Destination Kyushu

Destination Kyushu

Kyushu is bubbling with energy, culture and activity, it is easily reached by land, sea and air.

Japan's third-largest island is internationally famous for its tonkotsu ramen, varied hot springs, dramatic mountains, and peaceful beaches. While the startup hub of Fukuoka bubbles with international attention, the volcanic terrain to the south continues to rumble and smoke. The seismic activity has created a craggy wonderland of eight steaming hot spring areas, known collectively as Beppu Onsen, as well as soaring peaks to hike, such as Mt. Karakuni in the Kirishima mountain range. Offering a taste of both cutting-edge modernity and slow-paced living, Japan's southern island is best explored at a leisurely pace. Head south to relax on an island bursting with spectacular nature, culture and cuisine.

Fukuoka Prefecture's most famous attraction is Dazaifu Tenmangu, a shrine dedicated to the historical scholar and politician Michizane Sugawara and home to over 6,000 plum trees that blossom spectacularly each spring. The prefecture's culinary specialties include sushi and other seafood dishes, yakitori or grilled skewers, motsunabe hot pot in the winter, and tonkotsu or pork broth ramen, best enjoyed at a local yatai or food stall. Located on the northern tip of Kyushu and boasting excellent transportation links, Fukuoka is an easy destination.

Located in Kyushu's northwest, Saga offers plenty of natural wonders, history and artistry. It's famous for being the birthplace of ceramics in Japan, chiefly in the historic pottery towns of Karatsu, Arita and Imari, and has been influenced by Chinese and Korean culture. The Saga Castle History Museum and Nagoya Castle hint at Saga's feudal past, while natural attractions include the sea caves of Karatsu, and Rainbow Pine Grove, a Japanese black pine forest stretching five kilometers from east to west along Karatsu Bay. Hot spring areas include Takeo Onsen and Ureshino Onsen, prime spots for mental and physical relaxation.

Nagasaki was Japan's early gateway to trade with the West, and this influence still shines through in its districts of stately European-style homes and a large Christian population. Historically strong links to China and Korea further inflect modern Nagasaki, although the prefecture features tombs and ruins dating back to the third century B.C. Unspoiled beaches and island getaways surrounded by crystal-clear seas that draw swimmers, divers, and sea kayakers, while the island of Tsushima attracts eco-tourists with its flora and fauna.

Oita Prefecture is a place to relax the body and get in touch with nature. The most iconic onsen towns are Beppu & Yufuin, overflowing with Bohemian charm, and Beppu, home to eight hot springs that have been popular since ancient times. Jutting out to the north of Oita, Kunisaki Peninsula is home to historic spiritual sites nestled against lush mountainsides, while inland areas centered in the western part of the prefecture are full of rustic countryside charm and plenty of rare flora and fauna.

Despite suffering damage in the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, the region was quick to rebound and continues to welcome tourism. Surrounded by mountains, the landscape is shaped by volcanic activity. Aso is known for its huge caldera containing villages and farms. Kumamoto Castle is one of the country's most imposing, and Kurokawa Onsen retains a quaint, traditional feel.

Miyazaki is a renowned haven for outdoor sports enthusiasts, boasts gorgeous coastal drives and is home to incredible seaside shrines. Miyazaki Shrine, Amanoiwato Shrine and Takachiho Shrine are associated with the myth of the birth of Japan, and feature lively annual festivals that celebrate Miyazaki's significant place in Japanese mythology. Takachiho Gorge and the 17-meter Manai Falls are breathtaking and a prefectural highlight. Kisakihama, Okuragahama, Uchiumi and Aoshima are popular for their surf. Seagaia, a 20-minute drive from Miyazaki Station, is a comprehensive resort complex complete with a hotel, convention center, and golf courses.

At the southern tip of mainland Japan, Kagoshima Prefecture is nicknamed the "Naples of the East" for its bay and comfortable climate. The prefecture is incredibly active geologically and is home to the great volcanoes of Mt. Kirishima and Mt. Sakurajima. A beneficial side effect of these volcanoes is a number of fantastic hot spring (onsen) facilities that range from traditional baths to beachside sand baths in the shadow of Sakurajima. Island life is one of the charms of Kagoshima Prefecture, and any visitor should consider spending as much time as possible off the mainland.

Japanese Emperor Hirohito Monument

Japanese Emperor Hirohito Monument

Emperor Hirohito was a major figure in the history of 20th-century Japan. Although Hirohito reigned for 62 years and is revered as a god by many Japanese, the monarch died at a ripe old age. To date, Hirohito remains one of the most important figures in the country's checkered cultural history. Many remember that Hirohito was the ruler who declared Japan's big surrender to the Allied forces after World War II. The momentous event brought about the end of decades of fighting in the Second World War. This event occurred on August 15, 1945, and is known in Japan as "The Day of Surrender." on this day each year, it is customary to visit Emperor Hirohito's monument to lay flowers and pay respects.

Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) was the 124th Emperor of Japan. He ruled from 1926 to 1989. During his reign, he was known as the Showa Emperor and was often referred to colloquially as "the Emperor." Hirohito's father, Yoshihito, became Emperor in 1867 at age 14 but died a few years later. At that point, Hirohito (the Emperor's father) was given the name Meiji and took over his own father's duties as Emperor. When Meiji died in 1912, Hirohito became formally known as Taisho Tenno or "The Great Enlightened Monarch." However, he would continue being called by his childhood name until he later took on the title himself.

In 1926, following the death of Taisho Tenno (his father), Hirohito became officially known as Showa Tenno or "brightness shining through clouds"--a reference to his reign occurring during times of hardship for Japan. Hirohito continued to be called by this title until the World War II ended. Interestingly, while visiting Europe in 1952, the British preferred not to call him by any formal title because it seemed too similar to the British royalty's honours. It was thought this could cause a degree of political unrest, pitting the European against the Asian monarch. There was, however, no doubt that Emperor Hirohito was considered an important figure in world history.

Hirohito was Japan's 124th Emperor of Japan and served as its head for 62 years— this was the longest reign in recorded history (he died in 1989). Remarkably, the Emperor lived through both World Wars and saw many significant changes occur during his life. For example, Hirohito became Emperor during Japan's Meiji Restoration period when Japan moved away from its traditional culture toward modernization under his father, Emperor Mutsuhito.

The name "Emperor Hirohito" wasn't used until 1945; prior to this time, he was just called by the name: Taisho Tenno (Taisho meaning "Great Righteousness"). Unsurprisingly, the Hirohito monument also holds historical significance. The trip to Hirohito's monument is a milestone for any visitor to Japan. So, if you're in Japan and can spare a little time on your hands, this visit is well worth it.

Hirohito was the last Emperor of Japan. He ruled from 1926 until his death in 1989, at which point he was succeeded by his son Akihito who still reigns today. The monument itself was constructed on the basis that it should be similar to other monuments around the world that honor prominent leaders who passed away -in the manner of Lenin's tomb. Emperor Hirohito himself chose the monument's design; Hirohito wanted it to reflect Japanese culture while oozing dignity and flaunting Japanese tradition to foreign visitors.

When visiting this monument, you can feel Japan's history. You're surrounded by monuments and buildings dedicated to their famous Emperor. You can feel the weight of this monument built to honor him and his reign over the Japanese people. You can feel how much respect they had for him. However, when visiting this monument, it is important to remember that people died in World War II so that Hirohito could continue as Emperor of Japan. Some think he should have been charged with war crimes; instead, he was allowed to continue reigning as Emperor until 1989, when he died peacefully at age 87. Hirohito had ruled as Emperor for 62 years.

Undoubtedly, Emperor Hirohito's monument is a place of great importance. If you are looking for a place to discover and learn about world history, it's worthwhile visiting this revered edifice. Certainly, Hirohito's monument is an excellent place to learn about and admire his major accomplishments. Take the time to understand what each part of the monument means because it enlightens many on the important facts of life that saw the monarch assume office as Emperor.

Japan Loyalty Market Report 2022-2026

Japan Loyalty Market Report 2022-2026

The "Japan Loyalty Programs Market Intelligence and Future Growth Dynamics Databook - 50+ KPIs on Loyalty Programs Trends by End-Use Sectors, Operational KPIs, Retail Product Dynamics, and Consumer Demographics - Q1 2022 Update" report has been added to's offering.

Loyalty Programs Market in Japan is expected to grow by 12.6% on annual basis to reach US$ 10160.8 million in 2022

In value terms, the Loyalty Programs Market in Japan has recorded a CAGR of 13.0% during 2017-2021. The Loyalty Programs Market in Japan will continue to grow over the forecast period and is expected to record a CAGR of 11.9% during 2022-2026. Loyalty Programs Market in the country will increase from US$ 9024.8 million in 2021 to reach US$ 15936.7 million by 2026.

Point cards and loyalty programs are everywhere in Japan. For several years, the rewards system has been a popular way for brands and retailers to encourage customers to become frequent shoppers. No matter what form it took - plastic card, stamp card, or a digital app - most merchants and retailers in the country are using some kind of loyalty and rewards program. This has resulted in consistent growth for the loyalty and rewards programs industry in Japan over the last three to four years, and the publisher expects the trend to further continue from the short to medium-term perspective.

From telecom providers to e-commerce platforms and convenience stores, all are taking advantage of the growing preference for loyalty programs among consumers to drive their growth and incremental revenue in Japan. Notably, hospitality groups are entering into strategic partnerships with loyalty program providers to gain direct access to members, which will subsequently help them in increasing their market share in the country.

In Japan, retailers across categories, including restaurants, coffee shops, clothing stores, rental car agencies, and many more, like to offer their customers a loyalty program. Moreover, customers in Japan want to earn points and rewards regardless of where they shop in the country.

Consequently, the publisher expects retailers to record strong growth which continues to increase their network of retailers. Notably, this has been one of the major reasons why the T-Point Program, which was one of the top loyalty programs in the country a few years back, has fallen back in the rankings. The T-Point Program was dropped by several retailers in Japan, whereas new loyalty programs, such as the one offered by Rakuten, have been able to record strong growth over the last three to four years because it has continued to increase its partner network.

Moreover, the differentiated approach to loyalty programs has also helped Rakuten in becoming the most preferred loyalty program among Japanese consumers. The publisher, therefore, expects that increasing the partner network and offering differentiated loyalty programs will help the providers in driving their growth over the next four to eight quarters.

Loyalty program providers are increasing their partner network to further boost their growth in Japan

To further make their program attractive to consumers and offer them more choices to earn and spend their loyalty points, loyalty program providers are entering into strategic partnerships with more and more brands.

In July 2021, Rakuten announced that the firm has entered into a strategic partnership with Marriott International. Under the strategic collaboration, members of the Rakuten loyalty program will get more benefits such as discounted member rates, the opportunity to earn more points, and other member-only benefits. On the other hand, the strategic collaboration with Rakuten will allow Marriott to gain direct access to the more than 100 million members of the Rakuten loyalty program.

The publisher expects more such strategic collaborations over the next four to eight quarters, which will further boost the popularity of the loyalty programs in Japan from the short to medium-term perspective.

Now global players are launching their rewards program to gain market share in Japan

As the loyalty and rewards programs market continues to grow year on year in Japan, global rewards platforms are expanding their footprint in the country to gain more market share in the global industry.

Japanese luxury carmakers are introducing new buyback and loyalty programs for overseas customers

The demand for loyalty programs is increasing globally, and not just in Japan. In the midst of these growing trends, Japanese luxury carmakers are launching new buyback and loyalty programs for their Indian customers. In March 2022, Lexus, celebrating its 5th anniversary in India, announced that the firm is launching a new buyback and loyalty program for its customers in the country. Notably, the program is part of the firm's anniversary celebrations in India, as it completes five years since its arrival in the country.

Hidden Gems in Nagasaki

Hidden Gems in Nagasaki

Nagasaki is the world-famous capital of the Nagasaki Prefecture on the Japanese island of Kyushu. During the 16th and 19th centuries, the city became the sole port for commerce with the Portuguese and Dutch. Nagasaki's Hidden Christian Sites have been well-recognized and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. There's much to see and do here, from ancient antiques to architecture depicting the era when Nagasaki had a strong Dutch influence. There are also some magnificent hidden jewels waiting to be discovered.

Fukusai-Ji Temple: The temple is shaped like a giant turtle holding an 18m-high Kannon figure on its back; it's a magnificent sight to witness. Inside the temple, a Foucault pendulum depicts the earth's axis' revolution. The Foucault pendulum swings from the hollow statue's top' it's comparable to its bigger counterparts in St Petersburg and Paris. Unfortunately, the ancient temple, erected in 1628 and of Chinese origin, was entirely destroyed during the bombardment. Its replacement was constructed in 1976.

Ōura Church- The Ura Church, Japan's oldest existing Christian church, was erected at the end of the Edo Period by a French missionary for the city's burgeoning community of foreign merchants. The church is dedicated to the remembrance of the 26 Christians murdered in the city in 1597, and it is now a beautiful example of contemporary European architecture. The church was the first Western-style structure in Japan to be declared a national treasure; it stands out among the most prominent Japanese traditional structures.

Glover House and Office: Glover House and Office are located in the midst of the lovely Glover Gardens. Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" is supposed to have been inspired by this mansion and office. The home was erected in the 1860s by Thomas Blake Glover's Scottish trader. It's a gorgeous mix of traditional Japanese architectural components with a Georgian-style façade. The structure's latticed arches, stone-floored verandas, French windows, and British chimneys are set on a tile-covered Japanese roof. As you do your rounds within the park, look for the monuments of Puccini and Miura Tamaki, who played Madame Butterfly.

Suwa Shrine: Suwa Shrine's beginnings may date back to the 1500s. Teramachi-Dori: The shrine's original location is traced to Temple Street. Evidently, Christians demolished the Suwa Shrine, as well as other Buddhist and Shinto treasures. Suwa Shrine was renovated in 1625 and transferred to its current position in 1648 to revitalize the Shinto faith. The Nagasaki Kunchi Festival is held here every October. It has a history extending back more than 400 years and is among Japan's most significant events.

Gunkanjima Island: This tiny island is located some 20 kilometers from Nagasaki Port. Until 1974, the island was a coal mine, and more than 5000 people lived on the 480-meter-long, 150-meter-wide place. It previously had the highest population density ever recorded in history. In order to house so many people in a somewhat confined space, every available ground was developed; this transformed the island into a massive battleship. "Gunkanjima" is its Japanese moniker, meaning "battleship island." However, Hashima is the island's official name. The mine was stopped in April 1974, and the occupants were forced to depart Gunkanjima; they thus left the island and its structures. Today, you may tour the decaying peninsula and have a close look at it.

Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum- This museum honors the twenty-six Christians killed here on February 5, 1597. There were both foreign missionaries and Japanese laypeople among them. Missionary work was illegal at the time; therefore, Japan's monarch, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ordered the executions as a warning. The monument is positioned in a small park on a hill near Nagasaki Station and provides beautiful city views. The museum behind the memorial is dedicated to the martyrs' remembrance and Japanese Christianity. The interior design is evocative of the church massacre, with stained-glass windows. You'll find other Christian relics, including historical papers, statues, and jewelry. If you're searching for something distinctive to do in Nagasaki, this is the place to go.

Mt. Inasa: This is a must-see if you're in Nagasaki; it offers a breathtaking nocturnal perspective. The sight is so stunning that it's dubbed the "ten-million-dollar night view." To reach the peak, which is 333 meters above sea level, you must ride in a ropeway gondola operated by the Nagasaki Ropeway. The trip itself is impressive, and when you reach the top, you'll be able to see the magnificent glittering night view below. The romantic mood produced by the dance of lights that mysteriously emerge from down makes the observation deck pretty ideal for a date night.