Although only a slender, kilometre-wide channel separates Kyushu from Honshu, the island is considered by most Japanese as a backwater. Yet its shores are where Buddhism and Christianity first entered the archipelago, along with knowledge of gunpowder and writing from China. This cultural cross-pollination also left in its wake a wealth of historic monuments, from samurai castles to ancient rock-cut shrines, set against a backdrop of lush, sub-tropical vegetation and volcanic peaks spewing ash and steam.

The intensely geothermal interior of Kyushu encompasses landscapes of almost surreal beauty. Bounded by wide horizons of snow-capped volcanoes, a vast, rolling grassland is broken by thickets of bamboo, flower-filled pastures and pretty farming villages. At its heart rises Mt Aso, one of the largest active volcanoes in the world, with a caldera measuring 80 miles (150km) in circumference.

Clouds of sulphurous steam belch from the blue-green lake hidden inside the summit cauldron of this smoking giant, whose rim you may be able to scale on foot, by car or via a ropeway to experience one of the country’s most dramatic panoramas.

 

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With the world beginning to open up again, now is the time to begin planning your 2021 holiday to Asia. Our Travel Specialists are ready to take your call and discuss the adventure you have spent 2020 dreaming of.

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