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Introduction

The lesser explored southern tip of Japan holds a treasure trove of wonders including the pristine landscapes, pilgrimage trails and art villages of Shikoku Island. Whilst in Kyushu Island, the historic cities, relaxing hot springs and ancient temples and shrines await. Combined with UNESCO heritage and hugely popular Kyoto and the culinary delights of Osaka, ensure this is a Japanese adventure to treasure.

With the use of Japan’s fantastic rail network and armed with an exceptional self-guide application, exploring Japan independently is a relaxing and cost-effective way to get the most from your holiday. A number of guided tours including a cultural experience in Kyoto, a full day Kyoto tour and a food tour in Osaka add a personal touch and our team on the ground are always ready to assist, should you need it.


Day-by-Day

Day 1 - 3: Kyoto

Arrive at Kansai and transfer to your hotel in Kyoto to relax after the flight. The following day, an immersive cultural experience is the perfect way to begin this Japanese adventure. Explore a beautifully restored wooden townhouse, slip into a kimono and meet with a local tea master for a traditional ceremony before learning the art of origami under the instruction of a local artist. The following day, discover more of Kyoto with a guided tour of the city’s highlights, including Nijo Castle, the serene Ryoan-ji Temple and the impressive gold leaf covered Kinkaku-ji Temple, then take a stroll along the busy streets of Higashiyama district, where the narrow alleyways are lined with local stores, eateries and pottery centres.

Day 4 & 5: Takamatsu

Leave Kyoto behind and take the two-hour train journey to Takamatsu on Shikoku Island, where the beautiful valleys and mountains are adorned with temples and shrines. Make use of your self-guide application to help you discover Ritsurin Park, one of Japan’s designated Special Places of Scenic Beauty, where a wide variety of trees and flowers line the six ponds with oriental bridges, all set against Mount Shiun. Then, visit Yashima, with its open-air museum to discover the historical local lifestyle of the area, just 10 minutes from Takamatsu by express train. Alternatively, take the ferry to Naoshima or Teshima, both small islands known for contemporary art and exhibitions or Shodoshima, with a Mediterranean-like climate famous for its olive production.

Day 6: Kotohira

Today, take the local train to Kotohira, a small town famous for it’s mountain temple. Tonight’s accommodation is a traditional Ryokan, a Japanese-style inn with sliding shoji doors and tatami mat flooring. The open-air hot spring baths at this Ryokan have views of Mt. Kompira. You may choose to hike up Kompira-san, where 1,368 steep stone steps reveal the shrine for the Shinto god of seafarers.

Day 7: Matsuyama

Today's 75-minute train journey takes you to Matsuyama on the northwest of Shikoku, known for pilgrimage routes, cycling tours and hot springs. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the area, taking the chairlift to the top of the mountain to visit one of Japan’s original castles surrounded by 200 cherry blossom trees and incredible views of the city below.

Day 8: Okayama

After arriving by train into Okayama and storing luggage at the hotel, todays self-guided adventure explores the canals and well preserved old houses of the nostalgic Kurashiki Bikan and Canal Area, just 15 minutes from Okayama.

Day 9 & 10: Kumamoto

Before catching the bullet train around noon, spend the morning at Okayama Castle and the Koraku-en Garden, one of the three great gardens of Japan. The scenic journey to Kyushu, the island located in the south-westernmost part of Japan, takes less than three hours by train, arriving at Kumamoto with the Ariake Sea to the west and Kyushu Central Mountains to the east. The following day visit the onsen town of Beppu, where an abundance of hot springs almost fill the town with steam. 

Day 11: Nagasaki

The interesting and historically significant city Nagasaki has a tragic past but is also known for its many European influences. The Nagasaki Peace Memorial Park and Museum provide a powerful reminder of the effects of war. Stroll the cobblestone streets of Minami-Yamatemachi, visit the Oura Church or the Glover Garden. 

Day 12 & 13: Fukuoka

Visit Japan’s first Buddhist Temple founded in 1195, then continue to Nakasu Island, where delicious street food and local delicacies can be tasted. The following day, visit the busy fish market, explore the important shrine Kushida-jinja, relax in the peaceful Ohori Park and take in the views from the top of Fukuoka Tower, especially picturesque in the evening.

Day 14 & 15: Osaka

Catch the Bullet train to Osaka, the culinary capital of Japan, filled with lively streets, incredible food and fun-loving people. An early evening food tour reveals the flavours of the city, stopping at a street food stall for some traditional snacks before heading to a bar for a tasting selection of sake and Japanese wine. Next, a restaurant specialising in the supreme quality wagyu beef before a final stop at a specialist tempura eatery.


Enquire about our Kyushu & Shikoku Explorer Holiday

Simply complete our enquiry form to get in touch, or call our Asia Travel Specialists on 0203 924 8888


Prices

From £3,699 per person

Truly Individual Holiday Includes:

  • International flights from the UK in Economy
  • 14 nights accommodation including 1-night ryokan
  • Breakfast daily
  • 14-Day Japan Rail Pass
  • PASMO rail card loaded with JPY 3,500
  • Guided tours in Kyoto and Osaka
  • Self-guide application
  • Airport meet and greet

Price based on two people sharing accommodation. Any element of this holiday can be tailor-made to suit you. Simply enquire below!

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