WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU: BEST REGIONS & HOTELS

Kyushu is the third-largest island of Japan and by far the most underrated one. I spent three weeks exploring Kyushu and every day was overwhelming and an epic adventure. Home to Japan’s most active volcano (Mt. Aso), Kyushu offers a plethora of popular attractions including temples and shrines in Fukuoka, hot springs and beaches in Beppu, stunning waterfalls Yakushima, and lovely mountains in Kagoshima. In this article, I’ve handpicked at least five distinctively different prefectures (regions) in Kyushu to help you choose which is the best area for you to visit in Kyushu, Japan. I’ll detail why you should pick on the region over the others depending on your preferences and what type of activities you are interested in.

Accommodation is Kyushu ranges from business hotels, ryokans (Japanese style inn), bed and breakfast, lodges, and hostels. While some of the business hotels are relatively cheap, most ryokans can stretch your budget as they often come with luxurious spas, two exquisite meals, onsens, and beautiful tatami accents. 

 

WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Here’s a checklist for you to start:

  • Fukuoka: If you want to be in a vibrant city scene and a central base, you may want to stay in Fukuoka.
  • Kumamoto (my pick): If you’re looking to get away from the bustling city life and be centrally positioned for all hotspot tourist locations then visit and stay in Kumamoto.
  • Beppu: If you want to check out a lot of hot springs, mud baths, and sand baths, Beppu in Oita prefecture is the best place for you.
  • Kagoshima: If you are eager to go hiking in Kirishima and see Mt. Sakurajima, head to Kagoshima prefecture.
  • Yakushima (Separate Island): If you want to hike through the stunning Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley, see ancient cedar trees, and waterfalls, Yakushima is the best place for you.

 

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KYUSHU – COMPARISON TABLE

Accommodation Ratings Rate/night
FUKUOKA    
Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk***** 8.2- Very Good $168
Miyako Hotel Hakata***** 9.2- Superb $136
Hotel WBF Grande Hakata****  8.1- Very Good $58
WeBase Hakata Hostel** 9.0- Superb $23
KUMAMOTO    
Kumamoto Hotel Castle **** 8.5- Very Good $112
Hotel Nikko Kumamoto**** 9.0- Superb $174
Hotel The Gate Kumamoto*** 8.7- Fabulous $45
Aso Base Backpackers** 9.3- Superb $27
BEPPU    
Seaside Hotel Mimatsu Ooetei**** 8.4- Very Good $102
Amane Resort Seikai***** 9.2- Superb $346
Beppu Kamenoi Hotel*** 8.2- Very Good $47
Guest House Rojiura** 8.7- Fabulous $18
KAGOSHIMA    
Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kagoshima**** 8.8- Fabulous $129
Richmond Hotel Kagoshima Kinseicho*** 8.7- Fabulous $67
Hotel Mystays Kagoshima Tenmonkan*** 8.6- Fabulous $37
YAKUSHIMA    
Sankara Hotel & Spa**** 9.3- Superb $657
Cottage Morinokokage**  9.2- Superb $68
Yakushima Youth Hostel* 9.2- Superb $34 

 

WHERE TO STAY ON KYUSHU ISLAND, JAPAN

REGION: FUKUOKA

Fukuoka is the major city and a vibrant hub of Kyushu Island. Most visitors access Kyushu via Fukuoka as it has a well-connected airport and it lies at the very end of the bullet train line. Ramen lovers would love to stay in the city because it is home to Tonkotsu ramen. This prefecture is not just about food, but it’s a great place to start your journey in Kyushu and a handy base for most adventures and tourist hot spots.

 

Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk (Luxury): Boasting spectacular views of Hakata Bay, this luxury hotel features a wide range of luxurious rooms with bathtubs. Each room is spacious, modern, and immaculately clean. The hotel has indoor and outdoor pools with Jacuzzi, state-of-the-art fitness center, five restaurants, strong Wi-Fi access, and hi-tech meeting spaces for business travelers. If that’s not enough, Fukuoka’s baseball dome is next to the hotel so if you pick a room on the upper level, you can take advantage of the view. 

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk.

 

Miyako Hotel Hakata (Luxury): Miyako Hotel is a brand-new luxury hotel in the heart of Hakata, Fukuoka. The proximity to JR station and bus station is excellent. All rooms are non-smoking and fitted with flat-screen TV and bathtubs in the bathroom. There is a parking space, free Wi-Fi, restaurant, bar, and fitness center. But the highlight in this hotel is the hot springs on the rooftop where guests can refresh. Personally, Miyako Hotel is a perfect place for families and business travelers. 

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Miyako Hotel Hakata.

 

Hotel WBF Grande Hakata (Value): This is by far the most popular hotel in Fukuoka. All rooms have comfy beds and there are a lot of rooms to choose from, such as standard rooms and rooms with open-air baths or with lofts. The hotel also offers a wide range of food and beverages in its restaurant on the second floor. The Club Lounge with Sky Balcony gives the best views of the city. Their Italian dishes, special curry, various cocktails, and Kyushu’s classic shochu are a must-try. There are a large public bath and an open-air bath on the top level of the hotel where guests can relax and enjoy the views.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Hotel WBF Grande Hakata.

 

WeBase Hakata Hostel (Budget): When it comes to budget, WeBase Hakata Hostel is by far the best option in Fukuoka. This stylish hostel offers a wide range of dorm-type rooms with shared bathrooms, sockets, and safes for your belongings. The hostel has a library where you can read books and relax at the same time. The coin laundry is available for 24 hours. They also have a kitchen, a terrace, and all shared showers are equipped with shampoo, conditioner, and soap. This is popular accommodation as it is walking distance to convenience stores, a subway station, ramen shops, and sightseeing spots.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of WeBase Hakata Hostel.

 

REGION: KUMAMOTO

This city is located between the smoking crater of Mt. Aso in the east and remote islands of Amakusa in the west. Kumamoto is one of my personal favorites because of Mount Aso, the island’s most active volcano.  It has a lot of stunning castles and architecture such as Kumamoto Castle and Suizen-ji Joju-en Graden. If you are into the adventure like me this is where you should base for most of your time. I was here for 8 days and never ran out of hikes in the area or these waterfalls nearby to visit.

 

Kumamoto Hotel Castle (Luxury): Set near the infamous Kumamoto Castle, this luxury hotel features a wide range of carpeted rooms from standard rooms to suites fitted with plush amenities. Some rooms are non-smoking with comfy couches, round tables, chairs, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows showing the beautiful view of the castle. Each room is spacious and equipped with flat-screen TV, a Wi-Fi, a bathtub, and a box of free toiletries. The hotel has four restaurants that serve international dishes and a bar. If comfort and convenience are your priority, You might want to stay at Kumamoto Castle Hotel.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Kumamoto Hotel Castle.

 

Hotel Nikko Kumamoto (Luxury): Kumamoto’s hotels don’t come more central than Hotel Nikko, situated as it is near Torichosuji station. It is close to everything including a large department store and many ramen shops. This luxury hotel offers carpeted rooms with large comfy beds, flat-screen TV, electric kettle, slippers, and hair dryers. From your room, you’ll get a view of the castle. For those who drive or rent a car, there is a large underground garage on site. The breakfast is fabulous which is a bonus.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Hotel Nikko Kumamoto.

 

Hotel The Gate Kumamoto (Value): Hotel The Gate is a well-situated accommodation in the heart of Kumamoto, just across the train station and walking distance to shops and restaurants. The property offers a wide range of rooms including non-smoking family rooms, budget single rooms, dormitory rooms, and more. The hostel has coin-operated washing machines, 15 shower rooms, and vending machines on-site. Another highlight is the Aquarium Bar lounge where guests can try Kumamoto’s local shochu. There’s a large space next to the bar lounge for guests who want to chill or work. This is definitely the best valuer accommodation in Kumamoto.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Hotel The Gate Kumamoto.

 

Aso Base Backpackers (Budget): This hostel is perfect for backpackers and hiking enthusiasts who want to base in Aso City to see one of the largest active volcanoes on the island of Kyushu. The hostel features non-smoking double rooms with shared bathrooms, female dormitory rooms, and mixed dormitory rooms. All rooms are fitted with individual temperature control, hair-dryer to borrow, and Wi-Fi. Guests can also charter a moped and do their laundry in the property. The hostel also provides a free shared kitchen, a communal area to chill, and luggage storage. I definitely recommend this hostel. 

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Aso Base Backpackers.

 

REGION: BEPPU

Have you ever heard of hell-hopping? If not, then check out Beppu in Kyushu, Japan. I actually put together this guide for the region. Beppu is a geothermal town in the heart of Oita prefecture where tourists visit up to eight hot springs a day. There is an abundance of onsens or natural hot springs making it a popular destination in Kyushu. Apart from that, visitors can also try sand bathing by burying their bodies in a large pit of volcanic sand. Beppu Park is also another must-see attraction where tourists can admire the cherry blossom between March to April.

 

Seaside Hotel Mimatsu Ooetei (Luxury): Blending modern luxury with the traditional ryokan charm, this 4-star accommodation features open-air baths overlooking Beppu Bay. Not only does this ryokan have two separate open-air baths for men and women, but it also offers a mix of Japanese-Western style rooms. Its restaurant serves high-quality traditional Japanese food, while guests can also enjoy free private parking on-site. The rooms are fitted with Japanese-style seating areas, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and Wi-Fi. I can’t recommend Seaside Hotel enough!

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Seaside Hotel Mimatsu Ooetei.

 

Amane Resort Seikai (Luxury): For a unique, personalized experience, look no further than Amane Resort Sekai. This 5-star ryokan is only a few minutes’ walk from the train station. Blending Japanese and Western-style, Amane has a wide range of luxurious guest rooms and some rooms boast a terrace and ocean views. The resort has excellent amenities including private hot spring baths, a spa, and a bar. There is a large communal bath on the first floor facing the ocean and one on the top floor with a view of Beppu Bay. The resort has three in-house restaurants serving delicious Japanese seafood and Western dishes. 

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Amane Resort Seikai.

 

Beppu Kamenoi Hotel (Value): This hotel offers great value for money. The property has a wide variety of room options including spacious family rooms. The hotel rate comes with breakfast, serving a mix of Japanese and Western dishes. Amenities include free parking, fitness center, a souvenir shop, and a large hot spring bath on-site. This is quite a huge hotel in Beppu with 17 floors and just near to JR Beppu station. This is one of the best-seller properties in Beppu. Location wise, it is close to everything including the popular attractions of Beppu.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Beppu Kamenoi Hotel.

 

Guest House Rojiura (Budget): This hostel is set in a great location. There are lockers provided for each guest in the reception and in each room. Everything is tidy and clean and the hostel staff are very nice and friendly. The property provides a bicycle rental on-site with a parking space, spacious common area, and lots of comics to read that allows book-loving guests to live out their ultimate fantasy. For $18 a night, you can get a comfy bunk bed with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Guest House Rojiura.

 

REGION: KAGOSHIMA

Kagoshima lies in the southern part of Kyushu. It’s a seaside city where Mt. Sakurajima, one of the active volcanoes in Japan, can be found. If you visit this prefecture, don’t miss the natural steam sand baths, hike to the ancient forest, and explore white sand beaches on Amami Oshima Island. I stayed nearby Kagoshima in the town of Kirishima, which also worked fine but Kagoshima has lots more accommodation options. The Tenmonkan district is best for dining and shopping. 

 

Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kagoshima (Luxury): This 4-star hotel is perfect for business and leisure. It is conveniently situated in front of Kagoshima-Chuo station. Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel features lavish and spacious rooms with excellent views of the city and beautiful Sakurajima volcano. Each room is soundproofed and has a private bathroom with a bathtub and free luxurious toiletries. There is a conference room, dry cleaning, a restaurant, and laundry facilities on site. It also offers easy access to a shopping center and restaurants. 

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kagoshima.

 

Richmond Hotel Kagoshima Kinseicho (Value): Richmond Hotel is another modern hotel option– only steps away from the tram stop and close to the port. The hotel offers various types of rooms that come equipped with everything you need, including a fridge, electric kettle, flat-screen TV, and en-suite bathroom. There are vending machines, free microwave usage, and coin laundry. The hearty breakfast buffet was amazing. For the price, it’s great value for money.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Richmond Hotel Kagoshima Kinseicho.

 

Hotel Mystays Kagoshima Tenmonkan (Budget): This 3-star hotel features cozy and cheap rooms for couples, solo travelers, and backpackers. Some rooms are non-smoking that can accommodate up to five people with free breakfast. The hotel is only a few minutes walk from the tram stop. Amenities include three laundry machines, vending machines, luggage storage, plugs beside the bed, and Wi-Fi. They have tasty grilled dishes, burgers, and craft beers on-site. There is a banquet hall, convenience store, and massage service. Definitely recommended to those traveling in a tight budget.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Hotel Mystays Kagoshima Tenmonkan.

 

REGION: YAKUSHIMA

An island off the south coast of the Japanese main island of Kyushu, Yakushima showcases rich flora and several key features such as impressive mountains, wildlife, waterfalls, and beaches. I didn’t make it to Yakushima because if I did go, I wanted at least 4 days on the island and it just didn’t fit my schedule. I was dying to go because it looked just like Oahu in Hawaii where I lived for two years. Hiking is the most popular activity in this prefecture, which also boasts some spectacular beaches.

 

Sankara Hotel & Spa (Luxury): If you are looking for a place to rejuvenate and relax off the city, then you’ve come to the right place. Sankara Hotel & Spa offers a free shuttle service from Yakushima airport provided that you notify the hotel in advance. A hearty combined Japanese and French breakfast is also included in your stay. There are 29 luxurious rooms and I definitely suggest you book a room with an ocean view. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with lots of amenities such as a fully-equipped gym and infinity pool with canopy and sun loungers. 

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Sankara Hotel & Spa.

 

Cottage Morinokokage (Value): This wooden cottage offers a typical Japanese hospitality experience, featuring tatami floors, comfy futon beds, hammocks, Wi-Fi, washing machines, and dryers. There are approximately 8 cottages on site. Some cottages have shared bathrooms with bathtubs. The air-conditioned cottages have a lounge room with a flat-screen TV. Guests can also rent a bike for an hour. I’d say this accommodation is value for money.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Cottage Morinokokage.

 

Yakushima Youth Hostel (Budget): Yakushima Youth Hostel is an international guest house set near the 

port and the bus stop. This seaside hostel offers basic rooms with air conditioning that can accommodate up to four guests. Guests can take advantage of their hot bath, washing machines, and a terrace overlooking the port. Location wise, it is close to supermarkets and a couple of good cafes. Rental services such as car and trekking gear are also available.

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Yakushima Youth Hostel.

 

KYUSHU TRAVEL TIPS

WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Here’s a checklist for you to start:

  • Fukuoka: If you want to be in a vibrant city scene and a central base, you may want to stay in Fukuoka.
  • Kumamoto (my pick): If you’re looking to get away from the bustling city life and be centrally positioned for all hotspot tourist locations then visit and stay in Kumamoto.
  • Beppu: If you want to check out a lot of hot springs, mud baths, and sand baths, Beppu in Oita prefecture is the best place for you.
  • Kagoshima: If you are eager to go hiking in Kirishima and see Mt. Sakurajima, head to Kagoshima prefecture.
  • Yakushima (Separate Island): If you want to hike through the stunning Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley, see ancient cedar trees, and waterfalls, Yakushima is the best place for you.

For a full article about how to split up your time between the popular regions in Kyushu, check out my guide about how to plan your Kyushu Itinerary: THE ULTIMATE KYUSHU ITINERARY: 5-DAY, 7-DAY & 10-DAY

 

WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU

Best Luxury Place to Stay in Fukuoka: Hotel WBF Grande Hakata (Value): This is by far the most popular hotel and one of the most luxurious in Fukuoka. There are a large public bath and an open-air bath on the top level of the hotel where guests can relax and enjoy the views.

Best Value/Budget Place to Stay in Fukuoka: WeBase Hakata Hostel (Budget): This stylish hostel offers a wide range of dorm-type rooms with shared bathrooms, sockets, and safes for your belongings. They also have a kitchen, a terrace, and is within walking distance to convenience stores, a subway station, ramen shops, and sightseeing spots.

Best Value Place to Stay in Kumamoto: Hotel The Gate Kumamoto (Value): Hotel The Gate is a well-situated accommodation in the heart of Kumamoto, just across the train station and walking distance to shops and restaurants.

Best Budget Luxury Place to Stay in Kumamoto: Kumamoto Hotel Castle (Luxury): Set near the infamous Kumamoto Castle, this luxury hotel features a wide range of carpeted rooms from standard rooms to suites fitted with plush amenities.

For a full list of the top-rated places to stay in Kyushu, you can check out my comprehensive guide: WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU: BEST REGIONS & HOTELS

 

HOW TO GET AROUND KYUSHU FOR ADVENTURERS

While the train may suit those in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and even in Fukuoka, it won’t cut it out here on Kyushu. The trains will get you from major towns and even into some regional areas with bus connection but almost all of the adventure sports I visited had no bus connection. When I searched on Google Maps and clicked the public transport option it would just say ‘not available’. It was very clear, very quickly that Kyushu island is best to explore by car, especially if you are doing hikes and activities outside of the city (literally everything on this list).

Renting a car wasn’t too expensive and I did the car booking through Klook, finding them to be the best-reviewed and had the cheapest options. I flew in from Tokyo so picked the car up from Fukuoka Airport and dropped it back when I was done. If you check out Klook Car Rentals and then search to pick up at Fukuoka Airport you should find a range of options. I got a very small car as it was cheap but it turned out very handy as the narrow roads of Japanese suburbs where my Airbnb was made it impossible for big SUVs. There was also no time that I needed to be off-road or anything like that so a small, fuel-efficient car made it cheap and convenient.

 

*** It is extremely important to know that you MUST HAVE an international driver’s license to rent a car in Japan. In fact, they won’t even look at your actual driver’s license and only want to see the international driver’s license. Take that seriously as they genuinely will not give you the car and likely no refund if you don’t have that. To get one you need to be in your country of residence and you can get one on the spot or order online and receive in a week or so. Make sure you organize that in advance as I almost got caught out not knowing that. 

Here is my little blue whip that I rented with the best budget option for booking a car on Klook.

 

ARE YOU FOLLOWING MY KYUSHU BLOG SERIES?

I spent over three weeks exploring Kyushu and visited some incredible waterfalls, hiked some amazing trails, and visited a number of epic volcanoes. I created a number of guides to help travelers find the best spots in Kyushu. You can explore the articles by clicking on the links below.

The Ultimate Kyushu Bucketlist: 30 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN KYUSHU

A guide to the best places to stay in Kyushu in each region: WHERE TO STAY IN KYUSHU: BEST REGIONS & HOTELS

How to plan your Kyushu vacation: THE ULTIMATE KYUSHU ITINERARY: 5-DAY, 7-DAY & 10-DAY

Interested in chasing waterfalls?: 12 AWESOME WATERFALLS IN KYUSHU

Keen for some epic hiking?: 11 AWESOME HIKES IN KYUSHU

Everything you need to know about Oita: 11 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN OITA

Your Ultimate Guide to Kumamoto: 13 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN KUMAMOTO

My favorite waterfall in Kyushu: TAKACHIHO GORGE – MOST BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL IN JAPAN

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