Two summers ago, one of my coworkers and his wife were nice enough to drive me about two hours south of Fukuoka prefecture in Japan to Kumamoto prefecture. Kumamoto is quite beautiful and has many parts that seem completely untouched by modernization or foreign influence.
The Mount Aso region (specifically a peak called Mt. Daikonbo) is where we went and it was stunning. My pictures woefully fail to capture the grandeur of the vistas. The peak was crowded by tourists, however, I was glad to find that all other visitors were Japanese. Although I enjoy meeting other foreigners, traveling to places that seem a common destination for natives somehow makes the trip feel more culturally authentic.
Paper Lantern Museum
After soaking in the great view from Mt. Daikonbo, we headed to a small town in Kumamoto called Yamaga that is famous for its paper lanterns and the Yachiyo-za Kabuki theater.