Land of Fire Kyushu

A small-group guided walking tour to Kyushu with short hikes of 1-3 hours

Land of Fire Kyushu

Number of travellers

Start date


Tour details

Land of Fire Kyushu
x1 traveller
Single room additional charge
USD 560

Solo supplements guarantee solo rooms at the hotels on your tour. At inns, you will share with another member of your departure of the same gender.


If you would like to do multiple tours in one trip or have a question about any of our tours, do not hesitate to contact us with the button below.

  • Duration: 15 days
  • Trip level:
  • Availability: April to November
  • Type:Guided tour with an expert bilingual guide
  • Price: USD 5,160(Price per person, based on 2 travellers sharing a room)

Please choose your preferred month to see available departures.

  • Ride an overnight ferry through the Inland Sea to Kyushu Island
  • See the beautiful Takachiho Gorge and the sacred Yokagura dances
  • Experience black volcanic sand bathing
  • Stay in historical and cultural Nagasaki
  • Walk the Philosopher's Path and explore Nishiki food market - 'Kyoto's kitchen'
  • Spend three nights on the UNESCO World Heritage island of Yakushima

Our Land of Fire tour starts in Kyoto, former imperial capital and repository of much of Japan's cultural heritage. We visit Asuka, where Japan's early Emperors are buried, then a boat journey through the Inland Sea brings us to the southern island of Kyushu. Known as the cradle of Japanese civilization, several locations are connected with the Japanese creation myths which inspired the Yokagura dances in Takachiho.

Kyushu is also known for its numerous active volcanoes, as well as the spectacular island of Yakushima to the south, a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site. Unique flora and fauna can be admired here, including giant Yakusugi cedars, Yakushima yakushika deer and yakuzaru macaques. A natural by-product of the volcanoes are onsen hot springs and we will enjoy relaxing dips in their soothing waters, as well as the unforgettable hot sand baths at Yamakawa where we are buried in hot sand. View Mount Aso with the world’s largest volcanic caldera and visit the vibrant city of Nagasaki. Stay at traditional inns and guest-houses, enjoying dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients. Our tour ends amidst the crowds and neon of Osaka, Japan's second city and culinary capital.

Please note it may also be possible to end our Land of Fire tour early on Day 8 or Day 12 in Kagoshima. Please enquire for further details.

Download PDF itinerary

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What is included


Full-time services of an English-speaking tour guide
14 nights in hotels and Japanese-style inns
Daily breakfast and 8 dinners
All transportation between tour locations
Entrance to museums, temples and other sights on the group's itinerary
Forwarding of one item of luggage on 3 occasions
Traditional Yokagura dance performance
Black volcanic sand bath on the beach
What is not included


Airport transfers
Drinks and meals not included in itinerary
Entrance fees to museums, temples etc. not mentioned in the itinerary
Single room supplement for solo travellers at hotels









Meet your guide and other group members at the tour hotel in Central Kyoto in the evening. There will be a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.


Accommodation: Western-style hotel

Meals: Welcome dinner

We have a full day to discover the ancient capital of Kyoto. We first visit Ginkaku-ji Temple, the Silver Pavilion, and then walk along the Philosopher’s Path to Nanzen-ji Temple. After lunch we see Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns in the 17th century. Built in the Momoyama style, the building has ‘nightingale’ wooden floors which creak when walked on – a security measure against intruders. We then head to Nishiki Market, known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’ and gaze at the fabulous array of seafood, pickles, tea, sweets, and other foodstuffs on display.


Accommodation: Western-style hotel

Meals: Breakfast

We take a short train ride from Kyoto south to Asuka, Japan’s first permanent capital. On the southern edge of the Yamato Plain, Asuka is home to some of the first Buddhist temples in Japan. The town is also dotted with burial mounds, said to be those of the first emperors. From Asuka we make our way to Osaka port, and catch the overnight ferry through the Seto Inland Sea to Beppu. On board we have private cabins and can even enjoy a Japanese bath!


Walking distance: 5.3 km / 3.3 mi
Time required: About 1.5 hours


Accommodation: Ferry cabin
Meals: Breakfast

Arriving in Beppu by sea can be a dramatic and memorable experience. The city is surrounded by mountains, and steam from the abundant hot springs rises skyward to give it an otherworldly feel. We board a bus for the 90 minute journey to Kurokawa Onsen. We check in to our traditional ryokan, and enjoy a soak in one of the many hot spring baths in the village.

Dinner is a multicourse feast at our inn.


Accommodation: Onsen ryokan (hot spring inn)

Meals: Breakfast, dinner

From Kurokawa Onsen we travel by private chartered coach to Takachiho. We can hope for views of Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan and one of the biggest in the world; the peaks of Takadake and Nakadake dominate the Aso skyline. We pause at Shirakawa Springs, source of the Shirakawa River which flows through Kumamoto City, and the best-known of the natural springs in the Minami Aso area. Join locals and visitors sampling some of the most highly regarded mineral water in Japan! We are based in Takachiho for two nights.


Accommodation: Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn)

Meals: Breakfast, dinner

After breakfast we visit the shrine of Amanoiwato, literally the ‘Shrine of the Sun Goddess‘. We continue to Takachiho Gorge, with its strange rock formations created by volcanic activity, which have become part of local folklore and the Japanese national creation myth. We enjoy a short walk along the gorge and lunch at a small teahouse. After dinner at our ryokan, we visit Takachiho Shrine to see the Yokagura – sacred dances which tell the mythical story of Japan’s creation.


Walking distance: 6 km / 3.75 mi
Time required: 2 hours


Accommodation: Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Leaving Takachiho, we will travel to Kumamoto and visit Kumamoto Castle, known as one of Japan’s great castles. After lunch we continue south to the city of Kagoshima, dramatically situated on Kagoshima Bay opposite Sakurajima, an active volcano. We visit Sengan-en, the lovely villa and gardens of the Shimazu Clan. Kagoshima has a culture and cuisine distinct from other parts of Japan. Shochu, a spirit usually made from sweet potato is favoured over sake, and slow-baked kurobuta (a breed of Berkshire pig) as well as grilled bonito skipjack tuna are two typical local dishes.


Accommodation: Western-style hotel

Meals: Breakfast

We head further south this morning by train along Kagoshima Bay to the seaside town of Ibusuki. Here, thermally heated mineral water bubbles up through the black volcanic sand on the beach. Locals mix the sand to ensure a steady temperature and we will don cotton yukata robes to be buried in the warm sand. Very relaxing! Return to Kagoshima for dinner.


Walking distance: 6.3 km / 4 mi
Time required: 1.5 hours


Accommodation: Western-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast

From Kagoshima we travel by ferry to Yakushima Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The small population lives around the coast of this mountainous island, while the interior is almost totally undeveloped. Giant cedar called yakusugi stand tall in the moss-laden forest – some of them thousands of years old. Around the coast are stunning beaches and hot springs. We will stay at a local guesthouse to enjoy the local hospitality and evening meals prepared from the day’s catch.


Accommodation: Minshuku (family-run guesthouse)

Meals: Breakfast, dinner

We have a full day on Yakushima. We hike into the interior, walking amongst the giant yakusugi trees, and if we are lucky spot some of the macaques. The centre of the island is a temperate rainforest, and the highest peak on Yakushima is the tallest mountain in the south of Japan. It’s a unique ecosystem and has escaped any significant development. We return by bus to our guesthouse.


Walking distance: 5 km / 3 mi
Time required: 3 hours


Accommodation: Minshuku (family-run guesthouse)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Our third day on Yakushima is spent visiting a lovely beach and one of the most spectacular hot springs in Japan, built into the rocks lapped by the waves. After lunch, we enjoy a short walk on the trail to a charming hidden waterfall.


Accommodation: Minshuku (family-run guesthouse)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Leaving Yakushima by ferry, we board the bullet train in Kagoshima and travel to Nagasaki. After centuries as an international port, Nagasaki today is a vibrant, modern city. The city never forgets its past, however, and there are important memorials to its history. We check in to our hotel and there will be free time before dinner.


Accommodation: Western-style hotel

Meals: Breakfast

This morning we visit Dejima, the site of the former Dutch trading colony in Nagasaki. Dejima used to be an island and Dutch traders were not allowed to live on the mainland. Dejima has been restored and you can see replicas of some of the original buildings. We then visit Sofukuji Temple, built by Chinese settlers in the 17th century. We have free time to relax and perhaps shop for souvenirs in the afternoon, or to visit the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall.


Accommodation: Western-style hotel

Meals: Breakfast

We visit the Glover Garden this morning. The mansion and gardens, with wonderful views over Nagasaki, were built for Thomas Glover, a Scottish entrepreneur who helped modernise Japan’s shipbuilding and mining industries. The location is associated with Puccini’s opera ‘Madame Butterfly’. After lunch we board the bullet train for our journey to Osaka. There will be free time to relax and perhaps shop for souvenirs, and in the evening there will be a farewell dinner.


Accommodation: Western-style hotel

Meals: Breakfast, farewell dinner

Our tour ends today after breakfast at the hotel in Osaka. Your guide will be on hand to offer assistance and advice for travelling to the airport if you have homeward flights, or on onward travel if you are extending your stay in Japan.


Meals: Breakfast

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