Southern Japan Experience

12 Day Small Group Adventure from Osaka to Osaka with Intrepid

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Intrepid's 12 Day Southern Japan Experience. 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...read more

Our Price From:
$ 6,451
Per Person ($AU)
Save This Month:
$ 305
Per Person ($AU)
Small Group Adventure Starts In
Starts In
Osaka
Small Group Adventure Ends In
Ends In
Osaka
Trip Budget
Budget
Affordable
12
Max Group Size
12
Rail Journey
Trip Style
Rail Journey
Moderate
Trip Pace
Moderate
Countries Explored:
Japan
Trip Operated By:
Intrepid
Intrepid
68 Reviews
Trip Reviews:
No Reviews
Trip Code:
CJSO

Itinerary

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1 Osaka
Konnichiwa! Welcome to Osaka, Japan. Ever-vibrant Osaka is also the country's unofficial culinary capital, where the motto is 'Kuidaore' ('eat until you drop'). Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour guide and fellow travellers. You can arrive at any time during the day, as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. Have your insurance and emergency contact details on hand as we'll be checking them at this meeting. After the meeting, perhaps join your new travel companions for an optional dinner at a local restaurant.
2 Takamatsu
Depart Osaka this morning and begin the journey west. Take the train across the bridge spanning the stunning Inland Sea and onto Takamatsu (approximately approx 3-4 hours). This may be the largest city on the island of Shikoku (the smallest of Japan's four main islands), but it's a beautifully unpretentious town full of history, top-notch food and interesting local art. Here you'll visit Ritsurin Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in the country. Dating back to the Edo period, it comprises several ponds and arched bridges designed around strolling paths, tea pavilions and historic trees, with a western garden an addition to the Japanese one. The garden also houses the Sanuki Folkcraft Museum which displays a variety of ceramics and basket-work dating from the time of the Tokugawa shoguns.
3 Naoshima - Takamatsu
Take the ferry (around 1 hour) for a day-trip to the island of Naoshima, located in the Inland Sea between Takamatsu and the mainland, which is famous worldwide for its modern art galleries, museums, avante-garde architecture and lovely natural setting. Explore the island by public bus or bicycle to take you between the different galleries and installations. Wander between artworks, hear the sound of waves lapping at quiet coves, and stumble unexpectedly upon outdoor sculptures. Return to Takayama after a full day on the island.
4 Kotohira
It's back on the train this morning and off to the small town of Kotohira (around 90 mins), which is famous for Kompira-san, Shikoku's most celebrated shrine. Popular with pilgrims, Kompira-san is dedicated to seafaring, and although the approach to the shrine is not particularly straightforward, it's well worth the effort. Passing some historical landmarks on the way, climb the 785 steps to the main hall and take in views overlooking Kotohira Town and the Inland Sea far below and check out a real submarine on display. For those interested, just to the east of the entrance to Kompira-san you can also find Kanamaru-za, said to be one of the oldest kabuki theatres in Japan. You can go backstage and see how they ingeniously worked the revolving stage and trapdoor hundreds of years ago. Stay overnight in a small guesthouse tonight.
5 Iya Valley - Matsuyama

Before heading west by train along the Inland Sea coast to the attractive castle-town of Matsuyama, we make a day trip to the secluded Iya Valley by local train and private coach. Traverse the winding passes and head to the atmospheric Kazura-bashi (which translates as ‘vine bridge') located in a remote part of Oku-Iya (known as ‘deep Iya'). When the Heike clan fled here some 800 years ago, they built these bridges as the only way to span the gorges and Iya River; if they were attacked then they could cut the vines at a moment's notice. Only three of these bridges remain, and they look like something out of Indiana Jones.

You'll also visit the Nagoro ‘scarecrow village', where a local artist 'repopulated' the dwindlling village by positioning life size scarecrows through the village, and Buke Yashiki, a restored thatched-roof samurai house which lies at the top of a steep valley slope and towering cedar trees. This was once the home of village leaders, and now offers displays of samurai armour and superb views over the valley.

6 Matsuyama
This morning, visit hill-top Matsuyama Castle, one of Japan's finest surviving castles and located right in the middle of this lovely provincial capital with its old trams and refined feel. Unlike most castles in Japan, this one has an interesting collection of artefacts inside, so take the chance to check them out and learn a little more about Matsuyama's feudal history. With free time in the afternoon, maybe relax and unwind at the beautiful Dogo Onsen, one of the oldest bath houses in Japan, or visit Ishiteji Temple which is the 51st of the 88 temples that make up Shikoku's ‘88 Sacred Temples' circuit, Japan's most famous pilgrimage route.
7 Nagasaki
We have a long day of train travel ahead of us today (around 8 hours in total) as we leave Shikoku and head further west to Kyushu, the third largest of Japan's four main islands. We arrive in Nagasaki in the afternoon and have an orientation walk with our leader to stretch our legs after our journey. Though its name has strong connotations of bombs and war – and the military history sites are important to visit – Nagasaki is a delight to explore, with its hills and harbour, shrines and temples, churches and other remnants from its long involvement with Asian and European traders.
8 Nagasaki
This morning, visit the Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum for a sobering reminder on what happened on that dreadful day of 9 August 1945. If you wish to reflect and explore further, there are other interesting museums nearby worth visiting. With a tram pass at your disposal, take the time to explore other parts of Nagasaki in the afternoon. Consider heading over to Dejima. This fascinating artificial island, once a Dutch trading post in the 17-19th centuries (and the sole foreign presence in the whole country at one point) is well worth exploring. The 26 Martyrs Memorial, Oura Catholic Church, Glover Garden and Dutch Slopes also give you a glimpse into the life of the early Christians and European traders in Japan. Then in the evening, perhaps slurp on some champon noodles – ramen Nagasaki-style!
9 Yakushima

From Nagasaki we take a limited express and shinkansen bullet train through Kyushu's attractive hinterland to its southern-most point. Here jump on a hydrofoil to travel a few hours to the island of Yakushima, arriving in the afternoon.

A remote island even by Japanese standards, the journey is well worth the effort. Much of Yakushima's adundant natural resources have been preserved without exploitation, making it particularly picturesque. It was justifiably added to UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1993. The forests of Yakushima are said to have inspired the forest setting in Hayao Miyazaki's film ‘Princess Mononoke', and it's easy to see why. Its ancient cedar trees and shady green splendour are a delight to behold, and at times give the feeling of walking through another world. Your stay in Yakushima will most certainly be one full of magic. Tonight we enjoy a dinner of local Yakushima cuisine. (D)

10 Yakushima
Set off on a hike today through the lush green forests of Shiratani Unsuikyo (approximately 3-3.5 hours). Shiratani Unsuikyo is a beautiful national park that inspired the famous animated movie 'Princess Mononoke' with its magical mossy forests. Since the Island is home to the amazing Yuku sugi cedar trees, you'll be able to find yourself among theses magnificent ancient trees which are over 1000 years old (some are as old as 3000 years!). If you're lucky along the way you might encounter a Yakushika deer or Yakuzaru monkey. After your hike, kick back and relax. You may want to spend some free time soaking in the natural onsen baths by Yakushima's shoreline.
11 Osaka
Say goodbye to the magical forests of Yakushima and jump back on the hydrofoil and head back by shinkansen through Kyushu to Osaka. Tonight you have the option to join your leader and travel companions for a final celebration of your time in Japan.
12 Osaka
The trip comes to an end this morning. There are no planned activities today.

Intrepid Travel Inclusions

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Sightseeing Highlights
  • 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, encounter Yakushika deer or Yakuzaru monkey, or relax at the seaside onsen.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (11 nights)
Included Meals
  • 1 Dinners included
Read Trip Notes
  • Trip Notes outline what's included, visa information, important notes, how to get to your accommodation, packing checklist, optional activities, travel insurance requirements - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more. Please take time to have a read through, and contact us if you have any questions. View Trip Notes

Prices & Dates

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Trip Starts Trip Ends Status Offer Save Now Our Price  
Sunday 16 May 2021 Thursday 27 May 2021 269per person 6,451per person Enquire
Friday 21 May 2021 Tuesday 01 Jun 2021 269per person 6,451per person Enquire
Friday 24 Sep 2021 Tuesday 05 Oct 2021 269per person 6,451per person Enquire
Friday 01 Oct 2021 Tuesday 12 Oct 2021 269per person 6,451per person Enquire
Friday 15 Oct 2021 Tuesday 26 Oct 2021 269per person 6,451per person Enquire
Friday 29 Oct 2021 Tuesday 09 Nov 2021 269per person 6,451per person Enquire
Friday 05 Nov 2021 Tuesday 16 Nov 2021 269per person 6,451per person Enquire
Friday 25 Mar 2022 Tuesday 05 Apr 2022 294per person 7,046per person Enquire
Friday 01 Apr 2022 Tuesday 12 Apr 2022 294per person 7,046per person Enquire
Friday 08 Apr 2022 Tuesday 19 Apr 2022 305per person 7,310per person Enquire
Sunday 15 May 2022 Thursday 26 May 2022 305per person 7,310per person Enquire
Friday 20 May 2022 Tuesday 31 May 2022 294per person 7,046per person Enquire
Friday 17 Jun 2022 Tuesday 28 Jun 2022 282per person 6,773per person Enquire
Friday 15 Jul 2022 Tuesday 26 Jul 2022 282per person 6,773per person Enquire
Friday 19 Aug 2022 Tuesday 30 Aug 2022 282per person 6,773per person Enquire
Friday 23 Sep 2022 Tuesday 04 Oct 2022 305per person 7,310per person Enquire
Friday 30 Sep 2022 Tuesday 11 Oct 2022 305per person 7,310per person Enquire
Friday 14 Oct 2022 Tuesday 25 Oct 2022 294per person 7,046per person Enquire
Friday 28 Oct 2022 Tuesday 08 Nov 2022 282per person 6,773per person Enquire
Friday 04 Nov 2022 Tuesday 15 Nov 2022 282per person 6,773per person Enquire
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Trip Notes
Trip prices are per person, and reflect applicable discounts. Discounts are subject to availability, exclusive to Global Journeys and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Trip prices are correct at the time of the products going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however are subject to change by Intrepid. Full terms & conditions are available here.