By Tesia Smith
November 14, 2018
Credit: Yiming Chen/Getty Images

This journey through the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands takes in local cuisine, relaxing onsens, and strikingly diverse landscapes. Tesia Smith, a member of the T+L A-List of top travel advisors, can book this and similar tours. From $500 per day.

Getting There

From Tokyo, take a two-hour flight to Fukuoka, a city on the island’s northern shore. Book your return flight from Kagoshima, on the southern side.

Day 1

Spend the day in Fukuoka’s Hakata District exploring the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and the eighth-century Kushida Shrine. A food tour by Fukuoka Walks encompasses the Yanagibashi Rengo Fish Market, a department-store food hall, and street vendors. Stay at the Grand Hyatt.

Day 2

Drive two hours south to Kurokawa, a classic hot-spring town. Check in to Yamamizuki Ryokan and soak in its outdoor baths next to a peaceful river before a kaiseki dinner and a night on a traditional tatami.

Day 3

Drive two hours south to the mountain town of Takachiho, then rent a rowboat to navigate the Gokase River, which winds through the dramatic Takachiho Gorge, passing waterfalls. Continue driving two hours along Kyushu’s eastern coast to Kirishima-Yaku National Park. Stay at Wasure no Sato Gajoen, a collection of cottages on the bank of the Amorigawa River.

Day 4

Check out more of Kirishima-Yaku’s active volcanoes, magnificent woodlands, and rustic onsens before the 90-minute drive to Kagoshima for your return flight.