JAPAN’S NEXT BIG DESTINATION Kyushu
14 Days Fully Escorted Tours
Land only Price A$ 7700 per person Twin share
1 Departure only 17 Mar 2020
Small Group Minimum 10 / Maximum 14 people
On arrival at Fukuoka Airport, meet with a local representative, Transfer to your hotel in Fukuoka. The rest of the day is free at leisure, you will meet with the tour escorts the evening at your hotel at approximately 6PM.
Highlights: Arita Pottery, Takeo Shrine, Team Lab Digital Art Exhibit in Mifuneyama
Begin your Kyushu Tour! We start by heading to Okawachiyama Village, a quaint little town renowned for the local Arita Pottery; we’ve organised an opportunity to witness the local crafting process at Hataman Pottery.
Lunch today will be locally sourced, mouth wateringly tender Saga Beef.
There will be a visit to Takeo Shrine, the oldest Shrine in Saga City; along with the nearby Great Takeo Camphor Tree. At 3000 years old and 27m in height, it is truly a sight to behold.
A special treat this late afternoon includes drinks at the world famous Team Lab Digital Art exhibit at Mifuneyama. The museum will prove to be a sensory delight while you enjoy local beverages.
This evening, you will be enjoying a traditional Japanese dinner at your Ryokan (Japanese style accommodation), before staying the night here in the town of Ureshino Onsen.
Highlights: Green Tea, Peace Museum, Nagasaki Nightscape
At the local Ureshino Green Tea Centre, we will be taught on the etiquette and “correct” process of brewing the finest cup of green tea; as well as a chance to experience green-tea dyeing.
Lunch will be local Nagasaki cuisine known as Chanpon and Kakuniman, dishes heavily influenced by Chinese traders.
This afternoon will see us travelling to the coastal town of Nagasaki, where we will no doubt experience a sobering visit to the Peace Memorial Museum.
In the evening, we’ll head up the local mountain by ropeway to see the grand nightscape of Nagasaki city.
Dinner today will be free at leisure, and we’ll be staying the night in a hotel in Nagasaki.
Highlights: Glover Garden, Dejima Island, Hells of Unzen
There will be a trip to Glover Garden this morning, an iconic open air museum in Nagasaki; then Dejima, an artificial island off the coast of Nagasaki, formerly a Dutch trading post. For a long time, Nagasaki served as the only port open to foreign trade in Japan, making this a historical site of great significance.
Lunch today will be another Nagasaki cuisine, known as Turkish Rice.
The afternoon sees us heading to the hot spring town of Unzen where we’ll be walking among the unique local phenomenon known as the “Hells of Unzen”, a volcanically active landscape.
Dinner tonight will be served at tonight’s accommodation, once again a traditional Japanese Ryokan.
Highlights: Shimeiso Spring Garden, Ariake Sea, Kumamoto Castle, Samurai Outfitting
After breakfast today, we’re heading to the port town of Shimabara, stopping first at Shimeiso Spring Garden; a Japanese villa with a beautiful landscaped garden, set in the middle of Shimabara’s “City of Swimming Carp”.
We’ll be having lunch nearby, enjoying some hearty Mochi Hotpot.
Following this, we’ll be heading to Shimabara Port to board the local ferry across to Kumamoto city, where we’ll be staying the night; but before that, it will be a visit the Kumamoto Castle. Still fairly recently devastated by local earthquakes, Kumamoto Castle has been undergoing extensive reconstructions but remains Kumamoto’s most iconic monument.
A fun little experience awaits this afternoon; everyone will have the opportunity to dress up as samurai!
The Kyushu region is famous for some of the most tender and juicy pork in the world, from the specially bred “Black Pig”; this will be what’s for dinner tonight, before heading back to our western hotel.
Highlights: Daikanbo Lookout, Aso Crater (conditions permitting)
Today starts with a long, steady drive up and across Mt. Aso; conditions permitting. We should be heading to the Daikanbo lookout first, with breathtaking views of the mountainous landscape.
Lunch will be a different type of local beef known as Akaushi Beef. If conditions permit, we’ll head to the crater of Mt Aso and get an up close view of the active volcano; before heading to the small, hot spring resort town of Yufuin.
Dinner will be at your traditional Ryokan this evening, for a traditional stay.
Highlights: Rickshaw Ride, Kimono Fitting in Kitsuki City, Monjusenji Temple
We’ll be enjoying a classic Japanese rickshaw ride through Yufuin this morning, before heading to Kitsuki city. Kitsuki is where we’ll be dressing up on traditional kimono outfits, and strolling through town.
Lunch will be own arrangements today, and after Kitsuki, we’ll be heading into the mountains, to Monjusenji Temple, built INTO the Cliffside; and partaking in a traditional Buddhist practice known as Gomadaki. This will be a genuinely enlightening experience.
The day ends soon after we reach Beppu and check into our hotel. It’s one of the largest hot spring resorts in Kyushu, although it will be a western style stay tonight. Dinner this evening is yet another unique experience, where we collect fresh produce and cook our own dinner using clean hot spring waters.
Highlights: Takachiho Gorge Boat Ride, Amanoiwato Shrine
We’ll be driving down south today to the small town of Takachiho, one of the most underrated places in Japan. It holds a special place in Shinto religion and mythology, and the gorge is stunning to behold. We’ll be enjoying a boat ride through the waters at the base of the gorge, and then stopping for some Somen noodles for lunch.
After lunch, we’re heading to Amanoiwato Shrine; known as the site where Amaterasu (Sun Goddess, Ancestor of the first Emperor of Japan) hid herself, and the nearby Amano Yasukawara Shrine, where the gods and goddesses discussed ways to lure the Sun Goddess out of her hiding. These are places not often visited by non-Japanese travellers, and the experience really shouldn’t be missed.
We’ll be enjoying dinner at tonight’s western style hotel in Takachiho.
Highlights: Demon’s Washboard, Udo Shrine, Coastal Scenery
The coastal drive down the eastern coast of Kyushu through Miyazaki prefecture is famous for being some of the most amazing coastal scenery in Japan. We’re driving down to Aoshima, to witness a particularly peculiar rock formation on the beach known as the “Demon’s Washboard”.
We’ll be stopping at a local restaurant for a buffet lunch along the way down to Udo Shrine, admiring the scenery along the way. Once again steeped in Shinto mythology, it is renowned as the birthplace of the first Emperor of Japan, and visiting here is believed to be fortunate for couples and newlyweds.
We’ll be heading further south to our hotel located on the coast, and we’ll be having dinner at the hotel tonight.
Highlights: Wild Horses of Cape Toi
The coastal scenery will once again be breathtaking as we head down to Cape Toi, an area filled with wild horses; and we’ll be taking a walk to the lighthouse at the edge of the cape.
Lunch will be at a local restaurant today as we drive towards Kagoshima, where we’ll be able to check into our hotels and have the rest of the day free at leisure for shopping. We’ll be staying in Kagoshima for 2 nights, and dinner will be at own leisure this evening.
Highlights: Sakurajima, Lava Caves, Observatories, Gardens
We’re heading to the active volcanic island of Sakurajima today by ferry, with our sights set firmly on a couple of beautiful observation points; beginning with Arimura Lava Observatory which showcases the active side of the volcano and its lava fields; and then to Yunohira Observatory, the nearest location to get a great view of the smoking peak of Mt Ontake.
A sensational sushi lunch awaits today, before we visit the picturesque Senganen Garden, a landscaped garden located on coastal Kagoshima, the former residence of influential Samurai families in the region.
Dinner is once again at own leisure this evening.
Highlights: Hamada Shochu Distillery, Tea Ceremony, Samurai Residence, Green Tea Plantation, Black Sand Baths
Heading out of Kagoshima and further south of Kyushu, our first stop for the day is involves visiting and witnessing the unique, underground distilling process at Hamada Shuzo Shochu (Japanese wing) Distillery.
This is followed by the Chiran Samurai Residence, where we will drive through Green Tea plantations and experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Lunch will be a cultural daily favourite of curry rice at a local café, and then we head down to the seaside hot spring town of Ibusuki.
We’re allowing time for everyone to experience the black sand baths, where one is submerged in volcanic sand for a therapeutic, supposedly cleansing experience; one of a kind. A Ryokan stay (and dinner) awaits tonight.
Highlights: Bullet train
We’ll be heading back to Kagoshima today, to take the bullet train back up to Fukuoka. There’s free time this afternoon to do some shopping, or for those looking to do more sightseeing, there will be an option to head to Dazaifu Shrine; the most important and culturally significant Tenmangu Shrine in Japan, dedicated to scholarly pursuits.
At some point today, lunch will be own arrangements; we recommend picking up a bento box at Kagoshima Station to enjoy whilst on the bullet train. We’ll have a farewell dinner at a local Izakaya (Japanese pub) with an all-you-can-drink tab!
We’ll be staying at a western hotel this evening.
Regardless of your departure time, we’ll organise pre-paid taxis to take you to Fukuoka Airport for your outgoing flight.
- Escorted by Tour Manager
- 13 nights – 4* Accommodation
- 10 lunches, 9 Dinners
- Daily breakfasts
- All Transportation
***** A fair amount of walking is involved on this tour ******