Japan Drive Route Guide
This is a one way driving route to go through eastern Kyushu from North to South within 7days.It is recommended for Onsen lovers because of 3 nights stay at Yufuin/Beppu, Kirishima and Ibusuki.
It covers a lot of wonderful nature scenery such as Daikanbo and Kusasenri in Aso, Takachiho Gorge one of TOP beautiful gorge in Japan, Aoshima island and Sakurajima volcano. In addition, you can visit the towns still keep atmosphere and culture of old Japan, such as Yufuin Yunotsubo street, Udojingu Shrine, Chiran Samurai Residence Garden and Senganen Garden in Kagoshima. In spring, you can enjoy the wonderful cherry blossoms at Oita river and Mochio Park, Hanadate Park in Miyazaki. Sun flower garden in Miyazaki is recommended in Summer. In autumn,Yabakei Gorge and Kokonoe Suspension Bridge are the best places to see coloured leaves. Sand & Flower Festa at Fukiagehama in May is recommended too. Yufuin/Beppu and Kirishima are one of the most popular Onsen town in all over Japan and Ibusuki is also nationally famous for their sand-bath. Highly recommended to stay Japanese style Ryokan.
Of cause, you can enjoy local food! The must-eat food are Seki horse mackerel fish, Aso Red beef, Miyazaki beef and local chicken, Bonito and green tea sweet in Chiran, black pork and shaved ice desert in Kagoshima and amberjack fish in Sakurajima,. Our daily driving map will guide you recommended local restaurants for these dish.
This is one way route from Fukuoka to Kagoshima. You can go back to Fukuoka by 1.5 hour bullet train ride or take flight.
You can visit many spots along this route but and it will be busy travel due to no continuous stay and may be required to skip some spots.If you have time, it is highly recommended to choose route at least 8D7N or longer.
Dazaifu Tenmangu shrinesightseeing
Hita Old Townsightseeing
Yufuin Yunotsubo street(Yunotsubo Yokocho Car park)sightseeing
Kokonoe Suspension Bridgesightseeing
Kurokawa Onsen townsightseeing
Udo Jingu Shrinesightseeing
Chiran Samurai house district parkingsightseeing
Chiran Peace(Kamikaze) Museumsightseeing
Sand Bath SARAKUsightseeing
Black Vinegar Kakuidasightseeing
Shiroyama Park Observation Decksightseeing
This day will head from Fukuoka to Yufuin/Beppu a nationally famous hot spring resort.
Mileage is about 160㎞. However, this day has many attractions, and in today's highlights Yufuin and Beppu, most of the shops and sightseeing spots close about 17-18 o'clock. It is recommended to start 8:00～9:00 if you don't lile huried travel.
The first destination should be "Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine(太宰府天満宮)" the most famous shrines in Kyushu. You can enjoy walking along the approach of the shrine where has many shop of local products and food. If you like sweets and fruit, it is god idea to go to fruit picking after the shrine. "Hita old town(日田の古い町並み)" is located good place to have lunch. Our daily driving map will guide you to recommended eel restaurant, ”Hita Yakisoba” the local grilled noodle erstaurant and so on. Then let's facing to Yuhuin. The main street "Yufuin Yunotsubo street(由布院湯の坪街道)" is filled with charming shops selling localproducts and food too and you can enjoy walking to small beautiful "Lake Kinrinko(金鱗湖)".
It is 25km away from Yufuin to Beppu and dakes about 40 minutes. Highlight "Beppu Jigoku Hells(別府地獄めぐり)" is highly recommended but is closed at 17:00. If you stay in Yufuin or Beppu continuously or will return back to Fukuoka tomorrow, it would be good visit Beppu on the next day. If you travel to Aso tomorrow, it might be better to skip the Hita old town to keep time to visit Beppu.
Onsen is wating for you to heal your fatigue.
In addition, we recommend you different place at cherry blossom period in spring and autumn coloured leaves period with our daily driving map.. It is really worth to see and please priority there.
Rental car rental and return at Fukuoka
All Kyushu driving routes we providing start from Fukuoka.
Below 3 branchs is the most recommended.
①Fukuoka Airport International Terminal Branch : For travelers who take international flight.
②Fukuoka Airport No.1 Branch (Domestic Terminal) : For travelers who take domestic flight.
③Hakata Station Hakata Exit Branch : For travelers who stay Fukuoka before or after driving trip and who take Shinkansen(Bullet train).
You will stay either Yufuin(=Yufu City(由布院)) or Beppu(別府) on this day. Two cities are about 20 km away and about 30min by car. Both cities are very famous for Onsen and most of accommodations are Japanese Ryokan with Onsen. Some western style hotels there also have Onsen facilities too.
Most of accommodations in Yufuin are 4-5 star Ryokans. They will provide Onsen and nice Japanese Kaiseki style dinners. Restaurants and shops in the city close evening and you must book plan with dinner and breakfast.
Beppu has many accommodations from 3-5 star. If you book nice accommodation, it is also better to book plan with dinner and breakfast. There are many reasonable hotels around Beppu station and you can book without meals because of many local restaurants. But some hotels don't have own parking and they may charge additional parking fee.
This day will head from Yufuin/Beppu to Aso. Mileage is 140㎞ only. However, this day has many attractions and it is recommended to start 8:00～9:00 if you don't lile huried travel.
The first destination is "Kokonoe Suspension Bridge(九重夢大吊橋)". In particular, you can see wonderful colored leaves in the Autumn. Then you can stop by farm which provide fresh yogurt drinks and beautiful wetland which has 1 - 2.5km walking trails. "Kurokawa Onsen town(黒川温泉)" is good place to have lunch. Our daily driving map will let you know nice recommended restaurants there.
The biggest highlight on this day is driving along the Aso Sky Line from "Skyline observatory" to "Daikanbo Observatory(大観峰)". Driving on outer rim of a Aso caldera will be your lifetime unforgettable memory. If you have time, let's go to "Kusasenri(草千里)". Breathtaking panoramic grass plains are waiting for you.
Aso area where you stay this day is countryside and you had better to eat dinner at your inn. Then please control your schedule to reach your inn by 18 around o'clock.
You will stay Aso(阿蘇) area on this day. Accommodations are located around Mt.Aso(阿蘇山) the symbol of this area. You can choose prefer type of accommodations from variety of options like fine Ryokan with Onsen, reasonable western style hotels and so on.
Aso area is consider as countryside. Restaurants, shops and convenience stores are very limited and difficult to find place to have dinner and breakfast. Don't forget to book plan with dinner and breakfast. Most of accommodations don't charge parking fee.
This day will head from Aso to Miyazaki famous hot spring resorts. Because of long mileage 210km, it is recommended to start 8:00～9:00 if you don't lile huried travel.
The biggest highlight of this day is "Takachiho Gorge(高千穂峡)" one of the most beautiful gorge in Japan and it can be highlight of your Kyushu travel too. It is located inconvenient area but you can visit there by your car easily. They have rental boat and highly recommended to try boating in amazing view.
"Kunimigaoka Observatory(国見ヶ丘展望台)" near the gorge is also worth to visit. You will be amazed due to 360 degree mountain view.
There are not many restaurants there but our daily driving map will suggest you nice soba restaurant, Beef steak restaurants and so on.
Then let's move to "Umagase(馬ヶ背)" a beautiful cape where you can sea panoramil ocean view. If you still have time before heading to Miyazaki, you can stop by "Mimitsu Town(美々津)". It is not well-known small fisherman's village which is listed as preserved district of traditional buildings.
We recommend you to take highway from Takachiho gorge to Umagase and Umagase to Miyazaki due to no sightseeing spots.
In addition, There are amazing cherry blossom places spring. If you will travel in sprong, our daily driving map will guide you these spots. It is really worth to see and please priority there.
You will stay in Miyazaki(宮崎) city on this day. Many accommodations are concentrated around Miyazaki Station. Most ofthe accommodations in this city are not Ryokans but western style hotels. As many restaurants opens till midnight, it is recommended to book your hotels wih breakfast only or without meals. Many hotels don't have own parking and they may charge additional parking fee.
If you would like to stay hotels with bigger room or Onsen facility, huge 5 star hotel "Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort" is recommended. It is located 6 km north of Miyazaki Station and you can enjoy nice Onsen too.
This day will head from Miyazaki to Kirishima famous hot spring resorts. Mileage about 120km only.
The first destination is "Aoshima Island(青島 鬼の洗濯板)" an island with unique terrain called demon's washboard. 20km away from Aoshima, there are very unique shrine "Udo Jingu(鵜戸神宮)" which was build in the cave at the coast. It is worth to see but if you will visit there, it is better to depart early.
After coming back to Miyazaki, let's take highway to Miyakonojo(都城) city whose production of the meat is the highest in all ove Janan. Of cause beaf BBQ restaurant is recommended but our daily driving map will guide you other nice Itarian restaurant and cheap and good Udon noodle restauant too.
After lunch, why don't you enjoy 30 min walking at "Sekinoo Falls(関之尾の滝甌穴郡)" with unique terrein river?
Then, you can face to Kirishima(霧島)area. "Kirishima Shrine(霧島神宮)"which founded more than 1000 years ago is must-see. There are many other sightseeing spots like farm, highland, park which Onsen steam blowing us from the ground and so on.
At night, plase take a rest with Onsen in Kirishima.
In addition, there are amazing cherry blossom places spring. If you will travel in sprong, our daily driving map will guide you these spots. It is really worth to see and please priority there.
You will stay in Kirishima(霧島) on this day. Kirishima is a very famous hot spring resort. You can choose from a reasonable 3-star ryokan to a 5-star ryokan which provide you a wonderful dinner and an amazing Onsen facilities.
Kirishima area is consider as countryside. Restaurants, shops and convenience stores are very limited and difficult to find place to have dinner and breakfast. Don't forget to book plan with dinner and breakfast. Most of accommodations don't charge parking fee.
This day will head from Kirishima to Ibusuki famous sand bath resorts. Mileage about 140km.
If you haven't visited "Kirishima Shrine(霧島神宮)" first. Then, let's drive to "Ryumon Falls(龍門滝)" to refresh in clean air. If you like, "Kamou Hachiman Shrine(蒲生八幡神社)"which has the biggest camphor tree is recommended too. Then let's take highway to Chiran town.
The biggest highlight of this day is "Chiran Samurai House District(知覧武家屋敷)" where is listed as preserved district of traditional buildings with 270 years history.. You can enjoy walking through 7 Samurai houses with beautiful Japanese gaedens.
You also can enjoy lunch and tea in this town. Our driving map will guide you some Japanese restaurant in Samurai house and famous English tea house.
After lunch,"Chiran Peace Museum(知覧特攻平和会館)" is worth to see. Here is museum of young men who were chosen as Kamikaze(suicidal attack) pilots. In spring, cherry blossoms street is beautiful there too.
Ibusuki is nationally famous for its sand bath. It is recommended to reach your inn early and enjoy it and Onsen too. If you don't stay inn with sand bath facility, you also can go to oneday sand bath too.
In addition, there are amazing cherry blossom and wisteria places on this route in spring If you will travel in these period, our daily driving map will guide you these spots. It is really worth to see and please priority there.
You will stay in Ibusuki(指宿) city on this day. Ibusuki is a town famous nationwide for hot sand baths. Some hotels and Ryokans have not only normal Onsen but own sand baths facility as well and highly recommended.
Ibusuki is consider as countryside. Restaurants, shops and convenience stores are very limited and difficult to find place to have dinner and breakfast. Don't forget to book plan with dinner and breakfast.
Most of accommodations don't charge parking fee.
This day will head from Ibusuki to Kagoshima. You can relax this day because mileage is about 120km only. If you haven't try sand bath, let's go to one day sand bath first.
Then, first destination is "Cape Nagasakibana(長崎鼻)" which is located the most sourthernmost Satsuma Peninsula. You can enjoy the sight of the majestic Mt.Kaimondake. You also can stop by "Flower Park Kagoshima(フラワーパークかごしま)" near there.
Then, let's casing to Makurazaki(枕崎) city which is city of Bonito fish and traditional distilled liquor Shochu. It is recommended to visit fish market "Makurazaki Osakana Center(枕崎お魚センター)". You can buy their speciality Katsuobushi(dried bonito) there. It is also recommended to eat very fresh bonito as lunch.
After that you also can visit "Satsuma Shuzo Distillery Meijigura(薩摩酒造蒸溜所 明治蔵)". It is one of the biggest Shochu distillery and worth to visit. After that, you can drive to Kagoshima city. This area is also well-known as green tea plantation area and you can enjoy driving through green tea farm. We also let you know a secret spot overlooking the magnificent green tea plantations.
In addition, there are many flower spots of cherry blossom, azelea and rape blossom in spring and great sand sculputure festival in May. If you will travel in this period, our daily driving map will guide you these spots. It is really worth to see and please priority there.
You will stay in Kagoshima(鹿児島) city. Kagoshima is a big town, there are many choices from 5 star hotels to reasonable 3 star hotels. Most of accommodations are western style hotels but some of them have Onsen facilities.
Around "Tenmonkandori station(天文館通駅)" of tram is consider as downtown area of Kagoshima city and many hotels and restaurants are concentrated.
If you go back to Fukuoka by bullet train, it is also recommended to stay around "Kagoshima Chuo Station(鹿児島中央駅)".
Kagoshima airport is located 40km away from Kagoshima city and it takes about 1hour and half. Please be careful if you take flight from there.
As many restaurants opens till midnight, it is recommended to book your hotels with breakfast only or without meals. Many hotels don't have own parking and they may charge additional parking fee.
This day is the day of between two consecutive stay in Kagoshima. You can relax this day because mileage is about 120km only and you need not to pack your luggage too. It is recommended to travel in a clock wise direction along the Kagoshima bay.
In the morning, let's drive up to ”Shiroyama Park Observation Deck(城山公園展望台)” in Kagoshima city to see an active volcano Sakurajima(桜島) the symbol of Kagoshima.
The biggest highlight of this day is "Senganen Garden(仙巌園)". There is house of Shimazu family who contributed to modernzation of Japan and you can enjoy Sakurajima view from their beautiful garden. After that, let's stop by "Tsubobatake(坂元のくろず壺畑情報館)" where is producting black vineger with traditional way since 200years ago.
Today's recommended lunch is ambejack fish restaurant. Our daily driving map will guide you know secret fisherman's restaurant which is not known by foreign tourists.Then let' s drive to "Yunohira Observatory(湯之平展望所)" at bottom of Sakurajima.
You can take ”Sakurajima Ferry” from Sakurajima to Kagoshia. It is 15min cruise. They are perating 70 cruises 24 hours and you need not to make reservation. We will let you know hoto to take it with driving map.
In addition, there are amazing azelea place in spring and cokoured Ginkgo trees forest. If you will travel in sprong or autumn, our daily driving map will guide you these spots. It is really worth to see and please priority there.
Kagoshima Chuo Station for bullet train to Fukuoka is located near the Kagoshima city. However, Kagoshima airport is located 40 km away from the city and it takes at least 1 hour. There are some traffic jam adound Kagoshima city and it takes time to filling up gas and return your car too. If you don't stay Kagoshima one more night and take flight on this day, please reach rental car shop at least 3 hours before the bullet train or the flight.
Return a car at Kagoshima
If you choose "One way route", you need to return your rental car at Kagoshima city. Below 2 branches are recommended.
①Kagoshima Chuo Station East Exit Branch : For travelers who take Shinkansen(Bullet train) to Fukuoka.
②Kagoshima Airport Branch : For travelers who take international or domestic flight from Kagoshima airport.