Right down at the tip of Kyushu - the southernmost of Japan's four main islands - is the pleasant port town of Kagoshima. Kyushu's climate and the more mercurial temperamant of its people has led to it being called the Mediterranean of Japan. If that's the case then Kagoshima is most certainly its Naples, with a buzzing Japanese cafe culture and Sakurajima volcano - one of the most active on the Pacific 'ring of fire'. It's quietened down since a big eruption in 1914, but still belches smoke and ash daily. It's an impressive sight and its island can be easily visited by ferry for views down into the crater. Just south of the city, seekers of revitalising minerals can bury themselves in sand on the beach at Ibusuki, with the area also being home to the mainland's keenest surfers. Thanks to the bullet train, the 1,400 km back to Tokyo can be done in less than seven hours, or there are connecting homeward flights.
Features in the following itineraries
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.