A rural road in Oita Prefecture, Japan— Own Work
Our route in Kyushu — by Kaito Kikuchi

1日目: 福岡 ・ Day 1: Fukuoka

Own Work
Interior of Oigen Ramen Shop, and Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen— Own Work
View from Fukuoka’s castle ruins — Own Work
Kushida Shrine — Own Work
Yasube restaurant — Own Work
Tulips along the Naka River and Fukuoka after dark — Own Work

2日目:福岡から黒川温泉まで ・ Day 2: Fukuoka to Kurokawa Onsen

Onimaru Setsuzan-gama (鬼丸雪山・碧山窯) — Own Work
Our rental car for the week — Own Work
Udon and Oyakodon — Own Work
Through the mountains — Own Work
A rural village — Own Work
Main showroom — Own Work
Homemade onigiri and a kiln — Own Work
A hammer at work — Own Work
Sun-drying Onta-style pottery — by Kaito Kikuchi
Entrance to Mother Bakery (left) and the mugwort pastry we purchased (right) — Own Work
Our onsen room and the hot spring outside — Own Work
A few shots of our meals at the ryokan — Own Work
Shot of the room — Own Work

3日目:阿蘇山と黒川温泉 ・ Day 3: Mt. Aso and Kurokawa Onsen

Mt. Aso from a distance — Own Work
Beneath the volcano — Own Work
The active caldera (left) and a view from our hike looking back at the parking lot (right) — Own Work
Street views of Kurokawa Onsen — Own Work
Pre-war shrine interior with drawings left by local children (left) and our room at Okyakuya Ryokan (right) — Own Work

4日目:阿蘇市 ・ Day 4: Aso City

View overlooking the basin to Mt. Aso — Own Work
Takanameshi at Asoji — Own Work
Pictures from our walk — Own Work

5日目:菊池渓谷と熊本市 ・ Day 5: Kikuchi Gorge and Kumamoto City

Kikuchi Gorge — Own Work
Hotel breakfast — Own Work
Blooming cherry trees in the rain, Kikuchi Gorge — Own Work
A small Buddha figurine (left) and the first of three waterfalls (right) — Own Work
Kikuchi Shrine (left) and my partner’s famous ancestors as anime boys, which we both found hilarious (right) — Own Work
Kumamoto — Own Work
Kumamoto Castle’s keep (left) and a damaged fortification (right) — Own Work
Part of our meal at Sake-to-Meshi Riki — Own Work
Basashi — Own Work

6日目:熊本 ・ Day 6: Leaving Kumamoto

On the sixth morning, we returned to Honshu via shinkansen, or the Japanese bullet train. I felt sad to leave the island after spending only a week exploring its mountains and valleys. Kyushu was a bit off the beaten path for tourists (I certainly stood out like a sore thumb), but it was a lovely place to visit. The people we met were warm and easygoing. I appreciated the genuine kindness from the strangers we met — from the potters in Koishiwara to the baker at Mother Bakery to the owner at Sake-to-Meshi Riki.

“Jersey Milk Pudding Jam” on sale at the high-speed rail station (left) and a Kyushu Shinkansen train (right) — Own Work

San Diego-based writer. Interested in urban planning, languages, cultures, travel, history, and fiction.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store