November 5 - 16, 2014 (12 days and 10 nights)
** Guaranteed Departure **
$ 100 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
(deposit must be made by 03/31/2014)
Fukuoka/Hakata, Hakata Machiya Furusato-kan, Fukuoka Tower, Hakata Traditional Craft & Design Museum, Karatsu, Niji-no-Matsubara, Imari Okawachiyama, Sasebo, Kujukushima, Nagasaki, Glover Garden, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Nagasaki Heiwa-koen, Shimabara, Kumamoto, Suizen-ji-koen, Kagoshima, Iso-tein, Ibusuki, Chiran, Tokko Heiwa Kaikan, Nichinan Kaigan Coast, Miyazaki, Takachiho, Mount Aso, Takasakiyama Monkey Park, Beppu, Yufuin Mingei Mura, Dazaifu Tenman-gu, Dazaifu Kyushu National Museum, Fukuoka/Hakata, Optional Okinawa Extension (4 nights)
$ 695 per person
(Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
Wednesday, November 5 (Day 01)
HONOLULU TO FUKUOKA, KYUSHU ISLAND
Our tour to Japan commences this morning when we assemble at the airport for baggage check-in procedures. We will depart Honolulu on a direct flight to Fukuoka on Kyushu, the third-largest and southernmost island of Japan. A meal will be served on board the flight.
Thursday, November 6 (Day 02)
We'll arrive Fukuoka International Airport in the early evening, then transfer to our hotel in downtown Fukuoka/Hakata, the capital city of Fukuoka prefecture, checking in for two nights. Fukuoka/Hakata is the product of two cities united into one - the former castle town of Fukuoka and the port city of Hakata.
Accommodations at ROYAL PARK THE FUKUOKA or similar
Friday, November 7 (Day 03)
We'll embark on a full day of sightseeing in the city. We'll visit the Hakata Machiya Furusato-kan, a folk museum highlighting the lifestyle of early-20th-century Hakata artisans and the art of traditional doll making. Located nearby is the Kushida-jinja, an important Shinto shrine that hosts the annual Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival held during the summer. An enormous mikoshi (float) that is used for the festival is featured at the shrine. The Momochi Seaside Park is Fukuoka's modern waterfront area with tree lined streets, futuristic buildings, and public parks. The area's main attractions are centered around Fukuoka Tower - the tallest seaside tower in Japan. From the observation deck of the tower, enjoy a panoramic view of the city, Hakata Bay, and the surrounding area. We'll stroll through Tenjin - an underground shopping mall featuring department stores and fashion shops offering a wide range of items from clothing, accessories, and other merchandise. Hakata is best-known for its elegant Hakata Ori (woven textile) and Hakata Ningyo (clay dolls). These elegant dolls are delicately painted with lifelike features, generally representing children, women, samurai warriors, geishas, or kabuki actors. We will visit the Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum, featuring exhibits focusing on the history and manufacturing methods of traditional arts and crafts items of Fukuoka, including Hakata Ningyo. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at a local restaurant.
Accommodations at ROYAL PARK THE FUKUOKA or similar
Saturday, November 8 (Day 04)
FUKUOKA * KARATSU * IMARI * SASEBO (B)(D)
We'll travel west to enjoy a scenic view of Karatsu Bay and the two-mile long Niji-no-Matsubara, a grove of black pine trees extending along a sandy beach. The forest was originally planted by the feudal Lord Terasawa as a counter-measure against the strong wind and tide in Karatsu Bay. Today, this scene is noted as one of the most picturesque landscapes in Japan. The pottery towns of Arita and Imari in Saga prefecture has been a major manufacturing source of ceramics for centuries with Imari-yaki and Arita-yaki as the most famous and distinctive. Korean potters were brought to Imari and Arita to produce porcelain mainly for the Nabeshima domain. Enjoy a stroll through Imari Okawachiyama (The Village of Secret Kilns) - a small artisans' village in the city of Imari that has been producing unique pottery for centuries and kept its methods a secret - hence the name 'Village of Secret Kilns'. We'll continue on to overnight at a beautiful hotel in Sasebo, the gateway to Saikai National Park in Nagasaki Prefecture. Dinner will be provided for you this evening.
Accommodations at YUMIHARI no OKA HOTEL or similar
Sunday, November 9 (Day 05)
SASEBO * NAGASAKI (B)(D)
This morning, we'll board a sightseeing boat from Kashimae Pier to enjoy a relaxing and scenic cruise around Kujukushima (99 pine-studded islets) in the inland sea. Enjoy some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in Japan as you cruise through the islands. We'll continue our drive on the Saikai Bridge to spend the night in Nagasaki, the capital and largest city of Nagasaki prefecture. We'll visit Glover Garden - the former residence of Thomas Blake Glover, a prominent Scottish merchant who contributed to the modernization of Japan. The mansion and other 19th century buildings are preserved on this spacious hillside garden with a breathtaking view overlooking Nagasaki Harbor. The story for Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly" was allegedly set here and the main character was rumored to be based on Tsuru, Glover's Japanese wife. Nagasaki became the second city to experience a nuclear attack on August 9, 1945. An interesting visit of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum features displays, photos, relics and documents related to the bombing of the city. We'll also visit the Nagasaki International Peace Memorial Hall, built in memory of those who perished in the atomic bombing. The Nagasaki Heiwa-koen (Peace Park) was established near the hypocenter of the explosion and remnants of a concrete wall of Urakami Cathedral is still visible. At the park's north end stands a 10-meter-tall Peace Statue and the south end features a Fountain of Peace. Surrounding the park are unique monuments donated from various countries from around the world. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.
Accommodations at NEW NAGASAKI HOTEL or similar
Monday, November 10 (Day 06)
NAGASAKI * SHIMABARA * KUMAMOTO (B)
We'll continue our journey to the Shimabara Peninsula with a view of Mount Unzen, an active volcano that has had several major eruptions. The volcano's most recent eruption occurred in 1990, sending clouds of volcanic gas and ash down toward the town below and buried some houses. At the Mizunashi-Honjin Fukae Michi no Eki (Avalanche Stricken Homes Preservation Roadside Park), you will see some after-effects of the devastation caused by the 1990 eruption. We'll continue on to Shimabara Pier and board a ferry, crossing the Ariake Sea to spend the night in Kumamoto, the capital city of Kumamoto prefecture. Its most famous landmark is Kumamoto-jo, a large and well fortified hill-top Japanese castle - considered one of the three premier castles in Japan. Architect Kato Kiyomasa designed and built this castle with ingenious engineering and its size and numerous interesting exhibits make it visit-worthy. The city is also home to Suizen-ji-koen, a beautiful Japanese style landscape garden designed with an impression of views seen when traveling along the Tokaido - the old highway between Kyoto and Edo (present-day Tokyo). You'll have a magnificent feeling of nature with its small ponds and lakes as you stroll through the park. The main feature at the east end of the park is Horaitsukiyama, a beautiful representation of a miniature Mt. Fuji. Dinner will be on your own this evening to try some of the local specialties of this prefecture at one of the restaurants located near our hotel.
Accommodations at KUMAMOTO NIKKO HOTEL or similar
Tuesday, November 11 (Day 07)
KUMAMOTO * SAKURAJIMA * KAGOSHIMA * IBUSUKI (B)(D)
We'll travel south to Kagoshima, the southernmost major city in Kyushu. Dominating the skyline from Kagoshima is the brooding cone of Sakurajima - an active volcano with its summit split into three peaks, one of which is still active. The most violent eruption occurred when the volcano poured out tons of lava, overwhelming villages and completely filled the narrow strait that separated the volcano from the mainland - thus converting Sakurajima from an island to a peninsula. The Shimazu clan not only dominated Kagoshima's history but also left the city with its principal attraction - Iso-tein - a beautiful Japanese-style garden with one of the most impressive pieces of borrowed scenery - Kagoshima Bay and the fuming peak of Sakurajima as a background. Enjoy a leisure stroll through this beautifully landscaped garden featuring small ponds, streams, and a bamboo grove. The local delicacy of Kagoshima is satsuma-age, a delicious deep-fried fishcake made with fresh minced fish and mixed with a variety of vegetables and seafood. Time permitting, we'll visit Tsukiage-An, a famous traditional satsuma-age shop in Kagoshima. We'll continue on to the southernmost tip of the Satsuma Peninsula to spend the night in Ibusuki, a coastal town best known for its sunamushi onsens (steaming black sand baths). As an option, you may want to experience being covered with warm black volcanic sand. The weight and heat of the sand feels so good and after rinsing off, you will feel relaxed and energized. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs at our onsen resort this evening.
Accommodations at IBUSUKI IWASAKI HOTEL or similar
Wednesday, November 12 (Day 08)
IBUSUKI * CHIRAN * MIYAZAKI (B)(D)
This morning, we'll travel to the little town of Chiran, noted for its fine collection of preserved samurai houses and gardens. Enjoy a stroll through 'samurai street', to visit a few old samurai residences and beautiful landscaped gardens. The Tokko Heiwa Kaikan (Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots) features an extensive collection of correspondence, photographs, relics, and mementoes belonging to the members of the Special Air Force Attack Group - known as the Kamikaze Pilots. Subject to availability, a presentation by a local guide will share photos and letters from some of the members to present a positive image of these pilots as they willingly gave their lives for their country and their families to establish peace and prosperity for Japan. We'll continue on to the scenic Nichinan Kaigan Coast, located in the southern area of Miyazaki prefecture. Enjoy the view of eroded rock formations known as Oni-no-Sentakuita (devil's washboard) on Ao-shima Island, located in the northernmost area of the Nishinan-Kaigan Quasi-National Park. We'll spend the night in Miyazaki, capital city of Miyazaki prefecture. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.
Accommodations at MIYAZAKI KANKO HOTEL or similar
Thursday, November 13 (Day 09)
MIYAZAKI * NOBEOKA * TAKACHIHO * MOUNT ASO (B)(L)(D)
Located in the northwestern region of Miyazaki prefecture in the center of the Kyushu Mountains is the town of Takachiho. This little village is a remote mountain resort and considered one of the most sacred places in Japan - known for its myths, legends and traditional sacred music and dancing. Its major attraction is Takachiho-kyo, a scenic v-shaped ravine created by the Gokase River featuring breathtaking waterfalls, overhanging rocks, and sheer walls - formed through the erosion of the Aso lava plateau. Weather permitting, the colored leaves along the gorge should be at its peak providing a picturesque sight. We'll spend the night at a unique hot spring resort in the vicinity of Mount Aso and Aso National Park. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs this evening.
Accommodations at ASO FARM VILLAGE or similar
Friday, November 14 (Day 10)
MIYAZAKI * MT. TAKASAKI * BEPPU (B)(D)
We'll continue on to Takasakiyama (Mount Takasaki), a forested mountain located just outside of Beppu city in Oita prefecture. We'll visit the Takasakiyama Monkey Park located on the base of Mount Takasaki and home to thousands of wild Japanese macaques (monkeys). The monkeys are fed regularly by park wardens in order to keep them on the mountain and prevent conflicts with farmers and residents in the neighborhood. As they wander down from the mountain to interact in the communal gathering area, we'll enjoy a rare opportunity to observe these wild monkeys in their natural habitat as they move about freely. We'll continue on to spend the night in Beppu, one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts that produces more hot spring water than any other resort in the country. Beppu is noted for two types of hot springs: jigoku or hells - hot springs for looking at and onsen - hot springs for bathing in. The city is divided into eight major hot spring areas known as Beppu Hatto and contains nine major geothermal hot spots referred to as the 'Nine Hells of Beppu'. We'll visit one of these 'hells' to observe a natural hot spring as the water bubbles forth from underground in various colors, sizes, and shapes. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs at our beautiful onsen hotel this evening.
Accommodations at BEPPU SUGINOI HOTEL MAIN TOWER or similar
Saturday, November 15 (Day 11)
BEPPU * YUFUIN * DAZAIFU * FUKUOKA/HAKATA (B)
This morning, we'll travel west to Yufuin, a countrified hot-spring town located on a flat river basin surrounded by mountains in Oita prefecture. Enjoy a visit to the Yufuin Mingei Mura (Folk Craft Village) where various artisans demonstrate the art of making lathe-turned toys, blown glass, pottery ware, tie-dyeing, and other crafts. We'll continue on to the cultural city of Dazaifu, visiting the Dazaifu Tenman-gu, an important shrine dedicated to the spirit of Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar and politician of the Heian period. His rise to power during his political career resulted in a rivalry with the Fujiwara clan and he was later exiled to Dazaifu. Michizane passed away in Dazaifu and the main shrine was built on his grave site. We'll continue on to spend the last night in the twin cities of Fukuoka/Hakata. Dinner will be on your own this evening to try some of the local specialties of this prefecture.
Accommodations at ROYAL PARK THE FUKUOKA HOTEL or similar
Sunday, November 16 (Day 12)
FUKUOKA/HAKATA TO HONOLULU (B)
This afternoon we'll transfer to the Fukuoka Airport to check-in for our direct flight home to Honolulu, arriving in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line. A meal will be served on board the flight.
The tour price is based on double occupancy and a minimum group size of 20 passengers. Fare adjustment may apply for groups of 20 or under. The rate is based on tariffs and exchange rates effective 1/15/14. Tour fare is subject to change according to any airfare increase, additional government taxes, additional fuel surcharges and fluctuation of the rate of exchange between U.S. and foreign currency. In the event of revaluation, the land portion of the tour price may be adjusted prior to your final statement.
Land portion based on 100 Yen = $1.00 U.S
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