The Kyushu-Okinawa region, with a population of 14.5 million, is made up of eight prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Oita, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa.
An industrial zone has developed in northern Kyushu, centered on the city of Kita Kyushu. Steelmaking and machinery manufacture are important businesses. Rice is also grown in the north, which also has many fruit orchards.
Kyushu has a lot of volcanoes, including Mt. Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture and Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture, and there are many hot springs. The areas near volcanoes have been made into national parks.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), when the government adopted an isolationist policy, the city of Nagasaki provided the sole access point for overseas trade with China and the Netherlands. Today, tourism and fishing are flourishing businesses.
Okinawa is an island chain that lies considerably south of the island of Kyushu and has a subtropical climate that supports the cultivation of pineapples and other produce. Surrounded by coral reefs, it is a place of great natural beauty.
Photos:Kagoshima City Office and Okinawa Prefectural Government