14 DAYS ●
Uncover the beauty of the lesser-known island of Kyushu, renowned for its active volcanoes, hot springs and stunning beaches, before exploring the must-see sights of Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo on the largest island of Honshu.
Uncover the beauty of the lesser-known island of Kyushu
Visit Iwakuni and see the Kintaikyo Bridge
Explore this quintessential Japanese city known as the 'thousand-year capital'
Witness the fusion of past and present on a city tour of Japan's capital
Our Japan & the Scenic South itinerary has been intricately designed for those who wish to see iconic sites and magnificent treasures. You'll travel with the assurance that all your arrangements are taken care of, with international flights, accommodation and all the touring listed below. You will be accompanied by our industry-leading National Escorts whose unparalleled knowledge and talent will turn your tour into an unforgettable experience.
Fly to the charming city of Fukuoka, the gateway to the island of Kyushu. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
The lovely Fukuoka is at the heart of an area considered a cradle of culture – the city’s position facing Korea and China across the sea means it’s long been a channel of outside influence. This morning take a stroll to the traditional Rakusuien Garden and visit the famous Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, dedicated to the god of academic achievement. Later, take a relaxed cruise on the Yanagawa River, passing through a National Site of Scenic Beauty on a small ‘donkobune’.
Transfer to Kumamoto, a city famous for its majestic castle, one of Japan’s largest and most complete. You’ll see the castle as part of your full day city tour, as well as Suizenji Garden. A traditional-style garden built in the 17th century, the garden recreates in miniature the important road that linked Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto, including a mini Mount Fuji.
Travel from Kumamoto to Mount Aso, an active volcano at the centre of Kyushu island. Aso’s crater is one of the world’s largest; with a circumference of over 100km it encompasses a number of other active peaks, which you’ll be able to see (weather dependent). Continue to Beppu, one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts – your hotel for the night has onsen facilities for you to make the most of the steamy waters.
Venture out into Beppu, starting the day with a jigoku meguri, a hell tour! Here you’ll find all sorts of volcanic features, including thermal mud and hot springs that have bubbled from the ground here for a millennium. Pop over to Yufuin, another hot spring resort that is home to a wealth of art museums, cafes and boutiques and is a delight to explore. This afternoon transfer back to Fukuoka.
Depart Fukuoka for Hiroshima. Stop en route to explore the city of Yamaguchi, spending some time at Rurikoji, a Buddhist temple that boasts a spectacular national treasure – a five-storey pagoda built in 1442. Continue to Iwakuni for a lunch stop and then to the Kintaikyo Bridge, an elegant wooden bridge that crosses the Nishiki River. Arrive in Hiroshima.
Hiroshima is a vibrant, forward-thinking city that is a pleasure to explore. Take a ferry across the Seto Inland Sea to the holy island of Miyajima and visit the Itsukushima Shrine before enjoying some time at leisure. Back in the city, reflect on Hiroshima’s tragic past at the Peace Memorial Park and Museum paying homage to the victims of the 1945 atomic bomb.
Depart Hiroshima for Kyoto, stopping in Himeji en route to visit the magnificent Himeji Castle, one of Japan’s most impressive feudal era forts, and stroll through Kokoen, an Edo-style garden just across the castle moat. Drop in on a sake brewery to learn about the process of this traditional Japanese spirit and enjoy some tasters, before arriving in Kyoto.
Capital for 1,000 years, until 1879, today Kyoto is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens. Start the day with a visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, remarkable for its 10,000 vermillion torii gate-lined pathways and impressive Nijo Castle. This afternoon gaze on the famous Kinkakuji, also known as the ‘Golden Pavilion’ before a stroll around the Gion district, Kyoto’s famous geisha district and centre of the city’s traditional arts.
Transfer to Kyoto station, board a bullet train to Atami and transfer to Hakone by road. Discover the mountainous beauty and rich culture of the Hakone area, before travelling to Lake Ashi for a cruise that will allow you to take in the spectacular panoramas of the area, including the iconic, snow-capped silhouette of Mount Fuji (weather permitting). Next, fly high over the thick forest on the Hakone Ropeway, passing the volcanic Owakudani Valley with its hot springs and steam vents. Later, continue to Tokyo, Japan’s capital city.
As modern as Tokyo may appear, behind the neon façade is a traditional soul that is easy to find amongst the old alleyways, temples and shrines of the Edo era. Experience both sides of the city, ascending the soaring Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower, for panoramic views, and wandering through the old district of Asakusa. Stop at Sensoji, Tokyo’s most beloved temple. You will also drive by the Imperial Palace Plaza, soak up the atmosphere at the peaceful Meiji Jingu Shrine and see the world’s most famous road crossing at Shibuya.
This morning is free at leisure before transferring to the airport for your return flight home, arriving the following day.
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. Our tour prices are from prices based on per person, twin share and are subject to the availability of specific economy class fare levels. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal.
New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to travel to Japan. Other passport holders should arrange visas well in advance of departure, if required. Please note that a visa will be required for the China section of our Ancient Empires of China & Japan tour.
While travelling overseas, the Wendy Wu Tours contact number during business hours is +64 9 975 8117. Emergency Assistance (24-hours) is 0044 1888 288 288. You will find mobile phone coverage to be quite high throughout Asia. We recommend contacting your mobile carrier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated call and data costs before you leave New Zealand. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi, which usually comes at a cost.
Tipping is not part of the culture in Japan and therefore is not required during our tours in Japan, but if you would like to show your appreciation, you can do so in local currency. Note that tipping is customary in South Korea and China and for the tours that include those countries, a customary tipping amount is indicated.
Shopping is a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure. In keeping with most people’s interests while on holiday, your tour includes a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs. Included are visits to establishments that provide locally produced goods, unique to your destination. Witness the creation of these products, and see first-hand how their production supports the local economy. As most travellers like to take home souvenirs, we ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity.
We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or too unusual. Breakfast at your hotel includes local and western dishes. In remote areas, we suggest embracing local specialities. Bento boxes are a common lunch option. A traditional bento contains rice, seafood or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables. Drinks such as beer, soft drinks or bottled water are at your own expense locally.
At Wendy Wu Tours we are all avid adventurers, constantly seeking out the best ways for you to experience Asia. That's why we are Asia experts and New Zealand's leading Asia tour operator - our customer reviews and numerous awards say it all. This website is all about showcasing both Asia's top sights and its magnificent hidden gems; about the plethora of different types of authentic and exciting experiences that we can offer you; and about giving you the very best holiday, whether it's your first visit or your 10th.
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