Travel Guide: Kumamoto Road Trip to Fukuoka
Posted on 30 August 2018
Our designer, Crystal recently went on a 6-day road trip from Kumamoto to Fukuoka in the South of Japan. This part of Japan is best visited by car, if you are worried about the long drives, you can be assured that all the drives are short and along the beautiful countryside of Japan, stopping by small towns to get the most of the Japanese culture and local delicacies. Here's the ultimate guide to Kumamoto and Fukuoka!
Day 1 - Kumamoto
First things first, a foodie visit to Katsuretsu Tei Shinshigai, to get your Tonkatsu fix as they are known to serve the best in Japan. With your happy stomach, take a walk and head up to the Kumamoto Castle area for some cultural and historical sightseeing. Due to a devastating earthquake that happened in 2016, you might find that the main castle area is closed for re-constructions, however, the less destructed buildings and shrines are open for visits. No visit to any city in Japan is complete without shopping, there are two shopping streets, Kamitori and Shimotori, where you can find all kinds of shops, department stores, and restaurants.
Stay: Crowne Plaza ANA Kumamoto New Sky - spacious and modern rooms in walking distance to the city centre.
Day 2 - Mt. Aso and Kurokawa Onsen
The Road trip starts here! Pick up your rental car and drive up to Mount Aso, an active volcano. Now, this is the exciting part, Mt. Aso’s volcanic stability changes every minute, causing the entry restriction to change a several time a day, therefore don’t forget to check here regularly while driving up to Mt. Aso to avoid disappointment. Next stop will be Kurokawa Onsen, one of the best onsen areas in Japan, 1-hour drive from Mt. Aso. Treat yourself to stay in one of these all-inclusive Onsen resorts, you will experience traditional Japanese hospitality, surrounded by untouched nature and local shops. (*Make sure you book your stay at least 2 months in advance.)
Eat: Shop of camel mountain chicken - the best found, hidden gem of charcoal grill chicken
Stay: Kurokawa Onsen Oyado Noshiyu - heartwarming hospitalities and very delicious food
Day 3 - Nabegataki Falls, Yufuin, and Beppu
After enjoying a spread of traditional Japanese breakfast in the onsen resort, take a short drive to the Nabegataki Park to visit this newly discovered tourist attraction - Nabegataki Falls, a wide sheet of water surrounded by scenic greens. Hop back into the car and drive to Yufuin for a stroll down the town for some art & craft stores, local delicacies and a visit to the beautiful Lake Kinrinko and Mt. Yufu. Then drive to Beppu for the night and treat yourself to some fresh sashimi in this coastal city.
Stay: Nishitetsu Resort Inn Beppu - newly renovated rooms with a car park
Day 4 - Hells of Beppu and Fukuoka
The Hells of Beppu are seven spectacular hot springs for viewing rather than bathing. They are presented to visitors in a rather touristy fashion, which might not appeal to everybody, but still worth a visit to these natural wonders. You can also enjoy fresh vegetables that are cooked in hot springs, which can be found easily along the streets. That’s pretty much it for Beppu, time to drive to Fukuoka which takes around 2 hours. Don’t forget to stop by one of the service stations during the long drive, you can easily spend at least 30 mins there looking at all the goodies and eating everything they offer. You’d want to return the car once arriving at Fukuoka because driving in a big city is the last thing you would want to do, subways and walking are a better way of commuting.
Stay: Forza Hotel Fukuoka - Chic, clean and spacious
Day 5 & 6 - Fukuoka
SHOPPING! Hang on, before commencing the shopping, take a visit to the Ōhori park. It is a beautiful park with a large pond in the center, a perfect place for a morning stroll to restore yourself before the shopping madness in the city. There are three main areas to be for us shopaholics: Hakata Station, Tenjin, and Canal City. One could easily spend an entire day just strolling around one area, if time is limited, Tenjin will be your where you want to spend your time (and money). Tenjin has all the shops one would ever want and a huge selection of restaurants, shop till you drop girls!
Hakata Hanami Bird hotpot - really good food and service
Quil Fait Bon - best fresh fruit tart and delicate presentation
ひょうたん寿司 - maybe the best sushi you can find in Fukuoka, be prepared to queue for at least 40 mins, so worth it!