Explore Japan’s three main southern islands, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Experience their rich histories, vibrant cities and superb coastal scenery as you travel on Japan’s impressive rail system.

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Why We Love It

Cultural attractions of Kyoto

Beautiful Shikoku Island and its delightful small towns

Japan's finest castles, including Matsuyama and Kumamoto

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Day by day Itinerary

Kyushu & Shikoku Explorer

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Day 1


On arrival you will be met and assisted with transportation to your hotel in Kyoto.

Day 2


Enjoy the day at leisure, exploring central Kumamoto to see Kumamoto Castle and Shuizen-ji Joju-en Garden. (B)

Day 3

Kumamoto - Nagasaki

Travel to Nagasaki, the centre of European influence until the 19th century. Your exploration may include the Oura Church, the Glover Garden and the Dutch Slope. Alternatively, visit Japan’s oldest Chinatown and sample regional dishes. (B)

Day 4

Nagasaki - Fukuoka

This morning visit the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Park, a powerful reminder of the destructive effects of war. On arrival in Fukuoka, visit Shofukuji Temple, the first Buddhist temple in Japan dating back 800 years. Later visit Nakasu Island and sample delicious street food. (B)

Day 5


Start with a visit to Kushida-jinja, the most important shrine in the city. Continue to the busy local fish market, then Ohori Park. (B)

Day 6

Fukuoka - Osaka

This morning is free before catching the bullet train to Osaka. Explore the lively backstreets and experience the Osakan philosophy of kuiadore, or eat-until-you-drop. (B)(D)

Day 7


Today is at leisure until your transfer by train/shuttle bus to the airport. (B)

Day 8


Visit a machiya, a historic wooden townhouse and take part in a traditional tea ceremony with a local tea master. Try your hand at origami, before free time to explore. (B)

Day 9


Begin with a visit to 17th century Nijo Castle, then serene Ryoan-ji Temple, famous for its superb rock garden. Visit the stunning golden pavilion of Kinkaku-ji Temple followed by Kiyomizu-dera, with its imposing architecture. End in atmospheric Higashiyama. (B)

Day 10

Kyoto - Takamatsu

Takamatsu flourished as a castle town during the feudal era. Visit the historic gardens of Ritsurin Park and take afternoon tea at Kikugetsu-tei. (B)

Day 11


Today is at leisure to explore Takamatsu  or travel to a nearby ‘art island’. You could choose Yashima, with its huge open-air museum of Shikoku Village. Alternatively, take the ferry to Naoshima, a renowned  art island dotted with artworks including Kusama’s much-loved giant pumpkins. (B)

Day 12

Takamatsu - Kotohira

Travel by train to Kotohira. Hike up Kompira- san to the main shrine for the Shinto god of seafarers. Stay at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style inn, including hot spring baths with a view of Mt Kompira. (B)(D)

Day 13

Kotohira - Matsuyama

Travel to Matsuyama and perhaps start your sightseeing with Matsuyama Castle. Later visit the Dogo Onsen for a soothing bath. (B)(D)

Day 14

Matsuyama - Okayama

Visit Ishite-ji, Shikoku’s most impressive temple. Travel by train to Okayama and perhaps visit Kurashiki, famous for its well- preserved old houses and canals. (B)

Day 15

Okayama - Kumamoto

Spend the morning visiting Okayama Castle, which is also known as the “Crow Castle” for its black exterior. Also visit Koraku-en Garden, known as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. In the afternoon catch the bullet train to Kumamoto. (B)

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