Is Kyushu Japan's Best (and Tastiest) Island?

Is Kyushu Japan's Best (and Tastiest) Island?

Of the millions of tourists that visit Japan every year, most hit up Honshu, the island that is home to the Kanto (Tokyo) and Kansai (Osaka) regions.

But the Japanese archipelago actually has four main islands - Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu - as well as a bazillion (or close to πŸ˜‰) smaller islands.

As this month’s Ramen Pack features the flavors of Southern Japan, we’re exploring what the picturesque, but often forgotten, region of Kyushu has to offer!

And it’s got it all folks, from bustling cities to incredible natural sights (think pristine beaches, active volcanoes and natural hot springs). So if you’re planning your next trip to Japan, go on and give Kyushu a little love.

The Best Places in Kyushu for Eating

1. Fukuoka’s Famous Food Carts

Fukuoka city, the largest in Japan, is the capital of Fukuoka prefecture and easily accessible by bus, train, shinkansen (bullet train) or plane.

While Fukuoka has a lot to offer, we’re following our grumbling stomachs to the open-air yatai (food stalls).



Yatai can be found all across the city, are open from around 6pm to 2am, and usually seat seven to eight people. 

Enjoy yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) or oden (one-pot dishes) at a cosy yatai on the water as you soak in the lively atmosphere and make some new friends!


Fukuoka's Hakata Tonkotsu RamenCredit: Jorge Gonzalez / Flickr


Don’t miss Fukuoka’s famous Hakata Ramen! This local variety of tonkotsu ramen (pork bone broth) is served with thin noodles and is best enjoyed with a cold beverage!



Our Southern Japan Ramen Pack includes three varieties of tonkotsu ramen, most famously made and eaten in Fukuoka.

Try out these Japanese phrases while you eat and drink and you’ll make friends with the locals even faster!

Kanpai (かんぱい): The word for “Cheers!” in a drinking toast, it literally translates as “dry cup”

Itadakimasu (γ„γŸγ γγΎγ™): Say it before you start your meal, as it translates as “I humbly receive”

Gochisousama (ごけそうさま): Say it after you finish your meal, as it translates as “That was delicious!

2. Nagasaki’s Street Food and Regional 'Ramen'

Nagasaki was the second city in Japan to be hit by atomic bombs during World War II, the first being Hiroshima. You can pay your respects at the city’s Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Museum.

Start your street food tour in the local Chinatown area, one of the best places to try delicious dishes like steamed buns stuffed with marinated pork cutlet and marakao, a sweet pound cake flavored with chestnuts or chocolate.


Nagasaki's street food stalls in ChinatownCredit: Ruben M Ramos / Shutterstock

Thanks to Nagasaki’s Chinese influences, a delicious noodle dish called Chanpon or Champon (けゃんぽん) was invented.



The noodles in Nagasaki Champon are thicker than ramen noodles and the dish is usually generously topped with seafood and vegetables.


Nagasaki's champon (chanpon) is made with thick egg noodlesCredit: Gurunavi


If you can’t make it to Kyushu, this regional Nagasaki noodle dish is so popular you can now find it all over Japan or in October’s Southern Japan Ramen Pack!

The Best Places in Kyushu for Soaking

1. The Most Onsens in Japan are in Oita

Apparently the Eastern Kyushu prefecture of Oita, has the most onsens in the whole of Japan.

Whether or not this claim is true, you’ll be spoilt for choice with endless unique and breathtaking onsens to relax and soak away your worries in.

Oita's Yufuin OnsenCredit: Discover Japan

One unique onsen that deserves a special mention are the 8 Hells of Beppu. 

These spectacular hot springs are unique as they are for viewing, rather than bathing in. The blue-cobalt Umi Jigoku spring is 98 degrees celsius - the perfect temperature for cooking eggs above it seems!


8 Hells of Beppu, Oita: Umi Jigoku spring


Here are a few Japanese phrases that you may find helpful during your onsen experience:

Goku-raku, Goku-raku: It’s Heaven!

Onsen-wa, hajimete-desu: This is my first time to an Onsen

Onsen-ga, daisuki-desu: I really like Onsen!

2. Kagoshima’s Hot Sand Onsen

Japan is well-known for its onsen, but this is a hot spring experience with a difference!

If you travel to the far southern end of Kyushu, you’ll reach Ibusuki in Kagoshima, a small onsen town known for its hot sand bath.


Kagoshima's Hot Sand OnsenCredit: Welcome Kyushu


Visitors are buried on the beach in sand that has been heated by hot spring water underground. Don’t worry, once you’ve finished your sand bath you can go and wash off in a regular hot spring!

We hope you’ve enjoyed exploring Kyushu’s best place to eat and soak!

Experience a taste of Southern Japan with this month’s Ramen Pack.


Flavors of Southern Japan: A Guide to Kyushu's Ramen and Onsens


Read our Regional Ramen Noodles blog post to find out about Japan’s different noodle varieties.


Have you visited Kyushu? Share it with us #zenpopjapan

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