Top ChoiceTofu in Karatsu

Kawashima Tōfu

On Kyōmachi covered arcade near the station, this renowned tofu shop has been in business since the Edo period and serves refined kaiseki, starring tofu plus other seasonal specialities, around a 10-seat counter...

Top ChoiceRamen in Fukuoka



This Fukuoka-born chain (since 1993) has a nationwide following. That's as much for its serving style as for its fresh noodles and 15-second kitchen-to-table rule. Customers fill out forms (available in English)...

Top ChoiceJapanese in Fukuoka


If you can't visit the rest of Kyūshū, try regional foods at this elegant izakaya. Look for dishes like karashi renkon (spicy, deep-fried lotus root) and basashi (horsemeat sashimi) from Kumamoto, grilled...

Top ChoiceSweets in Miyazaki

Okashi no Hidaka

At this family-run legend, in business since the early 1950s, peruse the refrigerator case of luscious-looking Japanese and Western pastries, but order the giant nanjakō-daifuku (dumpling of sweet bean paste,...

Top ChoiceGrill in Aso-san Area

Takamori Dengaku-no-Sato

At this fantastic thatch-roofed ex-farmhouse the staff use oven mitts to grill dengaku (skewers of vegetables, meat including Aso beef, fish and tofu covered in the namesake dengaku: sweet miso paste) at your own...

Top ChoiceRamen in Fukuoka


Fukuoka's most famous ramen chain has efficient and always bustling branches in Tenjin, serving the best-selling Akamaru Modern (with black-sesame oil and a fragrant umami-dama, or flavour ball), Shiromaru...

Top ChoiceGyoza in Beppu

Gyōza Kogetsu

This seven-seat, 1940s time warp with a manic local following has only two things on the menu, both ¥600: generous plates of gyōza (dumplings) perfectly fried to a delicate crunch, and bottles of beer. It's in...

Top ChoiceNoodles in Satsuma Peninsula

Tōsenkyō Sōmen Nagashi

This sprawling restaurant in a riverside gorge near Ikeda-ko gets an estimated 200,000 annual visitors (!), paying tribute to the 1967 birthplace of nagashi-sōmen (flowing noodles). Sōmen (thin wheat-flour...

Top ChoiceCafe in Kunisaki Peninsula

Soba Cafe Yuuhi

This beach-casual shop might offer the most spectacular sunset of your trip: the sun sinks into the ocean or behind mudflats that stretch to the horizon – on clear evenings you can even see the green flash. Yuuhi...

Top ChoiceJapanese in Miyazaki

Ogura Honten

Chikin nanban (sweet fried chicken with tartar sauce; pictured on the menu) was invented here in 1961, and crowds still flock to this no-frills shop under a red-and-white awning, in the alley behind Yamakataya...

Top ChoiceIzakaya in Kumamoto


Yokobachi's leafy courtyard and open kitchen are distinctive. Although some menu translations are head-scratchers, stand-out small plates include spicy tebasaki (chicken wings), Caesar salad with fried gobo...

Top ChoiceSeafood in Fukuoka


Fish-your-own Zauo's quite a commotion and good, clean fun. Staff equip you with fishing rods, bait and nets to fish your own tai (sea bream), hirame (flounder) and more from tanks surrounding boat-shaped...

Top ChoiceIzakaya in Kumamoto

Kome no Kura

This black-walled, quietly chic izakaya, with cosy private booths and hori-kotatsu (well in the floor for your feet) seating, has a whole menu of Kumamoto specialities along with standard fare. Tsukune (chicken...

Top ChoiceSteak in Takachiho


Operated by the local agricultural collaborative, this large, spotless, rustic-modern restaurant offers set menus featuring award-winning Takachiho beef. Be sure to say 'hi' to the full-size statues of beloved,...

Top ChoiceJapanese in Kagoshima


This atmospheric multistorey restaurant near central Tenmonkan covers all your Satsuma-ryōri needs: Satsuma-age (deep-fried fish cake), tonkotsu (pork ribs), kurobuta shabu-shabu (black-pork hotpot), and lots of...

Top ChoiceJapanese in Beppu


This busy spot may be the only restaurant in the world where you steam your own meal and eat it while dangling your feet in a foot bath. Order from a machine, take your lunch to the steamer (you can even order...

Top ChoiceSteak in Miyazaki


If you're going to splurge on Miyazaki gyū (beef), do it at this gracious yakiniku and steak house with river views. Lunch set menus are a nice deal, with appetiser, salad, beef, vegetables, dessert and coffee.

Top ChoiceKaiseki in Nagasaki

Shippoku Hamakatsu

Come here if you'd like to experience shippoku-ryōri (Nagasaki-style kaiseki) and still afford your airfare home. Menus are filling and varied, and there's a choice of Japanese- or Western-style seating.

Top ChoiceJapanese in Nagasaki

Organic Restaurant Tia

Tia serves a buffet of mouth-watering home-style Japanese cooking using local, organic products. It's on the 2nd floor, with an entry that's easy to miss on the corner of the Links Douza Building.

Burgers in Karatsu

Karatsu Bāgā

In the middle of nowhere (in a parking lot) in Niji no Matsubara is a brown-and-white Toyota serving burgers so famous people line up to buy them, and have for decades. The 'Special' is the most popular: a...