If you want to study abroad in Japan, here are 10 reasons why you should pick Kyushu! You may have heard of this awesome island before – filled with onsen (Japanese hot springs), beaches, and festivals. Get out your suitcase, because after you finish reading all ten reasons, you won’t want to waste any time getting over to Kyushu!
1. Hot Springs
After you get over being naked in public, you will truly enjoy relaxing in onsen after a hard day studying. While studying abroad in Kyushu, you can try out all kinds of onsen from mud baths to mineral waters, and even get buried in hot sand in Kagoshima! (Tip: rotenburo refers to the onsen baths which are outside in the fresh air and most likely in a natural setting).
If you love festivals Kyushu has a wide range of seasonal festivals. Students can experience Hakata Gion Yamagasa (a one-ton float race), hanami (cherry blossom viewing), and hanabi taikai (firework festivals), and enjoy the richness of Kyushu’s festivities throughout the academic year.
Study abroad in Japan is not complete without heading out on a few trips (during breaks, of course), and Kyushu is a great home base for traveling throughout Asia - or even a quick weekend trip to neighboring South Korea.
Want to mingle with the locals? Interactions in daily life can greatly impact your overall well-being and language skills, so it’s important to note that Kyushu is a friendly place for people from all over the world, regardless of their country of origin. Bonus points if you learn some Hakata-ben (dialect from Hakata) and try out your Kyushu slang!
Don’t like living in a mega-city with limited access to nature? You will not have this problem studying in Kyushu. Kyushu has a plethora of parks, beaches, and islands which make for fantastic scenic views and easy access to the great outdoors - no matter where you end up living.
While studying abroad you need to be able to live within your budget or scholarship funds, but also be able to have fun. Kyushu offers a wide range of affordable choices for shopping, food, and entertainment, so you never have to be left at home.
Food in Kyushu is out of this world. From yatai (street stalls) to private traditional dining, food in Kyushu is an experience in and of itself. Different parts of Kyushu have their own specialties, so make sure you ask what they are as you travel around the island. (Tip: Make sure you try Kyushu-style tonkatsu ramen (pork broth noodles), squid in Yobuko, green tea in Chiran, and yakiniku (beef BBQ) in Saga).
While you are studying in Japan, no matter which university you’re attending or what program, you will probably be studying the Japanese language as part of it. Practice your language skills in Kyushu by becoming active outside of your study abroad program or university classes. You can join a club for arts or sports. You could even volunteer or join one of Kyushu’s many active organizations. (Tip: be sure to get involved during your program through university’s tutors, conversation partners, and international student organizations. These are invaluable resources for your language learning).
9. Traditional Culture
There’s no better place to immerse yourself in Japanese culture than in Kyushu. Check out a Noh play, a Japanese tea ceremony, or a sumo tournament. Besides attending cultural events, you can soak in Japan’s history and culture around the island by visiting Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and historical sites while studying abroad. (Tip: be sure to visit Dazaifu (near Fukuoka), the reclining Buddha at Nanzoin, and Hakata-basho).
The final reason why you should study abroad in Kyushu is: it will come to feel like home. When your university or study abroad program in Japan is over you will not want to leave. What you can experience on a daily basis in Kyushu is undeniably unique. You’ll develop your own reasons why studying abroad in Kyushu was a great decision and why you have to go back.
There’s no way to know what location, university, or program will be a perfect fit for you until you go yourself, but that is all part of the experience!