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  • Elisse Carma

Kyushu in a Camper

hot spring in Kyushu, japan

Kyushu, Japan is the southern big island where Fukuoka and Kumamoto are located. We'd heard that this island is kind of like Japan's New Zealand and that was enough to make us determined to visit.

dipping toes in the hot spring

Brad was set on a camper van from the start. I was hesitant to take the risk (As I write this I'm realizing this is a common theme for us with vacations...) but also excited about it. We both love camping but we've never taken the kids camping, so this would be a new adventure.

waterfall in kyushu, japan

Traveling the island of Kyushu in a camper van turned out to be the trip of a lifetime. Now that we've done it, I wouldn't do it any other way.

climbing around the rocks in a big gorge

Driving the beautiful landscapes, from gorgeous mountains to tops of volcanoes to beautiful beaches to incredible rice patty fields to deep gorges, was perhaps the most jaw-dropping long drive I've taken.

amelia scared of falling while climbing

The kids absolutely loved the camper van. They of course fought over where they'd sit during the drives and Skye drove me a bit nuts with her constant demands from the carseat, but they're all fantastic sleepers and they all shared the big front bunk over the drivers seat and slept really well. The camper was the perfect size for our little family of five.

skye talking to her daddy

We loved cooking our own meals in the camper van. The kids played outside the camper while we made our favorite dishes and then we ate with incredible views in front of us.

amelia in the gorge

Maybe the best part of the trip was stopping at onsens every other day. Onsens are the japanese public baths, and the onsens in the Kyushu mountains are so unique as they're natural hot springs coming right out of the mountain. We were able to reserve a family bath for one hour and enjoy the hot spring alone with gorgeous views of the mountains. It was a fantastic way to warm up and clean up before dinner.

brad skips rocks in kyushu

We found a few good easy hikes and of course enjoyed skipping rocks and collecting things.

hikers at a beautiful waterfall in kyushu

I only brought my camera out a handful of times, but I captured quite a bit with my phone so if you want to check out my instagram account you can see more.

skye tries to skip rocks

skye ready for the hike up to the camper van

If we return to Japan as a family some day, I really hope to see Kyushu again, and for sure in a camper van. We can't wait for our next camper vacation--we have decided we are a camping family!

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