Photo: Kaori Chin/UnsplashNaoshima

Two of the world’s greatest places in 2022 are in Japan

Time magazine named Kyushu and the Setouchi islands as two of the most extraordinary destinations to explore this year

Kaila Imada
Written by
Kaila Imada

People are yearning to travel again after being cooped up at home for the last couple of years. Travel around the world is reverting to some sort of normalcy as more and more people are vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19. Even Japan’s borders are slowly reopening to tourism, albeit still with restrictions. If you’re looking for some travel inspiration for your 2022 holidays, Time has just revealed its list of the world’s greatest places to visit this year. 

Beppu Onsen
Photo: Sean Pavone/DreamstimeBeppu onsen town of Oita prefecture in Kyushu

The annual list features 50 unique destinations across the globe, which were chosen by the publication's international network of correspondents and contributors. Included in this year’s round up are two stunning destinations in Japan: Kyushu and the Setouchi islands

Hoshino Resorts Beppu Onsen
Photo: Hoshino ResortsHoshino Resorts Kai Beppu


As Japan’s third largest island, Kyushu has a lot to offer visitors. It’s home to the foodie capital of Fukuoka as well as the massive new Gundam Fukuoka Park which just opened in April.

Head further south and you’ll reach the onsen towns of Beppu and Yufuin, where you’ll find gems like hot spring ryokan Hoshino Resorts Kai Beppu, Kengo Kuma's new gallery at Comico Art Museum Yufuin and a cutesy Snoopy-themed teahouse. If that’s not enough, teamLab has also set up a stunning digital art forest at Mifuneyama Rakuen Park.

The outer space of Benesse House Museum on Naoshima island
Photo: Avim Wu/ShutterstockThe outer space of Benesse House Museum on Naoshima island

The Setouchi islands

The Setouchi islands, on the other hand, are best known for the world-renowned Setouchi Triennale art festival, which is running over six months this year. Out of the cluster of art islands, the most famous has to be Naoshima. This is where you'll find a cheerful Yayoi Kusama pumpkin and gorgeous exhibition spaces like the Benesse House Museum and the Tadao Ando-designed Chichu Art Museum.

Red Yayoi Kusama pumpkin at Naoshima
Photo: Sucha Kittiwararat/DreamstimeThe red Yayoi Kusama pumpkin at Naoshima

Good news for foreign residents living in Japan: you can now use the money-saving JR rail passes to explore Kyushu and Setouchi at a discount.

See Time’s list of the world’s greatest places in 2022 here.

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