6 Nights Hidden Treasures of Kyushu, Japan

Tour Departure Dates: 11/8, 3/13, 3/27
Tour Price: US $3,698 per person based on double occupancy

Many hidden gems are waiting to be discovered on the Island of Kyushu. The tour starts in Saga, a home to world-renowned pottery cities, then passes through Kumamoto where the scenic ancient caldera of Aso awaits you, and ends in Miyazaki, the land of Japanese gods. Discover the amazing landscapes, learn about legends of Japanese mythology, and try your hands on Japanese culture such as pottery, mask painting and Japanese cooking. You will also have a chance to relax at a spa in a hot spring town.

Tour Highlights

Takachiho & Kagura Night
Explore Takachiho area, the land of Japanese gods, a place of profound religious importance and natural beauty. Spend time at the magnificent gorge, and learn about Japanese mythology at Kagura performance night.

Japanese Pottery Experience
Saga is famous for its ceramics, most notably Imari and Arita-yaki. Make the most of your stay by trying your hands at making your own pottery using a traditional potter’s wheel.

Japanese Culinary Experience
Enjoy a unique Japanese culinary experience at a remote village deep in the mountains of Miyazaki. Be welcomed by locals in an old Japanese style house, cook dinner together, and learn about their lifestyle.

And more…

  • Spend a day exploring the great natures of Aso
  • Visit castles and shrinesso
  • Stay at hot spring townsso
  • Enjoy mask painting and tea roasting experience

What’s Included

  • 6 nights accommodation with combination of Western and Japanese style
  • Meet and greet upon arrival at Fukuoka Airport
  • Private coach transfers between destinations in Japan
  • Professional English speaking tour guide
  • Gratuities

Meals

  • Breakfast everyday
  • 4 lunches and 4 dinners

Admission Fees and Activities

  • All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

What’s NOT Included

  • International Airfares
  • Meals that are not included in the itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
  • Personal expenses such as telephone and laundry bills

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Fukuoka – Saga
Day 2 Saga
Day 3 Saga – Kumamoto
Day 4 Kumamoto – Aso – Kurokawa Onsen
Day 5 Oita – Takachiho
Day 6 Miyazaki
Day 7 Miyazaki – tour ends at Miyazaki Airport

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in FUKUOKA – SAGA

Included Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Welcome to Kyushu, Japan!
Meet with your Tour Director and fellow travelers at FUKUOKA Airport

Embark on your first tour in SAGA, on the island of Kyushu.
– Explore the stunning five-storied castle of KARATSU CASTLE
– Stroll down isolated mountain village of OKAWACHIYAMA, in IMARI City that served as one of the main sites of porcelain production
– Try your hands at making your own pottery
– Visit the GEN-EMON KLIN, and observe craftsman working in the open factory

Finish your day with a famous SAGA BEEF dinner after arriving at hotel in the authentic town of URESHINO HOT SPRING.

©Karatsu Tourist Association

Karatsu Castle

Sometimes known as the Maizuru-jo, “Dancing Crane,” the Karatsu Castle began construction in 1602 and finished 7 years later. The top floor offers a 360-degree views of the bay and the city.

Okawachiyama (Pottery Making)

In Okawachiyama, Imari City there were many kilns under complete control of the Nabeshima clan in Edo period (since 1603). Now it consists mostly of pottery workshops and their store fronts.

©Saga Prefectural Tourism Federation

Gen-Emon Kiln

Over 260 years, the kiln has passed down its traditional handmade porcelain making techniques from generation to generation. The skill of the craftsmen can be observed in the workshop.

Saga Beef

Saga beef is a tender, bright red meat with marbled fat. The temperate climate and clear water helps create a sweet, umami-filled beef that is mouthwateringly delicious

©Saga Prefectural Tourism Federation

Ureshino Onsen

A hot spring town in the southwest Saga prefecture. It’s known for soothing alkaline waters with minerals said to have various health benefits.

Day 2: SAGA

Included Meals: Breakfast

Continue your guided tour in SAGA.
– Take in the beautiful autumn scenery at MIFUNEYAMA RAKUEN gardens
– Explore YUTOKU INARI SHRINE, Japan’s top three shrines dedicated to Inari, one of Shinto’s deities associated with rice, prosperity and foxes.
– Experience SAKE tasting by visiting one of the breweries
– Step into the world of Ninja at NINJA VILLAGE HIZEN YUMEKAIDO, a reconstruction of a town of Edo period

Enjoy your second evening in the authentic town of URESHINO famous for hot spring.

Mifuneyama Rakuen Garden

This massive garden was established by the 28th feudal lord of the Takeo Domain, Shigeyoshi Nabeshima, as a holiday home. There are numerous attractions to see within the garden including a teahouse and over 500 statues of Buddhist saints

Yutoku Inari Shrine

Yutoku Inari Shrine boasts a place among the top three Inari shrines in Japan. The main shrine sits up above the city on a mountainside, with a large two-storied gate and a Kagura hall at the foot of the mountain.

Sake Tasting and Brewery Visit

Saga is well-known for its high-quality rice and its pure, fresh water sources. This combination makes for clean, crisp and delicious sake — a must-try when you visit

©Saga Prefectural Tourism Federation

Ninja Village Hizen Yumekaido

This Ninja theme park takes you back in time to Edo Period (1603-1868). Ninjas are hiding throughout the village and visitors can try their hands at Shuriken and blow darts. There’s plenty to see with the Ninja Show, and street performances.

Day 3: SAGA – YANAGAWA – KUMAMOTO

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Continue your guided tour in SAGA
– Experience hands-on tea roasting at URESHINO TEA EXCHANGE HALL CHAOSHIRU.
– Enjoy the beautiful architecture of SAGA CASTLE.
– Make a photo stop at the red CHIKUGO RIVER LIFT BRIDGE
– Take a lunch break at YANAGAWA, a water city famous for historic canals

Move on to the city of KUMAMOTO, our last stop for the day.
– Explore the unique black-sided KUMAMOTO CASTLE
– find something to take home at the SAKURANO KOJI SHOPPING ARCADE.

©Saga Prefectural Tourism Federation

Ureshino Tea Exchange Hall Chaoshiru

Opened in April 2018 as a new exchange base through Ureshino green tea. You can learn the history of Ureshino green tea and how to make it and then taste the good tea.

©Saga Prefectural Tourism Federation

Saga Castle

Saga city is considered a castle town, as much of its history has revolved around Saga Castle. It is a flatland castle surrounded by large walls and a moat, as opposed to those situated on mountains or hilltops for defense.

Chikugo River Lift Bridge

The bridge spans the biggest river in Kyushu, Chikugo River and is one of only a handful of moveable railway bridges in the world. It is designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.

Yanagawa

Yanagawa is a small town located in the south of Fukuoka. Its historic 470 km canals have been transformed from the defensive features of a castle town into relaxing waterways that can be explored by a cruise.

Kumamoto Castle

The original construction of Kumamoto castle began in the early 1600s. With its imposing black exterior and sloping ramparts, the castle was particularly difficult to break into. Although it suffered serious damage in the earthquake of April 2016, you are still able to look at the massive fortress from the outside.

Day 4: ASO, KUMAMOTO

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a full day exploring the great nature of ASO, one of the largest craters in the world. Grasslands nestled within the caldera of Aso are a major tourist attraction for those who want to get away from the cramped cities of Japan.

– View the active volcano of MT. ASO NAKADAKE CRATER
– Take in the spectacular view of the caldera from DAIKANBO PEAK
– Visit NABEGATAKI FALL and walk behind the scenic waterfall.

Tonight, stay at one of Japan’s most attractive hot spring towns of KUROKAWA ONSEN.

©Kumamoto Prefecture

Nakadake Crater

The Nakadake is one of the most active volcano in Japan. Inside the crater lies the beautiful fuming blue lake.

©Kumamoto Prefecture

Daikanbo Peak

From here you can view the five peaks of the Aso mountain range. The view is called the Nehan-zo since the peaks looks like the sleeping Buddha.

©Kumamoto Prefecture

Nabegataki Falls

Although the height of the waterfall only reaches 10 m, it is truly elegant and mystical as the water curtain reflects the sunlight filtering though trees. You can go behind the waterfall and enjoy a unique view.

©Kumamoto Prefecture

Kurokawa Hot Spring

About 20 km north of Mount Aso is Kurokawa Onsen. The townscape is dominated by natural colors and materials, wooden buildings and river flowing through.

Day 5: TAKACHIHO, MIYAZAKI

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the morning,
-Visit the KOKONOE “YUME” GREAT SUSPENSION BRIDGE, suspended high in mid-air over a remote forested valley.

Then, set off on a guided tour to MIYAZAKI, a land with strong connection to Japanese mythology.
– Enjoy seasonal local food at YUI CAFE for lunch,
– Discover the landscape of TAKACHIHO GORGE with its thousand year-old rick formation and its iconic waterfall.
– Pay a visit to TAKACHIHO SHRINE, nestled in a grove of tall cedars.

This evening, you will enjoy a TAKACHIHO KAGURA dance performance in a private Japanese house. During dinner you will taste different specialties and locally produced alcohol.

Kokonoe Yume Grand Suspension Bridge

Opened in 2006, with a length of 390 m and altitude of 777 m this is the largest pedestrian suspension bridge in Japan. The bridge offers a splendid views of waterfalls.

Yui Cafe

Have a seasonal local food and healthy pizza at a home café surrouned by terraced rice fields.

Takachiho Gorge

Takachiho Gorge was carved millennia ago by the Gokase River. You can take a relaxing hike, or the gorge can also be traversed via rental boat, which gives you a chance to admire the gorge’s spectacular 17m-high Manainotaki waterfall.

Takachiho Shrine

Built more than 12 centuries ago, the shrine stands on the grounds where the sun goddess descended to Earth. During the day the shrine’s nondescript, unpainted buildings blend in naturally with the surrounding trees.

Takachiho Kagura Dance Performance

Takachiho is the place where the sun goddess hid herself away inside the Heavenly Cave and all of the other gods and goddesses gathered to lure her out. This legend is reenacted as Yokagura (night dance) and the shortened version is performed by masked dancers and accompanied by traditional instruments.

Day 6: MIYAZAKI

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy an activity-filled day in MIYAZAKI.
– Wander through AMANO IAWATO CAVE AND SHRINE, where the sun goddess, Amaterasu is said to have hid herself away.
– Experience painting your own mask of Tajikarao.
– Arrive in SHIIBA, a remote village deep in the mountains of Miyazaki. Cook in a traditional Japanese house with a Japanese sunken hearth.

Amano Iwato Shrine and Cave

About 10 km outside central Takachiho, the shrine was built near the legendary cave where the goddess is said to have hid herself away. It is known for the thousands of small stone pillars on the path from the shrine to the river.

Kagura Mask Painting

The unique masks used in the Kagura represent the individual characteristics of the deities. Experience painting your own Kagura mask to bring back home.

Shiiba Mountain Village Culinary Event

In the remote village of Shiiba, you are welcomed in a traditional Japanese house by the inhabitants to enjoy a culinary experience. You will make local specialties and eat together with your hosts.

Day 7: MIYAZAKI – Tour Ends at Miyazaki Airport

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Continue your journey in MIYAZAKI.
– Stroll through the OBI CASTLE TOWN, a well preserved village with old samurai houses and traditional shops.
– Explore UDO SHRINE, constructed on a cliff side cave, a shrine dedicated to the mythical first emperor of Japan.

The tour terminates at MIYAZAKI AIRPORT where you can board a plane to Tokyo or Osaka to continue on your next adventure.

Obi Castle Town

Obi castle town was first fortified in the 14th century but it took another 100 years for a castle to be built here. It is a well-preserved village where you can visit the ruins of the castle and old samurai houses.

Udo Shrine

Located south of Miyazaki’s capital, Udo Shrine offers some of the best views in the entire prefecture. The cave is famous for its “breast stone” (ochichi no iwa), which drips water that supposedly fed Jimmu’s father when he was a child. You can also make a wish and try throwing the little pebbles over the cliff into the hole below.

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Dates & Prices

TOHOKU EXPERIENCE TOUR – 8 NIGHTS

Tour Departure Dates 11/8, 3/13, 3/27
Tour Price US $3,698 per person based on double occupancy
Tour Code Departure date
11/8: HTK1108
3/13: HTK0313
3/27: HTK0327
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