Kyoto – Fukuoka – Nagasaki – Hiroshima (6 Days/5 Nights)
Kyushu is one of Japan’s four main islands and by far its most under utilized by foreign tourists. Due to its geographical location, it has long been the gateway to foreign civilizations and culture for well over a thousand years.
On this 6 Day/5 Night journey, you will visit Fukuoka, the largest city in Kyushu. Nagasaki, the only port city permitted to trade with foreigners during the Edo era. And Hiroshima, although officially located in western Honshu, sadly shareing the same destiny as Nagasaki toward the end of WWII.
With your local Tour Manager as your expert guide, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the labyrinth of local life, history, and unique foods which are synonymous with this largely undiscovered region.
Min 2 / Max 6
Welcome to the ancient capital of KYOTO!
Our adventure begins with the all important “Welcome Meeting”, conveniently held at your Kyoto hotel from 5pm (JST). Here you will meet your Tour Manager and fellow travellers, followed by a walking tour around the beautifully historic area of Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, and learn about the history of geisha culture as you explore old wooden teahouses and exclusive restaurants. You may spot Geikos (geishas), or Maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dress and make up on their way to their various appointments.
Our first day in Kyoto will end with a superb “Kaiseki” dinner, a highly elaborate and beautifully presented “course-style” meal of seasonal dishes prepared with local ingredients. This special style of cuisine grew out of 16th-century Buddhist tea ceremonies before being introduced to the Emperor’s court right here in Kyoto. The presentation of each dish is truly spectacular, offering a very unique Kyoto experience.
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting important insurance details, proof of Covid-19 vaccination, and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent, hotel reception or your “Two Streets Back” Japan representative know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
After a nourishing breakfast your Tour Manager will ensure your suitcases have been forwarded before we visit the stunning World Heritage listed Nanzenji Temple.
Although this spectacular temple often escapes the attention of many foreign visitors, it is ranked number one among all Zen temples in Japan. With it’s impressive “samon” gate, European style brick aqueduct, and exsquisite zen garden, it truly deserves the respect and place reserved in every Japanese person’s heart. As a bonus, today’s “Yudofu” vegetarian lunch was originally created by Buddhist monks from this very special temple.
After our historic lunch, let’s all unwind onboard the famous “Shinkansen” bullet train for our 3 hour journey to Fukuoka, Kyushu’s largest city and a vibrant multi-cultural hub.
As dusk falls, over 100 food stalls, (called “Yatai”), donned with colourful drapes open for business around the city. Many offer the famous “Tonkotsu” ramen, but you can also enjoy plenty of original offerings too, from oden winter soup to gyoza dumplings, yakitori grilled chicken skewers and delicious tempura. Your knowledgeable Tour Manager will be with you all the way to offer suggestions and advice on how to order and make the most of this very Fukuoka experience.
There’s little doubt that you will become a Fukuoka fan after dining with warm hearted Hakata locals at their beloved “yatai”.
After a delicious breakfast our first stop is the ancient town of Dazaifu.
Established in the late 7th century, this beautifully preserved town served as the administrative centre for the entire island of Kyushu for over 500 years, and was widely known as the “Western Capital” of ancient Japan. Dazaifu’s Tenmangu Shrine was established in 919AD to commemorate the famous Kyoto scholar, Sugawarano Michizane, exiled to Dazaifu in 900AD cementing its place as one of the most famous shrines in Japan.
After a visit to this all important shrine, we’ll take some time to explore the nearby shops and restaurants lining the approach to the shrine.
After a relaxing lunch we will embark on a 2 hour train journey to our next destination of Nagasaki.
Though its name has strong connotations of bombs and war – and the military history sites are important places to visit – Nagasaki is a delight to explore, with its hills and harbour, shrines and temples, churches and other remnants from its long involvement with Asian and European traders.
After our arrival we will first visit the Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum which marks the events of that tragic day in August 1945, three days after Hiroshima suffered the same fate.
This evening, your Tour Manager will accompany you via the ropeway gondola to the summit of Mt. Inasa. From here you will enjoy a spectacular night view of Nagasaki. This view is widely recognized as one of the three “Top Night Views in The World” along with Hong Kong & Monaco.
Our special dinner tonight will be Nagasaki’s signature “Shippoku” cuisine, a banquet style meal of Japanese, Chinese and European fusion to reflect the city’s long history of being at the crossroads of Japan’s East & West culture.
Our second day in Nagasaki starts with a walk to the city’s historical centre, visiting two of its most important World Heritage sites, the Oura Church and the old Glover House, said to be the inspiration for Puccini’s much loved opera “Madame Butterfly”.
This area, more than any other, reflects Nagasaki’s unique place in Japanese history as the only port permitted to trade with the rest of the world for more than 250 years, ending only in the middle of the 19th century.
After lunching on some delicious street food in one of Japan’s most famous Chinatowns, we will take the 50 minute boat trip to another world heritage listed site, the uniquely fascinating Hashima Island.
Until 1974, the island served as a coal mine, and more than 5000 residents called the 480 meter long, 150 meter wide island home, resulting in the highest recorded population density in the world. To accommodate so many people in such a small area, every piece of land was built up so that the island came to resemble a massive battleship. In fact, “Gunkanjima” is a nickname that means “Battleship Island” in Japanese.
By 1974 the mines under the island had dried up and it ended it’s operations. Residents began departing in haste to seek new jobs. Within a few months, the island was completely deserted.
However, abandoned does not mean empty, as the ghosts of the past take over the island and its remaining buildings. You may also recognise this spot as the deserted island of James Bond’s adversary Silva in the movie SkyFall.
This is another testimony to Nagasaki’s important history, a showcase of Japan’s industrial revolution during the 19th and 20th centuries. We’ll surely have much to discuss over tonight’s meal at one of Nagasakis best local Izakayas.
After a filling breakfast, we will be taking the 3.5 hour journey by local express train and Shinkansen to another port city, Hiroshima.
You may like to join the local travellers and enjoy a traditional Japanese “Bento” lunch box during the train journey. On arrival, we will be heading straight to Miyajima Island by ferry.
Miyajima is thought to be the island where Gods live. Today its equally famous for it’s beautiful shrine and world famous red ‘floating’ torii gate. After visiting these two must-see sites, you may like to further explore the island by climbing to the top of Mt Miyajima (or hopping on the cable car instead) for a 360-degree view of the Inland Sea. Keep your eyes out for inquisitive and hungry deer that freely roam the streets looking for tasty treats from surprised visitors.
No visit to Hiroshima would be complete without sampling the local delicacy, so this evening your Tour Manager will be only too happy to escort you to one of our favourite local restaurants to savour Hiroshima’s signature dish “Okonomiyaki”.
There are no activities planned for today, so you’re free to depart the hotel at your leisure. Check out time is 10am, however if you’re departing later, we are happy to arrange luggage storage for you at the hotel. Your Tour Manager will be delighted to help plan your post-tour itinerary or advise you on your onward journey.
Please Note – a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Park & Museum is not included in this tour. However, if you haven’t visited the museum in the past, you may like to add this important site to your post-tour itinerary while in Hiroshima. Your Tour Manager will be happy to point you in the right direction.
SAYONARA! ……. and safe travels. Thank you for choosing to spend some of your vacation time with us, we truly hope you enjoy the remainder of your time in Japan, and look forward to welcoming you again when next you visit our country.