(8 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)
Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Yufuin & Beppu
This private Japan tour focuses on the southern island of Kyushu, which is renowned for ceramics, cuisine, volcanoes, hot springs, gardens and scenic beauty.
Begin in cosmopolitan Fukuoka, the most populous city on Kyushu. During private touring, visit cultural highlights such as Ohori Park, the ruins of Fukuoka Castle, the Asian Art Museum, and interesting local temples and shrines. Also enjoy time to independently explore Fukuoka's famous yatai (food stalls), where you can sample Hakata ramen and other favorite local dishes.
Next, tour the famous ceramics towns of Saga Prefecture: Karatsu, Arita and Imari. Learn about the long traditions of rustic Karatsu-yaki pottery and fine Arita, Imari and Nabeshima porcelain while visiting top kilns, studios and galleries in the region. Also tour the Kyushu Ceramics Museum, and see Okawachiyama, the Village of the Secret Kilns.
Continue to Nagasaki, a major port city with a beautiful fjord-like setting and a fascinating history. During private touring, visit Dejima, where Dutch traders were allowed to operate during the Edo period, when the rest of Japan was closed to outsiders. Tour Glover Garden to see the Victorian houses and gardens of the thriving international community that emerged after the opening of Japan in the 19th century. Dine on local dishes influenced by Chinese and Portuguese traders and missionaries who visited the city in centuries past. Also spend time at the Nagasaki Peace Park and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.
Next, visit Kumamoto, a former castle town. During private touring, see the impressive curving stone ramparts and high towers of Kumamoto Castle. Walk through Suizenji Garden, a 17th-century stroll garden in which carefully placed hills, rocks, trees and ponds replicate miniature versions of Mount Fuji and famous sights along the Tokaido Road. Perhaps also browse a local market for specialty food products from the Kumamoto region.
Venture into the center of Kyushu to explore Mount Aso, an active volcano surrounded by a massive caldera. Drive up the slopes of the mountain to take in panoramic views of the verdant landscape dotted with volcanic cones, farms and villages.
Continue to Yufuin, an onsen (hot springs) town. Stay in your own traditional Japanese house at a luxury ryokan, and enjoy kaiseki (seasonal tasting menu) meals and soaks in your own private hot springs bath. During private touring in the region, see highlights such as active geothermal pools, traditional villages, crafts workshops, and the nearby town of Beppu, one of Japan's most famous onsen destinations. Another option is seeing the Usuki Stone Buddhas, a collection of 60 ancient sculptures carved into rocky cliffs.
Throughout the tour, enjoy opportunities to dine on the culinary treats of Kyushu such as sweet potatoes, seafood and black pork, accompanied by locally made shochu (liquor distilled from sweet potatoes, buckwheat or other ingredients). This tour can easily be combined with additional destinations in Japan and South Korea.
Private transfer to hotel for 2 nights
Half-day private tour
||Fukuoka – pottery towns – Nagasaki
Private transfer to hotel for two nights. En route, tour pottery towns such as Karatsu, Arita and Imari
Full-day private tour
||Nagasaki – Kumamoto
Private transfer to hotel for overnight. Afternoon private tour
||Kumamoto – Mount Aso – Yufuin
Private transfer to ryokan for two nights. En route, tour Mount Aso. Afternoon private touring in Yufuin
||Yufuin & Beppu
Full-day private excursion to Beppu and option to visit the Usuki Stone Buddhas
Private transfer to airport in Fukuoka for onward flight or to station for onward train
Grand Hyatt Fukuoka
||Garden Terrace Nagasaki Hotel & Resort
||Hotel Nikko Kumamoto
||Sansou Murata Ryokan
||Per person (double occupancy)