Gourmet cities and natural beauty
After 2 days rest/discovery/gastronomy in Ôsaka, take the ferry to the north of Kyushu. Agenda for the first days on the island: delicious street food, gondola trip and zen temples; cruise to an archipelago made up of 99 heavenly islands; discovery of Nagasaki, a city full of history which has much more to offer than just a dramatic episode during the Second World War; descent into the “hells” and ascent of a fire mountain on the Shimabara peninsula.
Centre and south of the island: castles, black pigs and volcanoes
Now at the heart of Kyushu, explore Kumamoto – a beautiful city which is home to a huge castle, one of Japan’s most picturesque landscaped garden and a number of unusual religious sites. Then, off to the south to Kagoshima with its fields of sweet potatoes and breed of black pigs. After a short visit to the volcanic island of Sakurajima, a stay in the natural surroundings of Ibusuki with relaxation in the warm sand baths, tasting of delicious homestyle dishes, stroll through the subtropical flower world and trek to the summit of Mount Kaimondake, the Fuji of southern Kyushu.
Wild coasts, legendary mountains and thermal tourism
You will now leave the southern tip of the island and travel to its Pacific Side, famous for its rugged coastline and unusual shaped reefs. After admiring the beautiful seascapes, short jaunt into the mountains of Takachiho, a major spiritual centre of Shintoism. Tour plan: boat trip through basalt gorges and visit to the shrine where, according to the legend, the sun goddess plunged the world into darkness. Then, return to the coast and to Usuki, an old Samurai town and home to a set of unique stone Buddha statues. Finally, before taking the ferry back to Ôsaka, brief stop in Beppu, the world’s most geothermically active city, famous for its hot spring and its “hells” (vividly coloured, scalding hot springs).
- I offer typically tours during the spring (15.03 to 31.05) and autumn (30.09 to 30.11). I do not travel to Japan during the summer because it’s too hot and rainy. I have also decided not to offer tours during the winter – traditional Japanese houses do not have central heating and I don’t want my customers to freeze.
- The difficulty level is calculated for active travellers who are physically fit and enjoy walking/hiking.
- For more detailed information about the Japanese accommodation system as well as further peculiarities unique to the “Land of the Rising Sun”, please refer to our brochure Tips for Travellers to Japan.