Visited northern Kyushu for 1 week to enjoy onsens in winter and sightseeing (6th visit). Picked up rental car upon landing at Fukuoka airport.
Overall itin – Fukuoka > Takeo onsen (1n) > Imari > Ureshino onsen (1n) > Yufuin onsen > Kunisaki Peninsula > Beppu onsen (2n), Bungo-ono > Dazaifu > Fukuoka/Hakata (2n)
In my planning, have budgeted to buy a 6-day KEP @JPY7.6k for the entire car rental period. However during car pick-up, the car rental staff advised that it’s possible to activate the KEP at a later date, thus saving 2 days and paid JPY5.6K for the last 4 days. On the first two days (national holidays), toll fees were charged at 30% less using ETC card.
Takeo onsen town (武雄温泉)
Arrived at Takeo onsen town about 85km away in 1 hour+, expressway was less busy after passing by Tosu IC. Before checkin we dropped by a cosy coffee house. Apart from us, another local couple were chatting while locals were buying cakes/bread.
Stay in Mifune-Rakuen Hotel (御船山楽園ホテル)
When we first stepped into the lobby, we took a step back – we thought we went to the wrong place. It was dark though decorated by lightings akin to teamLab.
Nice, renovated rotenburo and onsen was nice to skin complexion. Selected dinner course serving Saga A5 beef and seafood. Room and onsen areas where refurbished with a tint of modern design. Overall it was a nice stay. Service was meticulous and sincere.
After check out on next morning, we visited the Mifune-Rakuen (with free entrance as overnight guests). It was built over 150 years ago by the 28th Nabeshima Lord in Saga. It has an area of 50 thousand square metres below a cliff.
Though it was in winter, we walked around the garden in about 1 hour. Some red Tsubaki (Camelia) was in full bloom.