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Here, TIM HOLDEN, Global Partnership Leader at Flight Centre Head Office in Brisbane, reviews a recent famil to Kyushu with Linkd Tourism, an experience he describes as “phenomenal”.  

WITH THE surge in demand for travel to Japan, our trip to Kyushu was a timely reminder that you don’t need to hit the ‘Golden Triangle’ to immerse yourself in the country’s culture, massage your taste buds with the incredible food and have a life changing experience. 

Washing away the heat and relaxing in one of the most picturesque onsen in the world is an experience I won’t forget.

The world seemed to pause for a moment as we savoured mango flavoured shaved ice and green tea while listening to the chirp of the native birds and running stream nearby.  

Kumamoto Castle, one of 12 remaining, stands today as the blend of old and new worlds. It has a traditional exterior modernised with the air-conditioned museum on the inside. 

As you walk through the fortification’s walls along a path up to the main keep you are transported back to the 1400’s and dumbfounded as to “how the heck did they build this?”

To stand where the Samurai’s stood, to walk on the stones where they spilt their blood, is to feel the clash of the old and new era of Japan’s history, reflected in the old/new blend that the castle has today. 

It’s no secret that Japan is on the Pacific Rim but what is far too secretive is the incredible natural beauty that exists because of it. 

The earth has literally split open and revealed its heart and you can see it beating in the centre of Kyushu at Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan.


Tim Holden, back right

Natural hot springs, hot lava and geysers that can be seen up close, yet carefully monitored to ensure the safety of adventure seeking visitors. Adding to the experience is the traditional Japanese villages dotted throughout.

You can’t come to Japan and not talk about the food. Yakitori, donburi, ramen – the choice of cuisine was incredible. I was in Japan for a week and only had one piece of sushi!

What do you get when you cross mountain hikes guided by the local deer and monkeys, a golden beach, 7,000+ year old tree’s, swimming holes and small Japanese villages?

The answer is Yakushima! Words will never do it justice and it’s a must for any bucket list. 

You can’t help but relax as you listen to the sound of the rolling waves. Your eyes are lost in spectacular views of the Yakusugi fir and Cyprus-covered mountainside. 

The growth of new products such as hotels and day tours illustrates that the island is investing into the expectant surge of tourism. 

It’s also reasonably priced. While air capacity and economic factors have driven up the price of many destinations, Japan has kept its cool on pricing. 

Just another reason why Kyushu should definitely be part of your Japanese holiday.