Kyushu is Japan’s third-largest island, and a strait just 600 meters across at its narrowest
point separates Kyushu from the largest island of Honshu. But that has been sufficient to
allow Kyushu to mold its individual character.
Kyushu is different from the rest of Japan: it’s older, warmer, more authentic. It is an area of
spectacular active volcanoes and mountains soaring to 1,700 meters. It is a land rich in deep
forests, beautiful coastlines and abundant hot-spring resorts. The bountiful seas surrounding
Kyushu are scattered with smaller islands, each bearing a distinctive nature all of its own.
Kyushu enjoys a balmy climate. And some might argue that the warmth of this southern
locale has spread to the warmth of its people. The Kyushu city of Kagoshima is often called
the “Naples of the East” – not just because it is a port whose skyline is dominated by the cone
of a brooding volcano. As its Italian counterpart, Kagoshima, like other parts of Kyushu, has a
more Mediterranean temperament than other regions of the country.
The influence of the climate on the local character might be disputed; but beyond question
is the fact that the people of Kyushu have been used to accommodating visitors from
distant lands since ancient times.