Miyazaki Prefecture

The neighbouring Miyazaki Prefecture continues the natural splendour. The setting for many ancient Japanese legends, Miyazaki is blessed with beaches, gorges and other natural wonders, creating a mystical backdrop for its legendary heroes and villains. 

Must-sees in Miyazaki Prefecture include the tiny island of Aoshima and the stunning beauty of Takachiho Gorge. Aoshima (“Blue Island”) sees white sand beaches surround a subtropical jungle which, in turn, surrounds a shrine said to bring luck to married couples or those in search of their soul mate. If you’re lucky enough to have already found yours, you’ll still enjoy the various colours; the vermillion of the shrine and torii gate, the rich green of the jungle and that ring of white sand running around the island. 

Next is the remarkable natural formation of Takachiho Gorge, just outside the small, traditional town of the same name. Just standing above and looking down into the gorge is worth the visit but you can also take a small boat and paddle your way between the ancient rock and past the waterfall. Either way, it’s impossible to take a bad photo of the gorge and along the walking tracks which surround. 

Even after you’ve caught most of the sights you came to see in Miyazaki, don’t leave without sampling the local tasty treats. Like all of Kyushu’s prefectures, Miyazaki has its own unique delights. For mine, regional beer comes a close second to the sensation that is chicken namban. Kyushu is well-known within Japan for its chicken dishes, but in Miyazaki Prefecture, chicken nanban – a marinated fried chicken delicacy – is the must-try local specialty.

The best way to get to Miyazaki Prefecture from Oita Prefecture and back is by bus. A Sun Q pass is a fairly cost-effective and difficulty-free way to get around the whole of Kyushu.

But hiring a car is another option to take in the sights and tastes of Kyushu. As many of Japan’s highways have tolls, hiring a car with an Expressway Pass (for about AU$240) will get you where you need to go without worrying about any extra costs.