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2023 SPRING CIRCLE KYUSHU

featuring Huis Ten Bosch ‘Kingdom of Lights’

March 16 - 28, 2023 (13 days & 11 nights) 

Haneda, Fukuoka/Hakata, Dazaifu Tenman-gu, Hakata Machiya Furusato-mura, Kushida-jinja, Karatsu, Niji-no-Matsubara, Imari Okawachiyama, Mifuneyama Rakuen, Kujukushima, Sasebo, Huis Ten Bosch, Kingdom of Lights Festival, Nagasaki, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Nagasaki International Peace Memorial Hall Nagasaki Heiwa-Koen, Nagasaki Castella Land, Shimabara, Kumamoto, Suizen-ji-koen, Kagoshima, Senga-en, Shoko Shuseikan Museum, Chiran, Tokko Heiwa Kaikan, Chiran Samurai District, TOTO Museum, Beppu, Beppu Hatto, Beppu Park, Yufuin Mingei Mura, Fukuoka, Haneda  

$100 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
(deposit of $100 per person received by 9/1/2022 )

 

LAND TOUR COST: 
$ 3,650 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
$ 725 per person
 
(Group airfare to be advised when available) (Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
 
Thursday, March 16 (Day 01) 

HONOLULU TO HANEDA

Our tour to Japan commences this morning when we assemble at the check-in lobby at the airport for baggage check-in procedures for our flight to Haneda International  Airport. A meal and a snack will be served on board the flight.  

 

Friday, March 17 (Day 02) 

ARRIVE HANEDA TO FUKUOKA

We’ll arrive Haneda Airport in the afternoon and after completing entry and customs formalities, we’ll transfer with our luggage to the domestic ticket lobby to check-in for our flight to Fukuoka International Airport in Kyushu, the third-largest and southernmost island of Japan. We’ll transfer to our hotel to check-in for two nights in downtown Fukuoka, the largest city in Kyushu and capital of Fukuoka prefecture.  

Accommodations at MIYAKO HOTEL HAKATA or similar

 

Saturday, March 18 (Day 03) 

FUKUOKA/HAKATA (B)(D)

Enjoy a full day of sightseeing as we travel to Kitakyushu to discover the interesting world of toilets at the Toto Museum, Japan’s premier manufacturer of toilets and washroom products. The museum provides us with the history of Toto, its products,  and its production from the past to the present. One of the highlights is to view the super-modern architectural design of the building, featuring rounded and rimmed curves with a glowing white finish. We’ll continue on to the cultural city of Dazaifu,  visiting Dazaifu Tenman-gu, an important shrine dedicated to 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 Dai zaifu. Michizane passed away in Dazaifu and the main shrine was built on his gravesite. Set on a hill above Dazaifu, we’ll visit the Kyushu Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan  (Kyushu National Museum), the fourth national museum in the country. The museum hosts a permanent exhibition of historical artifacts and national treasures dedicated to the history of Kyushu. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel. 

Accommodations at MIYAKO HOTEL HAKATA or similar

 

Sunday, March 19 (Day 04) 

FUKUOKA *KARATSU * IMARI * SASEBO (B)(D)

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 to produce porcelain mainly for the Nabeshima domain. Enjoy a stroll through Imari Okawachiyama  (The Village of Secret Kilns) - a small artisans’ village located in the city of Imari that has produced unique pottery for centuries and kept its methods a secret—hence the name ‘Village of Secret Kilns’. We’ll continue on to visit Mifuneyama Rakuen, a  flower-laden site at the base of Mt. Mifune in Takeo city to view cherry blossoms,  azaleas and plum trees in bloom (weather permitting) including statues depicting the  500 disciples of Buddha. We’ll proceed to Kashimae Port to board a sightseeing boat and enjoy a relaxing and scenic cruise around Kujuku-shima (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 spend the night in Sase bo, the second-largest city in Nagasaki prefecture and home to the U.S. Navy Base as well as a base for the Japan Self Defense Force. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs of our onsen hotel this evening.  

Accommodations at QUINTESSA HOTEL SASEBO or similar

 

Monday, March 20 (Day 05) 

SASEBO * NAGASAKI * HUIS TEN BOSCH (B)(D)

We’ll travel on the Saikai Bridge to Nagasaki, the largest city of Nagasaki prefecture - noted as the second city after Hiroshima to be devastated by a nuclear weapon on August 9, 1945. We’ll visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum featuring displays, photos,  relics and documents related to the bombing and 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. We’ll continue on to spend the night in Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park resort recreating a  Dutch town located in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture. Named after one of the residences of the Dutch Royal Family, this resort features a European atmosphere with picturesque canals, iconic windmills, beautiful gardens and unique architecture. In the evening,  enjoy the Kingdom of Lights Festival, featuring thousands of lights illuminated and ranked as the ‘No. 1’ night scenery in Japan.  Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot spring waters of our onsen hotel this evening. 

Accommodations at HOTEL OKURA JR HUIS TEN BOSCH or similar

 

Tuesday, March 21 (Day 06) 

HUIS TEN BOSCH * SHIMABARA * KUMAMOTO (B)

Castella (fluffy & moist sweet sponge cake) is a popular local food product of Nagasaki. Enjoy a visit of Nagasaki Castella Land for an interesting tour of the factory. Our journey continues on to the Shimabara Peninsula passing by Mount Unzen, an active volcanic in the center of the peninsula recognized for its natural beauty and made part of the Unzen Amakusa National Park, one of the first national parks in Japan. Weather permitting, enjoy a relaxing ride on the Unzen Ropeway, to view dynamic sceneries of pink azaleas on the slopes of Mount Unzen and spectacular views of Kyushu, including Mount Aso and Kirishima Island. We’ll proceed to the  Shimabara Pier and board a ferry to cross the Ariake Sea to Kumamoto, capital city of Kumamoto prefecture to spend the night. The city is home to Suizen-ji-koen, a spacious and 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). As you stroll around the park, you’ll have a magnificent feeling of nature with its small ponds, lakes, trees, and blooming cherry blossoms (subject to availability). Featured at the east end of the park is Horaitsukiyama, a beautiful representation of a miniature Mt. Fuji. We’ll pass by to view Kumamoto  Castle before checking into our hotel for the night. Weather permitting, the cherry blossoms should be in bloom surrounding the castle grounds. Dinner will be on your own this evening to try some of the local specialties of this prefecture. 

Accommodations at KUMAMOTO CASTLE HOTEL or similar

 

Wednesday, March 22 (Day 07) 

KUMAMOTO * KAGOSHIMA (B)(D)

We’ll travel south to Kagoshima, the southernmost major city in Kyushu and capital of Kagoshima prefecture. The city is often compared with its Italian sister city - Naples, due to its similar mild climate and Sakurajima, Kagoshima’s Vesuvius. The city’s principal attraction is Sengan-en, 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. Located adjacent to the garden, visit the Shoko Shuseikan Museum, containing exhibits and historical materials about the Shimazu family related to the Satsuma clan. Both the garden and the museum were recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2015. We’ll spend the night in Kagoshima, capital city of Kagoshima prefecture, and  Sakurajima, the symbol of Kagoshima. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel. 

Accommodations at SHIROYAMA HOTEL KAGOSHIMA or similar

 

Thursday, March 23 (Day 08) 

KAGOSHIMA * SATSUMA PENINSULA * CHIRAN * IBUSUKI (B)(D)

This morning, we’ll travel south to the Satsuma Peninsula to Chiran, noted for its fine collection of preserved samurai houses and gardens. Enjoy a stroll through the Chiran Samurai District, a nicely preserved samurai street to visit a few old samurai residences and beautifully landscaped gardens. We’ll visit the Tokko Heiwa Kaikan (Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots), a museum displaying an extensive collection of documents, correspondence, photographs, relics, and mementos belonging to the members of the Special Air Force Attack Group also known as the Kamikaze Pilots. We’ll continue on south to spend the night in Ibusuki, an onsen town famous for its sunamushi onsens (steaming black sand baths), where bathers are buried in warm black volcanic sand,  heated by natural steam. As an option, you may want to experience this unique activity. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.  

Accommodations at IBUSUKI ROYAL HOTEL or similar

 

Friday, March 24 (Day  

IBUSUKI * SAKURAJIMA ISLAND- * MIYAZAKI (B)(D)

We’ll travel to the Kagoshima Port to transfer by ferry to Sakurajima Port on Sakurajima Island, located in the middle of Kagoshima Bay.  Sakurajima has three main peaks, Kita-dake (north peak), Naka-dake (middle peak) and Minami-dake (southern peak). On arrival, we’ll visit the Sakurajima Visitor Center providing models, pictures and videos about Sakurajima. We’ll continue east to the scenic Nichinan  Kaigan Coast, located in the southern part of Miyazaki prefecture. We’ll visit Aoshima Island, a small beautiful island south of Miyazaki city ringed with white beaches, palm trees and subtropical plants in the center of the island. Enjoy the view of eroded rock formations known as Oni-no-Sentakuita (devils’ washboard), natural straight rows of basalt rock formations. We’ll spend the night in Miyazaki,  capital city of Miyazaki prefecture located on the eastern coast of Kyushu Island. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel. 

Accommodations at MIYAZAKI KANKO HOTEL or similar

 

Saturday, March 25 (Day 10) 

MIYAZAKI * NOBEOKA * TAKACHIHO * MOUNT ASO (B)(D)

Situated in the northwestern region of Miyazaki prefecture between Nobeoka on the coast and Aso-san in the center of Kyushu Island is the town of Takachiho. This little village is a remote mountain resort and considered one of the most sacred places in Japan, surrounded by the Gokase River featuring breathtaking waterfalls, overhanging rocks, and sheer walls - formed through the erosion of  the Aso lava plateau. We’ll visit Takachiho Gorge, a narrow chasm cut through the rock by the Gokase River. The sheer cliffs lining the gorge are made of slow forming volcanic basalt columns resembling the scales of a dragon. Midway along the gorge is Minaino taki Waterfall, an impressive waterfall against a backdrop of dense green foliage and surrounding cliffs. We’ll continue on to spend the night at a unique hot spring resort overlooking the majestic Aso outer ring mountain in the vicinity of Mount Aso and Aso National  Park. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs this evening at the our hotel. 

Accommodations at ASO RESORT GRANDVRIO or similar

 

Sunday, March 26 (Day 11) 

MOUNT ASO * BEPPU (B)(D)

We’ll continue on along north along the eastern coast to spend the night in Beppu, one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts that produce 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. Beppu is also known for unique thermal vents known as the Hells of  Beppu featuring seven spectacular hot springs for viewing known as jigokus. Five of the seven jigokus are located in the Kannawa  District, and we’ll visit one of the most beautiful - Umi-Jigoku, (sea hell), a pond of boiling, steaming blue water. Located within the spacious garden area is another reddish-colored jigoku and another clear water pond with lotus flowers floating on the surface. Another interesting jigoku to visit in the district is the Kamado Jigoku, (cooking pot hell) featuring several boiling ponds and a flashy demon statue as a cook. Weather permitting, we’ll visit Beppu Park, a popular spot to view cherry blossoms in the spring. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot spring waters of our onsen hotel this evening.  

Accommodations at BEPPU KAMENOI HOTEL or similar

 

Monday, March 27 (Day 12) 

BEPPU * FUKUOKA/HAKATA (B)

We’ll proceed to spend our last night in Fukuoka/Hakata. Hakata dolls is one of the most beautiful and famous arts and crafts in Japan. Enjoy a visit of the Hakata Doll Hall Shogetsudo to enjoy a Hakata Doll Painting Experience to create your very own original  Hakata doll to take home as a special souvenir. The afternoon is free to explore Fukuoka city at your leisure. Dinner will be on your own this evening to enjoy some local specialties of this prefecture.  

Accommodations at MIYAKO HOTEL HAKATA or similar

 

Tuesday, March 28 (Day 12) 

FUKUOKA to HANEDA to HONOLULU (B)

The morning is at your leisure to relax or do some last-minute shopping for omiyage to bring home to your friends and family. In the afternoon, we’ll transfer to the Fukuoka Airport to check-in for our domestic flight to Haneda Airport. On arrival, we’ll transfer by shuttle to the Haneda International Terminal for our flight home to Honolulu, arriving in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line. A late meal will be served on board the flight. 

Land portion based on 125 Yen = $1.00 U.S.

 Map of Tour Itinerary

 

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 7/1/2022. Tour fare is subject to change according to any airfare increase, 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.

2023 Tour Registration Form

2023 General Conditions & Addendum (Japan/International)