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Tour details - Chikugo Valley Crafts & Gourmet


  • Absorb the charming old-world atmosphere of northern rural Kyushu’s historic towns, each with their distinct character and traditions

  • Explore a multitude of regional craft traditions including handmade paper, wood and bamboocraft, naturally dyed textiles, Buddhist altars and lanterns, with opportunities to observe artisans in action in their workshops and shopping for craft items

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

  • 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 (including one day of country cycling for the 10 day itinerary)

  • 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

  • Enjoy a truly local and down-to-earth northern Kyushu dining experience at a village bar and eatery

  • 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 (for the 10 day itinerary only)

A diverse itinerary that provides you with an overview of the picturesque Chikugo Valley in northern Kyushu, with a focus on craft traditions and food culture.  Explore the historic townscapes and countryside through short, easy-grade walks, discovering hidden gems which you would not encounter on a normal guided tour, as well as having more opportunities to interact with the locals. Visit small artisan craft workshops to learn about the region’s diverse traditional crafts, particularly ceramics and textiles.  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, kudzu cuisine (made from the starch of the Pueraria rootstock), artisan breads and patisserie, and fusion Japanese-Western cuisine. You will discover how the region’s traditions all relate to the unique and rich natural environment of northern Kyushu, and the region’s significance as cultural crossroads throughout Japanese history. Enjoy a diverse range of accommodation styles that includes private accommodation in traditional houses 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 and food traditions.


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


TOUR LENGTH: 8–10 days (7–9 nights)


MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PERSONS: 4 (up to 6 with modified itinerary)


SEASON: mid-May to early June, late October to mid-December, mid-January to late March


BOOKINGS CLOSE: 90 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 4 nights)


COST: from AUD $3400/person (4 persons) to $4600/person (2 persons) for 8 days; from AUD $4200/person (4 persons) to $5500/person (2 persons) for 10 days; including ALL ground transport, accommodation, meals, tour guiding, fees and charges

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