ISLAND HOPPER TOUR 2019

Island Hopper, a relaxing journey on island time

  Japan is made up of a whopping 6,852 islands. The Island Hopper Tour takes in seven of its 

  very best! Join Craig in exploring the volcanic island of Kyushu, the world heritage listed

  Yakushima Island, and five of the most beautiful islands that the tropical paradise of Okinawa

  has to offer - Ishigaki Island, Taketomi Island, Iriomote Island, Tokashiki Island, and Okinawa

  Main Island. Each island has its own unique history, culture, and dialect.

  Coral reefs, crystal-clear blue seas, white sandy beaches, and beautiful natural scenery combine 

  to form different images on each island. The Island Hopper Tour has been scheduled at this time

  of the year to avoid the extreme heat of mid summer and the typhoon season. It is also the 

  perfect tour to join if you have visited Japan before and would like to experience something a

  little different this time. Join Craig on this fully escorted small group tour and experience a

  relaxing tropical island holiday with a Japanese twist!

Private beach on Tokashiki Island in Okinawa, Japan during our Island Hopper small group tour of Japan.
Churaumi aquarium in Okinawa, Japan during our Island Hopper small group tour of Japan.
Beautiful Sunset Beach on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, Japan.

 Tour Highlights

 Visit seven uniquely different islands on the one tour

 Ride on a water buffalo cart on tranquil Taketomi Island

 Visit Mt. Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan

 Stay on the World Heritage listed island of Yakushima

 Visit the beautiful Ohori Park Japanese Gardens in Fukuoka

 See whale sharks at the world famous Churaumi Aquarium

 Visit Ryukyu Village to learn about traditional Okinawa

 Spend an unforgettable night on beautiful Tokashiki Island

Inclusions

Airport-hotel transfers in Japan

Transport and entry to all places described in the itinerary

Domestic air travel (Fukuoka > Ishigaki Island > Naha)

13 nights accommodation / 13 breakfasts

2 dinners (welcome dinner and farewell dinner)

The services of Craig Campbell (tour guide/interpreter)

*Please note that tour prices do not include airfares to and from Japan

A water buffalo ride through the streets of Taketomi Island in Okinawa.

Island Hopper Tour Itinerary

Day 1 (Oct 20th, 2019) Fukuoka (Kyushu)
Travel to Fukuoka by Sunday October 20th, 2019.

Arrive at Fukuoka Airport by own arrangements.

Craig will meet you at the airport and assist you with the transfer to your hotel in central Fukuoka. Once you have checked in to your hotel you will have free time to relax,

or enjoy some local sightseeing, shopping, dinner, etc.


Day 2 (Oct 21st, 2019) Kumamoto (Kyushu)
Travel from Fukuoka to Kumamoto by shinkansen.
After we arrive in Kumamoto we will make the trip to

Mt. Aso to experience the thrill of looking deep into the crater of an active volcano.

Mt. Aso, located in the center of Kyushu, is the largest

active volcano in Japan. Its ancient caldera ranks among

the world's largest, with a diameter of 25 kilometers and

a circumference of more than 100 kilometers. In the center

of the caldera stand the mountain's active volcanic peaks, including Mt. Nakadake, whose spectacular crater is easily accessible by toll road or ropeway. Not far from the Nakadake crater is a grass-covered plain with grazing

cows and horses. Horse riding is possible from early

March to mid December.
At night we will enjoy a lovely welcome dinner together

at an izakaya (Japanese-style pub).

Day 3 (Oct 22nd, 2019) Yakushima Island
Travel from Kumamoto to Kagoshima by shinkansen.

Once we arrive in Kagoshima we will then transfer to the Rocket hydrofoil for a leisurely two and a half hour cruise

to Yakushima Island. After arriving on Yakushima Island you will have some free time to relax and enjoy the

serenity of this World Heritage listed island.

Yakushima Island is a small, remote sub-tropical island located off the coast of southern Kyushu. It is covered by

an extensive cedar forest that contains some of Japan's

oldest living trees, the most ancient of which may be over 7000 years old. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage

Site in 1993, Yakushima Island has maintained its pristine, otherworldly atmosphere. Its ancient cedar forests, with

their mossy, fairy-tale-like landscapes, inspired the world famous animated film director Hayao Miyazaki, creator of

beloved films like "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Ponyo".

Yakushima Island's unspoiled natural beauty is still the main attraction for the lucky few travelers who make the journey.

Day 4 (Oct 23rd, 2019) Yakushima Island
Spend the day exploring Yakushima Island by private vehicle.

Today we will travel around the entire island stopping by some of its most breathtaking places, including Yakusugi Land, Hirauchi-kaichu Hot Springs, Okawa Waterfall, Yakushima Lighthouse, Nagata-Inakahama Beach, and Shiratani Unsui Gorge.

Our first stop is Yakusugi Land, a nature park populated

by a number of "Yakusugi" (the name given to Yakushima cedar trees that are over 1000 years old). Here we will

enjoy a leisurely 30-minute hike through an ancient forest using a well developed trail. Yakusugi Land is one of the most accessible places on Yakushima Island to see the magnificent ancient cedar trees.

Our next stop is the amazing Hirauchi-kaichu Hot Springs. These natural seaside hot springs are located on a rocky coastline and are only accessible for several hours either

side of low tide. If the timing is right we might even be

able to enjoy a soothing soak in these beautiful seaside

hot springs!

Our next destination is the Okawa Waterfall, the largest waterfall on Yakushima Island. This spectacular waterfall

is 88 meters high, and has been recognized as one of

Japan's "100 best waterfalls".

After taking in the spectacular views from the Yakushima Lighthouse, we will spend some time relaxing on one of Yakushima Island's most beautiful beaches, Nagata-Inakahama Beach. You will have ample free time here to enjoy the beach in your own way.

The last stop on our full day tour of the island is the breathtaking Shiratani Unsui Gorge. This beautiful Gorge

is one of the most popular sightseeing sites on Yakushima Island. This huge recreational forest is one of the best

places to see the island's primeval forest and Yakusugi cedars. The area is carpeted with low-lying vegetation

such as ferns, moss, and many types of flowering plants.

The view of the crystal clear Shiratani River flowing

through this primeval forest is absolutely amazing.

Day 5 (Oct 24th, 2019) Fukuoka (Kyushu)

Travel from Yakushima Island to Kagoshima by hydrofoil,

and then continue on to Fukuoka by shinkansen.
Once we arrive in Fukuoka we will enjoy a leisurely stroll

through Ohori Park, and then visit the beautiful Ohori Park Japanese Gardens and Gokoku Shrine.

At night we will go for a walk together through the famous Nakasu Yatai district.

Day 6 (Oct 25th, 2019) Ishigaki Island

Enjoy some free time in Fukuoka before traveling from Fukuoka to Ishigaki Island by plane (this flight is included

in the price of the tour and will be arranged by us).

Once we arrive on Ishigaki Island you will have some free time to explore this beautiful subtropical island.

Day 7 (Oct 26th, 2019) Ishigaki Island
Enjoy a day trip to beautiful Taketomi Island.

Taketomi Island is located just off the coast of Ishigaki Island, and is the site of a beautifully preserved, traditional Ryukyu village. We will make the short 10-minute trip out to the island by high speed ferry.

Once we arrive on Taketomi Island we will enjoy a water buffalo drawn cart tour of Taketomi Village. This 30-minute tour will take us around the preserved, traditional streets of the village. A local Japanese speaking guide will talk about the island, sing traditional songs, and play Okinawan music as we take in the beauty of this amazing little island. You will notice that the guides rarely offer guidance to the water buffalo who know their routes by heart.

You will then have free time to enjoy this piece of paradise in your own way. Explore the island on foot, or spend the rest of the day relaxing on one of the island's beautiful beaches. Taketomi Island has both sandy and rocky beaches where you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling.

Day 8 (Oct 27th, 2019) Ishigaki Island

Enjoy a full day tour of Ishigaki Island.

Today we will travel around the entire island stopping by some of its most breathtaking places, including Sukuji Beach, Yonehara Beach, Sunset Beach, and the Hirakubo Lighthouse.

Ishigaki Island has beautiful sandy and rocky beaches which are covered in small pieces of bleached coral.

Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, diving, or just laying in the sun. The beaches on Ishigaki Island are open all year round, but are at their best from April to November when the air temperature consistently tops 25 degrees Celsius.

The Hirakubo Lighthouse is one of Ishigaki Island's most popular destinations. The most spectacular views on the island can be found at Ishigaki's northernmost point where the Hirakubo lighthouse is located.


Day 9 (Oct 28th, 2019) Ishigaki Island

Enjoy a day trip to the jungle paradise of Iriomote Island.

After traveling to the island on a leisurely 40-minute ferry ride, you will have the option of spending the day trekking through the jungle in the interior of the island, kayaking in the tropical rivers, or snorkeling or scuba diving on one of the island's spectacular coral reefs.

Iriomote Island is one of Japan's most natural environments, with over 90% of the island covered in thick tropical rain forests and mangrove swamps.

Day 10 (Oct 29th, 2019) Onna Village (Okinawa)
Travel from Ishigaki Island to Naha by plane (this flight is included in the price of the tour and will be arranged by us).

Once we arrive in Naha we will then make the short trip to Onna Village by bus. Once we arrive in Onna Village you will have some free time to explore this beautiful seaside village. Craig knows a great spot to enjoy the magnificent sunsets!


Day 11 (Oct 30th, 2019) Onna Village (Okinawa)

Enjoy a day trip to Ryukyu Village and the Churaumi Aquarium.

In the morning we will visit Ryukyu Village, a small theme park which introduces traditional Okinawan culture in the form of a recreated village from the times of the Ryukyu Kingdom, traditional dances and music, and traditional arts and crafts.

In the afternoon we will travel north to the world famous Churaumi Aquarium. This aquarium is widely considered to be the best in Japan. It is one of only a few aquariums in the

world that keeps whale sharks in captivity. In addition to the magnificent whale sharks, you can also see a wide variety of other local sea life, including manatees, sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins.

 
Day 12 (Oct 31st, 2019) Tokashiki Island
 

Travel from Onna to Naha by bus, and then on to pristine Tokashiki Island by marine liner.

Once we arrive on the beautiful island of Tokashiki you will have free time to relax and enjoy this tropical paradise. Tokashiki Island is the largest of the Kerama Islands and is a popular day trip from Okinawa Main Island. It has several beautiful beaches while its interior is mostly covered by forested hills. There are also a few hiking trails and observation decks with amazing views of the crystal clear ocean and surrounding islands.

Day 13 (Nov 1st, 2019) Naha (Okinawa) 

Enjoy some free time in the morning to swim in the crystal clear ocean, explore the island, or just relax on one of the island's beautiful beaches.

Travel from Tokashiki Island to Naha by marine liner.

Once we arrive in Naha we will visit the majestic Shuri Castle (the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom between 1429 and 1879) and Naha's main entertainment and shopping district of "Kokusai-dori".

At night we will enjoy a lovely farewell dinner together at

a traditional Okinawan izakaya (Japanese-style pub).

Day 14 (Nov 2nd, 2019)

Relax in Naha before transferring to Naha Airport by monorail for your return flight.

Depending on your flight time you may be able to enjoy some last minute local sightseeing or shopping in Naha.