Wednesday, November 28, 2018

6D5N Itinerary in Kyushu, Japan (2018)

2018 Fukuoka Cover

Ever heard of Fukuoka and wondering where it is? Fukuoka is a city in Fukuoka Prefecture on the island of Kyushu and it is the largest city on this southernmost island of Japan. Another interesting fact of Fukuoka is that it is more closer to Busan (South Korea) than Tokyo where you can take ferry to across . I bet another thing you never knew about Fukuoka too - it's the birthplace of Ichiran Ramen! 

Best Time To Visit Kyushu 
Any time at any season. It depends on what are you fancy with - whether spring, summer, autumn or winter. For me, definitely my pick would be on the autumn which falls between October and November where the temperature at a pleasant level and the weather is practically stable. If you are looking for something more happening, then you should go in the month of July for the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival. However, try to avoid from mid-August to late September cause the island might experiencing the Pacific typhoon season.

2018 Fukuoka Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival
Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival running for 15 days from 1st July yearly.

Flying In Kyushu
Fukuoka Airport is the main international hub serving those international flights from Mainland China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and more. Heading to the city centre from the airport is pretty easy cause the airport is so close to the city centre which takes approximately of 10 minutes by subway.

Travel Around Kyushu
There are 7 prefectures with over than 10 cities around Kyushu Island (as per the map attached below). Therefore, if you ask me how many days should be allocated to visit Kyushu - of course, the longer, the better cause Kyushu Island is so huge and there are many interesting cities worth for visit. But if you are pressed for time, then I would recommend you to focus on Fukuoka, Beppu, Kumamoto and Nagasaki - just like what my friends and I did recently where we managed to cover all these within 6 days and 5 nights trip.

Japan - Kyushu Map
Image source from Japan Guide

Get Around Kyushu
Generally, there are two ways to travel from one city to another within Kyushu Island; either by renting a car or relying on the trains. If you prefer the latter option, then you should consider of buying the JR Kyushu Rail Pass. Click on the link for more info about the validity, price and coverage.

JR Kyushu Rail Pass
All Kyushu
3 days
15,000 yen
5 days
18,000 yen
Northern Kyushu
3 days
8,500 yen
5 days
10,000 yen
Southern Kyushu
3 days
7,000 yen
Fukuoka Wide
2 days
3,000 yen
Reduced rates (50%) apply to children aged 6-11

However, my friends and I decided to rent a car and do self-drive trip cause we love of having another road adventures. We rented from Budget Car Rental with a free shuttle service from Fukuoka Airport to their office nearby.

2018 Fukuoka Airport Budget Car Rental

NOTE: For a Malaysian who intend to drive around Japan, applicants should apply for International Driving Permit (IDP) at any Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) offices. Do bring along your original identification card, valid driving license, two passport size colour photos and RM150 for the processing fee. Don't forget to fill in the application form at JPJ office too. Only those who apply IDP is allowed to drive in Japan.

6D5N Kyushu Itinerary
Day 1: Fukuoka Airport → Yufuin → Beppu
Day 2: Beppu → Kumamoto
Day 3: Kumamoto
Day 4: Kumamoto → Nagasaki → Fukuoka
Day 5: Fukuoka
Day 6: Sayonara Fukuoka

DAY 1
Right after we clear with all the car rental process, straight away we drove to Beppu, a home to more than 2,000 onsen (known as hot spring in Japanese). But before that, we did a stopby at a small town by the name of Yufuin for its colourful and vibrant Yufuin Floral Village.

2018 Japan Yufuin 01

Setting in the old English atmosphere, almost all the houses and stores here are painted in bright yellow colour and built in an average size where one can almost touch their roof, if you are tall enough. Despite its size, all the shops are beautifully manicured with multicoloured flowers, bushes and vintage lamps which causing this place a good photo opportunities if you are looking for Insta-worthy spots. Besides souvenir stores that selling all kind of stuff like soft toys, Japanese cartoons (Totoro, Kiki), owl-themed items and more, you can find cat's cafe and owl museum too. 

2018 Japan Yufuin 03

2018 Japan Yufuin 02

2018 Japan Yufuin 04

Yufuin Floral Village
How To Get Here: Less than 20 minutes walk from Yufuin Station on JR Kyudai Main Line
Tel: 0977-85-5132 (If you are renting car, you need to enter telephone code to get here)
Opening Hours: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm daily
Admission is free of charge.

From Yufuin, it takes approximately an hour drive to Beppu. Beppu is well-known for its hot springs and there are more than 100 hot springs there. Some hotels and even traditional inns have their own hot springs within their building and allowed their guests access for free. Even the one you book that doesn't have this special service, don't worry cause onsen (hot spring) can be found almost everywhere around Beppu and the cheapest one we found cost us 100 yen. That's like RM4. Freaking dirt cheap!

2018 Beppu Manhole Cover
Beppu - home to more than hundred of 100 hot springs #thetravellingnails

After soaking and relaxing in an onsen bath, it's time to fill our hungry tummy. And we had Icchome Ramen - a clear broth-based soup served with Charshu, boiled egg, green onion and kimchi. Yes, an unique combination and this is my virgin experience eating ramen with kimchi together. 

2018 Beppu Icchome Ramen

In Beppu, we stayed for a night in International Hostel Cabosu House Beppu Original where we got to experience sleeping in a tatami-styled room. It's a very simple and basic Japanese-styled room but very spacious which can accommodate up to 4 guests. We booked the one ensuite with a separate toilet and bathroom. As for the parking, we were requested to pay additional of 700 yen. 

2018 International Hostel Cabosu House Beppu Original

International Hostel Cabosu House Beppu Original
Type of Room: Economy Japanese-Style Room with Ensuite
Room Rate: RM342 per night

DAY 2
In Beppu, we only intended to stay for a night and therefore before leaving this city, we visited few places like Umi Jigoku and Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa.

Umi Jigoku - Umi means "sea" and Jigoku indicates "hell". Why this place is known as sea hell is because of its colour - an unique cobalt blue coloured hot spring. Umi Jigoku is undoubtedly to be one of the most beautiful and sophisticated out of all seven hells. It's exceptionally hot and so don't ever bother to take a bath here. Besides the popular onsen eggs, don't leave this place without trying their Jigoku pudding which made by the steam of Jigoku. 

2018 Japan Beppu Umi Jigoku

2018 Japan Beppu Umi Jigoku 2

2018 Japan Beppu Umi Jigoku Pudding
#thetravellingnails

Umi Jigoku
How To Get Here: Bus #5, 7 and 9 from JR Beppu Station
Tel: 0977-66-0121. Free parking is provided at all the hells.
Opening Hours: 8 am to 5 pm daily
Admission Fee: 400 yen for visit Umi Jigoku only. If you are interested to visit all the seven hells, then it costs 2,000 yen. 

Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa - This is where you can cook your food by steaming them using the natural heat of the hot spring water. Sounds interesting, right? Visitors can choose and purchase any variety of food which they like to cook/steam by their own such as seafood, chicken, pork, vegetables, sweet potatoes, dumplings and more for between 150 yen to 3,000 yen. Unfortunately for us, we didn't have the chance to experience this cause there are like more than 50 people queue before us. It's like almost two hours of waiting and therefore, we decided to skip this. It's wise to come as early as 9 am or choose to come during non-peak hour. 

2018 Beppu Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa 1

2018 Beppu Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa

Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa
How To Get Here: Bus #5, 7 and 9 from JR Beppu Station
Tel: 0977-66-3775
Opening Hours: 9 am to 9 pm (8pm is the last cooking time). Closed on third Wednesday of each month.
Admission Fee: 400 yen for visit Umi Jigoku only. If you are interested to visit all the seven hells, then it costs 2,000 yen. 

From Beppu, we proceeded to Kumamoto which takes about three hours drive. As for Kumamoto, we stayed here for 2 nights and we booked Riverside Hotel Kumamoto. We enjoyed staying in this hotel due to its excellent and great location - very close to Shimotori Shopping Arcade and less than 10 minutes walk to Kumamoto Castle.

2018 Riverside Hotel Kumamoto

Riverson Hotel Kumamoto
Type of Room: Modern Japanese-Style Room Ensuite with private bathroom 
Room Rate: 10,800 yen with additional charge of 1,000 yen for parking fee (Approx. to RM464 per night and can accommodate up to 3 guests)

Right after we done with the check-in, we walked to Shimotori Shopping Arcade for Kokutei Ramen. If you are searching for authentic Tonkatsu Ramen in Kumamoto, then Kokutei Ramen is highly recommended for its milky and creamy pork bone broth-based ramen soup with a strong garlic flavour. We're lucky that we don't have to travel far to savour for this yummylicious bowl of ramen. We ordered Kokutei Recommended - Tamagoiri Ramen where instead of serving the hard boiled egg, they served two fresh egg yolks to make the broth more creamier and it costs 900 yen for normal size and 1,500 yen for the extra large size. 

2018 Beppu Kokutei Ramen
Kokutei Ramen
Opening Hours: 10.30 am to 8.30 pm

DAY 3
It's time to explore Kumamoto, the capital city of Kumamoto Prefecture. Kumamoto is recognised for its hilltop Kumamoto Castle. In Japan, there are "Three Premier Castles" amongst both Japanese and the foreigner - Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture which I've been with my mom 5 years ago (click here), Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture and Kumamoto Castle is one of them. Unfortunately due to devastating earthquakes in April 2016, the castle suffered a heavy damage and the inner grounds are closed to the public recently. However, visitors still able to witness the massive fortress from the outside.      

Before reaching to the castle, we visited Sakuranobaba Johsaien which is about less than 10 minutes walk from our hotel. This is a Japanese tourism facility where not just consists of tourism information centre but also filled with plenty of shops selling souvenirs, snacks, desserts and more. Here, we stumbled upon a buffet restaurant where we can enjoy both Japanese and Western cuisines under one roof at the price 1,500 yen for an adult which we think it's pretty reasonable and affordable. 

2018 Kumamoto Sakuranobaba Johsaien 1

2018 Kumamoto Sakuranobaba Johsaien Lunch Buffet

After the satisfying lunch, it's time to do some exercise by hiking up the hills to sight the majestic Kumamoto Castle. Like I mentioned earlier, although we're not allowed to enter due to earthquake, we still able to spot some part of the fortress from the outside. The main castle is scheduled to be reopened to the public in Spring 2021. Perhaps I should revisit Kumamoto for the second time merely for this premier castle once it's reopening soon (fingers crossed). 

2018 Kumamoto Castle

2018 Japan Kumamoto

Since we still have plenty of time, we went and visited Suizen-ji Joju-en. It is a photogenic Japanese style lakeside garden offering a scenic and spectacular view. This vast garden is well-maintained and definitely worth to visit though situated quite distance from the city centre. It's so peaceful and relaxing strolling along a circular path. I bet this garden would be ten times beautiful during the sakura (cherry blossom or spring) season. 

2018 Kumamoto Suizen-ji Joju-en 1

2018 Kumamoto Suizen-ji Joju-en 2

Suizen-ji Joju-en
How To Get Here: Take tram from JR Kumamoto Station
Opening Hours: 7.30 am to 6pm (March to October); 8.30 am to 5 pm (November to February)
Admission Fee: 400 yen

DAY 4
On the next morning, we woke up super early in order to catch the first ferry ride to across to Nagasaki. From our hotel, we drove all the way to Kumamoto Port which is about 30 minutes drive. Since it was too early, there's no traffic and we managed to catch the 7 am ferry ride instead of the 7.30 am ride we planned earlier. This is the main highlight of our trip cause I always love to take ferry while doing self-road trip. If you would like to know more about the schedule and fares, click here.

2018 Kumamoto-Shimabara Ferry

This so called "high-speed car ferry" takes approximately an hour ride from Kumamoto Port to Shimabara, the nearest port of Nagasaki. From my observation, only my friends and I were the only foreigners on the ferry cause majority of them are the local heading for work. Upon arriving Shimabara Port, it takes another two hours drive to Nagasaki city centre. Tired? No, cause two of us decided to apply for IDP though there were three of us to avoid from over-exhausted for driving the whole island. 

In Nagasaki, we parked our car in Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and from there, we decided to walk to the nearest attractions. One of my biggest regret for this trip is that we didn't intend to stay longer in Nagasaki cause there are so many things to see and do here.  

2018 Japan Nagasaki Attractions

Places of Interest In Nagasaki:
  • Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum - museum with photos and artifacts documenting the atomic bombing of Nagasaki dating back in 1945
  • Urakami Cathedral - Reassembled remains of this Catholic church destroyed in the atomic blast in WWII 
  • Nagasaki Peace Park - A park that commemorates the atomic bombing of Nagasaki City by displaying number of dramatic sculptures and statues to remind the visitors of the nuclear catastrophe and the need for a peaceful world and free from war. 
  • Hypocenter Park - Not far away from Nagasaki Peace Park, stands the Hypocenter Park marks the exact location and hypocenter of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
How To Get To Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Surrounding:
From JR Nagasaki Station
Streetcar: Take bound for Akasako, get off at Hamaguchi-machi and walk for 5 minutes.
Bus: Take Nagasaki bus #1, 2, or 9 and get off at Hamaguchi-machi. Walk for 5 minutes.

NOTE: From Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, it takes roughly around 10 minutes walk to Urakami Cathedral, Peace Park and Hypocenter Park. There is a tourist information centre located inside the museum and you can request for the map.

After recalling our history knowledge of the World War 2 in Nagasaki, we head back to Fukuoka - this is where we started and also where we ended our trip for this journey. In Fukuoka, we booked to stay in Montan Hakata Hostel. I admire the concept of this hostel especially the spacious lounge/common area. And the best part is that free breakfast provided to all the guests which we only found out about this on the second day. Silly us! 

2018 Fukuoka montan HAKATA Hostel 1

2018 Fukuoka montan HAKATA Hostel 2

Montan Hakata Hostel
Type of Room: Triple room with private bathroom 
Room Rate: RM375 per night for a single bed and a bunk bed and breakfast is included
Nearest Station: Higashi-Hie Station under Kuko Line

2018 Fukuoka JR Hakata City

Now, let's get to know some facts of Fukuoka. For your information, Fukuoka has two centres - Hakata and Tenjin. If you are into shopping activities, then you should consider staying in Tenjin cause it is the largest shopping district in Fukuoka. Several huge department stores such as Daimaru, Mitsukoshi is located at this area. Even the Japanese biggest discount store, Don Quijote is not far away. 

DAY 5
So, what to do and see in Fukuoka? Here, we decided to return the car we rented and get around Fukuoka by taking public transport, especially the subway. In case you are travel extensively, you can consider to buy an all day subway pass costs 620 yen on weekday and 520 yen on weekend. 

First thing to do in Fukuoka is to eat Ichiran Ramen. A trip to Fukuoka is incomplete without savouring this well-known ramen dedicated solely to perfecting classic tonkatsu. You can find Ichiran Ramen restaurant in both Hakata and Tenjin area but the one in Tenjin offers something special - serves in "Kamadare Style" with a specially rectangular shaped bowl and this is exclusively found in Fukouka only. 

2018 Japan Fukuoka Ichiran Ramen

2018 Japan Fukuoka Ichiran Ramen 2

2018 Japan Fukuoka Ichiran Ramen 3

Ichiran Tenjin Nishidori
How To Get There: 
Nishitetsu Omuta Line: 5 minute walk from Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station
Subway: 8 minute walk from Tenjin Station
Opening Hours: 10 am to 7 am daily (Yes, they open for 21 hours with 3 hours break only)


Yatai, the mobile food stalls are known to be Fukuoka's iconic. There are approximately 150 yatai scattered across the city of Fukuoka but the common place to look for them is particularly on the southern end of Nakasu. Yatai are normally open from 6 pm till midnight and typical Japanese dishes like yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), oden (hot pot) and ramen are among the food served there. 

2018 Japan Fukuoka Yatai

You will be surprise that one of the popular attractions of Fukuoka is Canal City, a uniquely designed mall houses variety of clothing stores, restaurants, cinema and remarkable character store like Studio Ghibli gift store which is popular for Totoro. Then on the 5th floor, there is a Ramen Stadium hosts 8 distinctive famous ramen shops from all over Japan. Somehow this place reminds me of Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum which I have yet to blog about it till now. 

2018 Fukuoka Canal City 1

2018 Fukuoka Canal City Ramen Stadium

Canal City
How To Get There: 
Canal City is located in the middle of Hakata and Tenjin Station. It takes about 15 minutes walk from Hakata Station or 20 minutes walk from Tenjin Station.
Opening Hours: 10 am to 9 pm daily


Kushida Shrine, a Shinto shrine is famous for the happening and grand festival of Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival. It goes without saying then that this shrine is beloved by the citizens of Fukuoka. When you visit this shrine, don't forget to drink the water from well with three cranes which believes to bring longevity and eternal youth. 

2018 Fukuoka Kushida Shrine


2018 Fukuoka Kushida Shrine 1

Kushida Shrine
How To Get There: 
It takes about few minutes walk from Gion or Nakasu stations of the Fukuoka subway.
Opening Hours: 4 am to 10 pm daily
Admission is free and open to public.

Total Damage For 6D5N Trip Per Pax
PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
¥
RM
Accommodation
Cabosu House Beppu Original – 1 night
Riverside Hotel Kumamoto – 2 nights (+ parking fee)
Montan Hakata Hostel – 2 nights

Transportation
Car rental
Ferry ride
Toll
Gasoline
Parking fee
Tram & bus around Kumamoto
Subway around Fukuoka

Admission Fees
Beppu - Umi Jigoku
Kumamoto - Suizen Park
Nagasaki – Atomic Bomb Museum

Food and drinks

-
7,867
-


9,000
1,487
4,083
557
553
650
660


400
400
200

10,464

114
309
250


346
55
156
21
20
24
24


15
15
7

387
TOTAL (RM)
1,743
Exchange Rate ¥100 = RM3.70 as at September 2018

Is 6D5N Sufficient To Cover Fukuoka and The Surroundings
Absolutely no! I would suggest to spend at least 8 days or more (if possible and time permitted) when planning your trip to visit Fukuoka and other surrounding cities. Perhaps you can include Kitakyushu, Miyazaki or even planning a day trip to Hashima Island, commonly called as Gunkanjima where this island has appeared in several international films including the South Korean film "The Battleship Island".

Battle-Ship_Island_Nagasaki_Japan
Image source

AirAsia Is Flying To Fukuoka Soon?

air-asia-fuk-KL
Image Source

According to this news shared by Azra (Life of A Traveller), looks like AirAsia is going to launch another latest route between Kuala Lumpur to Fukuoka soon. The official announcement including the flight schedule is expected to be announced by AirAsia later by this month and the flight will probably begin between January to March 2019.

So, let's us wait and hope to see this great news soon. Hopefully this post of mine can you give a rough idea on planning your trip to Fukuoka and other cities of Kyushu Island. 

12 comments:

  1. Ah Kyushu! Looks awesome! I've been wanting to go for a long time... Got to make it happen soon.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for sharing
    this helps alot!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing this lovely place and taking your time to give us, the much needed details. Your photos are awesome and I have added to my ‘places to visit’ list. Go go Diana, always look forward to your fantastic trips and photos.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Japan is such an amazing and lively place to visit. Your photos are tempting to travel there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's so beautiful. I never been to this part of Japan yet, would definitely explore one of these days. I see ramen is everywhere there but I wonder if there's any non pork broth ones 😂 I only know ada in Kyoto saja.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Quite surprised to see that the expenses are not so expensive.
    You did not buy any souvenir? hehe

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey, your pics look gorgeous! Thanks for raising awareness of our little island. I just thought your readers might be interested to know that Air Asia will start flying directly from KL to Fukuoka in February next year with super cheap flights. Just in time for cherry blossom season!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yeay! I already got my tix for Fukuoka next year with AirAsia. Gonna refer your post here for some itinerary ideas :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Me too. I originally planned to go in 2018, but somehow did not make it. Glad AA launched the direct flight to Fukuoka.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This lovely post really warms my heart as I have fondest memories of Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Nagasaki and I was privileged to climb into the Kumamoto castle, Hashima Island and even a real Samurai's mansion. I enjoyed the Hakata Ramen and bumped into actor Ekin Cheng.
    I will go again since AA will save my flying time. The first trip by CX made our luggage lost on transit twice!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good blog Post....
    Book online bus ticket from Redbus

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to share what's on your mind & thoughts.
Thanks for the comments and I'm truly appreciate that. =D
[If you spam my comment box to promote your site, sorry to say I will delete your comment(s) instantly. TQ]