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10 Days
Stunning Autumn Foliage Tour of Kyushu

Itinerary Summary

    Day 1 – Fukuoka

    Meet your private  guide at the airport (or Hakata station) and first transfer to your accommodation. After check-in, you will tour the city’s best autumn foliage spots: Maizuru Park is centred around the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. Though the castle is famous for its cherry trees, in autumn the ginkgo trees change colour, turning the area into a great spot for viewing the leaves.

    Momiji Hachimangu Shrine is renowned as a place of prayer for easy childbirth, child-raising and protection against evil.

    Shofu-en is a park with a Japanese garden and a tea ceremony room constructed in the early 1950s. The garden is spotted with Japanese maple trees aged over 100 years, lanterns and an arbour shelter with the chairs arranged in manji (swastika) shape. Here you can enjoy the seasonal beauty of Japan.

    Return to central Fukuoka and enjoy dinner at one of the city’s numerous “yattai” (food stalls).

    Night in Fukuoka
    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 2 – Transfer from Fukuoka to Takeo (via Dazaifu)

    After check-out, head to Takeo. En route, you will first stop at Dazaifu City. Established in the late 7th century, the city served as the administrative center of the entire island of Kyushu for over 500 years. Now, it is a nice, quiet town and a primary destination to see red leaves.

    Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is the largest Shinto shrine in Fukuoka and center of over 12,000 Tenjin shrines in Japan. It has been the shrine of learning, culture and the arts for more than a millennium. On its grounds, you’ll find both a peaceful and lively atmosphere, sweet Japanese treats, and beautiful seasonal displays of nature.

    Komozen-Ji is a zen temple in Dazaifu. It is a beautiful example of a Japanese traditional rock garden. It also happens to be a great spot for admiring the fall foliage. The grey rocks contrast with the red and yellow of the leaves which makes the scene particularly outstanding.

    Leave Dazaifu and then head to the Higashiyoka coast for stunning autumn foliage sites.

    Every year during the fall season, you can admire a rare phenomenon on the Higashioka beach. A 6km red carpet of Shichimenso (an annual plant that grows on high saline soil) stretches out as far as the eye can see. It is often referred to as the “two autumn foliage of the sea” because of its bright red color during Fall.

    Arrive in Takeo and end the tour at your accommodation. Takeo Onsen is a hot spring town in western Saga Prefecture that is said to have a history of over 1,300 years as an onsen destination.

    Night in Takeo
    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 3 – Transfer to Nagasaki

    Checkout from your Takeo accommodation and head to Nagasaki. En route you will make a stop at Mifuneyama Rakuen.

    Mifuneyama Rakuen comprises 150,000 square meters of parkland, Mifuneyama has the honour of being Saga Prefecture’s first registered national monument. In autumn, the garden draws visitors from all over with its soaring hillside lit ablaze in fiery shades of red and orange.

    You will then proceed to Nagasaki and after checking-in, visit the following sites:

    Glover Garden is an open-air museum in Nagasaki that exhibits mansions of several of the city’s former foreign residents and related buildings. The main attraction of the garden is the Former Glover House, the oldest Western-style wooden building in Japan.

    Oura Church is a Catholic church in Nagasaki. Built towards the end of the Edo Period in 1864 by a French missionary for the growing community of foreign merchants in the city, it is considered the oldest standing Christian church in Japan.

    Finally, in the evening, you will head to Mt. Inasa. The 333 meters high Mount Inasa is located very near Nagasaki’s city center, providing a perfect view of the city both at daytime and at night. In fact, the night view from Mount Inasa Observatory is so beautiful that it is listed as one of the 3 best night views in all of Japan.

    Night in Nagasaki
    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 4 – Transfer to Kumamoto city via Mt. Unzen

    After check-out, head to Mt Unzen in the Shimabara Peninsula. The Shimabara Peninsula was formed by the volcanic eruptions of Mt. Unzen at its center. Mount Unzen is part of the Unzen Amakusa National Park, one of the first national parks in Japan. It is a very popular and a beautiful spot to enjoy the Autumn foliage.

    Before leaving the peninsula for Kumamoto, you will make another stop at another iconic Autumn foliage destination at Shimabara Castle. This white castle is the perfect spot to explore in the shade of the bright red Momiji planted around the grounds. Go up to the fifth floor, to the observation deck, for sweeping views out towards the volcanic Mt. Unzen.

    Not far from the Castle, you will also find The City of Swimming Carp, a quiet neighborhood lined by narrow canals filled with hundreds of brightly colored carp. The waterways are fed with filtered spring water that passes through Mt. Unzen’s volcanic layers before bubbling up around the neighborhood.

    By the end of the afternoon, you will reach Kumamoto.

    Night in Kumamoto
    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 5 – Kumamoto highlights

    Today, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful city’s sights at your leisure.

    Kumamoto Castle is one of the three most famous castles in Japan and is a special historic site designated by the government. The castle is also known as “Icho-jo” (Gingko castle), for it is here that the ginkgo trees beautifully change their color in the Autumn.

    The Hosokawa Residence is the former residence of a branch family of the Hosokawa Clan, the powerful clan that ruled over Kumamoto during the Edo Period. The building is an example of the type of home an elite samurai lived in.

    The layout of Suizenji Garden represents the 53 Stations or Post Towns of the old Tokaido highway from Kyoto to Tokyo. Suizenji Garden contains an instantly recognizable, miniature Mount Fuji and Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, Izumi Shrine, an Inari Shrine, a Noh stage, a classical teahouse, the Kokin Denju-no-ma, moved here in 1912 from Kyoto’s Imperial Palace.

    The promenade leading up to the Kumamoto Prefectural Government building has 54 ginkgo trees that are lined up like a painting. The approximately 80m-long promenade is carpeted with countless leaves from the trees, giving the impression of a tunnel surrounded by golden ginkgo trees.

    Night in Kumamoto
    Inclusions: Accommodation and Breakfast.

    Day 6 – Transfer from Kumamoto to Kagoshima and visit of Sakurajima Volcano

    After checkout, hop on the Shinkansen (Bullet train) and head to Kagoshima at the very south of the island.

    The city is often compared with its Italian sister city Naples, due to a similarly mild climate, palm tree-lined streets, relatively hot-tempered inhabitants and Sakurajima, Kagoshima’s Vesuvius.

    After check-in to your accommodation, join a tour of the Sakurajima volcano. Sakurajima is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and the symbol of Kagoshima. The volcano smokes constantly, and minor eruptions often take place multiple times per day. It is also a prime destination to enjoy the autumn foliage.

    Night in Kagoshima
    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 7 – Transfer to Miyazaki

    After checkout, a short bullet train ride will take you to your next destination: Miyazaki.

    With one of the warmest climates on the main islands of Japan, resorts, beaches and sports facilities, Miyazaki used to be the top honeymoon spot and a popular destination with domestic travelers.

    One of the main reasons to visit Miyazaki is Aoshima. Aoshima Island is connected via a bridge where you can walk to the island from the mainland. Following the path to Aoshima Island, there is a geological phenomenon which is made up of rock layers in the shallow sea. The unique rock formation is known as Devil’s Washboard. Enjoy your time to get closer to this natural wonder.

    The beautiful Udo Shrine is a historical shrine with a dramatic setting in the seaside Nichinan coast. Unlike other shrines in Japan which are built on high ground or mountains, Udo Shrine is beautifully painted by the powerful blue waves against the rock structures. One of the unique points of interest in the Udo Shrine is the main shrine which is built and hidden in the grotto.

    Lastly, don’t forget to try your luck by throwing the small wooden beads to Kameiwa. It is a special rock by the sea with a rope surrounding a puddle. Your wish will be granted if you manage to throw the undama into the hole.

    End of the tour at your accommodation in Miyazaki.

    Night in Miyazaki
    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 8 – Day trip to Takachiho Gorge and arrival in Beppu

    Today’s highlight will be the visit to Takachiho Gorge before reaching Beppu in the evening.

    Takachiho Gorge is a narrow chasm cut through the rock by the Gokase River. Partway along the gorge is the 17-meter high Minainotaki waterfall cascading down to the river below, and it is truly impressive to see the waterfall against a backdrop of dense green foliage and the surrounding grey cliffs. In Autumn, the changing leaves transform what’s an already mystical landscape into something out of a psychedelic fairytale.

    On the way to Beppu, not far from Takachiho, shrouded in a cave that sits on the edge of the ravine, Amano Iwato shrine is a seriously atmospheric stop. In the story, Amaterasu, the Shito sun goddess, became so outraged by her brother’s cruel pranks that she hid in a cave, refusing to come out and depriving the world of her life-giving light.

    After visiting the gorge, you will reach Beppu in the afternoon. Beppu is known to many as the Capital of hot spring resorts. The city has more than 2,000 onsens (hot springs) available, and offers fascinating experiences with a variety of baths – steam bath, sand bath, mud bath, and of course, ordinary hot water bath.

    Before settling at your accommodation, you will tour the famous Beppu’s Hells. Eight spectacular hot springs for viewing rather than bathing. These eight boiling pools, resulting from volcanic activity, have varying characteristics: one is blood-red in color due to its red clay deposits, another has the largest geyser in Japan, etc.

    Night in Beppu
    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 9 – Day trip to Yufuin

    Yufuin is another very atmospheric small hot-springs town backed by Mt. Yufu. Because of its double peak, it’s fondly known as Mt. Fuji of Oita amongst the locals.

    One of the landmarks in Yufuin, the lake is located at the end of the town’s main walking street. Hot water gushes from the bottom of the lake, and hot steam rises from its surface on a cold day. The lake is surrounded by Maple and Ginkgo trees and is absolutely breathtaking in Autumn.

    Night in Beppu
    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 10 – Return to Fukuoka

    Today marks the last day of your southern Japan adventure. Take the bullet train back to Fukuoka. From there, you can either go to the airport and take your flight back home or take a bullet train and continue your travels in Japan.

    Inclusions: Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

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