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Trail the Ancient Cedars

HOME / DESTINATIONS / JAPAN / 12 DAYS CLASSIC KYUSHU

Cover the highlights of Mexico in this itinerary, several UNESCO sites, as well as some less-visited destinations. Visit local artisans, explore ancient ruins spanning several civilizations, and titillate your palate with Mexican gastronomy. 

12 Days Classic Kyushu

ITINERARY DAY-TO-DAY

1

DAY

FUKUOKA

Transfer to your hotel by private car.

2

DAY

KARATSU / IMARI

Tour Karatsu and Imari by private car. Explore Niji-no-Matsubara pine grove, said to be one of the three great pine groves in Japan. Visit Karatsu Castle built under the first lord of Karatsu in 1608, sits on a hill with panoramic views of the ocean. See the colourful festival floats used for the annual autumn festival of Karatsu Shrine before heading to Okawachiyama village famed for their porcelain techniques.

3

DAY

NAGASAKI

Drive to Nagasaki. Explore the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park then head to Dejima, a small fan-shaped artificial island once the sole point of trade between Japan and the outside world. Stroll down the Glover Garden and visit the oldest western-style wooden building in Japan, once the home of a Scottish merchant. Take an evening excursion to Island Lumina.

4

DAY

GUNKANJIMA

Explore Gunkanjima, also known as battleship island. Once an undersea coal mine with over 5000 residents, miners and families enjoyed many facilities such as schools, restaurants, public baths and even a Shinto shrine. After the closure of the island and its lack of maintenance, the island exudes a dilapidated and eerie ambience and was even the setting for popular manga series Attack on Titan.

5

DAY

UNZEN / KUMAMOTO

Tour Unzen and Kumamoto by private car. Explore Unzen Jigoku, a hotspot of volcanic activity of white steam accompanied by the smell of sulfur. Drive to Taira and enjoy lunch at the 1 star Michelin restaurant 'Villa del Nido'. Take a ferry to Kumamoto and visit Mr Matsunaga's Katana workshop. Watch as hot pieces of iron are forged into the legendary Katana sword and join in the Tameshigiri, a test cut using swords to slice through bamboo mats. 

6

DAY

KUMAMOTO / TAKACHIHO

Tour Kumamoto by private car. Explore Suizenji, a traditional Japanese garden landscaped around a natural spring pond where you can also enjoy traditionally-prepared Japanese tea. Discover Kumamoto Castle, considered one of the three premier castles in Japan. Try your hand at Japanese sweet also known as wagashi making. Drive to Takachiho.

7

DAY

TAKACHIHO

Tour Takachiho by private car. Steeped in myth and legend, explore Takachiho Shrine, known since ancient times as a sacred ground where the deities descended to earth. Formed by the lava flow of Mount Aso, Takachiho Gorge meanders along beautiful cliffs and waterfall. Enjoy a light trek or rent rowboats for an upclose view. Visit the Amano-iwato Shrine, built across the cave where the sun goddess Amaterasu hid. The area is simple yet full of natural beauty and mystery. 

8

DAY

MOUNT ASO / KUMAMOTO

Drive to Mount Aso. Visit Yamamura brewery, one of the top sake breweries in the Kumamoto area. It is thought that the temperature and clean underground water and rice from the Mount Aso area is key for the excellent sake. Explore the pristine Shirakawa Springs before heading to the Mount Aso crater. An active volcano with an enormous caldera, take a ropeway to reach the crater. Drive to Kumamoto.

9

DAY

KUMAMOTO / IBUSUKI

Tour Kagoshima by private car. Stroll through Sengan-en, a picturesque garden built on the side of a mountain overlooking Kinko bay and visit the historical house of the Shimazu family, one of the most powerful feudal lords during the Edo period. Drive to Chiran and choose to visit the Chiran Kamikaze Pilot Museum or the Chiran Samurai residence district and garden. Drive to Ibusuki and enjoy a spot of hot sand bathing!

10

DAY

KAGOSHIMA / YAKUSHIMA

Fly to Yakushima. Hike Yakusugi Land, a nature reserve populated by ancient cedar trees. There are a variety of hiking courses to choose from, with varying lengths from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours.

11

DAY

YAKUSHIMA

Tour Yakushima by private car. Discover the Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine, a gorgeous canyon said to be the model for the Studio Ghibli movie, Princess Mononoke. Hike past the famous 3,000 year-old Yayoi Cedar, Taiko-iwa Rock and Princess Mononoke Forest. 

Optional Activities: Select from excursions such as diving, cruises and island tour.

12

DAY

YAKUSHIMA / FUKUOKA

Drive to Yakushima airport for your flight to Fukuoka.

RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATION

Grand Hyatt Fukuoka
Bansyoukaku Shikishima
Garden Terrace Nagasaki
Matsuya Honkan Suizenji
Ryokan Shinsen
Wasure no Sato Gajoen
Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima
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