Drinking and nightlife in Kyūshū

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Kumamoto

    Good Time Charlie

    Charlie Nagatani is a living legend, the 'Johnny Cash of Japan', the founding figure behind the nation's entire country-music scene, and an accomplished musician and songwriter. He earned the rank of Kentucky Colonel for his contributions to the world of country music (he runs the Country Gold Festival near Aso-san), and this bar is his home base.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Kagoshima

    Honkaku Shōchū Bar Ishizue

    This chic, amber-and-wood shōchū bar has everything going for it, and it's one of the finest places to drink Kagoshima's prefectural liquor. There are more than 1500 choices from around the prefecture, each with its own story, and English-speaking staff to explain. Reserve ahead, especially Friday and Saturday nights.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Fukuoka


    At this classy upstairs bar, mellow out over coffee cocktails such as mojitos (with homemade coffee rum and coffee ice cubes) and espresso martinis. Liqueurs macerating on shelves above the bar lend a mad-scientist's-lab vibe (ginger gin, anyone?), yet it's not above serving more conventional drinks, plus tasty snacks.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Kumamoto


    Delightful boutique coffee shop with freshly roasted beans and a 'tart of the day', such as persimmon or Earl Grey. Coffee nerds will feel right at home with the rich lattes, creamy cappuccinos and other speciality espresso drinks. It's outside the northern end of the arcade.

  • Nightlife in Miyazaki

    Actors Square Coffee

    A cool, young vibe pervades this spacious, mid-century-styled cafe perched above the arcade. Sip coffees from around the world or original coffee drinks like the 'grasshopper' or the trail-mix latte, or order from the large cocktail menu and the selection of craft beers. There are occasional live music events, and food includes fried-chicken plates and curry rice.

  • Nightlife in Fukuoka

    Oishii Kōri-ya

    Kakigōri (shaved ice) is a huge thing in Japanese summers, and this shop is owned by a long-standing ice company so you know the main ingredient is top notch. Toppings span classic (strawberry milk), Japanese ( kinako, soy-bean powder) and a 'literary-creation menu' including matcha and mascarpone or hoji-cha (roasted tea) mont blanc. It's hard to get more refreshing.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Kumamoto


    Come to this cool new 'glocal' bar for an immersive experience in shōchū, Kyūshū's signature tipple. Owner and bartender Nori-san is something of a shōchū evangelist, and he's got 120 bottles on hand, so there's something for every taste. Even the door handle, light fixtures and coat hooks are made from old shōchū bottles.

  • Nightlife in Beppu

    Kissa Natsume

    This retro snack and dessert spot is best known for onsen kōhī (coffee made with hot-spring water; ¥550) and ogura toast (topped with azuki beans and ice cream), and it's been making egg-salad sandwiches since it opened in 1963 (set including coffee ¥920). The pet soft-shelled turtle has been here since it was the size of a ¥500 coin.

  • Nightlife in Kagoshima

    Dolphin Industry

    This new, surf-themed beer and burger bar brings the California wave across the Pacific. A friendly, just-off-Huntington-Beach vibe of surfboard art, reclaimed wood and corrugated metal accompanies the small but well-chosen rotating selection of Japanese craft brews on tap. Sample three in a 'triple pack' for ¥1200 while enjoying a burger (¥950 to ¥1200, Kagoshima wagyū ¥1800). Also Californian: it's nonsmoking.

  • Nightlife in Miyazaki

    Igokochiya Anbai

    Anbai is a sophisticated izakaya with more than 350 varieties of shōchū, well-chosen local dishes and cool background music. Not much English is spoken, but the 'mama-san' (hostess) is extremely kind, and if you order alcohol staff will bring the bottle so you can study the label as you sip.

  • Nightlife in Miyazaki

    The Bar

    This hub of the expat community and its local friends draws a cheery mixed crowd who are proud of the city and keen to welcome visitors over Miyazaki-brewed craft beers, mojitos made with mint from the owner's garden, giant Jenga and a well-used, full-size billiard table. Plus, it's nonsmoking, a rarity in Japan.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Kagoshima


    On the 3rd floor of a generic bar building next to a 7-Eleven, a low door leads to another dimension. Enthusiastic owner Hiroshi-san has crammed every square millimetre with 30,000 (!) Shōwa-era toys, memorabilia and furniture, including some of questionable taste and refinement. Drinks are just as whimsical; the Garigari-kun highball plunks a popsicle into Japanese whisky.

  • Nightlife in Beppu

    Basara House

    There's a handmade, arty feel to this renovated 1940s house, filled with exposed beams, period tile work and eclectic ephemera. All the better to sip coffee, chai or ume (Japanese plum) soda and appreciate occasional art exhibits or musical happenings. Round things out with curries or fried rice for lunch (¥800), including some veggie options.

  • Nightlife in Kagoshima


    This arty, mellow three-floor shop-bar-restaurant also has DJ decks and hosts occasional parties. It's popular with expat groovers and English-speaking locals, and it offers Latin American eats before turning into a bar for the wee hours. It's along Miyako-dōri halfway between Kajiya-chō and Takamibashi tram stops. No smoking except on the roof.

  • Nightlife in Kagoshima


    There's a lot going on in this retro-cool space c 1968: part cafe, part used bookshop, part artist gathering place. Coffee, hot dogs and local sweets are sold out of various nooks and crannies, each with different hours (lunch specials ¥700), while a gallery space upstairs holds occasional exhibitions. There's usually an English speaker on hand.

  • Nightlife in Kumamoto

    Rock Bar DAYS

    In business for two-plus decades, this dark, grunge-inspired bar is where Japanese rockers come after playing Kumamoto. Request a tune, and staff will dutifully find it in the vast library of over 6000 CDs adorning the walls. Dance if you have the space, make friends at the bar (drinks are around ¥600) or settle into the comfy chairs.

  • Nightlife in Kumamoto

    Bar Rose

    An only-in-Japan experience, Bar Rose (not to be confused with Rose Bar, nearby!) is a quiet, polished place. Stools are plush and comfy, and it's where you come to have a relaxing couple of hours with a high-class cocktail (drinks start at around ¥900). The bartender speaks solid English, too, and has a great sense of humour.

  • Nightlife in Beppu

    Creole Cafe

    On the ground floor of Beppu Tower and with windows looking out onto the busy street, Creole Cafe brings together Beppu's Japanese and foreign communities over drinks, reasonably priced food (curry and pasta at lunch, European fusion at night) and special events like salsa dancing.

  • Nightlife in Fukuoka

    Stereo Coffee

    This artful, art-filled cafe draws a hip, creative crowd for tasty espresso drinks, hot sandwiches and seasonal special drinks such as floats for summer. There are no seats – all the better to peruse the art on the walls of the loft-like gallery spaces upstairs and down, while cool beats play in the background.

  • Nightlife in Shimabara

    Shimabara Mizuyashiki

    Off Shimabara's central arcade, this delightful Meiji-era teahouse features a lovely garden, a spring-fed pond and an obsessive collection of maneki-neko (lucky cat) figurines from all over Japan, some for sale. The enthusiastic owner has created a detailed walking map of sights and restaurants in town.