Where in the world…

Part 2. Kyushu!

Japan has four main Islands: Hokkaido – with lots of snow, Honshu – with Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, Shikoku – with not much, and Kyushu – with us! Kyushu, the most southern main island, means ‘9 prefectures’, but they amalgamated one somewhere, and now it’s left with 8: Fukuoka, Oita, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Kumamoto, Saga and Okinawa.

Map of Kyushu

Map of Kyushu

Okinawa is actually a set of smaller islands far to the south of Kyushu, so it doesn’t really count either.

Fukuoka has the largest city and is the one closest to Honshu. Fukuoka city was voted in the top twenty ‘livable cities’ in the word in 2010, so not too shabby. It is also famous for Ramen and a weird food product, Mentaiko, which is marinated pollock roe. I tried it for the first time this weekend, and it will not be something I am trying again.

Below us is Kumamoto, which has a large and famous castle, and below that is Kagoshima, famous for its volcano. To the left we have Saga, which has a balloon fiesta every year, and Nagasaki, which is known for not only being the site of the second A-bomb dropping, but for it’s Chinese and Dutch settlement and extremely large hamburgers. On the right is Oita, famous for hot springs and Miyazaki, which has really nice beaches, and used to have the worlds largest indoor swimming pool.

Kumamoto Castle

Kumamoto Castle

So far Scott and I have been to Saga for Balloon Fiesta 2010, Nagasaki to see the Chinatown, Oita, where we visited the nine hells of Beppu, and Kumamoto for the castle and a beautiful garden. We plan on hitting up Miyazaki and Kagoshima this spring to complete the Kyushu set.

Scott and Aya at the Balloon Festival

I am very happy to be living here. It’s full of beautiful natural sites, history and culture, and an area of Japan I would have missed out on had I been a tourist.

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