One of the world’s largest calderas, multiple hot springs, Ramsar-listed wetlands and the Amakusa islands feature on this two week tour of central and western Kyushu. After meeting in Kumamoto city, we spend a week exploring the immense Aso caldera. Fifty thousand people live inside this caldera, home to Japan’s largest and most active volcano. We visit the steaming Nakadake crater and take short walks to high meadows, waterfalls, natural springs and unusual stone formations. The caldera is also renowned for its wild grasslands, beef/dairy farming and vegetable production. We meet local Aso farmers, taste the seasonal specialties and stay in traditional ryokan, ending most days with a soak in local onsen/hot springs. In the northern section of Aso-Kuju National Park, we explore the Tadewara and Bogatsuru marshlands. These wetlands are listed under the Ramsar convention and we enjoy some longer walks in this area. To the south west of Kumamoto, Amakusa is home to more than 120 Islands, some of which are linked by historic bridges built by the Dutch. A hidden Christian culture, remote pottery studios, walks to local mountaintops and headlands are part of our 4 day stay in this area. Beef and seafood are a highlight during our local meals. We finish our two week Kyushu immersion with time in Kumamoto and the surrounding mountains, known for citrus production. Meeting the local people is always a feature on our Japanese journeys and Hiroko has ensured another interesting program that reveals the natural and human history of Kyushu.