Travel . Lifestyle . Dining


12 Days Kyushu Self-Drive Itinerary - Exploring Fukuoka Yufuin Beppu Kurokawa Aso Kumamoto Saga Karatsu Yobuko

Kyushu has a rich history with ancient roots, international influences, and a vital role in Japan's modernization. It is also Japan's third-largest island and it has been on our list to go after our road trip in central Japan. 


Together with 5 Adult and One 9 month old baby, we took a slower pace that is elderly and baby friendly. There are places we planned to go but skipped due to many unforeseen reasons. Still, hope this help you to plan your next trip! 



Before arrival, do you immigration online with Visit Japan Web to speed up the process Otherwise, you can fill up the form physically at the airport. Do note that Japan do not have an app for the visa last update Oct 2023. Please do not download any app claiming to be one. 



Renting a Car from Fukuoka Airport 


You can rent a car from Klook to save on the hassle. Perks of renting a car from Times Car Rental, partner of Europcar is that Pick-up is directly outside the international airport.  One can go to the reception desk in the arrivals hall to reserve the shuttle bus. The shuttle bus will take you to the rental office. 


How Many Days Do You Need in Kyushu?

Generally, 14 days would be ideal but it really depends on how many places you want to covered. We had about 10 full day and realised that there are places we didn’t manage to go. Plus, we have to go easy since it was our first time travelling with a baby. 


The Ultimate Self drive 12 Days 11 Night Kyushu itinerary:


•            Day 1: Fukuoka to Yufuin. 

•            Day 2: Yufuin – Beppu 

•            Day 3: Beppu – Kokonoe - Kurokawa 

•            Day 4: Kurokawa – Aso - Minamiaso

•            Day 5: Minamiaso - Kumamoto

•            Day 6: Kumamoto

•            Day 7: Kumamoto – Yame - Saga

•            Day 8: Saga - Karatsu

•            Day 9: Karatsu Yobuko

•            Day 10: Karatsu  -  Fukuoka

•            Day 11: Fukuoka 

•            Day 12: Fukuoka to Singapore 


Day 1: Fukuoka to Yufuin

Our adventure began as we picked up our car and set off for Yufuin on the first day. Along the way, we made some exciting stops. First, we visited the Kirin Beer Farm to enjoy the beautiful Cosmo Bloom. Afterward, we explored a fruit orchard and, luckily, made it to Migita Orchard in time to pick fresh persimmons. Otherwise, you can find fresh fruits at most Road Stations.


In the evening, we checked into our ryokan in Yufuin, where we had a delightful meal. Yufuin is a lovely onsen town known for its small, family-run ryokans and tranquil outdoor baths. We had the pleasure of staying at Yufuin Baien, which offered a fantastic experience.

Read more about Yufuin here 


Day 2: Yufuin – Beppu  

We began our day early by visiting Lake Kinrinko to enjoy the peaceful morning atmosphere and avoid the crowds. The lake is surrounded by beautiful hills and colorful trees, especially charming during autumn. We took a leisurely walk around the lake, savoring the lovely views.


Afterward, we explored Yufuin Floral Village, a picturesque place with a European vibe. It's full of small shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes offering great mountain views. You can also find tasty street food there. We then headed to the Showa museum, where we saw vintage cars and toys from the Showa era (1926-1989). It was like going back in time. You can even order food from its school canteen located at level 2. 


In the afternoon, we drove to Beppu. One can stop at the Beppu Ropeway for beautiful views, but we decided to enjoy the scenic drive from Yufuin to Beppu instead. Our adventure continued with a visit to the Beppu "Jigoku Meguri" Hells, where we marveled at the unique geothermal wonders. Instead of visiting all geothermal, we pick one. Do try the boiled egg! It sure taste differently! 


Day 3: Beppu – Kokonoe - Kurokawa

First stop was Aso-Kuju National Park Sagiridai Overlook . The view from there was just breathtaking, and it was the perfect spot to pause and appreciate the natural beauty. One can get a quick bite at the shops nearby. 


Afterward, we made our way to Kokonoe Yume Otsuribashi, a famous suspension bridge in the area. Stunning views of the lush surroundings. It was a thrilling experience.


In the evening, we reached our destination Kurokawa, the lovely Shikinosato Hanamura hotel, where we would be spending the night. The hotel had a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, making it an ideal place to relax after a day of exploration.


Day 4: Kurokawa –Aso 

In the morning, we explored Kurokawa Onsen town and was please to try award winning cream puff. We then headed to the Daikanbō Lookout, offering breathtaking panoramic views. Then, we visited the Aso Milk Factory, which surprised us with a beautiful garden.


At the Mount Aso Visitor Center, the stunning views and grazing horses mesmerized us. We also visited Asobo no Sato Kugino Roadside Station for more scenic beauty before checking in to our hotel.



Day 5: Minamiaso – Kumamoto 

On our way to Kumamoto, we stop by Ozu Roadside Station, where we found popular one-piece statue – Nami , a delightful stop for collectors. You can even find collectible there and part of the proceed will go into rebuilding Kumamoto castle. Next, we indulged in the best tonkatsu at レストランしん, a crispy yet tender breaded pork cutlet. 


In the afternoon, we arrived at Kumamoto and explored the tranquil Suizenji Jojuen Garden, known for its meticulous landscaping. Our day continued with shopping along the bustling Shimotori shopping street, offering souvenirs and street food.


Finally, we checked into Ref Kumamoto by Vessel Hotels, a comfortable and modern accommodation, providing a relaxing space after a day of adventure. It was the perfect base for our Kumamoto exploration. 



Day 6: Kumamoto

Our day started with exploring Josaien street, a vibrant area where we delved into Kumamoto's rich culture. One of the highlights was our visit to the iconic Kumamoto Castle, an architectural masterpiece that transported us back in time.


Afterward, we couldn't resist indulging in some shopping at the local duty-free department stores, where we discovered unique souvenirs and immersed ourselves in the regional specialties. One can also visit kumamon square to find the iconic mascot of Kumamoto – Kumamon! 


In the evening, we decided to dine at Shimotori shopping street, known for its bustling atmosphere and a variety of local delicacies. The street offered a perfect blend of shopping, dining, and soaking in the vibrant energy of Kumamoto, making it a fitting end to our day of exploration.


Day 7: Kumamoto – Yame  - Saga 


We set off to Yame in the morning . This small town, nestled in Fukuoka Prefecture, is celebrated for its high-quality green tea and dedication to this age-old tradition. The streets are lined with charming traditional tea houses. As a tea lover, we couldn’t miss this place even though it is a little out of the way.  We visited 100 year old tea shop and bought tea back and had a beautiful afternoon tea session in Yame. 



Day 8: Saga – Karatsu

First stop was Yoshinogari Historical Park, where we immersed ourselves in the rich history of the region. The ancient relics and reconstructed structures provided a fascinating glimpse into the past, making it an insightful start to our day.


Next, we journeyed to Saga Castle Ruins, where the echoes of feudal Japan's glory days lingered in the air. Exploring the remnants of this iconic castle transported us back in time, allowing us to appreciate the historical significance of the site.


We ended the day with a visit to Mt. Kagamiyama Observation Deck. The panoramic views from this vantage point were nothing short of spectacular, offering a bird's-eye perspective of the surrounding landscapes. We marveled at the beauty of Saga from above. 



Day 9: Karatsu - Yobuko 


In the morning, we visited Yobuko morning market, said to be the third most popular market in Japan. Unfortunately, due to covid many shop had closed down. Still, we manage to try a couple of food there. 


Our day continued with a visit to Kazenomieruoka Park, a viewing point where we enjoyed breathtaking vistas of the coastal bay. The gentle breeze and captivating views made it a peaceful interlude in our itinerary.


Our final destination was Nanatsugama, a place of natural wonder. The rugged coastline, sculpted by the forces of nature, left us in awe. 


Day 10: Karatsu  -  Fukuoka

H drove along the coastline on our way to Fukuoka and we managed to stop by picturesque Fukae Beach. Then, we embarked on a culinary adventure at Itoshima, savoring grilled seafood that showcased the freshest catches from the sea. It was a fun experience! 


We made a stop at Marinoa City Fukuoka Outlet, a shopper's paradise before heading over to Fukuoka. The outlet mall offering a treasure trove of brands and bargains. H manage to score a pair of Timberland shoes at $100 SGD.


At night, we ventured to the vibrant Night Market Fukuoka. The bustling stalls, tantalizing street food, and lively atmosphere provided an unforgettable evening filled with local flavors and cultural experiences. 



Day 11: Fukuoka 


Our last day in Japan kicked off with a peaceful visit to Ohori Park Japanese Garden, a well-maintained oasis in the city, perfect for a leisurely stroll, picnic, or a tranquil boat ride.


We planned to explore Yanagibashi Rengo Market, a local gem, but were met with its closure. Undeterred, we headed to Touchoji temple, a serene place of contemplation. We paid a small fee to visit a majestic Buddha statue, a truly beautiful experience.


Lunch was a culinary highlight at Hakata Hanamidori, where we indulged in a delicious chicken hotpot. The flavorful soup, simmered with Hanamidori chicken and bones, left a lasting impression and deep appreciation for the culinary artistry.


Our day concluded with a taste of modernity at LaLaport Fukuoka, where we marveled at the iconic Gundam statue and explored the myriad shops and restaurants within the mall. It was a well-rounded day that celebrated both tradition and contemporary charm in Fukuoka.


Day 12: Fukuoka to Singapore 


We bid goodbye the beautiful city and set off back to Singapore in the morning! 


Read more about Yufuin here 


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