about South Japan

Southern Japan is a region with rich natural and historical backgrounds, and has developed its own customary culture.

First, one of the representative customary cultures of southern Japan is the Ryukyuan culture. Ryukyu is the region centered on present-day Okinawa Prefecture, where a unique culture has developed. Ryukyuan dance, the Sanshin musical instrument, and traditional handicrafts such as Bingata are well known. There are also many castle ruins such as Shurijo Castle and Nakagusuku Castle Ruins as legacies of the Ryukyu Kingdom period.

Nagasaki Kunchi in Nagasaki and Hakata Gion Yamakasa in Fukuoka are representative festivals in southern Japan. Nagasaki Kunchi is a festival characterized by flamboyant costumes and ornaments, incorporating cultures imported from China, the Netherlands, Portugal, and other countries, and attracts many tourists from Japan and abroad. On the other hand, Hakata Gion Yamakasa is a festival in which people parade around the city carrying floats made for dedication to local shrines, and is well known as a summer tradition.

Southern Japan’s food culture is rich in variety, especially seafood. Southern Japan is located in the southern part of Japan and is blessed with a mild climate and abundant nature. Surrounded by the sea, the region offers an abundance of fresh seafood, which is why there are many local dishes. For example, Kagoshima’s Kurobuta pork, Nagasaki’s sponge cake, Saga’s firefly squid from the Ariake Sea, Fukuoka’s cod roe, and Hiroshima’s oysters are all famous. In addition, Okinawa’s local cuisine includes goya chanpuru (bitter melon stir-fry) and taco rice, which offer unique textures and flavors.

In addition, southern Japan has a wide variety of unique soy sauce, miso, vinegar, and other seasonings. For example, Hiroshima Prefecture’s okonomiyaki is characterized by the use of soy sauce different from that of other regions. Also, miso is commonly added to Fukuoka Prefecture’s motsu nabe to add flavor.

Some areas in southern Japan are rich in agriculture and produce rice and vegetables, so many dishes make use of local ingredients. Typical examples include Nagasaki Prefecture’s chanpon and Kagoshima Prefecture’s black pork dishes.

In addition, many regions in southern Japan offer hot spring resorts where visitors can enjoy meals at ryokan (Japanese-style inns) located in hot spring resorts. They offer kaiseki meals using local ingredients and seasonal dishes that are very popular among tourists. The culinary culture of southern Japan is diverse from region to region, and we encourage you to enjoy the local cuisine when you travel.