The lounge car on the Seven Stars luxury train.
Courtesy of JR Kyushu

Japan’s third largest and most southwesterly island, Kyushu, was the early center of Japanese civilization—much of the nation’s rich history and mythology originated there. The island is known as the Land of Fire, thanks to the smoldering volcano Sakura­jima and the rejuvenating hot springs of Beppu.

With Japan now beginning to reopen its borders to tourism for the first time since 2020—although there are still restrictions—an impressive number of new offerings await intrepid travelers. In January, the Akane Sasu Hizen Hamashuku guesthouse opened inside a revitalized 100-year-old historic building on what is known as Sake Brewery Street, where three of the original 13 sake breweries still remain. In August, Hoshino Resort KAI Yufuin, a hot-spring ryokan, will open between the shores of Beppu Bay and the shadow of Mount Yufu. Goto Retreat Ray is also set to open this summer as an idyllic sanctuary in the Goto Islands, offering oceanfront views and open-air baths.

On the transportation front, a new ­Shinkansen bullet-­train service to Nagasaki begins this September, and a new route and upgrade on the Seven Stars luxury train experience will launch in October.

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