Top things to do

Top Choice Bar in Kumamoto

Good Time Charlie

Charlie Nagatani is a living legend, the 'Johnny Cash of Japan', the founding figure behind the country's entire country music scene, and an accomplished musician and songwriter. He earned the rank of Kentucky Colon…
Top Choice Park in Nagasaki

Peace Park

North of the hypocentre, the Peace Park is presided over by the 10-tonne bronze Nagasaki Peace Statue, designed in 1955 by Kitamura Seibō. It also includes the dove-shaped Fountain of Peace (1969), and the Peace Sym…
Top Choice Tofu in Karatsu

Kawashima Tōfu

On the shopping street near the station, this renowned tofu shop has been in business since the Edo period and serves set meals starring tofu, plus other seasonal specialities, around the 10-seat counter in a jewel …
Top Choice Museum in Nagasaki

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

An essential Nagasaki experience, this sombre place recounts the city's destruction and loss of life through photos and artefacts, including mangled rocks, trees, furniture, pottery and clothing, a clock stopped at …
Top Choice Memorial in Nagasaki

Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims

Adjacent to the Atomic Bomb Museum and completed in 2003, this minimalist memorial by Kuryū Akira is a profoundly moving place. It is best approached by quietly reading the carved inscriptions and walking around the…
Top Choice Castle in Kumamoto

Kumamoto-jō

Dominating the skyline, Kumamoto's robust castle is one of Japan's best, built in 1601–07 by daimyō Katō Kiyomasa, whose likeness is inescapable around the castle (look for the distinctive tall pointed hat). From 16…
Top Choice Mountain in Aso-san Area

Aso-gogaku

The Five Mountains of Aso are the smaller mountains within the outer rim: Eboshi-dake (1337m); Kijima-dake (1321m); Naka-dake (1506m); Neko-dake (1408m), furthest east; and the highest, Taka-dake (1592m). Access roa…
Top Choice Historic Site in Nagasaki

Dejima

In 1641, the Tokugawa shogunate banished all foreigners from Japan, with one exception: Dejima, a fan-shaped, artificial island 560m in circumference (15,000 sq metres) in Nagasaki harbour. From then until the 1850s…
Top Choice Ramen in Fukuoka

Ichiran

Ichiran has been serving noodles for 39 years. Customers eat at individual cubicles, and fill out forms requesting precisely how they want their noodles prepared. Flavour strength, fat content, noodle tenderness, am…
Top Choice Castle in Karatsu

Karatsu-jō

This 1608 castle (rebuilt 1966) is picturesquely perched on a hill overlooking the sea, and houses antique ceramics, samurai armour and archaeological displays. It's a formidable sight even from the outside. To avoi…