Last updated
Native name:
Terra Kyushu 20091028.jpg
October 2009 NASA satellite image of Kyushu
Kyushu Region in Japan (extended).svg
Kyushu region of Japan and the current prefectures on the island of Kyushu
Location East Asia
Coordinates 33°N131°E / 33°N 131°E / 33; 131 Coordinates: 33°N131°E / 33°N 131°E / 33; 131
Archipelago Japanese Archipelago
Area36,782.37 [1]  km2 (14,201.75 sq mi)
Area rank 37th
Coastline12,221 km (7593.8 mi)
Highest elevation1,791 m (5876 ft)
Highest point Mount Kujū [2]
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan
Prefectures Flag of Fukuoka Prefecture.svg  Fukuoka Prefecture
Flag of Kagoshima Prefecture.svg  Kagoshima Prefecture
Flag of Kumamoto.svg  Kumamoto Prefecture
Flag of Miyazaki Prefecture.svg  Miyazaki Prefecture
Flag of Nagasaki Prefecture.svg  Nagasaki Prefecture
Flag of Oita Prefecture.svg  Ōita Prefecture
Flag of Okinawa Prefecture.svg  Okinawa Prefecture
Flag of Saga Prefecture.svg  Saga Prefecture
Largest settlement Fukuoka
Population12,650,847 (as of June 2022)
Pop. density307.13/km2 (795.46/sq mi)
Ethnic groups Japanese, Ryukyuan
Additional information
Time zone

Kyushu ( 九州 , Kyūshū, pronounced  [kʲɯꜜːɕɯː] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ), literally "Nine Provinces") is the third-largest island of Japan's five main islands and the most southerly of the four largest islands (i.e. excluding Okinawa). [3] [4] In the past, it has been known as Kyūkoku (九国, "Nine Countries"), Chinzei (鎮西, "West of the Pacified Area") and Tsukushi-no-shima (筑紫島, "Island of Tsukushi"). The historical regional name Saikaidō (西海道, lit. West Sea Circuit) referred to Kyushu and its surrounding islands. Kyushu has a land area of 36,782 square kilometres (14,202 sq mi) and a population of 14,311,224 in 2018. [5]


In the 8th-century Taihō Code reforms, Dazaifu was established as a special administrative term for the region. [6]


Kyushu from the International Space Station. Kyushu-Japan-ISS-Space.png
Kyushu from the International Space Station.
Geofeatures map of Kyushu Geofeatures map of Kyushu Japan ja.svg
Geofeatures map of Kyushu

The island is mountainous, and Japan's most active volcano, Mt Aso at 1,591 metres (5,220 ft), is on Kyushu. There are many other signs of tectonic activity, including numerous areas of hot springs. The most famous of these are in Beppu, on the east shore, and around Mt. Aso in central Kyushu. The island is separated from Honshu by the Kanmon Straits. Being the nearest island to the Asian continent, [7] historically it is the gateway to Japan. [8]

The total area is 36,782.37 km2 (14,201.75 sq mi) which makes it the 37th largest island in the world. [1] It's slightly larger than Taiwan island 35,808 km2 (13,826 sq mi). [5] The highest elevation is 1791 meters (5876 feet) on Mount Kujū. [9]

The name Kyūshū comes from the nine ancient provinces of Saikaidō situated on the island: Chikuzen, Chikugo, Hizen, Higo, Buzen, Bungo, Hyūga, Osumi, and Satsuma. [10]

Today's Kyushu Region (九州地方, Kyūshū-chihō) is a politically defined region that consists of the seven prefectures on the island of Kyushu (which also includes the former Tsushima and Iki as part of Nagasaki), plus Okinawa Prefecture to the south:


Kyushu has 10.3 percent of the population of Japan. [11] Most of Kyushu's population is concentrated along the northwest, in the cities of Fukuoka and Kitakyushu, with population corridors stretching southwest into Sasebo and Nagasaki and south into Kumamoto and Kagoshima. Except for Oita and Miyazaki, the eastern seaboard shows a general decline in population.

Politically, Kyushu is described as a stronghold of the Liberal Democratic Party. [12]

Per Japanese census data, [13] [14] the Kyushu region's population with Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa and Kagoshima Prefectures) has experienced a large population decline since around 2000. However, the population decline is mild mainly due to relatively high birth rate of Ryukyuans both within the Ryukyuan lands (Okinawa and Kagoshima) and throughout the Kyushu region. In addition, the other prefectures in Kyushu also have exceptionally high TFRs compared to the rest of Japan. [15] [16] The Ryukyuans are an indigenous minority group in Japan.

Historical populations
Including Ryukyu Islands
Historical population
1873 5,163,730    
1920 8,730,000+69.1%
1930 9,647,000+10.5%
1940 10,511,000+9.0%
1950 13,011,000+23.8%
1960 13,787,000+6.0%
1970 13,016,000−5.6%
1980 14,073,000+8.1%
1990 14,518,000+3.2%
2000 14,763,781+1.7%
2010 14,596,783−1.1%
2018 14,311,224−2.0%
Includes Okinawa and Kagoshima prefecture populations.
Excluding Ryukyu Islands
Historical population
1873 4,776,363    
1920 6,742,000+41.2%
1930 7,512,000+11.4%
1940 8,347,000+11.1%
1950 10,292,000+23.3%
1960 10,941,000+6.3%
1970 10,342,000−5.5%
1980 11,181,000+8.1%
1990 11,498,000+2.8%
2000 11,659,367+1.4%
2010 11,497,723−1.4%
2018 11,249,154−2.2%
In 1873, Ōsumi Province represents portion of Kagoshima with Ryukyu islands

Designated cities

Core cities

Environment and agriculture

Map of Kyushu region with prefectures. Kyushumap-en.png
Map of Kyushu region with prefectures.
JMSDF District Forces, including the Sasebo District Force. JMSDF major fleets en.JPG
JMSDF District Forces, including the Sasebo District Force.

Parts of Kyushu have a subtropical climate, particularly Miyazaki prefecture and Kagoshima prefecture. Major agricultural products are rice, tea, tobacco, sweet potatoes, and soy; also, silk is widely produced.

Besides the volcanic area of the south, there are significant mud hot springs in the northern part of the island, around Beppu. The springs are the site of occurrence of certain extremophile microorganisms, which are capable of surviving in extremely hot environments. [17]


Kyushu is noted for various types of porcelain, including Arita, Imari, Satsuma, and Karatsu. Heavy industry is concentrated in the north around Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Nagasaki, and Oita and includes chemicals, automobiles, semiconductors, metal processing, shipbuilding, etc. [18]

In 2010, the graduate employment rate in the region was the lowest nationwide, at 88.9%. [19]


Major universities and colleges in Kyushu:


Kyushu is linked to the larger island of Honshu by the Kanmon Railway Tunnel, [20] which carries the non-Shinkansen trains of the Kyushu Railway Company, and the newer Shin-Kanmon Tunnel carrying the San'yō Shinkansen. Railways on the island are operated by the Kyushu Railway Company and West Japan Railway Company, as well as a variety of smaller companies such as Amagi Railway [21] and Nishitetsu Railway. [22] Kyushu Shinkansen trains also operate between major cities on the island, [23] such as Fukuoka and Kagoshima, [24] with an additional route under construction between Fukuoka and Nagasaki expected to be in operation from 2023. [25] Kyushu is also known for its scenic train services, such as the Limited Express Yufuin no Mori and Limited Express Kawasemi Yamasemi. [23]

The Kanmon Bridge and Kanmon Roadway Tunnel also connect the island with Honshu, allowing for vehicular transport between the two. [26] The Kyushu Expressway spans the length of the island, linking the Higashikyushu Expressway and Ibusuki Skyline, connecting major cities such as Fukuoka and Kumamoto along the way.[ citation needed ] There are also many quiet country roads, including popular tourist routes such as the Nichinan coast road and the Aso Panorama Line in Kumamoto Prefecture. Bus services are available and cover 2,400 routes within Kyushu's cities, connecting many other destinations. [23]

Several passenger and car ferry services connect both northern and southern Kyushu with main port cities on the main island of Honshu (Kobe, Osaka, Tokyo) and Shikoku. [27]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fukuoka Prefecture</span> Prefecture of Japan

Fukuoka Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyūshū. Fukuoka Prefecture has a population of 5,109,323 and has a geographic area of 4,986 km2. Fukuoka Prefecture borders Saga Prefecture to the southwest, Kumamoto Prefecture to the south, and Ōita Prefecture to the southeast.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kagoshima Prefecture</span> Prefecture of Japan

Kagoshima Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands. Kagoshima Prefecture has a population of 1,599,779 and has a geographic area of 9,187 km2. Kagoshima Prefecture borders Kumamoto Prefecture to the north and Miyazaki Prefecture to the northeast.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kumamoto Prefecture</span> Prefecture of Japan

Kumamoto Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyūshū. Kumamoto Prefecture has a population of 1,748,134 and has a geographic area of 7,409 square kilometres (2,861 sq mi). Kumamoto Prefecture borders Fukuoka Prefecture to the north, Ōita Prefecture to the northeast, Miyazaki Prefecture to the southeast, and Kagoshima Prefecture to the south.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kyushu Railway Company</span> Japanese railway company

The Kyushu Railway Company, also referred to as JR Kyushu, is one of the seven constituent companies of Japan Railways Group. It operates intercity rail services within Kyushu, Japan and the JR Kyushu Jet Ferry Beetle hydrofoil service across the Tsushima Strait between Fukuoka and Busan, South Korea. It also operates hotels, restaurants, and drugstores across its service region. JR Kyushu's headquarters are in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kyushu Shinkansen</span> High-speed railway line in Japan

The Kyushu Shinkansen is a line of the Japanese Shinkansen high-speed railway network. It is an extension of the San'yō Shinkansen from Honshu, connecting the city of Fukuoka in the north of Japan's Kyushu Island to the city of Kagoshima in the south. The line runs parallel to the existing Kagoshima Main Line and is operated by the Kyushu Rail Company.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kyushu Expressway</span> Expressway in Kyushu, Japan

Kyushu Expressway is one of the Expressways of Japan from Kitakyūshū to west of Kagoshima linking with the Higashikyushu Expressway and the Ibusuki Skyline. It runs through the prefectures of Fukuoka, the eastern half of the Saga, Kumamoto, Miyazaki and the Kagoshima prefectures. The freeway runs entirely on the island of Kyūshū. The total length is 346.2 km. It does not cover Ōita or Nagasaki.

Northern Kyushu is a subregion of Kyushu.

This page lists Japan-related articles with romanized titles beginning with the letter H. For names of people, please list by surname. Please also ignore particles when listing articles.

This page lists Japan-related articles with romanized titles beginning with the letter K. For names of people, please list by surname. Please also ignore particles when listing articles.

This page lists Japan-related articles with romanized titles beginning with the letter N. For names of people, please list by surname. Please also ignore particles when listing articles.

The Prince Takamatsu Cup Nishinippon Round-Kyūshū Ekiden was a running race in Japan that was held annually from 1951 to 2013. Contestants from the prefectures on the island of Kyūshū, as well as from Yamaguchi and Okinawa Prefectures, gathered each November. The event was held at the Kyushu island, beginning in Nagasaki and proceeding to the cities of Sasebo, Saga, Kumamoto, Minamata, Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Nobeoka, Ōita, Kitakyushu, and finally Fukuoka. The 1064-km course consisted of 72 segments, and was the longest relay race in the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kitakyushu</span> Designated city in Kyushu, Japan

Kitakyushu is a city located in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. As of June 1, 2019, Kitakyushu has an estimated population of 940,978, making it the second-largest city in both Fukuoka Prefecture and the island of Kyushu after the city of Fukuoka. It is one of Japan's 20 designated cities, one of three on Kyushu, and is divided into seven wards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transport in Fukuoka-Kitakyushu</span>

Transport in Fukuoka-Kitakyushu is similar to that of other large cities in Japan, but with a high degree of private transport. The region is a hub of international ferry services and has a high degree of air connectivity and a considerable rail transport network, complemented with highways and surface streets. It includes public and private rail and highway networks; airports for international, domestic, and general aviation; buses; motorcycle delivery services, walking, bicycling, and commercial shipping. The foci of the public transport system are Hakata Station, Tenjin Station, and Kokura Station, in Fukuoka and Kitakyushu cities respectively. Between these two cities lies a more sparse weblike regional rail network.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kyushu Soccer League</span> Football league

The Kyushu Soccer League (九州サッカーリーグ) is a Japanese regional amateur football league, covering eight prefectures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kyushu proportional representation block</span>

The Kyushu proportional representation block is one of eleven proportional representation (PR) blocks for the House of Representatives in the Diet of Japan. It consists of the Kyushu region and Okinawa prefecture, and consists of the prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Ōita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa. Proportional voting blocks were first introduced in the 1996 General Election. The block elects 21 members to the House of Representatives.


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