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.
Explore the unique island of Naoshima, transformed from a sleepy fishing community into a world class art destination, with sleek and stylish museums and artworks that sit in harmony with the landscape
Join locals hiking along trails to hidden temples, being awed at some of the country's impressive castles or in one of Japan's oldest hot spring baths - 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 giant turtles 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.
Our Southern Japan Experience trips score an average of 4.25 out of 5 based on 4 reviews in the last year.
The Southern Japan Experience was a truly great trip. We did alot of walking (much more that 10,000 steps per day). I am glad I did this trip as I would probably not have ventured to these places on my own - I would have stuck to the traditional tourist cities. Jack, our guide did a great job with our diverse group. We stumbled on a Kabuki show and watched Udon being made fresh. We visited Naoshima (Art Island) which blew my mind - I wish I could have stayed longer! Thanks.
Review submitted 26 Apr 2018
Intrepid it’s the best way to discover deeply people, cities and country’s, supported all the time by a friendly leader group, and also with enough time to go by own
Review submitted 21 Apr 2018