Kyushu

Meet Issie, Japan’s very own Loch Ness Monster

You may have thought that the Loch Ness Monster had cornered the market on fresh-water cryptids, but Japan has one of its own mythical lake beasts. There may be a monster lurking in the depths of Kyushu’s Lake Ikeda, a monster who goes by the terrifying name of… Issie-kun.

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We check out the view, eat amazingly delicious squid at Japan’s first underwater restaurant

In many cases, the Japanese language uses the word umi, literally “sea,” to mean “beach.” For example, if your friends extend the invitation, “Hey, let’s go to the umi next Saturday!” they’re expecting you to show up with a towel and sunscreen, not a compass and cutlass for fending off pirates as you sail your ship full of cargo to the Bahamas to exchange for molasses.

So when we first heard about a restaurant in Kyushu right in the middle of the umi, we thought it was built on the sand. And while we like an eatery with an ocean view as much as anyone, the reality is even cooler, as the restaurant is actually built off-shore, with half of its seating area below the surface of the water.

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Hyotan Onsen – Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars

Even though the prefecture is home to barely a million residents, Oita has not one, but two famous hot spring resorts. Yufuin is generally held to be the more refined and tastefully restrained of the pair, while Beppu, despite having some of the most popular hot springs in Japan, gets saddled with the reputation as the more touristy town.

While there may be some truth to the labels, there’s one thing Beppu has that you won’t find in Yufuin, or anywhere else in the country for that matter: Japan’s only hot spring with three Michelin stars.

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Amakusa Airlines: Japan’s smallest airline with one adorable dolphin turboprop plane

If you are still mourning the loss of Japan’s Pokémon jumbo jet and prefer to fly the friendly skies in something overbearingly cute, look no further than Amakusa Airlines and its dolphin-themed airplane. Although the Kyushuu-based company is the smallest airline in Japan, Amakusa more than makes up for its size with a strong social media presence, a unique all-day flight challenge and its lone Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop plane painted up to look like a dolphin mother and two dolphin babies. Click below to find out why this tiny airline has captured the hearts of aviation fans in Japan!

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Saga Prefecture broadcasts its appeal by dancing to AKB48 【Video】

Saga Prefecture lies in the northwest corner of Japan’s island of Kyushu. This past week, in an unusual attempt at self-promotion, the Saga Prefectural Office uploaded a video of hundreds of workers from its various divisions happily dancing to the new AKB48 single, Koi Suru Fortune Cookie (Love Fortune Cookie). With more than 480,000 views on YouTube so far, the up-beat video certainly beats a boring old poster campaign!

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Crop circles in the ocean? A new species of artistic pufferfish discovered in Japan

For years, crop circles have been a topic of mystery to surface-dwelling humans, but how many people have spared a thought for under the sea?

Off the coast of Amami Ooshima in Kyushu, divers and tourists alike have spotted strangely intricate geometric circles without knowing their origin. Was it paranormal activity or possibly locals with a shovel and too much time on their hands? Guess again! The culprit, it seems, is a particularly artistic new species of pufferfish!

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