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Japan

Walking Western Japan: Mountain Paths and Hidden Temples

Program No. 23311RJ
Through mountain trails, rural farmland and lush forests you’ll discover authentic Japan. With local experts, explore Western Japan on foot to learn about the culture and history.
Length
14 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
8,749
Flights start at
1,350

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To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 11 - Apr 24, 2023
Starting at
8,749
Oct 17 - Oct 30, 2023
Starting at
8,749
Nov 14 - Nov 27, 2023
Starting at
8,749
Itinerary Note

This program date is optimal for viewing the fall leaves.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 11 - Apr 24, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Oct 17 - Oct 30, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Nov 14 - Nov 27, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Itinerary Note

This program date is optimal for viewing the fall leaves.

At a Glance

With its verdant landscapes and very few tourists, Kyushu — Japan’s westernmost island — is a hidden gem best explored on foot. Gain intimate insight into Japanese culture as you walk picturesque rural trails, understanding the importance of nature in Japanese society. Discover the winding mountain paths with local experts and walk to sublime temples that hide in dense forests. Venture past rice paddies while the hushed sounds of water keep you and your fellow Road Scholars company. Meet farmers along the way who will teach you about their customs and stay with a family as you dive head — or foot — first into the ever-beautiful Japanese way of life.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • As you walk toward Taketa, stop at the Fuko-ji temple, Fudo-Myo deity and Oka-jo castle.
  • In Bungo-takada, spend the night in the home of a local family to immerse yourself in their daily life.
  • Learn about and sample local delicacies at two sake brewing houses, a tea shop and a miso soya bean paste manufacturer.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
In Praise of Shadows
by Junichiro Tanizaki
This extended essay by the great Japanese novelist, first published in 1933, offers tremendous insight into traditional Japanese art, architecture and design.
Japan's Cuisines
by Eric C. Rath
This illustrated overview charts the transformation of Japanese cuisine over the ages, revealing the influences of private and public institutions, exploring the rise of tea and showing how lunch became a gourmet meal.
Eyewitness Guide Japan
by Eyewitness Guides
Dazzling illustrations, architectural cutaways and color photographs, along with useful local maps, give this guide to Japan's many attractions a distinct edge.
Learning to Bow, Inside the Heart of Japan
by Bruce Feiler
As surprising, helpful and informative as it is funny, this is an insightful account of travels and teaching in Japan. Feiler presents anecdotes on the rituals, personality traits and cultural peccadilloes of the Japanese.
The Book of Tea
by Kakuzo Okakura
A graceful, witty meditation on Japanese aesthetics and culture as reflected through the tea ceremony. A celebrity and cultural ambassador, Okakura was a curator at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook
by Yoshi Abe
A handy palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Bending Adversity, Japan and the Art of Survival
by David Pilling
Financial Times Asia editor Pilling captures the dynamism and diversity of Japan after the 2011 tsunami. He interviews, among many, novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists, bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians.
The Inland Sea
by Donald Richie
Richie's masterpiece, more than a travel account, is a beautiful reflection on all things Japanese by one of its most acute observers.
Tokyo, A Biography
by Stephen Mansfield
In his 500-year history of Tokyo, Mansfield presents the Japanese capital as an "indestructible organism" that has survived bombs, earthquakes and radiation and continues to thrive. An easy introduction to a fascinating city.
Kaempfer's Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed
by Beatrice Bodart-Bailey
A good account of what it was like to travel in the Tokugawa period.
Super Sushi Ramen Express
by Michael Booth
Using keen insight and sarcastic wit, Booth describes the cuisine and culture of Japan as he recaps the nearly three months-long foodie road trip he and his family took through the island nation. A fun journey, sure to both entertain and inform.
Hiroshima
by John Hersey
This classic book, first published in 1946, has been hailed as the greatest piece of journalism in the 20th century. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Hersey puts a human face on the Hiroshima tragedy through interviews with survivors.
Kyoto, A Cultural History
by John Dougill
A rich portrait and guide to the gardens, monasteries, art, history and culture of Kyoto, once Japan's capital, founded 1,200-years ago.
The Samurai
by Shusaku Endo
This historical novel by one of Japan's best-known modern writers is set in the world of the 17th-century Samurai. A Roman Catholic, Endo explored Christianity and morals in his many novels and stories.
The Dog Shogun: The Personality and Policies of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi
by Beatrice Bodart-Bailey
Largely focusing on the so-called Dog Shogun, this book also covers the history before and after and argues that his policies are to a large extent responsible for Japan's rapid modernization in the 19th century.
Thousand Cranes
by Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker (Translator)
This novella by the great Kawabata may be Japan's best-known literary work, a story of love, grief and redemption. Kawabata's prose is as economical as the tea ceremony itself and very beautiful.
Walking the Kiso Road: A Modern-Day Exploration of Old Japan
by William Scott Wilson
William Scott Wilson travels along the ancient Kiso Road, historically used by samurai and warlords and relatively unchanged today. As he makes his way, Wilson engagingly ruminates on Japanese history, culture and folklore.
The Book of Tokyo: A City in Short Fiction
by Michael Emmerich (Editor)
This anthology of contemporary Japanese short stories was edited with the traveler in mind. The ten pieces of literature, mystery, science fiction and horror form an imaginary tour of the city of Tokyo.
Memoirs of a Geisha, A Novel
by Arthur Golden
The runaway best-selling novel about a geisha in the celebrated Gion district of Kyoto. A major feat of literary impersonation, the novel is rich in period detail and ceremony.
The Little Book of Japan
by Charlotte Anderson & Gorazd Vilhar
Veteran Japanophiles Vilhar and Anderson produced this illuminating collection of 44 essays on Japanese life and culture, which, even in the 21st century remains elusive and poorly understood.
Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye
by Marie Mutsuki Mockett
When her American father passes away, Mockett seeks consolation in her mother’s home country of Japan. She visits a radiation zone, a Buddhist school, temples and festivals in an effort to understand the Japanese way of grieving, to bury her dead and find healing.
The Art of Setting Stones & Other Writings from the Japanese Garden
by Marc P. Keane
In these lyrical essays, Kyoto resident and landscape architect Marc Peter Keane uses eight Japanese gardens as bases for essays on nature, religion and aesthetics. His rich, meditative excursions find beauty in garden composition - every element gaining importance and interconnectedness.
Culture Smart! Japan
by Paul Norbury
A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture, this is a helpful travel tool for visitors to Japan.
Japan Adventure Map
by National Geographic Society
Printed on waterproof and tear-resistant paper, this double-sided map shows all the islands of Japan at a scale of 1:1,300,000.
A Traveller's History of Japan
by Richard Tames
A lively and concise narrative history of Japan and its transformation from Shinto, Shogun and Samurai traditions to 20th-century powerhouse.
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14 days
13 nights
33 meals
12 B 10 L 11 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival Fukuoka, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Fukuoka
D
Oriental Hotel Fukuoka Hakata Station

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After some time to relax and get settled at the hotel, we’ll meet in the hotel lobby and walk to a nearby restaurant where we have booked a private room for a general program orientation and dinner. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This small-group walking program will be accompanied by one Group Leader, who will handle logistics and lead most lectures and field trips, unless otherwise specified. Everyone will handle their own luggage for transfers throughout the program. Meals will include water and tea with other beverages will be available for purchase, unless otherwise noted. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel, we’ll have a plated meal, with tea and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Fukuoka – Japan's Gateway to Asia
Yabakei
B,L,D
Kogane Sanso

Activity note: Walking approximately 3 miles throughout the day. Use of transportation including assorted rail and subway transfers; about 2 hours total; some stairs, flat city streets, elevators/escalators sometimes available. Everyone will handle their own luggage for transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a breakfast buffet with juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll set out with our Group Leader to stretch our legs on a morning exploration of this lively city, known as “Japan's gateway to Asia." Our first stop will be Sumiyoshi Shrine, a site of worship for sea travelers bound for ancient China and Korea. It is an appropriate place to consider the relationship between Japan and Asia at large with two millennia of cultural flows between them. We’ll walk onward to Yanagibashi Market where we’ll walk around the market, see the produce, and take in the bustling communal atmosphere. Started in the 1920s, the market is an important center of fresh produce for the locals. Finally, we make a short stop at a small local museum to learn more about the rich history of the Hakata area.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with tea and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After making our way to Hakata Station, we’ll transfer on the Sonic Express train to Nakatsu in Oita Prefecture. From here, we’ll travel an additional short distance by private-hire vehicle to Yabakei where we’ll stay the night in the surroundings of a delightful, onsen thermal hot spring accommodation. Yabakei is known for its picturesque valleys, verdant forests, sparkling streams and, of course, its many hot springs. Upon our arrival, we’ll take some time to learn the vital dos and don’ts of living in traditional Japanese style from our Group Leader. Where do we take off our shoes? Where are the beds? How do we use the baths? The lessons learned here are important, and will be vital throughout the program as we stay at a variety of traditional Japanese accommodation.

Dinner: At our accommodation, we’ll enjoy the first of a number of formal Japanese plated meals.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Rakkan-Ji, Mountain Temples & Old Roads
Hita
B,L,D
Hotel Route Inn Hita Ekimae

Activity note: Driving about 25 miles; approx. 2 hours total. Walking approx. 3.5 miles total; about 2 hours throughout the day; country lanes, forest trails, mountain paths and some steep steps. Total elevation gain of approx. 250 feet. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: At our inn, we’ll have plated meals, plus tea and water included.

Morning: Checking out after breakfast, we’ll make a short transfer to Ao-no-domon in the heart of the Yabakei region and start our walk to Rakkan-ji, a temple spectacularly sited high up on the side of Mt. Rakkan. Those not wishing to make the climb on foot over steps hewn out of the rock may use a chairlift up to the temple’s main buildings, which are interwoven into caves. A second section of the chairlift will bring us to the summit, affording a spectacular panorama over Yabakei. At the top, our Group Leader will provide informative commentary about the area and its history before leading us inside the temple.

Lunch: At a local café, we’ll enjoy a tasty bento box lunch.

Afternoon: Our afternoon excursion first takes us to Sarutobi Keikoku gorge, a small but very scenic canyon found in bucolic surroundings, followed by a visit to Ontayaki Pottery Village, which has a history dating back to the 18th Century. Afterwards, we transfer to Hita, a town at the geographical heart of Kyushu that once served as the shogun’s most important stronghold on the island. Upon arrival, we’ll explore the old town and learn about its strategic importance. Checking into our hotel, we’ll relax in the local onsen hot spring baths before venturing out for dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll settle in for a delicious family-style meal, with tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
The Kuju Mountains, "Fizzy" Bathing!
Nagayu Onsen
B,L,D
Daimaru Ryokan

Activity note: Driving approx. 50 miles; about 2 hours total, with stops. Walking approx. 3.5 miles total; about 2 hours; mostly gentle ascent on forest and grassland trails. Total elevation gain of about 400 feet. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Once checked out, we’ll make our way to Yume-no-Ohashi, a suspension footbridge. The bridge spans a gorge into which two waterfalls flow. We then transfer to the Chojabaru Kuju visitors centre where we will learn about this important mountain range. We’ll then continue along a leisurely path through the picturesque Tadewara marsh lands, grasslands, and forests.

Lunch: At a local restaurant along our walk, we’ll have plated meals, plus tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our vehicle takes us along the roads around the Kuju Mountains to our accommodation, a delightful inn beside a river at Nagayu Onsen. Upon arrival, we’ll check in and have some time to relax and settle in for the next two nights. We have the added attraction of nearby Lamune Onsen, which is known for its unusual, fizzy waters. A fantastic spectacle, the baths themselves are housed in equally intriguing buildings designed by Terunobu Fujimori, one of Japan’s lesser-known but no less great architects.

Dinner: Inn plated meal.

Evening: At leisure to enjoy the inn.

DAY
6
Ancient Carvings, Hilltop Citadel
Nagayu Onsen
B,L,D
Daimaru Ryokan

Activity note: Driving approx. 20 miles; about 2 hours. Walking approx. 7.5 miles total; about 6 hours; country lanes, forest trails; some short steep sections. Total elevation gain of 1,217 feet. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: Inn plated meal.

Morning: Boarding taxis, our route today will take us through hilly countryside, past paddy and arable fields, farmhouses with their well-tended gardens, and alongside water courses that disappear and reappear through tunnels carved into rock. Arriving at Fuko-ji Temple, the scenery suddenly opens up to a giant, fearsome Fudo-Myo deity that was carved into a cliff face long ago. Continuing, we’ll reach the remains of nearby Oka-jo Castle, which offers a striking contrast to our otherwise rural excursion. Only the ramparts remain, but their scale and impressiveness allude to the power that this hilltop citadel once had.

Lunch: Depending on the weather, we may have a picnic lunch or we will dine in a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll then have time to explore and relax in Taketa, the small town that developed at the foot of the castle to serve it. Besides some pleasant cafés, Taketa also has some interesting boutiques with locally-made crafts, which we’ll get to see before transferring back by taxi to the inn in Nagayu Onsen.

Dinner: Inn plated meal.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Geo Park, Sake Brewery, Beppu, Hot Spring Capital of Japan
Beppu
B,L
Nishitetsu Resort Inn Beppu

Activity note: Driving approx. 45 miles total; about 2.5 hours, with stops. Walking approx. 4.5 miles total; about 2 hours country lanes, forest trails. Total elevation gain of about 341 feet. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: At our inn.

Morning: After a transfer to the start of our walk, we’ll make our way on foot to Bungo Ono, a rural district with such a wealth of geologically interesting sites that it has been designated a Geo Park by the Japanese Government. Our first destination will be a shrine overlooking horseshoe-shaped waterfalls that are celebrated as a local deity. Crossing the falls, we’ll join part of the Himuku Kaido, an old highway through the area. Today, it has become a quiet, local road, but the buildings along it and the general ambience radiate the feeling of an older age. Upon arrival at a saké brewery, the owner will join us and explain the brewing process while encouraging us to sample her excellent range of brews. For those who would rather not imbibe, the delicious water, which is drawn up from their well and is an essential ingredient in her products, is also available on tap. From here, we will transfer by our vehicle to a deep gorge where, weather permitting, we may cool our feet in the limpid waters.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals, plus tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Continuing our transfer, we’ll make our way to Beppu, a city with more hot springs than anywhere else in Japan. As such, it takes the crown as the nation’s top onsen destination. While here on foot, we’ll explore the old quarter of Kannawa where onsen literally surround us. Steam emanates from grills in the streets, and above us from towering vents. Locals can be seen throughout the day “to-ing and fro-ing” with towels in hand to the many public baths in the neighborhood. We’ll check into the hotel in the mid-afternoon.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Beppu. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
The Kunisaki Peninsula – Land's End, Kumano Magaibutsu
Kitsuki
B,L,D
Matama Spaland Sansuisou

Activity note: Driving approx. 50 miles; about 2.5 hours. Walking approx. 2.5 miles total; about 3 hours; mostly level paths in Usa Shrine area; lengthy, steep, uneven flight of steps to reach the Kumano Magaibutsu. Total elevation gain of approx. 500 feet. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll transfer to the Oita Prefectural History Museum for an expert-led field trip to see the exhibits, and enjoy a comprehensive introduction to the Kunisaki Peninsula given by a curator. Traveling on, we’ll visit Usa Jingu, one of Japan’s grandest shrines and our next destination. The shrine deifies the protector god of Japan, Hachiman, and was also instrumental in the development of the unique Buddhist culture that developed on the Kunisaki Peninsula.

Lunch: Local restaurant plated meal.

Afternoon: A short vehicle transfer will bring us to the impressive Kumano Magaibutsu, a group of some of the largest Buddha relief carvings in Japan. Despite their commanding presence, they are little known outside of the immediate region. Perhaps the short but steep climb through a deep forest to see them precludes visits by many. The effort, though, is well worth it. Our accommodation is located a short distance away, which we will get to by bus, at a small onsen thermal hot spring resort popular with the locals. We’ll check in upon arrival with some time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: Inn plated meal.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Traditional Life in Rural Japan, Makiodo
Bungo Takada
B,L,D
Farmstay Experience

Activity note: Driving approx. 12 miles; about 1 hour total. Walking approx. 2.5 miles total; country lanes, forest trails; one short, steep, and rocky section. Total elevation gain of approx. 500 feet. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: At the inn.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll take a short transfer and start our morning activity at Makiodo, a treasure house of Buddhist relics saved from some of the temples, which over the centuries have fallen into ruin on Kunisaki. A gentle stroll from here will take us through Tashibu-no-sho, a charming village with some of the most picturesque countryside found in Japan. Along the way, we’ll come across stone and wooden Buddhist statues perched in caves overlooking farmland scenery that seems to have changed little since Kunisaki’s origins as a Buddhist center some 1,200 years ago. We’ll then transfer to Bungo-takada and go for a stroll with our Group Leader around the small town, which has a pleasant post-war period charm.

Lunch: Local restaurant plated meal.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we will be divided into small groups to meet local families, whom we will be staying with in their homes until tomorrow morning. This is always a great opportunity for getting to know some local people and really learning through exposure to Japanese culture first hand.

Dinner: At home with your hosts.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Fuki-ji Temple – A National Treasure
Bungo Takada
B,L,D
Ryoan Fuki no To

Activity note: Driving approx. 10 miles; about 1/2 hour total. Walking approx. 4 miles total; about 2.5 hours; country lanes, forest trails, occasionally steep for short sections. Total elevation gain of approx. 750 feet. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: At home with your hosts.

Morning: Rendezvousing in the mid-morning, we’ll gather with our host families in Bungo-Takada for a farewell ceremony, after which we’ll transfer back to Tashibu-no-Sho to continue our countryside walking.

Lunch: At a rural café restaurant, we’ll have buffet meals with tea and water.

Afternoon: Our winding path will take us through forests, over a low mountain ridge, along the edges of paddy fields and past the carefully tended gardens of the local farm houses before we eventually end up at our accommodation for tonight in the hamlet of Fuki. With a secluded location adjacent to Kyushu's oldest wooden building (also a designated national treasure), Fuki-ji Temple, there are few more tranquil places in Japan to pass the time, and we will spend two nights here.

Dinner: At the inn, we’ll have plated meals with tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Ancient Religion in Rural Japan, Meditation, Kunisaki
Bungo Takada
B,L,D
Ryoan Fuki no To

Activity note: Pre-breakfast meditation in Amida Hall of Fuki-ji Temple. Walking approx. 4.5 miles total; about 3 hours; mostly country lanes and uneven forest trails, some sections of stone steps, can be slippery in damp conditions. Total elevation gain of approx. 1,770 feet. Driving approx. 35 miles; about 2.5 hours total. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: Inn plated meal.

Morning: Before breakfast, for those who wish, morning meditation will take place in the Amida Hall of Fuki-ji next door to our accommodation. This is a unique opportunity and strongly recommended. In the event of inclement weather, we will have our meditation in a different temple building. After breakfast, we’ll then return to Fuki-ji Temple, immediately adjacent to our accommodation, for a visit. Its main building is a simple, refined wooden structure and, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful in Japan. We’ll soak up the serene atmosphere here before transferring to Coton-mura, a lakeside park, where we begin our hike today. Our walk will take us past the dam holding back the lake, through forest and a quiet hamlet, which is followed by a climb up and around the side of Yayama, an imposing tent-shaped mountain, and finally to Choan-ji, which was once the most powerful temple in Kunisaki. A castle once dominated the area high above on Mt. Yayama, the well-tended garden is also renowned in the area for its flowers, which bloom throughout the year, as well as autumn leaves. We’ll then head next door to make a quick visit at Tennen-ji Temple. The last resident priest has long gone but the locals maintain the thatched main building that is built into the side of a high cliff.

Lunch: Local restaurant plated meal.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will board the bus again, and head to Itsutsu-ji Fudo, a small temple structure set into the side of a giant rock outcrop. On a clear day, from here we’ll be able to enjoy views across Kunisaki to the Seto Inland Sea and beyond to Honshu and Shikoku, respectively Japan’s first and fourth main islands. Next we transfer by vehicle to Imi, an attractive, little port town known for its growing population of artists. Upon arrival here, we’ll take time to explore the quiet streets and visit a sake brewer’s house, which has been lovingly restored to serve as a gallery and café. We’ll then return to our accommodation at Fuki-ji.

Dinner: Inn plated meal.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
12
Kitsuki, Castle Town
Yufuin
B,L,D
Enokiya Ryokan

Activity note: Driving about 40 miles; approx. 2.5 hours. Walking approx. 3.5 miles total; about 2 hours; country lanes, forest trails with a few short, steep sections. Total elevation gain of approx. 300 feet. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: Inn plated meal.

Morning: Setting out from the inn after check-out, we’ll travel by vehicle a short distance through the valleys at the heart of Kunisaki and get off the vehicle to begin our walk to visit a quiet rural district on old trails, past farmhouses, kitchen gardens, paddy fields and through forests for an intimate exploration of rural life in modern Japan. En route, we will almost inevitably meet some of the local farmers who work on sustaining and reviving the area, and spend some time chatting with them. Carrying on, we’ll head to Kitsuki aboard our vehicle, once the seat of Kunisaki’s daimyo baron. Now a quiet, elegant town, Kitsuki still retains an air of its feudal past. We’ll stroll through its streets, stopping at one at a former samurai residence, where we will learn about, and join in a tea ceremony. We’ll even get to make some ourselves before heading to lunch.

Lunch: Local restaurant plated meal.

Afternoon: After our repast, we’ll transfer via motorcoach to Yufuin, another of Japan’s elegant onsen towns, and check in to our accommodation.

Dinner: Inn plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
The Slopes of Mount Yufu
Yufuin
B,D
Enokiya Ryokan

Activity note: Driving about 8 miles; approx. 1/2 hour total. Walking approx. 6 miles total; about 5 hours; mountain paths, steep and rocky in places. Total elevation gain of approx. 2,620 feet. Be sure to bring some extra, warm clothing – hats, windproof jacket, gloves, etc. – as it is likely to be cold at the higher altitudes. Please see the walking charts and trail data towards the end of the document for more detail.

Breakfast: Inn plated meal.

Morning: Heading out from the inn, we’ll transfer (with a stop en route at a local food shop) to the start of our climb of Mt. Yufu-dake at 5,193 feet and make our ascent throughout the morning. A grand panorama from its slopes across Kyushu to an active volcano and Beppu Bay awaits us, and it makes for a wondrous backdrop during lunch. For those who would like a more leisurely time today, Yufuin has many galleries, cafés, shops and restaurants, and is a pleasant place to relax on one’s own whilst the others climb Mt. Yufu.

Lunch: On the way to the trailhead, we will stop at a store where we will buy our own lunches. This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: After spending some time enjoying the vista from Mt. Yufu's slopes, we’ll then descend and make our way back to Yufuin and our accommodations to enjoy the thermal hot spring bath.

Dinner: We’ll enjoy a celebratory final dinner with tea and water included; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
14
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 10:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Inn plated meal.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.