Northern Kyushu's International Influences

Northern Kyushu has been Japan's gateway to other parts of Asia and beyond for centuries.

It's believed that rice farmers planted their first crops there as early as 3,000 years ago. They gained the know-how from their Asian neighbors, and the exchanges continued.

From trading ancient treasures to passing on lessons in craftsmanship to Christianity -- most came through Northern Kyushu.

In the 17th century, Japan shut itself off to the world, except in Nagasaki. For more than 200 years, it was the only part that was open to foreign trade. The city later helped fuel the country's industrial revolution with its shipbuilding and steel industries.

The international influences in these parts also had an impact on the food. Northern Kyushu became known for its unique food culture.

Today, that food culture attracts tourists for an expanding industry. Many visit on cruises from neighboring South Korea and China.

From the past to the present, the region has been a hub for international exchange.