Experience a different side to Japan on its southern islands
One of Japan’s greatest attractions is its ability to offer up both the modern and traditional versions of itself. Alongside future-focused cities like Osaka and Nagasaki, there are places that have kept to its traditions for hundreds of years, often to stunning effect. Set off on a journey of discovery into the Japan that lies south west of Osaka, a ‘lost Japan’. Travel also to Takamatsu and Naoshima Islands and be amazed at the contrast between the traditional beauty of the Ritsurin garden and the local avant-garde art exhibits.
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Explore the unique island of Naoshima, transformed from a sleepy fisherman’s haunt to a world class art destination, with sleek and stylish museums and artworks that sit in harmony with the landscape
Join the locals in the 1,368 stone steps up to Kompirasan, be awed by the impressive Matsuyama castle or try one of the oldest onsen in Japan, Dogo Onsen
Feel like Indiana Jones as you cross the kazurabashi (vine bridges) of the hidden Iya Valley, a remote retreat of deep gorges and lush mountains on Shikoku island
Uncover the different characters of the cities of Nagasaki and Osaka, from the former’s thought-provoking Peace Park and Museum to the latter’s busy streets where the motto is ‘eat until you drop’
Venture into the thick and mysterious cedar forests on Yakushima, relax at the seaside onsen or see the giant turtle lay eggs in the night in the summer months
You will easily surpass your 10,000 steps a day on this trip, in fact most travellers are surprised at how much distance they end up covering just exploring places on foot! Make sure your shoes are comfy and you are fit enough to spend most of each day on your feet.
In some destinations you may be staying in a ryokan, which is a Japanese-style inn. It’s a great taste of tradition, however not everyone finds futon matresses on the tatami mat floor, tiny bathrooms and proximity to other guests as comfortable as more western-style hotels and beds. Read more about ryokans in our Accommodation section of the Essential Trip Information.
Be prepared to pack light and smart for this trip as you'll be required to carry your own luggage between train stations and to hotels, which can include going up and down multiple flights of stairs in crowded areas.
As there is not much time included here as part of your trip, we strongly advise you to plan some extra time in Osaka if you wish to see more of the city.
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Southern Japan Experience trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
1. A 14 day Japan Rail Pass is included in the price of your trip. For those wishing to stay and travel longer in Japan, an Japan Rail Pass Extension (total 21 days) is available.
2. A Single Supplement is currently not available for this trip due to limited rooms at many of our properties.
3. Due to the rapid increase in tourism in Japan and in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it has been necessary to go outside our traditional tour leader sources. As a result our passionate, professional and trained tour leaders may be local Japanese or long term foreign residents in Japan.