Discover the breath-taking landscape, world-class onsen and local food specialties of Kyushu, Japan’s southern island, as part of a small 14 days group tour.
Explore the sights of Kyushu, the land of fire.
Ideal for repeaters or avid adventurers, this Kyushu group tour will entice you by introducing you to the local sites and experiences most people are not able to see and do.
Firstly, enjoy sights such as local Arita pottery crafting in Okawachiyama Village, a quaint village in the midst of Kyushu. Sample famous Saga beef and fresh green tea from Ureshino. After that, visit Unzen for an authentic hot spring (Onsen) experience and a stay in a traditional ryokan. Wander through a Japanese castle in Kumamoto Castle. Gaze up at an active volcano in the Aso Crater. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride at Takachiho Gorge – a majestic gorge in the south of Kyushu. Have a rejuvenating black sand bath in Ibutsuki. End your tour on a high with a ride of the world-famous bullet train (Shinkansen).
Throughout your group tour journey, you will be accompanied by your knowledgeable tour leader and local guides. Together, you will experience a side of Japan that you will remember long after your trip is over.
An extensive overview of Kyushu for 14 days, return from Fukuoka.
– Several authentic Japanese Ryokan and Hot Spring (Onsen) experiences
– World Famous Digital Art Museum in Mifuneyama
– Natural Scenery of Takachiho Gorge and Unzen volcanic landscape
– Kyushu Food Specialties using locally sourced unique ingredients
– Hands-on Experiences; kimono fitting, tea brewing, tasting Japanese liquor in a one of a kind distillery, among others
– A unique way to see Japan by coach, taking in breathtaking landscapes, mountains, volcanoes, and coastal scenery with wild animals
Day 1 : Arrive in Fukuoka
On arrival at Fukuoka Airport, meet with a local representative, holding a signboard with your name, and be driven to your accommodation in Fukuoka city. The rest of the day is free at leisure. You will meet with the tour escorts this evening at your hotel at approximately 6PM.
Day 2 : Okawachiyama Village - Saga - Mifuneyama - Ureshino
Highlights: Arita Pottery, Takeo Shrine, Team Lab Digital Art Exhibit in Mifuneyama
Begin your journey through Kyushu! We will 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.
Day 3 : Ureshino - Nagasaki
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.
Day 4 : Nagasaki - Unzen
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. Afterwards, visit 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 amongst 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.
Day 5 : Unzen - Shimabara - Kumamoto
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 beautifully 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. However, before that, it will be a visit to 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!
For dinner tonight, we will eat some of the most tender and juicy pork in the world, from the specially bred “Black Pig”, that is famous for Kyushu. After that treat, we will head back to our western hotel.
Day 6 : Kumamoto - Mt Aso - Yufuin
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. After, we will head to the small, hot spring resort town of Yufuin.
Dinner will be at your traditional Ryokan this evening for a traditional stay.
Day 7 : Yufuin - Kitsuki - Beppu
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 your own arrangements today. 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 will end 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.
Day 8 : Beppu - Takachiho
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’ll head to Amanoiwato Shrine, known as the site where Amaterasu (Sun Goddess, Ancestor of the first Emperor of Japan) hid; 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 shouldn’t be missed.
We’ll be enjoying dinner at tonight’s western style hotel in Takachiho.
Day 9 : Takachiho - Aoshima
Highlights: Demon’s Washboard, Udo Shrine, Coastal Scenery
The coastal drive down the eastern coast of Kyushu through Miyazaki prefecture is famous for being one of the most amazing coastal sceneries in Japan. We’ll drive 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. 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.
Day 10 : Aoshima - Cape Toi - Kagoshima
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. At this time, 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 two nights, and dinner will be at your own leisure this evening.
Day 11 : Kagoshima - Sakurajima - Kagoshima
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. We will begin with Arimura Lava Observatory, which showcases the active site of the volcano and its lava fields. After we will proceed 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. It is a landscaped garden located on coastal Kagoshima and is the former residence of influential Samurai families in the region.
Dinner is once again at your own leisure this evening.
Day 12 : Kagoshima - Ibusuki
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 will involve visiting and witnessing the unique, underground distilling process at Hamada Shuzo Shochu (Japanese wing) Distillery.
This will be 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’ll allow time for everyone to experience the black sand baths, where one is submerged in volcanic sand for a therapeutic, supposedly cleansing experience. This is a one of a kind experience.
A Ryokan stay (and dinner) awaits tonight.
Day 13 : Ibusuki - Fukuoka
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 your 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.
Day 14 : Depart Fukuoka
Regardless of your departure time, we’ll organise pre-paid taxis to take you to Fukuoka Airport for your outgoing flight.
per person sharing twin room
Departure on 17 March 2020 (finish 30 March 2020)
Single Supplement: £ 692
*minimum of 10 passengers for the tour to operate
- 13 nights – 4* Accommodation (Approximately 50/50 mix of Japanese and Western Style)
- All Transportation costs from arrival to departure in Japan
- Daily Breakfast
- 10 lunches, 9 Dinners – Mixture of local specialties
- Fully Escorted by an English-speaking tour manager by JTB Australia, with local tour guides providing additional commentary on certain days
- International flights
- Luggage transfer
*Luggage transfers as per tour itinerary are recommended by JTB as there is limited space on local transport. The Japan hotel luggage transfer service is very reliable; your large luggage will be safe when you send it on to the next city.
*JTB can arrange pre (Tokyo) and post (Osaka) accommodation for the tour. Please request at time of booking.
*Minimum 10 persons for the tour to operate, maximum 14 people
*A fair amount of walking is involved on this tour
*Accommodation and daily schedule is subject to change