Discover the beautiful island full of nature and historical sites that will host ten World Cup games
Rugby World Cup 2019 Travel Guide: Kyushu
There are varied natural landscapes as well as historical temples and shrines across Kyushu, with certain churches in Nagasaki now designated UNESCO sites.
From Fukuoka, you can take a ten-minute ferry to Nokonoshima Island in Hakata Bay, from where you can view the city and take in the smells of flowers in bloom.
Off the coast of Nagasaki is Gunkanjima. Once the most densely populated place in the world, housing more than 6,000 people on an island less than one square kilometre in size (as Mitsubishi mined coal), it has been uninhabited for more than 40 years. The James Bond movie Skyfall was filmed there and you can now take a tour.
The Aoshima Shrine on the island of Aoshima in Miyazaki is charming – and famed for romantic love in mythology.
Kyushu has many hot springs, so you can have a unique experience of a sand spa, where your body is buried in the sand, or enjoy river cruising around Yanagawa. Take a tour of Sakurajima to learn about this active volcano and enjoy the waves in Miyazaki, which is a mecca of surfing.
Try Hakata ramen. It’s noodles, pork, onions and ginger served in a pork-bone broth (tonkotsu) that’s cooked for a long time – and Fukuoka was its birthplace. Kyushu is also known for its Wagyu beef. You’ll find high-quality sake on Kyushu, while shochu, which is made from sweet potatoes or wheat, is also common.
WORLD CUP VISIT
There are three World Cup venues on Kyushu – Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Kumamoto Stadium and Oita Stadium – and ten matches in all will be played on the island. That means there’s plenty of time to travel around the whole island – Japan’s third largest – and get a taste of the different areas.
Related: Rugby World Cup venues
You can fly to all three host cities from Tokyo and Osaka – flight times range from 55 minutes to two hours – or you can catch a bullet train from Osaka and Hiroshima.
DID YOU KNOW?
To coincide with RWC 2019, Kumamoto plans to host a gathering of all the festivals of Kyushu on 28-29 September.
If you plan to travel around, a Kyushu Rail Pass can be used on most trains and is likely to be cheaper than buying tickets for each journey. They cover northern or southern Kyushu or the whole island.