Best Places to Stay in Kyushu
Kyushu is another of Japan’s most rewarding travel destinations with plenty of accommodation to choose from across its many cities and regions On this page you will find the following information:
Kyushu is the third largest of Japan’s main islands, connected to the larger Honshu by both road and rail, ferry and of course flights to multiple regional airports. Translating as ‘Nine Provinces’, Kyushu is actually comprised of eight prefectures – Fukuoka, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Saga, Nagasaki and Okinawa*.
The region offers an enticing blend of cultural and natural attractions spread across a wide area. As such, accommodation can be found throughout Kyushu with the largest concentrations found in its main cities – including Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima – along with popular hot spring towns – including Unzen Onsen, Kurosawa Onsen, Beppu Onsen and others – and beautiful regional destinations including the island of Yakushima.
30 Things to Do Around Kyushu & Where to Stay
Sitting quietly in the southwest of the Japanese mainland, Kyushu is a regi…
*The tropical islands of Okinawa are also part of the Kyushu region however given their significant distance from the Japanese mainland, lying around 850km to the southwest of Fukuoka in the South China Sea, its best to consider them a separate destination.
RECOMMENDED PLACES TO STAY IN KYUSHU
Kyushu is the third largest of Japan’s main islands and as such, offers plenty of accommodation spread across its cities and regional areas. On this page we provide information about accommodation in the following areas:
FUKUOKA: HAKATA STATION AREA — FUKUOKA: TENJIN STATION AREA — NAGASAKI: NAGASAKI STATION AREA — NAGASAKI: CHINATOWN AREA — UNZEN ONZEN — KUMAMOTO: KUMAMOTO STATION AREA — KUMAMOTO: KUMAMOTO CASTLE AREA — KUROKAWA ONSEN — BEPPU ONSEN — YUFUIN ONSEN — KUNISAKI PENINSULA — KAGOSHIMA: KAGOSHIMA-CHUO STATION AREA — KAGOSHIMA: TENMONKAN AREA — SAKURAJIMA — KIRISHIMA ONSEN — SATSUMA PENINSULA — YAKUSHIMA
The areas discussed don’t account for all accommodation options across the region but they comprise the most popular and convenient places to stay when visiting Kyushu. In the cities, you’ll find the usual array of options including plenty of mid-size to large Western-style hotels, while regional areas offer more in the way of guesthouses, often family-run, in beautiful coastal locations and on surrounding islands. As most international visitors travel to Kyushu using the San’yo Shinkansen to Hakata Station in Fukuoka, let’s begin there:
FUKUOKA: HAKATA STATION AREA
Hakata Station is one of the largest and busiest train stations in Japan and Fukuoka’s main business, shopping and dining district. Within easy reach of Fukuoka Station – only 5 minutes by train – the area around Hakata Station is without question the most convenient place to visit when visiting the city. There’s no shortage of accommodation in the area, with many large to mid-sized Western-style hotels ranging from high-end to mid-range and budget options. Many hotels have English, Chinese or Korean-speaking staff making the Hakata Station area our recommendation when looking for accommodation in Fukuoka. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Hakata Station Area’ hotel page.
FUKUOKA: TENJIN STATION AREA
Located around 5 minutes by train from Hakata Station, the area around Tenjin Station is another shopping, dining and nightlife hub in Fukuoka. The area has clubs and bars including its famous ‘Oyafuku-dori’ or ‘Disrespectful Child Street’, where the city’s young gather to party all night. Positioned across the river from Nakasu Island – where you’ll find the largest concentration of Fukuoka’s famous ‘yatai’ street food vendors, staying around Tenjin is wells-suited to visitors looking to enjoy the city’s nightlife. There’s plenty of large to mid-size hotels in the area, with prices suiting all budgets. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Tenjin Station Area’ hotel page.
NAGASAKI: NAGASAKI STATION AREA
Visitors to Nagasaki will be well-served by staying in the area around Nagasaki Station – especially those prioritising a visit to the Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum which lie to the north of station and is easy to reach using the city’s tram system. Immediately accessible from the station, Hilton Nagasaki is a popular option for many international visitors thanks to its full-suite of services and English-speaking staff while to the east of station – in the area also including Nagasakiekimae Station – there are plenty of large to mid-sized hotels to choose from, including well-priced business hotels with all the usual Western amenities. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Nagasaki Station Area’ hotel page.
NAGASAKI: CHINATOWN AREA
The Chinatown district of Nagasaki borders the neighbourhood of Dozamachi, an area in which you’ll find plenty to do and plenty of places to stay. Staying in this area avails all the fun of Chinatown along with the attractions of Dejima, Nagasaki Seaside Park, Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum and other attractions. Accommodation in the area ranges from small to mid-sized hotels and guesthouses including some good self-contained options, with prices typically lower than around Nagasaki Station. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Chinatown Area’ hotel page.
The hot spring town of Unzen Onsen lies on the slopes of Mount Unzen, an active volcano that feeds the town’s baths with an abundance of thermal water. Hotels and guesthouses in Unzen Onsen range from high-end to mid-range options, including large Western-style hotels and more traditional ‘ryokan’ (guesthouses). All hotels and guesthouses will have their own hot springs however what to expect inside the rooms can vary greatly – with both Western and Japanese-style rooms including on-floor ‘futon’ bedding available. If you have a preference for one, make sure to check the details of you room prior to booking. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Unzen Onsen Area’ hotel page.
KUMAMOTO: KUMAMOTO STATION AREA
As a stop on Kyushu Shinkansen line, Kumamoto Station is the main entry point for international visitors headed to the city. Located a little to the south of the central city and popular Kumamoto Castle, the area around the station has a range of Western-style hotels including the highly-rated The Blossom Kumamoto directly accessible from the station. You’ll also find reasonably priced business hotels surrounding the station making it a convenient area to stay. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kumamoto Station Area’ hotel page.
KUMAMOTO: KUMAMOTO CASTLE AREA
Kumamoto Castle is the most famous attraction in Kumamoto City with the area surrounding it offering a huge number of accommodation options. You’ll find the largest concentration of hotels and guesthouses on the south-eastern side of the castle grounds, including large hotels, mid-size business hotels, guesthouses and self-contained options. Easy to reach using tram services from Kumamoto Station, you’ll also find plenty of dining options in the area making it an appealing area in which to base yourself. As noted, hotels and guesthouses surround the castle grounds with tram services also running to the western side of the castle but not covering the northern side making it a less convenient area to stay. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kumamoto Castle Area’ hotel page.
Located around 2 hours to the northeast of Kumamoto City, Kurokawa Onsen is one of Kyushu’s best hot spring towns that retains much of its traditional charm. Forget the large and unsightly hotels and development of many onsen towns around Japan. The residents of Kurokawa have worked hard to maintain the historic buildings, earthen walls, stone laneways and overall traditional character of the town making it a delight to walk around. Kurokawa also boasts excellent accommodation including high-end ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses) with their own hot springs and serving traditional ‘kaiseki’ (multicourse) menus. Sitting within Aso-Kuju National Park, a combined visit to Kurokawa Onsen and the Aso-Kuju is one of the true highlights of any visit to Kyushu. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kurokawa Onsen Area’ hotel page.
Beppu Onsen is one of eight districts making-up the ‘Beppu Hatto’ hot spring area of Beppu in Oita. It lays claim to the most ‘onsen’ (natural hot spring) sources and most abundant water supply of any town in Japan, making it famous throughout the country. Not only can you enjoy hot spring baths in Beppu, the town is also famous for its sand, steam and mud baths along with its dramatic ‘Jigoku’ (Hell) Pools. There is no shortage of hotels and guesthouses in Beppu, ranging from high-end ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses) to mid-range and budget options. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Beppu Onsen Area’ hotel page.
Under an hours drive from Beppu Onsen, Yufuin is another hot spring town known for its art galleries, shopping, cafes and restaurants. It’s a pleasant town to stroll around with walking trails leading to the small Lake Kinrinko around 1.5 kilometres away from the train station. The town boasts plenty of accommodation including high-end guesthouses, with a number of bathhouses including Baien and Tsuka no Ma open to day-visitors. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Yufuin Onsen Area’ hotel page.
Kunisaki Peninsula lies to the north of Beppu Onsen and Yufuin Onsen, an area dominated by Mount Futago and most famous for its many archaic, rustic, lost temples and well-preserved samurai district of Kitsuki. Most accommodation in the area is located near to the coast, around the base of the mountain, in the form of small, family-run guesthouses. A beautiful and engaging area to visit, exploring and staying in Kunisaki is best-suited to travellers driving themselves. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kunisaki Peninsula Area’ hotel page.
KAGOSHIMA: KAGOSHIMA-CHUO STATION AREA
Kagoshima-chuo Station is the southern terminus of the Kyushu Shinkansen line. As such, it’s the main entry and exit point for most international travellers visiting the south of Kyushu including the nearby destinations including Sakurajima, Satsuma Peninsula and the World Heritage-listed island of Yakushima. The area around the station has plenty of large to mid-sized Western-style hotels. Prices are reasonable and given the easy access they provide to the station, staying in this area is always a convenient option. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kagoshima-chuo Station Area’ hotel page.
KAGOSHIMA: TENMONKAN AREA
Around 15 minutes by tram from Kagoshima-chuo Station, the Tenmonkan district of Kagoshima is the city’s most popular shopping, dining and entertainment area with Bunka-dori and Yamanokuchi-dori streets full of bars and pubs. There’s also plenty of accommodation in the area including large Western-style hotels, well-priced business hotels and smaller, budget guesthouses. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Tenmonkan Area’ hotel page.
The volcanic island of Sakurajima is a quick ferry ride – only 15 minutes / JPY200 – from central Kagoshima City, making it one of the region’s most popular destinations and one that can be easily enjoyed as a day-trip. Should you wish to stay on the island, you’ll find accommodation located near the coast on the western, northern and southern sides of the island. The limited accommodation on Sakurajima includes both Japanese and Western-style hotels along with small guesthouses and self-contained options. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Sakurajima Area’ hotel page.
The popular hot spring town of Kirishima Onsen sits around 60 minutes to the north-west of Kagoshima City and can be reached using train services running from Kagoshima Station. There are multiple hotels spread throughout the town including high-end, mid-range and budget options. As is the case when booking accommodation at any hot spring guesthouse in Japan, be careful to check the amenities included in your room as it will vary from completely Western-amenities and bedding to traditional Japanese rooms with on-floor ‘futon’ bedding and shared bathrooms. Sitting within Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park, staying in the area as a great base from where to explore one of Kyushu’s most rewarding and diverse destinations. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kirishima Onsen Area’ hotel page.
Satsuma Peninsula is a large area lying to the south of Kagoshima City with multiple attractions including the Chiran samurai district – one of Japan’s most picturesque and best-preserved samurai areas – along with the hot springs and sand baths of Ibusuki, the beauty of Cape Nagsakibana and other fantastic destinations. There’s plenty of accommodation spread across the peninsula including resort-style hotels, luxury guesthouses and plenty of cheaper mid-range and budget options. Given the size of the area, Satsuma Peninsula is a destination best-suited to travellers driving themselves, allowing you to move freely between attractions. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Satsuma Peninsula Area’ hotel page.
The World Heritage-listed island of Yakushima rates as one of Japan’s best natural attractions. Accessible by ferry from Kagoshima City – or flights from multiple airports – Yakushima is easy to get to but requires visitors to stay at least one night on the island, with many travellers choosing to stay multiple days to hike through its beautiful forests. The island is developed around its coast with the interior largely undeveloped and blessed with beautiful cedar forests, for which it is most famous. Most accommodation is located nearby the coast with the greatest concentration around the islands two major ports towns, Miyanoura and Anbo Port. Accommodation varies from high-end hotels, basic guesthouses and self-contained options with prices varying by season and being at their highest during ‘Golden Week’ in late-April to early-May and the August summer holidays including ‘Obon Week’. Accommodation is both expensive and often books-out well in advance at those times of year. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Yakushima Area’ hotel page.
30 THINGS TO DO AROUND KYUSHU & WHERE TO STAY
Lying to the southwest of Japan’s main island of Honshu, Kyushu is a region blessed with attractions, from the historic to the natural and the exotic. Fukuoka is the largest city in Kyushu while Nagasaki’s history transcends the national to occupy a place in the global consciousness. Kumamoto and its famous castle or Kagoshima and its nearby natural splendours including the World Heritage island of Yakushima, all combine to make this one of the most rewarding travel destinations in Japan. Our ’30 Things to Do Around Kyushu & Where to Stay’ page is a great place to start when planning your visit to the region.
GETTING TO & AROUND KYUSHU
The island of Kyushu is connected to Japan’s main island of Honshu by the San’yo Shinkansen line, with the regional Kyushu Shinkansen line running to multiple cities in the region. Multiple airports service both domestic and international routes, while ferry services also operate from regional ports and express buses run to various cities across Japan. The best way to get to Kyushu therefore depends on your intended destinations once there, while also needing to consider the time and cost of each option. For many if not most international visitors, Fukuoka will be the easiest point of entry. It boasts the both largest train station – Hakata Station – and largest airport in Kyushu with ferry and bus services also connecting it to cities on Honshu. Hakata Station is the terminus of the San’yo Shinkansen line – running to Hiroshima, Kobe, Osaka and other cities – which connects through to the Tokaido Shinkansen lines – which runs to Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo. For information on how to get to Fukuoka from those and other cities, see our ‘How to Get to Fukuoka’ page.
Getting Around Kyushu
Once in Kyushu, the Kyushu Shinkansen line runs from Hakata Station in Fukuoka to Kagoshima-chuo Station in Kagoshima, with stops at Kumamoto and other cities. It is the fast way to move between Kyushu’s major cities – excluding Nagasaki – and from stations on the line, regional services run to other popular destinations including Nagasaki, Beppu Onsen and more.
PLAN YOUR VISIT TO JAPAN
Heading to Kyushu using the rail system is easy and comfortable. Unfathomable in its size and efficiency, moving around the country by train opens-up all regions of Japan for exploration. Our ‘Plan Your Visit’ page has everything you need to know about visiting Japan – from tips on the best time to travel, times to avoid, entering and exiting the country, money matters, staying connected, accommodation, staying safe and healthy and plenty more to ensure that you get the most out of your time here.