Kyushu (九州, Kyūshū, lit. "Nine Provinces") ([kjɯᵝːꜜɕɯᵝ]) is the third biggest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands. Its alternative ancient names include Kyūkoku (九国?, "Nine States"), Chinzei (鎮西?, "West of the Pacified Area"), and Tsukushi-no-shima (筑紫島?, "Island of Tsukushi"). The historical regional name Saikaidō (西海道, lit. West Sea Circuit) referred to Kyushu and its surrounding islands.
In the 8th century Taihō Code reforms, Dazaifu was established as a special administrative term for the region.
As of 2016, Kyushu has a population of 12,970,479 and covers 36,782 square kilometres (14,202 sq mi).
The island is mountainous, and Japan's most active volcano, Mt Aso at 1,591 metres (5,220 ft), is on Kyushu. There are many other signs of tectonic activity, including numerous areas of hot springs. The most famous of these are in Beppu, on the east shore, and around Mt. Aso, in central Kyushu. The island is separated from Honshu by the Kanmon Straits.
The name Kyūshū comes from the nine ancient provinces of Saikaidō situated on the island: Chikuzen, Chikugo, Hizen, Higo, Buzen, Bungo, Hyūga, Osumi, and Satsuma.
Today's Kyushu Region (九州地方, Kyūshū-chihō) is a politically defined region that consists of the seven prefectures on the island of Kyushu (which also includes the former Tsushima and Iki as part of Nagasaki), plus Okinawa Prefecture to the south:Northern Kyushu
Most of Kyushu's population is concentrated along the northwest, in the cities of Fukuoka and Kitakyushu, with population corridors stretching southwest into Sasebo and Nagasaki and south into Kumamoto and Kagoshima. Excepting Oita and Miyazaki cities, the eastern seaboard shows a general decline in population.Designated cities
Fukuoka (population: 1,460,000)
Kitakyushu (population: 977,000)
Kumamoto (population: 730,000)
Parts of Kyushu have a subtropical climate, particularly Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures. Major agricultural products are rice, tea, tobacco, sweet potatoes, and soy; silk is also widely produced. The island is noted for various types of porcelain, including Arita, Imari, Satsuma, and Karatsu. Heavy industry is concentrated in the north around Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Nagasaki, and Oita and includes chemicals, automobiles, semiconductors, and metal processing.
In 2010, the graduate employment rate in the region was the lowest nationwide, at 88.9%.
Besides the volcanic area of the south, there are significant mud hot springs in the northern part of the island, around Beppu. These springs are the site of occurrence of certain extremophile micro-organisms, that are capable of surviving in extremely hot environments.
Major universities and colleges in Kyushu:National universities
Kyushu University - One of seven former "Imperial Universities"
Kyushu Institute of Technology
Fukuoka University of Education
National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya
University of the Ryukyus
Universities run by local governments
University of Kitakyushu
Kyushu Dental College
Fukuoka Women's University
Fukuoka Prefectural University
Nagasaki Prefectural University
Oita University of Nursing and Health Sciences
Prefectural University of Kumamoto
Miyazaki Municipal University
Miyazaki Prefectural Nursing University
Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts
Major private universities
Fukuoka University - University with the largest number of students in Kyushu
Kumamoto Gakuen University
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Seinan Gakuin University
Kyushu Sangyo University - Baseball team won the Japanese National Championship in 2005
University of Occupational and Environmental Health
The island is linked to the larger island of Honshu by the Kanmon Tunnels, which carry both the Sanyō Shinkansen and non-Shinkansen trains of the Kyushu Railway Company, as well as vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. The Kanmon Bridge also connects the island with Honshu. Railways on the island are operated by the Kyushu Railway Company, and Nishitetsu Railway.