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Tour details - Chikugo Valley in Early Spring



  • Enjoy a head start to the spring blossom season while most of Japan remains in the depths of winter, admiring groves of flowering Japanese apricot trees and country camellia gardens

  • Explore an atmospheric historic town renowned for a multitude of craft traditions including handmade paper, wood and bamboocraft, Buddhist altars and lanterns, and observe the artisans in action at their workshops

  • Stay in private, local community-operated traditional accommodation, including an elegantly restored 19th century merchant town-house and a classic Kyushu mountain village house

  • See splendid collections of antique traditional dolls on display for the early spring Hina (Dolls’ or Girls’) Festival

  • Learn the ins and outs of traditional Japanese indigo dyeing and Kasuri (Ikat) textile weaving at a family-run workshop that prides itself on using safe natural plant-based dyes, with an opportunity to try your own hand at indigo dyeing

  • Savour the celebrated Yame green tea—counted among the finest in Japan—at a delightful tea-house, and learn about environmentally sustainable tea growing at a pioneering organic farm

  • Take uplifting walks through the picturesque Kyushu countryside, through a patchwork of orchards and fields, stone-walled rice terraces, quaint villages and country temples, and taking time out at local eateries and cafés 

  • Indulge in a gourmet dinner course showcasing the best of local produce while taking in the panoramic view of the Chikugo Valley from a hilltop onsen hotel

  • Immerse yourself in spirituality at an ancient Shinto shrine deep in the forests of a sacred mountain

  • Take a stroll through a charming pottery village to discover diverse ceramic styles on display at artisans’ workshops, and learn about the fascinating historic context of the northern Kyushu ceramics traditions

A seasonally restricted itinerary that provides you with the best of early spring in northern Kyushu.  Admire the earliest flowering spring blossoms on short, easy-grade country walks, visit small artisan craft workshops (ceramics, textile and others), explore historic townscapes, and experience local early spring traditions such as the Hina Festival.  You will also have the opportunity to experience the diverse northern Kyushu food culture, including yakitori, ramen, udon and soba noodles, traditional country cooking, tea appreciation, artisan breads and patisserie, and fusion Japanese-Western cuisine. Enjoy a diverse range of accommodation styles that includes an upper mid-range onsen ryokan, private accommodation in traditional houses, a boutique Japanese-style hotel, and mid-range Western-style hotels. Through your participation in this tour, you will be directly supporting community-based initiatives aimed at revitalising declining regional areas and preserving architectural heritage, and environmentally and health-conscious family-run businesses that uphold regional craft traditions.


MAIN DESTINATIONS COVERED: Kurume, Yame, Chikugo, rural districts of Kurume and surrounding areas, Hikosan (Mt Hiko)


TOUR LENGTH: 8 days (7 nights)






BOOKINGS CLOSE: 120 days before agreed departure date


START LOCATION: JR Hakata Station, Fukuoka [MAP]


END LOCATION: JR Kokura Station, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture [MAP]




CULTURAL TOLERANCE: moderate (must be able to sleep on traditional futon bedding on at least 3 nights)


COST: from AUD $2900/person (6 persons) to $4800/person (2 persons), including ALL ground transport, accommodation, meals, tour guiding, fees and charges

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