Looking for a new challenge and adventure I approached Hakata JR station in Fukuoka very early in the morning. I got my 3-day JR Northern Kyushu Rail Pass (7000 Yen) and was extremely excited to start the journey.
Day 1: Fukuoka – Nagasaki (2h), Hostel Akari (amazing!)
Nagasaki is a very cute city, famous for the tragedy of the atomic bombing. Today it’s a very peaceful little city (pop. 439’408) which is very provincial. Half a day to one day is enough to see the main attractions. To go around use the 1 day streetcar pass (250 Yen). For discount on museums get the free “discount card for sightseeing facilities” from the hostel (around 50% off regular prices).Arrived at the hostel before lunch and could (finally) take a shower & unpack a little. I went to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum (100 Yen), which is definitely a must-see, although I personally preferred the bigger one in Hiroshima. It was very impressive to walk around town and think about the terrible things that happened there and how it all was rebuilt in the past 50 years. Afterwards I went to the Nagasaki Dejima, which was the former Dutch trading port (the Dutch were the only ones allowed to do trading in Nagasaki). It looked like a perfect little village (a very asian-like open air museum) with a mix between Japanese and Dutch architecture.Day 2: Nagasaki – Aso – Beppu
Caught one of the first trains to go and see the Mt. Aso, a vulcano which is still active. Arrived around 9-10am at the Aso station, locked my backpack and headed to the peak by bus/ ropeway. The train to Aso was a very nice antique wooden train (trans kyushu express). Around 12-13 I headed back to the station to catch a direct train to Beppu. There I stayed at the Beppu Guesthouse (1500 Yen, got a single room which was very nice & clean because they were overbooked). I headed to see some of the famous “7 hells” (hot water spring) and just before sunset I went to relax in the Beppu Myouban Onsen Yunosato (500 Yen entrance + 220 Yen for a towel). Day 3: Beppu – Yufuin- Fukuoka
Another early morning rise to head to Yufuin. There I walked the tourist “walking path” around town, which leads to a small lake (about 2km). I stayed from 9-14 (all the shops close around 16) and headed to the Sansuikan onsen before heading back to Fukuoka. The train to the Hakata JR station was amazing (yufuin no moro express): the train itself was light green, had wooden interior and even it’s own product line (food, souvenirs etc!). After a relaxing bath it was time to head back to Fukuoka and catch a night bus to Hiroshima. The three days passed by extremely quickly, and I must say that northern Kyushu has been by far the most beautiful and peaceful place I’ve seen! Even the train rides were so amazing, that I couldn’t do other than watch the beautiful scenery around me. Three days was enough for me, and the pass was a great way of trying to travel with the JR (I wish I had taken the JR pass for my whole stay in Japan!) and the ticket was pretty cheap.