Exploring Kyushu by Campervan

A self-guided tour of Japan's southernmost main island

Some might claim that Hokkaido is the best destination for a campervan adventure, but the volcanic landscape of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, is not to be missed. The following itinerary is for those interested in exploring the stunning, yet little-visited, landscape of Kumamoto prefecture.

On Day 1, follow the winding country roads around Oguni to reach the Nabegataki Waterfall. This horseshoe-shaped waterfall is unique in that visitors can walk behind the cascading spray. It’s not the only waterfall in the area, but is certainly the most impressive. Nabegataki is also just a short drive away from Kyushu’s famed Kurokawa Onsen. For the evening, why not bed down at the Sanai campground, a family-friendly overnight spot situated between both the Aso and Kuju mountain ranges. BBQ sets are available to rent should you want to make your evening meal more memorable.

The highlight of the second day is Daikanbo, a lookout that promises sweeping views over the entire Mt Aso region. Millenia ago, the massive eruption of Mt Aso caused the formation of what is today the world’s largest caldera. You can stand on the northern rim of that caldera at Daikanbo and imagine the forces of the earth at work in its creation. The nearby Kodai-no-sato campsite makes an excellent base for the evening. From your campervan, you can watch the stars at night and be lulled to sleep by the murmuring sound of the river.

Spend the third day exploring the interior of the Mt Aso caldera. While recent volcanic activity has imposed certain limitations on visitors, there is still the opportunity to ride horses on the grassy Kusasenri plateau, hike one of the extinct cones or simply witness the action of the volcano up close from the safety of the Aso Volcano Museum. Aso is also an excellent place to enjoy an onsen or sip coffee on a café terrace with crystal-clear volcano views. Time permitting, take the scenic route back to Fukuoka Airport – both the winding Laputa Road and the scenic route through Kikuchi Gorge are sights to remember.

Example/Sample Itinerary

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Fukuoka Airport Sanai campground Kodaino-sato campsite
40 min 30 min 40 min
Collect campervan
(Fuji Cars Japan, Tosu)
Daikanbo Kusasenri
↓ 1 hr 30 min 30 min ↓ 20 min
Nabegataki The Laputa Road Crater of Aso mountain
↓ 30 min 40 mins ↓ 2 hours
Sanai campground (overnight) Kodaino-sato campsite (overnight) Return campervan
(Fuji Cars Japan Tosu)
↓ 40 min
Fukuoka Airport


Camper van Camper truck Peak season Options
3 days: ¥53,500 3 days: ¥80,200 Sat and holidays price: +¥5,000 per day Pickup: one way ¥7,000
5 days: ¥87,100 5 days: ¥131,500 High season price: +¥3,000 per day Bedding set: ¥5,500 per person
7 days: ¥120,700

7 days: ¥182,900

*High season: April 29th – May 10th, July and August *Bedding set includes: a set of Japanese quilts and mattresses, blanket, sheet.

Normal set (included in rental fee)
Kitchen set, a chair for outdoor, table and chair set, lantern and portable flash light, cooler box, Collision Damage Waiver and laundry charge.

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