If you haven’t read the first part of this itinerary, click here.
Day 4 (Nagasaki)
From Kumamoto to Nagasaki, your journey requires you to switch train in Shin-Tosu. The whole trip will take around 2 hours 15 minutes and it is covered by your JR Pass. When you reached Nagasaki station, head to the Information Centre to buy tram pass. Yes, similar to Kumamoto, Nagasaki also uses tram as one of their main transportations. The pass has the same function and price. However, in Nagasaki, there are four main lines which are 1 (blue), 3 (red), 4 (yellow) and 5 (green). If you don’t plan to use the pass, the fee for each ride costs ¥130.
One Day Tram Pass Nagasaki.
Nagasaki is famous for a lot of things, but, the first place you must see is Gunkanjima Island or Hashima Island. Notoriously known as one of Japan’s famous abandoned ghost islands, you can visit this island by booking a tour. From Nagasaki station, ride the tram to Ourakaigandori station. Then, walk straight for 110 meters to Gunkanjima Concierge, one of the highly recommended tours to the island.
The fee is ¥4,000 per adult and a boat will take you to tour around the island. In case of bad weather, you can only see the island from the boat. Else, you can go on a walking tour on the island to explore the ruins. The tour lasts for 2 hours and for a non-Japanese speaker, you will be given a headset that includes an English audio guide.
Gunkanjima tour brochure.
Since the island is 19 kilometres away from Nagasaki, they will take you touring around small islands and Mitsubishi Mining Company’s coal mine first.
Some residences by the island.
Mitsubishi Mining Company coals mine.
Hashima Island sits in a very remote area where the only form of transportation is a boat. The island was closed in 1974 after operating for more than a century as a coal mining. During the old days, Hashima Island has over 5,000 residents, houses, hospitals and schools. When the usage of coal has been replaced with oil, mine production workers are no longer needed. Evacuated the island the same year it announces the closing, the island rests uninhabited until this day. Most buildings remain untouched, damaged and abandoned. Then, in 2015, Hashima Island has been listed as part of ‘UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ and was opened for public in 2009.
Hashima Island from a distance.
Gunkanjima Concierge Office
Admission Fee: ¥4,000
Operating Hours: 8:15AM–5:25PM
Contact Number: +81 95-895-9300
Closest Train Station: Ourakaigandori station
For lunch, Nagasaki is best known for its champon, a noodle dish that contains pork, seafood, and vegetables. One of Nagasaki’s popular restaurants is known as Shianbashi Ramen. The restaurant is regularly visited by Fukuyama Masaharu, a Japanese musician, which is why it’s famous! From Gunkanjima Concierge, ride the tram on Ourakaigandori station and get off at Shianbashi station. Then, walk 100 meters to the ramen shop.
Address: 6-17 Hamamachi, Nagasaki, 850-0853, Japan
Operating Hours: 11:30AM–4:00AM
Contact Number: +81 95-823-1344
Closest Train Station: Shianbashi Station
Other than champon, castella is also widely known in Nagasaki as one of their speciality. The sweet confectionary is a yellow sponge cake made with malt syrup, which makes the cake very sweet and moist. You can purchase the cake from Bunmeido which is just behind Shianbashi Ramen. The store sells three main flavours of castella which are plain, matcha and brown sugar.
The three main flavours of castella. Image Source: Japan Travel by Navitime.
Going back to Shianbashi station, take tram No.4 (yellow) down to Meganebashi station. From there, walk 5 minutes to the famous Spectacle Bridge. It’s best to visit the bridge at noon because you can see the bridge’s reflection that resembles a spectacle. The bridge was constructed in 1634 and went under a renovation after being destroyed by flood in 1982.
Shot at 5:00PM plus the weather wasn’t so great.
From Meganebashi station, take tram No.3 (red) to the Atomic Bomb Museum to visit Nagasaki Peace Park. The entrance to the park is free and this is where they commemorate the 1945’s atomic bombing that led to major destruction and thousands of deaths. The huge blue statue that sits on the park is known as Peace Statue. The right hand pointing upwards symbolizes heaven warns the risk of nuclear weapons, while, the left arm means peace.
Image Source: Tokyo Narita.
Nagasaki Peace Park
Address: 9 Matsuyamamachi, Nagasaki, 852-8118, Japan
Contact Number: +81 95-829-1164
After you have done touring the park, head back to Nagasaki station by taking either tram No.1 (blue) or No.3 (red). Then, return to Kumamoto. You can buy a bento box from Nagasaki station to eat inside the train.
Day 5 (Yufuin)
Your next destination is Yufuin, Oita Prefecture. From Kumamoto, you need to switch train at Kurume. From Kurume to Yufuin, ride the Yufuin No Mori 1. The whole trip takes around 2 hours plus. Yufuin No Mori is one-of-a-kind train as each car is decorated beautifully equipped with a minibar that sells bento, snacks, merchandise and beverages. The staffs also provide a photo service for passengers where you can take a picture with Yufuin No Mori’s photo frame and their uniforms for free.
Yufuin No Mori 1.
One of the seating areas and a minibar.
Along the train ride, you will pass by Jion-no-taki Falls and Kirikabu Mountain before arriving at Yufuin. Once you reached the station, if you carry any bags, you can store them inside an art hall, outside the station or a souvenir shop in front of the station.
Yufuin is a small hot spring town with a population of over 30,000 people that lives at the foot of Mount Yufu, popular for having two peaks. Honestly, Yufuin can be fully explored just within a day as most of their attractions are located near to one another. Ultimately, walking might be a better option than taking a taxi.
The entrance to Yufuin Floral Village.
Yufuin’s main attraction is Yufuin Floral Village. Built in 2012 by a local businessman, the floral village was purposely made to look like a small town in England called Cotswold. The attraction mainly features anime-related items from Kiki’s Bakery, My Neighbour Totoro, Moomins and other popular ones.
Floral village’s shopping street.
Next, you will spot another store selling Kumamon goods, (Yes, even in Yufuin too!) and a gashapon (A vending machine that dispensed toys) just outside the village. Besides that, you could also visit Yufuin Retro Motor Museum that exhibits 70 old-school sports cars as well as 30 motorcycles.
The entrance to the museum.
Yufuin Retro Motor Museum
Address: 1539-1 Yufuincho Kawakami, Yufu, Oita 879-5102, Japan
Operating Hours: 9:15AM–5:15PM
Admission Fee: ¥800
Contact Number: +81 977-84-3909
Your next stop is Kinrinko Lake. This is the farthest attraction of Yufuin town. Surprisingly, the lake has an underwater hot spring that creates mist during cold seasons like autumn and winter. It’s best to see the lake during sunrise. There is a boardwalk installed along the area that allows you to get different kinds of view of the lake.
Other than attractions, Yufuin is also known for its beef croquette which is sold at almost everywhere along the street. If you are a fan of Snoopy, you can visit his merchandise store and tea house to enjoy delicious desserts and drinks.
Beef croquette (¥260).
Snoopy Tea House.
One of Yufuin’s best local delicacies is Bungo beef. From Yufuin station, walk 50 meters until you see a restaurant called Yufu Mabushi Shin. The store is located on the first floor and constantly packed with customers, so, you might need to wait for a few minutes before you are seated. Bungo beef is eaten with a bowl of rice and can be mixed with condiments as well as other side dishes.
Bungo Beef Set (¥2,361).
Yufu Mabushi Shin
Address: 2F, 5-3 Yufuincho Kawakita, Yufu, Oita Prefecture 879-5114
Operating Hours: 11:00AM–4:00pm, 5:30AM–9:00pm
Contact Number: +81 977-84-5825
From Yufuin station, go back to Hakata by taking the Yufuin No Mori 6 which will take approximately 2 hours 15 minutes. Yufuin No Mori 6 also provides the same services as Yufuin No Mori 1.
When you are in Hakata, don’t forget to shop at Canal City where you can also enjoy their spectacular projection mapping, held at night. Hakata is also famous for yatai food stalls. Yatai are usually open from 6PM until late night and some of the dishes you’ll find here are like oden, yakitori and Hakata ramen. Be mindful that these yatai have limited seating space. Therefore, do not linger around after you’ve finished your meal.
Canal City Hakata.
As a conclusion, although North Kyushu isn’t exactly Tokyo or Osaka, the experience and environment you’ll get from this trip will be worth it. If you plan to visit all prefecture in Kyushu, just purchase the JR Kyushu Pass and you are good to go!