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IJT eXplorer Kyushu Elements

13 Nights: from £2500 (excluding international flights)
Kyushu Elements is a dramatic journey of discovery south to the Island of Kyushu, a land of Earth, Fire and Water. Here you will find a country far removed from the bright lights of the ultra-modern cities. Life here is lived at a slower pace and you'll have time to enjoy what Japan is really about.

This IJT eXplorer tour of Japan commences and concludes in Kyoto, ancient capital of Japan and home to a myriad of temples, gardens and shrines as well as being a fantastic place to experience modern Japan. 

The days in between our stay in the cultural capital will be filled with the natural elements of Kyushu island, providing a vivid and powerful contrast with city life.

Kyushu island is alive with the forces of nature; Unzen bubbling, smoking lava and Mt Aso with its huge smouldering caldera are powerful reminders of the volcanic forces lying just beneath Japan's surface; Yakushima's lush green primeval forests, the inspiration for Miyazaki's animation masterpiece Princess Momonoke, a chance to wander through a natural landscape of giant cedar trees and dramatic waterfalls unchanged for centuries. On Kyushu Island you are constantly surrounded by the raw beauty of a landscape forged in the fires of the earth; a unique chance to gain an understanding of why nature has been so revered in Japan through the ages.

Through a two night stay in Nagasaki, Kyushu Elements also offers a window on Japan's commercial past. For centuries Japan's only contact with Europe was through Dejima, a reclaimed island off Nagasaki port. The first traders were the Portuguese and then the Dutch, who introduced Japan to firearms and coffee amongst many other wonders of the outside World.

An overnight in Kumamoto adds some Samurai history to the mix. The castle here is one of the best in Japan and the city also has some beautiful gardens to enjoy.

Stays in Kagoshima, a city dominated by the imposing conical form of Sakurajima, a massive active volcano sitting in the middle of the bay; Unzen, Japan's first national park, with its steaming pools helps complete your experience of Kyushu Island; a dramatic and inspiring introduction to the natural history, culture and geology of this ancient land.

 

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Silviya - Kyushu Elements, Nov 2013   starRating
Laureen - Kyushu Elements, Nov 2013   starRating
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Price

Tour Price from £2500
Full Price Details
The price shown here is for the land arrangements only and does not include international flights. If you would like a quote for your flights, please ask.

 
What’s Included:
  • 13 nights accommodation
  • All transport between destinations in Japan including airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Meet and Greet on arrival at Osaka Kansai Airport
  • Breakfast everyday
  • 6 evening meals
  • Dejima Island and Glover Gardens in Nagasaki
  • Kumamoto Castle
  • Mt. Aso cable car
  • Local Guide in Yakushima
  • Private Bus in Mt Aso and Yakushima
  • Luggage forwarding on two occasions
  • Full time services of your Tour Leader
  • InsideJapan Tours' complimentary Info-Pack
What’s NOT Included:
  • International Flights
  • Local transport (buses, subways, taxis) unless otherwise specified
  • Entrance fees unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage handling - you will be expected to carry your own bags for the duration of the trip

Important Practical Information

Max Group Size: 14

Single Supplement: This tour has a single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour.

Transport: Please note that all transfers are by public transport making use of Japan's first-rate transport network. All the hotels and ryokan have been chosen for their location close to the nearest station. However, you will have to carry your bags for short distances and some stations do not have escalators. We highly recommend that to make your stay more enjoyable you pack reasonably light. Large suitcases will be an inconvenience to you. A small case or bag with wheels or a rucksack are most appropriate for this tour. Laundry facilities are available in Kyoto (start and finish) and in Kagoshima.

Accommodation: The accommodation in Kyoto (start and finish), Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima is equipped with full en-suite facilities (attached bath, shower and toilet). The accommodation in Unzen, Aso and Yakushima has shared bathing and toilet facilities (single sex) some of which are available for private use.

International Flights: This tour starts and finishes in Kyoto for arrivals and departures at Osaka Kansai Airport.

Meet and Greet: Please note that the included meet-and-greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available up to 2 days in advance of the tour and if you are staying extra nights pre-tour it is only available if those nights are booked through InsideJapan Tours.

Check-in:
Please note that rooms at the Kyoto hotel are only available from 2pm. (You can however securely leave your luggage at the front desk at any time).

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Day by Day Itinerary


Day 1 Kyoto

Meals: Dinner

Arriving on the main island of Honshu at Osaka's Kansai Airport you will be met by your Tour Leader and transfer to the tour hotel by express train. Tonight, dinner is included at a local restaurant; a chance to enjoy some great food and drink and get to know the other group members.

Day 2 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast

A full day to explore Kyoto today and there are a myriad of sights in this fantastic city. Your tour leader will lead an optional full day exploration with visits likely to include Fushimi Inari shrine, Kiyomizu dera temple and Sanjusangendo temple.

Day 3 Nagasaki

Meals: Breakfast

Today our Kyushu adventures begin, travelling by Shinkansen (bullet train) and Ltd Express train to Nagasaki for two nights in this historic port city. In the afternoon we will take the tram over to Urakami, ground zero for the second atomic attack on Japan at the end of WW2. We will visit the Peace Memorial Park and the haunting museum dedicated to the city’s darkest day. Our centrally located business hotel overlooks the harbour and boasts an excellent kushiage restaurant (fried things on sticks) on the ground floor - a delicious choice for dinner!

Day 4 Nagasaki

Meals: Breakfast

Nagasaki offers a wealth of sightseeing but the reconstructed Dutch factory at Dejima is unmissable and provides a fascinating insight into this little bit of Holland on the edge of Japan. The vibrant China Town is a great place to stop for some ‘Champon-men’ , Nagasaki’s famed variety of ramen noodles and frequent pleasure cruises offer the chance to head out into the bay and survey the spectacular harbour views. You can wrap up your day with an early evening cable car trip to the top of Mount Inasa for the “Million Dollar View” of this beautiful city.

Day 5 Unzen

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Travelling by bus along the Shimabara Peninsula, we’ll head 800 metres above sea level to Unzen Onsen, a national park area of volcanic Martian landscapes with reddish coloured ground and bellowing clouds of sulphuric gas. Take a walk along side the bubbling waters of ‘Jigokudani’ (Hell Valley) or soak in one of the vast number of restorative hot spring baths for which the area is famous. Tonight we’ll be staying traditional style at a ryokan with a delicious Japanese dinner of local fresh produce included.

Day 6 Kumamoto

Meals: Breakfast

After a Japanese-style breakfast we will continue our journey by bus and ferry to Kumamoto to visit one of Japan's finest original castles. As well as exploring the castle itself there are some lovely gardens to enjoy here. We will have an overnight stay giving us plenty of time to explore this historic city.

Day 7 Mt Aso

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

From Kumamoto we travel by Ltd Express train across central Kyushu to the Aso caledera for a two night stay at a Japanese style inn. There will be some wonderful views en-route and it really feels like you are in the heart of the mountains here. Our ryokan for the night has some wonderful hot springs baths to enjoy.

Day 8 Mt Aso

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Breakfast at the ryokan will be followed by a day exploring the area by private bus. Aso is situated within the huge caldera basin providing some spectacular natural scenery. At over 120km in circumference the caldera is the largest in the world and offers plenty of walking through the grassy flatlands. There is also the opportunity to hike to the top of the active Nake-Dake volcano crater (or perhaps take the cable car if that doesn’t take your fancy!) and visit the excellent museum depicting the history of the volcano. From the top of any of the five peaks, you will be offered splendid views overlooking Aso’s impressive crater. After a day of walking and exploring by bus, you can be rest assured in the knowledge that you are able to soothe any aches and pains in the ryokan baths. Dinner is again served at the ryokan this evening.

Day 9 Kagoshima

Meals: Breakfast

We will take a Ltd Express train direct from Beppu to Kumamoto station today before boarding the brand new (opened 2011!) Kyushu Shinkansen bullet train south to Kagoshima. This beautiful bayside city is often referred to as the Naples of Japan due to its similar climate and proximity to Mt. Sakurajima volcano – Kagoshima’s Vesuvius. Accommodation is at a Western-style hotel conveniently located next to the station.

Day 10 Kagoshima

Meals: Breakfast

Today we will explore Kagoshima and its environs. The city is dominated by Sakurajima which can be reached via a ten minute ferry ride from the port. We will take a bus around the city visiting the museums and castle ruins of the Shiroyama area. You may also like to take a ride on the Ferris-wheel that sits on top of the main shopping arcade offering a great view of the city and volcano.

Day 11 Yakushima

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

A leisurely start today for the Jetfoil to the World Heritage site of Yakushima Island. Covered in primeval forests containing 1900 species of flora and dating back thousands of years, Yakushima is one of Japan’s most treasured natural wonders. This afternoon we will visit a local environmental centre to learn more about the island. We’ll be staying at a pension close to the sea, where the included dinner is sure to feature the local flying fish - a delicious treat!

Day 12 Yakushima

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Today we’ll have a full day to explore the island by private bus. The island has so much to offer whether it be the monkeys, deer or giant cedar trees and we will be joined by a local Japanese guide to make sure that we get the most from our explorations. The hot springs in the sea are also not to be missed! Dinner will again be served at the pension.

Day 13 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast we head back to the mainland today and will then be taking the super-fast Shinkansen bullet train back to Kyoto for an afternoon arrival. This is the final day of the tour so we hope that you might join with your Tour Leader for a farewell meal in the evening. A chance for one last taste of Japan before heading home.

Day 14 Depart

Meals: Breakfast

Sadly the tour is over and we all have to say our farewells and go our separate ways. Your Leader will be supplying you with a reserved seat train ticket to make sure you’re in good time for your flight home.

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Photos


Sakurajima - a very active volcano!

Kyushu is famous for it's onsen - natural hot spring baths

A torii gate on Yakushima

Walking through some of Japan's oldest living trees in Yakushima

A Kyushu sunset

Pricing Information

2014
Tour Price: £2500
Single Supplement: £300
Extra Nights  
Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp £50     Single pp £60 
Post-Tour: Twin Share pp £50    Single pp £60
2015
Tour Price: £2500
Single Supplement: £300
Extra Nights  
Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp £50     Single pp £60 
Post-Tour: Twin Share pp £100    Single pp £60
 

Accommodation


Hotel Sunroute Kyoto

Kyoto

Moderate Hotel

The Sunroute in Kyoto is a welcoming western style hotel in a great spot just a short walk from the Gion geisha district and the Minamiza theatre. Rooms are compact but have everything you need and the hotel has a particularly good buffet breakfast. There is a nice cafe downstairs and free internet is available throughout the hotel.

APA Hotel Nagasaki Eki-Minami

Nagasaki

Moderate Hotel

The APA Hotel Nagasaki Eki-Minami is a smart and comfortable business hotel conveniently located near the harbour and a short walk to the bars and restaurants of Dejima Promenade and Wharf. A seven minute walk from Nagasaki station and a great base for sightseeing rooms are Western-style and are equipped with the basic amenities.

Unzen Fukiya Ryokan

Unzen

Ryokan (JP)

In Unzen you will stay at the Fukiya Ryokan, deep within the ‘Jikoku’ ('hells') of the area and with views facing out over the sulphurous valley. This Japanese style hotel has a fine selection of natural hot spring baths to enjoy, including open-air rock baths, sauna and baths which can be reserved for private use. All rooms are Japanese style, with tatami mat floor, seating area and en-suite facilities. Evening meals are cooked using fresh, locally grown ingredients, prepared at the hotel daily and served in the Japanese-style hotel restaurant.

Mitsui Garden Hotel Kumamoto

Kumamoto

Moderate Hotel

The modern Mitsui Garden Hotel has a great location in the centre of Kumamoto. Rooms are modern and en-suite and the hotel has a very spacious lobby area. The buffet breakfast is a real treat here (fill up for lunch too!) and the hotel also has a handy coin laundry.

Aso Minshuku Miyaji

Mt Aso

Minshuku (JP)

The Minshuku Miyaji is a friendly, family run inn located a short walk from Miyaji station near Mt. Aso. You'll be treated to some great home-cooked food here and this is a great base for exploring this scenic area.

Richmond Hotel Kinseicho Kagoshima

Kagoshima

Business Hotel

Located in the heart of downtown Kagoshima and a short tram ride from Kagoshima Chuo Station, this is a great business hotel with small, but comfortable en-suite Western-style rooms. A good hotel from which to explore not only the city, but also Sakurajima one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and Kirishima National Park both of which are easily accessible by public transport. Ineya, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant, is located on the ground floor.

Yakushima Ryoso Miyama

Yakushima

Ryokan (JP)

The Ryoso Miyama is a friendly newly built Japanese style inn located in the small port town of Miyanoura on Yakushima island. The inn features home-cooked meals and is a great base for exploring the island. All of the 8 rooms are Japanese style and although they are not en-suite, the traditional style bath can usually be used privately.

Tour Dates
Tour Starts Tour Disbands Price Status
2014
06 Nov 2014 19 Nov 2014 £2500 SOLD OUT
2015
12 Nov 2015 25 Nov 2015 £2500 NOW BOOKING
2016
Currently there are no departures available for this year. Please contact us using the enquiry form or call us - UK (0)117 370 9740 / USA 303 952 0379 / AUS 028 011 3229

What’s Included:
  • 13 nights accommodation
  • All transport between destinations in Japan including airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Meet and Greet on arrival at Osaka Kansai Airport
  • Breakfast everyday
  • 6 evening meals
  • Dejima Island and Glover Gardens in Nagasaki
  • Kumamoto Castle
  • Mt. Aso cable car
  • Local Guide in Yakushima
  • Private Bus in Mt Aso and Yakushima
  • Luggage forwarding on two occasions
  • Full time services of your Tour Leader
  • InsideJapan Tours' complimentary Info-Pack
What’s NOT Included:
  • International Flights
  • Local transport (buses, subways, taxis) unless otherwise specified
  • Entrance fees unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage handling - you will be expected to carry your own bags for the duration of the trip

Important Practical Information

Max Group Size: 14

Single Supplement: This tour has a single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour.

Transport: Please note that all transfers are by public transport making use of Japan's first-rate transport network. All the hotels and ryokan have been chosen for their location close to the nearest station. However, you will have to carry your bags for short distances and some stations do not have escalators. We highly recommend that to make your stay more enjoyable you pack reasonably light. Large suitcases will be an inconvenience to you. A small case or bag with wheels or a rucksack are most appropriate for this tour. Laundry facilities are available in Kyoto (start and finish) and in Kagoshima.

Accommodation: The accommodation in Kyoto (start and finish), Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima is equipped with full en-suite facilities (attached bath, shower and toilet). The accommodation in Unzen, Aso and Yakushima has shared bathing and toilet facilities (single sex) some of which are available for private use.

International Flights: This tour starts and finishes in Kyoto for arrivals and departures at Osaka Kansai Airport.

Meet and Greet: Please note that the included meet-and-greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available up to 2 days in advance of the tour and if you are staying extra nights pre-tour it is only available if those nights are booked through InsideJapan Tours.

Check-in:
Please note that rooms at the Kyoto hotel are only available from 2pm. (You can however securely leave your luggage at the front desk at any time).

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Inside Japan Tours - Independent British Travel Awards 2011 - Best Tour Operator To East and Central Asia
The Guardian, The Observer - Travel Awards 2010 Winner - Best tour operator (small)
Inside Japan Tours - Silver at the British Travel Awards 2009