Islands and Backroads of Southern Japan
Japan 9 days ex Osaka

If you're confident enough to explore Japan's big cities (Tokyo, Osaka, & Kyoto) on your own, but want the opportunity to explore the
backroads and islands of this country with an informative bilingual guide, this is the trip for you.

This itinerary showcases the less-often-visited regions of southern Japan, taking you from lively Hiroshima to serene Miyajima Island, then
over the Seto Inland sea to the hot spring town of Matsuyama, into the isolated and breathtaking Iya Valley, before finishing in cosmopolitan
Kobe.

Enjoy hiking ancient pilgrimage trails, soaking in the healing springs of Dogo Onsen, and visiting remote mountain villages where the
traditions of centuries past still thrive.
Itinerary
Trip Details

Itinerary

Day 1: Osaka to Hiroshima

Meet in Osaka, and catch a bullet train to the southern city of Hiroshima (2 hours).  Known, of course, for its
tragic wartime history, Hiroshima also stands as a monument to peace.  Spend the afternoon visiting the city’s
Peace Memorial Museum, and wandering through the Peace Memorial Park.

Day 2: Hiroshima

Explore more of Hiroshima today, possible visiting some of the city’s many art museums, or it famous
Japanese garden, Shukkeien.  Hiroshima is known for its laid-back lifestyle, and you may soon find yourself
doing as locals do and enjoying a leisurely wander through the city.

Day 3: Miyajima Island

Just over an hour from Hiroshima, by streetcar and ferry, is the island of Miyajima.  Miyajima has been a sacred
island in the Shinto religion for over one thousand years, and still retains a supernatural atmosphere.  The
island’s green forests, quiet beaches, and the famous floating torii gates of the shrine that marks the island’s
entrance make it the perfect place to experience staying in a top-class traditional Japanese inn.  After exploring
the island with your guide, you’ll check into a beautiful traditional inn, enjoy a Japanese-style bath, and sit down
to a gourmet multi-course dinner of seafood.

Day 4: Miyajima to Matsuyama

After leaving Miyajima, you’ll spend the first half of the on a ferry, crossing the Seto Inland sea from Hiroshima to
the friendly city of Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku.  Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s four main islands,
and has been a major pilgrimage destination for Shingon Buddhists since the 9th century.  Renowned for its
ancient hot spring resort, Dogo Onsen, the lively city of Matsuyama is the perfect place to adjust to island time.

Day 5: Pilgrimage Trails on Shikoku

Head into the hills today, traveling by bus from Matsuyama to the small village of Kuma Kogen.  You’ll spend the
day walking a portion of the old 88 Temples pilgrimage trail, traveling through lush cedar forests and past small
shrines to your final destination: an ancient Buddhist temple hewn into the side of a mountain.

Day 6: Matsuyama to the Iya Valley

From Matsuyama, head by express train and local bus into the isolated Iya Valley.  Sometimes referred to as the
‘Tibet of Japan,’ in reference to its geographical isolation, the Iya Valley is a breathtaking region of steep
ravines, vine bridges, and scattered mountain villages.  Stay tonight at a traditional inn run by a charming local
family and enjoy a multi-course meal of fresh local specialities.

Day 7: Iya Valley

Explore the Iya Valley today. You will have the chance to visit a three-hundred year old thatched-roof farmhouse,
cross the famous Kazurabashi vine bridge, and hike through the countryside along mountain trails that have
been used by Iya villagers for centuries.

Day 8: Iya Valley to Kobe

Head back into the city today, traveling by bus, local train, and bullet train from the Iya Valley to Kobe. During the
time the Japan was a closed country (17th to 19th centuries), Kobe was one of the few ports kept open to
foreign merchants.  As a result, it retains a cosmopolitan atmosphere.  After visiting the city’s vibrant Chinatown,
its historical foreign quarter, why not end the day with a meal of mouthwatering Kobe beef?

Day 9: Depart from Kobe

After a morning spent exploring Kobe, your guide will help you get to your next destination--whether it's Kansai
International Airport, Tokyo, Kyoto, or anywhere else you need to go.
Highlights
Kyoto sightseeing,
Geisha, Rural Japan,

Inclusions

8 nights’ accommodation
(Hotels: 5 nights; Ryokan:
3 nights)

Bilingual guide for 9 days

8 breakfasts

3 dinners

All intercity transportation

Entry to Dogo Onsen hot
springs (Matsuyama)

Entry to Shukkeien
Gardens (Hiroshima)

Cost & Dates:

We are running this tour
on demand for private
groups in 2010.

Email us for prices &
dates.