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Home > Japan > Japan Itineraries > Hot Springs And Culinary Culture In Kyushu

Hot Springs and Culinary Culture in Kyushu


Year round


6 Days


Beppu, Kurokawa Onsen, Fukuoka


Kyushu, the third-largest of Japan’s five main islands, is the hub for this extravagant wellness and culinary tour. Home to Mount Aso, the country’s most active volcano, Kyushu has an abundance of hot springs – or onsen – each more soothing than the last. Sink deep into the spa waters of Beppu, relax at a storied onsen resort, drink in the food culture of Fukuoka and marvel at the temples of Dazaifu. From historical shrines and spa indulgence to age-old food stalls and the best ramen you will ever taste, this tour is a whirlwind of Japanese culture at its most invigorating and delicious.

Itinerary in Detail

    Day 1: Tokyo - Beppu

    After arriving at Tokyo airport, you take a connecting flight to Oita and transfer by high-speed train to the city of Beppu, where your culinary and wellness adventure begins.

    Hotel: Amane Resort GAHAMA

    Amane Resort GAHAMA

    Amane Resort GAHAMA

    Amane Resort GAHAMA

    Day 2: Beppu

    Welcome to an incredibly unique region of Southern Japan. Meet your private guide at Beppu Station and embark on a journey through the enchanting landscape of the city’s bubbling hot springs, amusingly called the Seven Hells of Beppu. Travel by bus to the Umi Jigoku, known as the Sea Hell. Witness the mesmerizing cobalt-colored hot spring, whose scorching 200º F waters lend it an otherworldly aura. The Oonishi Bozu Hell bubbling mud pool is also in this area. Move then to Kamado Jigoku, known as the Cooking Pot Hell. This name originates from an ancient myth, which explains that rice was cooked with the hot spring steam as an offering to the gods. Lunch is in the Kannawa area, one of the oldest onsen districts in Beppu. Here is your chance to try the unique culinary experience of jigokumushi, in which local ingredients are cooked using geothermal steaming pots. After the healthy meal, follow the guide on a walk through the steamy atmosphere of Kannawa, passing traditional ryokans and quaint shops, the thick vapor rising from the street. Before ending the tour, step into the world of Jigoku-hotspring secrets at the Jigoku Onsen Museum. Through engaging digital content, you can unravel the mysteries of Beppu's onsens and their cultural significance in an exhibit that showcases the history, legends and healing properties associated with these mystical hot springs.

    Hotel: Intercontinental ANA Beppu Resort and Spa

    Intercontinental ANA Beppu Resort and Spa

    Intercontinental ANA Beppu Resort and Spa

    Intercontinental ANA Beppu Resort and Spa

    Day 3: Beppu - Yufuin - Kurokawa Onsen

    Depart Beppu this morning for another famous hot spring destination of Kurokawa Onsen, a charming riverside town in the mountains. The bus will first stop in Yufuin, an onsen village filled with traditional Japanese hotels and hot spring baths at the foot of Mount Yufu. Take a stroll along the main street filled with crafts and souvenir shops to Lake Kinrinko, one of the most picturesque spots in the town. The lake is extremely mysterious, because both hot and cold water springs from the bottom. Your private driver will then deliver you to Kurokawa Onsen, one of the most popular hot spring resorts in the country, known for its authentic and peaceful atmosphere. Enjoy a variety of hot spring baths and stroll around in a traditional yukata bathrobe.

    Hotel: Ryokan Yumotoso

    Ryokan Yumotoso

    Ryokan Yumotoso

    Ryokan Yumotoso

    Day 4: Kurokawa Onsen - Fukuoka

    After a final soak in the hot springs, you leave Kurokawa Onsen behind and take the bus back to Yufuin to board the Yufuin-no-Mori train to Fukuoka, a major city in Kyushu famous for its food culture. Your guide will take you for a journey through the streets of Fukuoka to learn all about one of the best Japanese cities for food. The first stop will be the fish market to see how local people choose the freshest ingredients to put on the table. Here, you will sample a variety of dried and deep-fried fish. Move on to the basement floor of a department store, the depachika, where delicatessens, confectioners and other food counters are located, before experiencing a stand-up eating shop. Learn about this interesting way of enjoying food, especially popular with people who don’t have time to sit down to a meal. The final stop will be at the famous yatai street food stalls – a big part of the culture of Fukuoka – where it’s easy to strike up conversations with other customers. There are nearly 100 yatai in Fukuoka and they open in the early evening, offering both traditional Japanese dishes such as tempura and oden, as well as local Fukuoka cuisine.

    Hotel: Grand Hyatt Fukuoka

    Grand Hyatt Fukuoka

    Grand Hyatt Fukuoka

    Day 5: Fukuoka - Dazaifu - Fukuoka

    This morning, you will explore Dazaifu, a city established in the 7th century which became the location of the Kyushu government for more than 500 years. The first stop will be the famous Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, which was built on the site of Sugawara Michizane’s grave. All Tenmangu shrines in Japan are dedicated to Michizane’s spirit, which makes this the most important Tenmangu shrine in Japan, together with Kitano Tenmangu in Kyoto. Continue on to Komyozenji Temple, which was established in the middle of the Kamakura period by a member of the Rinzai sect of Japanese Buddhism. It is especially famous for its two Japanese gardens. For those who are more adventurous, you may want to get on a speed cross bike and take a pleasant, flat ride to explore the city of Fukuoka with a local guide. The first destination is the Hakata old town, the home of Fukuoka’s two biggest festivals, Hakata Gion Yamakasa and Hakata Dontaku. Several temples and shrines are located here, and your guide will offer explanations about the difference between Shinto and Buddhism from a local’s perspective. Continue cycling down backstreets to get a glimpse of local life before arriving in the park housing the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. Learn about the history of the town at the Korokan Historical Museum and enjoy the passing of the season at the pleasant Ohori Park before reaching the seaside. Take a spin along the coast, refreshed by the sea breeze. After the cycling, enjoy a delicious ramen lunch in a local restaurant. Hakata ramen is of the tonkotsu variety (pork bone broth ramen), which originated in the city and is now considered by many to be the best ramen in Japan.

    Hotel: Grand Hyatt Fukuoka

    Grand Hyatt Fukuoka

    Grand Hyatt Fukuoka

    Day 6: Fukuoka - Tokyo

    Being your return trip home with a flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo.

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