In April this year, we planned a two-week self-drive trip to Kyushu. Our travel period coincided with the Spring period, and the Sakura season was ending.
After countless weekends watching YouTube and scouring the internet for reviews of places and things to eat, we got a travel plan all set and ready to go.
Tip: if you want to research this area, it’s best to type in the Chinese name (福冈,九州）. You will find much more exciting information as Kyushu, Fukuoka is a popular travel destination for the Taiwanese and Hongkongers.
Here’s how I planned my route >> Kumamoto >> Beppu >> Nagasaki >> Fukuoka.
I will blog about my trip in chronological order and highlight the places of interest I think you can consider going to.
We arrived at Fukuoka Airport and immediately picked up our car at the airport shop. This is not my first time doing self-drive in Japan. It is right-hand drive, and all the cars have an English GPS system. The roads are easy to navigate, and honestly, I find self-drive trips a lot more enjoyable as I can stop and go as I please.
I would always go for Toyota because they have the most outlets, and I can return the car to a different outlet. (which I planned to)
First stop: Fruit picking @ Fruitelier Nakamura Fruit Farm
It’s the strawberry season. It is the best time of the year to visit a fruit farm and have a buffet of strawberries.
For a fee, you gain access to their farm (which is shaded). Pick up a pair of scissors and eat away! All you can eat within 90 minutes. The strawberries are big and juicy. For this quality, you probably have to pay S$15 for a small pack in Donki, Singapore.
I picked Fruitelier Nakamura as it was on our way to the hotel and was highly rated online. Their website is in Japanese and might be challenging to navigate. It will be prudent to contact them and book in advance, as slots are limited.
Try messaging them on Facebook.
Second Stop: Awesome viewpoint from a green tea farm
The next place, en route to our hotel, is a scenic spot in the area of Yame. Green tea (matcha) is one of their specialities. To get to this little hilltop where we found a lovely little cafe, you will need to do a short drive up.
I highly recommend you put this place as one of the pit stops if you are in the area. The view is lovely, and it is not too crowded.
Check in to Hotel
The sunset, and we arrived at our hotel for our Matsumoto’s leg. The Blossom Kumamoto. It’s conveniently located next to the train station with a mall.
There is also a dedicated parking area for hotel guests.
I did not manage to take too many photos of the hotel, but I can assure you it was a very pleasant stay for me.
View from my hotel room. Not too shabby.
I like the hotel lobby. Has a very zen feel to it.
Dinner: Must try Tonkatsu in Kumamoto
If you are in Kumamoto and love a good Tonkatsu, check out Katsuretsu Tei Shinshigai.
I think I waited in line for about 30 minutes. The restaurant is located very near to the main shopping street.
The Tonkatsu was juicy, and the batter was fragrant.
If I am not wrong, this outlet is Michelin-rated. I saw other branches, but none was as crowded as this particular outlet.
You will not regret coming here.
After dinner, we decided to rest early. Headed back to the hotel, went to their onsen to relax for a little and went to bed.
Please stay tuned for the next part.
PS: if you want a copy of my entire itinerary, leave a comment below with your email, and we will send it to your inbox!