Southern Japan Tour will give you a glimpse of Japan in its elements away from the bright lights of the city. Traveling in Kyushu and Shikoku is an adventure on its own. Starting from Osaka, we will head south to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Arita Ceramic Village, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Takachiho, Beppu, Matsuyama, and Naruto.
This unique fully escorted tour features visiting Miyajima's floating torii, Nagasaki's Glover Garden, The Tour of Hell in Beppu, soaking in the hot springs of Dogo Onsen, watching a traditional kagura dance in Takachiho, and much more. This comprehensive tour will mesmerized you by the natural beauty of the sceneries you will not find anywhere else.
Day 01: Arrive in Osaka
Meet and Greet on your arrival in Osaka. Our representative will guide you to your Hotel. Rest of the day is free for you to recover from your jet lag.
Day 02: Osaka - Hiroshima
We will begin our day with a stop at Himeji-jo, or Himeji Castle a hilltop Japanese castle complex located in Himeji. Himeji-jo is a UNESCO distinguished site, having survived all wars, earthquakes and natural disasters. The castle is regarded as the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture.
After our castle visit, we will take a small boat to Itsukushima, a small island off the main shore famously known as Miyajima. It is the home of the floating torii, which at high tide seems to float on water. Along the torii, the Itsukushima Shrine complex is also built over water and is ranked one of Japan's three best sceneries.
After a quick picture stop at one of the main highlights here in Hiroshima, the A-Bomb Dome, the only surviving building from the aftermath, we will head to our hotel.
Day 03: Hiroshima - Nagasaki
We will spend part of this morning at the Peace Park Memorial. Stroll along the park to see famous attractions like that of Sadako's statue and the freedom bell. Here you can see and read about the relic of the war.
We will then take a bullet train to Nagasaki during which you can enjoy a train bento box, or eki-ben. We will check into our Hotel on arrival.
Our first stop is Gen-emon where we will witness the beautiful styles of gen-emon kiln. Each product is created and painted by hand, requiring precise technical work. We will then head to Glover Garden which exhibits Western style mansions. Our last stop of the day is the Nagasaki Peace Park which was built to commemorate the Nagasaki atomic bomb. In the park is a large pillar engraved with the names of the victims.
Day 04: Nagasaki - Takachiho
Early morning we will head to Kumamoto, an old city centering on its castle. Kumamoto Castle is considered the most impregnable fortress in Japan up to this day. The founder, Kato Kiyomasa, was renowned castle architect in the 17th century who constructed castles in Japan and Korea. We will be passing by Mt. Aso, so make sure you have your camera ready.
Reaching the opposite shore of Kyushu, we will reach Takachiho and check into our Hotel. This magical town holds a legend about Amatarasu and her cave. In the evening, we will go to Takachiho Shrine to see a traditional kagura dance base on the local legend.
Day 05: Takachiho - Matsuyama
Today we will head North to Beppu. There we will take the pleasure in joining "The Tour of Hell". This interesting little town is ranked second in the world to discharge water creating thousands of mineral springs. The Tour of Hell will focus on the eight most popular hot springs in town. You can purchase pudding from local markets that were cooked using the steam from the geysers.
After lunch, we will hitch a ride in a boat to Matsuyama, a castle city and check into our Hotel. Following the pattern of hot springs, we will soak in one of the oldest in the world, Dogo Onsen. It is said that its 3,000 years old with healing qualities. We can see the Imperial family own rooms and onsens that are reserved for them called Yushinden.
We will return to our hotel for a traditional kaiseki style dinner, a luxurious multi-course Japanese meal. Afterwards, you have time to roam the old streets of Matsuyama or take a soak in the hot springs.
Day 06: Matsuyama - Osaka
We will be traveling around Shikoku, the fourth largest island of Japan. After one last look at Dogo Onsen, we will head towards Ishiteji Temple, 51st of the 88 temples along the holy pilgrimage route. This extraordinary temple has an underground labyrinth and caves that can date back to 8th century. There is a legend about Emon Saburo who returned to the temple after he was reincarnated.
Traveling East, we will visit one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan that overlooks Mt. Shiun, Ritsurin Garden. Michelin Green Guide graded the garden three stars. Our last stop before hitting Osaka is Naruto, a small town off the coast. Here in Naruto, many hope to observe the large Naruto whirlpools that can be seen under very ideal conditions.
On arrival in Osaka we'll check into our Hotel. Before ending our day, we will spend some time at Dotonbori, a popular tourist district for dining, shopping, and entertainment. The street is lit by hundreds of neon lights at nighttime, keeping the town lively throughout the night.
Day 07: Depart Osaka
After breakfast in time transfer to the Airport to catch your flight back home.