Kyushu, the magnificent green route

Itinerary : Fukuoka - Nagasaki (- Kagoshima - Miyazaki) - Mount Aso - Beppu

Short circular itinerary: 3 days from $ 274 / Long circular itinerary: 5 days from $ 448*

Who has never dreamt of visiting Kyushu Island by car? Its active volcanoes, green valleys and onsen, its religious and historic sites that constitute one of the cradles of Japanese civilization and above all its small villages ... and its gastronomy. From Karatsu to Beppu, via Sakura-jima and Takachiho, here is an itinerary that combines the best of Kyushu.

Day 1: FROM FUKUOKA TO NAGASAKI
Fukuoka

Fukuoka

Karatsu

Nagasaki

 
Fukuoka, in the north of Kyushu, will be the starting point for your journey, which begins with Saga. A small bowl of Hakata ramen for the road, then take the Fukuoka urban motorway No. 2 to join the Kyushu motorway (九州自动车道) at Dazaïfu (大宰府). Fifteen kilometres further on, you will change motorway at the Tosu junction (鸟栖) for the Nagasaki motorway heading for Nagasaki. After 25 km, leave the motorway at Saga-Yamato (佐贺大和).
 
After visiting Yoshinogari Historical Park and Saga Castle, you can embark on what could be called the pottery trail, through the towns of Karatsu and Imari and then Arita Village, the legendary birthplace of porcelain in Japan. Take the Nagasaki motorway again and after 15 km exit at Taku (多久) to take the Kyuragi-Taku toll road.
 
After exiting at Makise (牧瀬), you can take the Karatsu Road(唐津街道), which will take you 20 km to Karatsu.
Imari is only about 25 km from Karatsu, in a south-westerly direction on Route 202. Then to head directly to Arita, follow Route 202 again, south for about ten kilometres, until you turn right at the Imari-Guchi crossroads. The famous Arita Ceramics Museum is worth a visit.
 
Finally, to reach Nagasaki, take the Kyushu West motorway (西九州自动车道) at Hasami-Arita (波佐见有田) towards Saga / Nagasaki and change to the Nagasaki motorway at the Takeo junction (武雄). You will then have about 55 km left to reach Nagasaki.
 
Nagasaki, which has a long history as a crossroads with the outside world, will give you an impression of the West, or even China with its "Shinchi Chinatown."  The view from Mount Inasa is reputed to be one of the finest in Japan.

Journey time: 4h / approximately 215 km
Cost** : 3 860  yens





 


SHORT CIRCULAR ITINERARY
DAY 2: FROM NAGASAKI TO MOUNT ASO

Unzen

Aso
 

From Nagasaki, you can then join Kumamoto via Mount Unzen.
Take the Nagasaki motorway again in the direction of Unzen by Route 251, which runs along Tachibana Bay. This route will give you the opportunity to admire the wonderful panorama of the Amakusa Islands. 22 km away, at the Kiba junction, take Route 128, which takes you through the mountains to the Unzen onsen in the national park of the same name, anonsen that takes its refinement from the time when it was a holiday destination for foreigners to the region.
 
You can then take Route 57 or the Unzen Road (云仙街道) to Shimahara, where you can take the ferry to Kumamoto. After about an hour at sea you will arrive in the Port of Kumamoto (a green town appreciated for its castle and "musha-gaeshi",walls that prevent enemy attacks, its ramen, and horse meat).
 
From Kumamoto, Route 57 takes you about 40 km to the foot of Mount Aso. In Aso, a green region, similar to the Dordogne region of France, the "Aso Panorama line" will provide you with a view of the huge Mount Aso crater from various angles. The small restaurants, onsen and craft shops around Mount Aso will delight you.

Journey time: 4h30 / approximately 150 km
Cost** : 2 600  yens

























LONG CIRCULAR ITINERARY
DAY 2: FROM NAGASAKI TO KAGOSHIMA

Amakusa

Ibusuki

 

If you have more time after your stop in Nagasaki, why not venture further to the south of Kyushu.
Take the ferry that goes from Tomioka to Mogi across Amakusa Bayand from Akune join the Satsuma Peninsula. At Akune, take Route 3 on the right to go around the peninsula, travelling through Kushikino and Makurazaki and finally Ibusuki, where you can take a natural sand bathin an onsen of the same name.
 
Then continue your journey to the north via the Ibusuki Skyline, from where you will have a magnificent view of the bay and you will arrive in Kagoshima in about 1 h 20 min and 45 km.
 
From Kagoshima you can take the ferry to Yakushima.
Attention, a car hired on the main island of Kyushu must be returned ​​on the main island of Kyushu. It is not possible to leave the car on Yakushima Island, for example to leave by plane.

Journey time: 9h30 / approximately 320 km
Cost** : 3 600  yens


 

 

LONG CIRCULAR ITINERARY
DAY 3: FROM KAGOSHIMA TO MIYAZAKI
sakura-jima

ise




 

Your next stopover will be Miyazaki. It is possible to get there in 2 hours by going around Kagoshima Bay, but why not take an extra hour and go via Sakura-jima Islandwhere you can see the active volcano.
The Sakura-jima ferry takes you to the Island, which you will cross on Route 224 or the Sakura-jima Tenbodo (桜岛展望道).
 
On the other side of the island you will reach Route 220, which runs ​​along the bay and at Kokubun (国分), you will take the Kyushu East motorway (东九州自动车道).
You will take it for about 22 km to Suekichi Takarabe. Route 10 will bridge the 20 km to the Miyazaki motorway(宫崎自动车道), which you will take at Miyakonojo and which, as its name suggests, takes you to Miyazaki.
A drive from the south of Miyazaki along the coast in the Nichinan National Park will allow you to enjoy the almost tropical scenery, which merits its nickname Miyazaki "the Hawaii of Japan".

Journey time : 3h / approximately 130 km
Cost** : 2 870 yens




 







LONG CIRCULAR ITINERARY
DAY 4: FROM MIYAZAKI TO ASO
takachiho

takachiho

 

From the town centre, take the Miyazaki-Nishi By-pass to join the Higashi-Kyushu motorway at Miyazaki-Nishi (west of Miyazaki). Head for Oita and Nobe and leave the motorway 30 km further on, at Takanabe (高锅). Route 10 (you can also take the Hyoga motorway again (日向)), will take you about 50 km to Nobeor you can go into the mountains towards Takachihoalong the "Takachiho Shinwa Kaido" or the road of Takachiho legends.
 
Takachiho is a high place of worship for the Shinto religion because it is said that this is where the sun goddess Amaterasu brought her son, Ninigi-no-Mikoto, to Earth.
 
Route 325 will then take you about an hour to the foot of Mount Aso.

Journey time: 4h50 / approximately 200 km
Cost** : 900 / 1 650  yens



 





DAY 3 / DAY 5: FROM ASO TO FUKUOKA / KITA-KYUSHU
beppu

yufuin







 

From Aso, before reaching Beppu, go via Yufuin, one of the most famous onsen in Japan west of Beppu, not only for its thermal qualities, but also for the road that takes you there. Route 11 or "Yamanami Highway", which you can take at Miyachi (宫地), and which will take you to Yufuin in about 2h and 50 km, is one of the most beautiful roads in Kyushu.
The Oita motorway (大分自动车) will then take you to Beppu in about 30 min.
 
This will be the return journey.
Those returning to Fukuoka will need to take the Oita motorway for about 110 km to the Tosu junction, where you will change for the Kyushu motorway to Fukuoka.
 
Journey time: 4 h  / approximately 230 km
Cost **: 3,500 yen
 
Those going to Kita-Kyushu, where they can take the Kanmonkyo Bridge to return to Honshu, will take the Usa-Beppu road (宇佐别​​府道路) at Hayami (速见), Route 10, which will take them back north to Kita Kyushu.
 
Journey time: 4 h 30 min / approximately 190 km
Cost **: 1,100 yen


 


 
* Price for category P1, pick-up and drop off of the vehicle in the same agency
** This cost corresponds to toll fares and ferries

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