Cruisers’ Guide to Japan

Cruiser’s Guide to Japan

Regions of Japan

There are several different ways to label the geographical regions of Japan. For the purposes of cruising, we will break down Japan into ten regions: Hokkaidō, Tōhoku, Hokuriku, Kantō, Chūbu, Kinki, Chūgoku, Shikoku, Kyūshū, and Okinawa. We hope the information will help the reader prepare for their cruises to Japan.


Kyūshū is the home of Japan’s number one cruise port for 2016--the port of Hakata in Fukuoka City--which received a total of 312 calls by cruise ship.

In addition, Japan’s number two port for 2016, Nagasaki, received a total of 190 calls by cruise ships, and Japan’s number six port for 2016, Kagoshima, received 80 cruise ships last year. The number seven port for 2016 almost doubled its number from receiving 34 cruise ships in 2015 to 62 in 2016. So, four of Japan’s Top 10 cruise ports in 2016 were in Kyūshū. Most of this growth is driven by the increased interest in cruising by Chinese passengers in general and their preference for shorter voyages.

Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located in the Kyūshū region:

  • sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining
  • Yakushima

The Kyūshū region is host to a whopping nineteen different port cities, listed below with important cruise ports noted with an asterisk:

  • Aburatsu*, in Nichinan City, Miyazaki prefecture (2016 population - 53,430)
  • Aokata, Nagasaki prefecture
  • Beppu*, Oita prefecture (2016 population - 121,662)
  • Fukue, Nagasaki prefecture
  • Gounoura, Nagasaki prefecture
  • Hakata* in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka prefecture (2016 population - 1,549,839)
  • Hososhima* in Hyuga City, Miyazaki prefecture (2016 population - 61,503)
  • Imari, Saga prefecture
  • Izuhara, Nagasaki prefecture
  • Kagoshima*, Kagoshima prefecture (2016 population - 598,936)
  • Karatsu, Saga prefecture
  • Kawachi, Nagasaki prefecture
  • Miyanoura, Kagoshima prefecture
  • Miyazaki, Miyazaki prefecture
  • Moji, Fukuoka prefecture
  • Nagasaki*, Nagasaki prefecture (2016 population - 430,347)
  • Naze* in Amami, Kagoshima prefecture (2016 population - 42,820)
  • Sasebo*, Nagasaki prefecture (2016 population – 251,417)
  • Yatsushiro*, Kumamoto prefecture (2016 population - 126,894)
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