascinating.
Some of the earliest contact with Westerners was here and the Glover house and gardens are just one of the many enjoyable things in the city. Nagasaki is also the origin of the Japanese favourite ‘champon’ noodle dish. Many guests remark that if they were to live in Japan it may well be here in Nagasaki.
Kurokawa Onsen is among the most picturesque onsen (hot spring mineral bath) villages in all of Japan (big claim I know, but that’s what I think). The atmosphere is wonderful and the ryokans (Japanese inns) offer their own unique experience. The quaint little shops add to the lasting image of this small must-visit village.
These are just three of the places that Journey to the East visits on its Kyushu food tours of Japan. Why not think of seeing Kyushu at cherry Blossom time or indeed at autumn time either way you will see some of the best of Japan without the crowds.