With millions of people visiting Japan each year, it seems nearly impossible to find places that are off the beaten path. Yet on this 15-day tour, see the hidden side of Japan as you explore Kyushu and Shikoku. These two islands offer a variety of cultural, natural, and culinary treasures. You travel between destinations at your own pace. This trip leaves you with many splendid memories, and a desire to return to experience Japan’s many other treasures.
Kyoto – Your Adventure Begins
This afternoon, your flight lands at Kansai International Airport. A staff member meets you out just outside of customs and guides you to a shared shuttle van. This van takes you to your hotel in central Kyoto, a two-hour journey. The hotel for your three nights in Kyoto is western-style.
The rest of the day is yours to relax. There are a variety of dining options just steps away from your hotel.
Kyoto – Participate in Ancient Traditions
Kyoto – See the Best of the Ancient Capital
Takamatsu – Walk in the Footsteps of Nobility
Takamatsu – Island Hopping
Kotohira – Magnificent Shrines and Delectable Cuisine
Matsuyama – Inspiring Onsens
Okayama – Immerse Yourself in Japan’s Past
Okayama to Kumamoto – A Ramen Paradise
Kumamoto – In the Shadow of Mt. Aso
Nagasaki – A Blend of Cultures
Fukuoka – Reflections on the Past
Fukuoka – A Place You Could Call Home
Osaka – Eat Your Way Through Japan’s Kitchen
Osaka – More Memories Still to Make
- Indulge in a slower pace of life and take time to reflect in a Japanese tea ceremony
- Visit ‘art islands’ in the Seto Inland Sea, featuring natural outdoors exhibits and museums
- Spend several nights at ryokans, traditional Japanese inns featuring tatami mats and onsens, thermal hot springs
- Sample a variety of the finest and freshest delectable Japanese cuisine
- Visit Mt. Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan, and enjoy walking trails and the opportunity to go horse riding
- Experience the mixture of undisturbed nature, a small fishing community, and art at the Teshima Art Museum in Teshima
- Relax your muscles and mind with an onsen bath at your luxury hotel as you soak in a refreshing mineral bath
Your tour begins in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital and home to some of the country’s best cultural treasures. For two-and-a-half days, you can tour this amazing city on your own and with an expert guide. Expect personalized experiences such as participating in a Japanese tea ceremony. Your time in Kyoto is magnificent, but only a taste of what is to come.
You head by Shinkansen (high-speed bullet train) to Takamatsu, a coastal city on Shikoku. Here, you find ancient castles and splendid gardens and shrines. Sipping tea at the city’s most beautiful park, it is easy to find peace among the ponds and mountain scenery. For dining, the city is famous for its hearty udon noodle dishes.
From Takamatsu, you have the chance to take a day trip to one of the many islands dotting the Seto Inland Sea. Whether you choose Yashima, Naoshima, Teshima, or Shodoshima, expect to see both natural beauty and art installations that take your breath away. Each island has a Mediterranean climate, and as you walk the paths, you may imagine yourself on the Greek coast rather than Japan.
Kotohira is home to one of the most unique shrines in Japan. Situated at the summit of Mt. Kompira, you walk up centuries-old steps to reach the top. There, you find the shrine, an eclectic mix of Buddhist and Shinto influences. Even if you do not walk the whole way, the surrounding nature puts you at ease. In the evening, relax your muscles in an onsen bath and dine on some of the finest cuisines in Japan.
Matsuyama is a coastal city in western Shikoku. The city is home to one of the most stunning bathhouses in Japan. Frequented by the imperial family, its architecture is nothing like you’ve ever seen. Yet the price to enter is modest, allowing anyone to enjoy its warm waters. The city is also home to one of Japan’s 12 remaining feudal castles. On top of a mountain, you ride a chairlift to reach it. The castle itself is a maze, each window offering amazing views of the city below.
Okayama was once a rich merchant city. Generations ago, its storehouses were full of rice. Today, they are home to cafés, restaurants, and boutique shops. The old-world charm is still present as you walk through the canal district, giving the area the appeal of an old European city. While there, you can visit a palatial mansion once owned by one of the city’s richest families.
As you head south into Kyushu, your first stop is Kumamoto. Built in the shadow of Mt. Aso, there are many ways to experience the volcano’s beauty. From horseback riding to nature hikes, you are sure to find a relaxing way to spend your day. If you wish to venture out beyond the volcano, surrounding cities have some of the most relaxing hot spring baths in Japan.
Nagasaki is a city steeped in history. Though known for the atomic bombing in 1945, the city was once a grand trading port. Today, different architectural styles dot the city’s old buildings. At Glover Garden, discover how European traders ‘opened the door’ to Japan in the late 19th century.
Fukuoka is the largest city in Kyushu. Here you notice that the pace of life is much slower than other Japanese cities. As you explore the parks and fish markets, you have the chance to reflect on your time in Japan so far. Taking in the view from the observation deck of the Fukuoka Tower, you understand why Fukuoka is a city that so many Japanese are proud to call home.
Your tour ends in boisterous Osaka. Home to the merchant class during Japan’s feudal era, the city still demands a fast pace of life from its residents. With the help of a guide, see some of Osaka’s best sites as you eat your way through a variety of restaurants. The experience leaves you full and fulfilled as well.
This 15-day tour is perfect for couples, friends, and families. It is best taken in the spring or fall when Shikoku and Kyushu’s weather is ideal for outdoor touring.
$7,795 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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