With this Japan vacation, discover the verdant landscapes and historic landmarks of Kyushu, the westernmost island in the country. Travel between eclectic trading towns and vibrant centers of unique art and culture, hike past active volcanoes, lounge in tropical island paradises, and explore ancient ruins and legends at your own pace, on your customized Kyushu tour.
Fukuoka is a strategic harbor city anchored on Kyushu island in southern Japan. Historically, part of marine trade routes since the 13th century, discover a wealthy, cosmopolitan metropolis.
Fukuoka’s Traditions and Modernity Explored Discover the largest city of the Kyūshū archipelago! With a trading history that goes back centuries, the modern city of Fukuoka straddles the old castle town on the west and the Hakata ward on the east of the Naka-gawa. Stroll along the seaside and visit Fukuoka Tower – the city’s tallest building, it offers panoramic views of beautiful Fukuoka and Hakata Bay from the observation deck. Hop over to the city center and visit Ohori Park, part of which once served as a moat for the old Fukuoka Castle. Afterwards, drop by the open-air museum of Hakata Machiya Furusato Kan to learn where you will learn about the history of this charming city. Pay a visit to the ancient Kushida Shrine with its striking Natural National Treasures: an enormous torii gate and ginkgo tree. Let your hair down at Tenjin, the city’s exciting nightlife destination, before calling it a day. (Full Day; Fitness Level: Moderate; Please bring comfortable walking shoes).
On the Ramen Trail in Fukuoka Try out the simple yet hearty culinary delights that Fukuoka is famous for! Accompanied by your expert guide, go hunting for Fukuoka’s iconic Yatai or open-air food stands that typically accommodate a handful of hungry patrons in a congenial outdoor setting. Although the city boasts more than a hundred such Yatai that serve a range of delicious ramen or noodle bowls, the best are to be found on Nakasu Island, right in the heart of the city. Stroll along the waterfront lined with long rows of Yatai, and relish a hearty bowl of Fukuoka’s famous tonkotsu ramen from any of the stalls. (Time of Day: Evening; Duration: 2.5 hrs; Private Activity & Public Transfer; Meal included: A bowl of ramen and a drink; Fitness Level: Moderate; Please note that you may have to wait in line for seats as the stalls are small and popular, and do not accept reservations).
Close to mainland Asia, foreign traders, merchants, and missionaries have thronged to Nagasaki since the 16th century. The only trading port during national isolation, the city has played a significant role in modernizing Japan.
Nagasaki: A Colorful Fusion of Civilizations Discover the unique ambience of this historic town that straddles both the orient and the occident with ease. As the only Japanese town that could interact with foreign merchants during the nation’s era of seclusion, it is home to old British mansions, churches and Chinese shrines. Visit the charming Glover Hill open-air museum, showcasing the residences of European merchants built during the second half of the 19th century. Enjoy panoramic views of the city and harbor stretched out below. Stop by the Chinese shrine of Koshi-byo dedicated to Confucius, built in the 1890s. Walkover to the city’s bustling Chinatown and sample the delicious steamed dumplings at the many street stalls. Your afternoon is dedicated to the Nagasaki Peace Park that commemorates the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in August, 1945. Discover how the city has recovered since that time, and visit the monuments and memorials leading up to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and the Hypocenter Park. (Full Day; Time of Day: Morning; Duration: 8 hrs; Private Activity & Public Transfer; Fitness Level: Moderate).
Day Trip to Picturesque Shimabara After breakfast, drive down from Nagasaki to the beautiful Shimabara region with your local guide. En route, you’ll pass through picturesque, verdant forests set against towering mountain peaks in the distance. From a distance, watch the famous active volcano of Mount Unzen that serves as a power source for the many hot springs in the surrounding area. Upon reaching Shimabara, visit the five-storied Shimabara Castle set right in the center of town. Explore the castle at your own pace and then amble over to a local eatery for refreshments. Indulge your sweet tooth with Shimabara’s famous ‘kanzarashi’, a delicious local dessert of rice dumplings soaked in syrup. Following your afternoon refreshments, stroll through the charming town, taking in its feudal network of canals and waterways that are generously filled with Japanese carp. Walk over to the traditional Japanese Shimeiso Garden and soak in its tranquil ambiance before heading back to Nagasaki. (Full Day; Time of Day: Morning; Duration: 8 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Meal included: Kanazarashi snacks; Fitness Level: Moderate).
Kumamoto, nicknamed “fire country” for its proximity to the active volcano Mount Aso, invites you to explore its varied attractions. Many Japanese gardens create green oases across the city with Suizenji Joju-en, which adjoins the Suizenji Temple, being the most prominent.
Kumamoto’s Best Begin your exploration of Kumamoto at Suizenji Garden that dates back to the 17th century. Stroll down the circular path with your guide to enjoy the beauty of this sprawling Japanese garden that was set up by the Hosokawa family. Delight in looking at miniature reproductions of the 53 post stations of the historically relevant Tokaido road, as well as Mount Fuji at this verdant park. Head over to the majestic 16th century Kumamoto Castle with its vast grounds and cluster of buildings. Despite being damaged by the massive earthquake of 2016, you can relish the complete castle experience at this spectacular edifice. Walk over to Josaien located next door to browse through a range of crafts and gastronomic delicacies. Browse through exhibits detailing the rich historical and cultural heritage of Kumamoto, before making your way back to the hotel. (Half Day; Time of Day: 0900 or 1400; Duration: 4 hrs; Private Activity; Public Transport; Fitness Level: Easy)
Kagoshima, with its own unique Japanese dialect, is set by the sea on the island of Kyushu. Home to hundreds of onsens or mineral springs, Kagoshima is dotted with public bathhouses that invite you to enjoy the hot springs.
Kagoshima Uncovered Explore the many offerings of the seaside city of Kagoshima! Start your day off with a visit to Sengan’en Garden, a Japanese-style landscape garden that will regale you with spectacular views of Sakurajima Island and Kagoshima Bay along the coast. Located north of downtown Kagoshima, this garden was built in 1658, during the Edo Period, by one of the most influential feudal clans of the time, the powerful Shimazu Clan. Explore the Islo Residence, located at the center of the garden, which became where the Shimazu Clan lived after the end of the feudal age. Admire the historical interiors of the rooms, which have been preserved in the same way they were used back in the 19th century. Wind up your walk around the garden with a sumptuous full-course meal of Satsuma (the former name of Kagoshima) specialties at the garden’s restaurant. After lunch, take the ferry to the magnificent Sakurajima Island, where you’ll find one of Japan’s most active volcanoes as well as the symbol of Kagoshima. You’ll notice that the volcano is always emanating smoke, and small-scale eruptions take place a few times a day. While it is forbidden to approach the crater, enjoy the thrilling experience of being so close to the majestic volcano. (Full day, Time of Day: Morning: 0930 hrs, Duration: 8 hrs; Private Activity; Fitness Level: All Levels Accepted; Shared Transfers)
Volcano Visit in Sakurajima Set out on an expedition to scenic Sakurajima Island by ferry. One of Japan’s most active volcanoes and the symbol of Kagoshima, you’ll notice that the volcano is perpetually emanating smoke, and small-scale eruptions occur a few times a day! While it is not allowed to venture near the crater, enjoy strolling to various picturesque observation points and exploring hiking trails. You can also relax as you experience the foot baths filled with water from hot springs. Visit the several observatories and then head to the Visitor Center, where you can find out more about the geology of this majestic volcano. (Half Day, Time of Day: Morning or Afternoon, Duration: 4 hrs; Private Activity; Fitness Level: Easy; Public Transfers)
Yakushima, located off the coast of Kagoshima, is a slice of tropical heaven with its ancient cedar trees, some of which date back thousands of years. The ethereal ambiance of this natural UNESCO World heritage site has inspired plenty of animators, writers, and filmmakers who have featured it in their works.
Yakishima Forest Trails Embark on a picturesque hike under the canopies of Yakushima’s ancient trees. You will be picked up from your hotel by a local guide who will accompany you on a drive to the trailhead. Comfortable in a raised seat, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the passing scenery from the van. The Konohana hiking route you will be following is a great way to get to know the island; you will hike through the lush forest, admiring the swing bridges and the island’s spectacular rivers and falls. Take your time to click some photos along the hike, and go on to savor lunch that will be provided. (Half Day, Time of Day: Morning at 0900 hrs, Duration: 4-6 hrs; Private Activity; Lunchbox included; Fitness Level: Moderate to Excellent, as this hike consists of some uneven paths and old wooden ladders. As the hike takes place in all weather conditions, you are advised to bring waterproof walking shoes and rain gear during the rainy season, warm layers in the winter, and a hat and sunscreen during the summer. Please note that transport to trailhead is provided by way of a van with raised seating, and a chauffeur and guide with hotel pick-up and drop-off.)
Osaka is third largest city of Japan and has been the home of traders and merchants. It is also well-known for Japan’s oldest temple, the Shinto Sumiyoshi-taisha, and the majestic 16th century Osaka Castle.
Shared Transfer from Shin Osaka hotel to Kansai Airport
Price & Inclusions
Option 1 From $ 7,460 /person
Option 2 From $ 8,540 /person
Prices are in USD and exclude international flights. This trip price is based on low season rates for accommodation and other applicable services, and may change depending on availability, currency fluctuations and number of people traveling together. For high season prices, please contact us with your exact travel dates and preferences.
Accommodation in one double room for 11 days / 10 nights
Meals as indicated
The following train journeys in the highest class available :
Hakata Fukuoka – Nagasaki (Train – Standard Class)
Train from Nagasaki to Kumamoto (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
Train from Kumamoto to Kagoshima-Chuo (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
Train from Kagoshima-Chuo to Shin-Osaka (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
All activities as listed :
Fukuoka: Fukuoka’s Traditions and Modernity Explored
Fukuoka: On the Ramen Trail in Fukuoka
Nagasaki: Nagasaki: A Colorful Fusion of Civilizations
Nagasaki: Day Trip to Picturesque Shimabara
Kumamoto: Kumamoto’s Best
Kagoshima: Kagoshima Uncovered
Kagoshima: Volcano Visit in Sakurajima
Yakushima: Yakishima Forest Trails
All activities specified in the itinerary, including entrance fees, when accompanied by our local, English-speaking tour guide
All airport, train station and hotel transfers as indicated. For private transfers our representative will meet you at the airport or the station and accompany you to your vehicle (and vice versa).
Your Trip Coordinator: a 24/7 point of contact, supporting you during your trip
Welcome kit including all important documents and information regarding your itinerary