Aso Nature Trek and Hot Spring Tour

Marvel at the wonders of Japanese nature and enjoy some hands-on cultural experiences in the Aso region of Kumamoto Prefecture

3 days
Kumamoto

Highlights

  • Enjoy a tour and tasting experience at the famous Marukichi Soy Sauce Factory and a Reizan Sake Brewery
  • Feast on delicious Wagyu beef
  • Explore Kumamoto’s best onsen (hot spring) towns. Try your hand at cooking local produce over natural hot spring steam

Description

This Nature Trek and Hot Spring Tour is a fully guided tour suitable for anyone who can walk for more than 1 to 3 hours. This is a 3 day, 2 night tour. It will take you on the geographical highlights of Aso, a historical city in Kumamoto Prefecture, located in the region of Kyushu.

Details

A stunning area surrounding the breathtaking Mount Aso and dotted with charming rural villages that showcase the best of traditional Japanese life, Aso seems like the ideal, tranquil location. Yet, underneath the area’s beauty lies a volatile force that cannot be tamed. Dotted with volcanic mountains, Kumamoto Prefecture has earned the nickname of ‘Hi No Kuni’, or “the land of fire”. Join us for a short walking tour, exploring the best and most spectacular of Aso’s nature spots, while also taking the time to experience the relaxing nature of the area’s renowned hot springs and sampling delicious local cuisine.

Itinerary:

Day One - Culture and Local Produce Tour
Meeting at Kumamoto Station at 8am, the group will then travel to Nishinomiya Shrine via microbus before heading to Minamiaso Village. From Nishinomiya Shrine we will venture in the direction of Yasaka Shrine for a 90 minute walk. Among the Kami (gods or deities) worshipped at Nishinomiya Shrine are the Daimyojin – the “great shining deities” of Aso, Kosa and Takaki. Today’s lunch will be at a soba restaurant in Minamiaso Village, followed by a tour of nearby Takamori. We will then visit Hizenya, a craft-shop famous for producing Marukichi Soy Sauce and Miso. After that, it’s time for some sake sampling at Reizan, one of Kumamoto’s iconic sake (rice wine) breweries.

Day Two - Nature Hike Tour
Today we will depart for Ubuyama, a village located in the northeast portion of the Aso Caldera. Our first stop will be Higotai Park, famed for its collection of flowers that includes Higotai, which bloom in the summer. From there we will then walk on to Ogi Tanada, a picturesque rice terrace that is highly esteemed in Japan. After stopping for lunch, we will then continue to explore Ubuyama’s natural attractions, such as the Ikeyama Fountainhead – one of the 100 most exquisite and well-maintained water sources in Japan. After Ikeyama Fountainhead we will walk to Ikeyama Farm, home of Aka Ushi – a breed of small Wagyu beef cattle known for its red colouring, tenderness and lack of excess fat. There will be ample opportunity to learn more about the breed at the farm. In the afternoon, we will enjoy a performance of Kagura at Namino Kaguragaen. Kagura is the oldest performance art in Japanese culture, and vibrantly depicts tales of Japanese mythology. You will also have the chance to explore the Kagura-den, a building within a Shinto Shrine where Kagura is performed for Kami during ceremonies.

Day Three - Kumamoto Hot Springs and Cooking Tour
Today you will be able to experience the relaxing and refreshing Japanese custom of bathing in an onsen (hot spring). First we will travel to Tsuetate Onsen Town, located in the mountains that straddle Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures. Here, steam dances between the Japanese inns and ships. The murmuring of its namesake, the Tsuetate River, adds to the appeal of this attractive onsen town while the narrow back allies carry a nostalgic atmosphere and have been carefully maintained since the 1930s. These allies are referred to as ‘Sedoya’, which means “the house behind the other house”. Next it’s time to visit Waita Onsen Village, where six hot springs can be found located at the base of the 1,500 meter tall Mount Waita, overlooking the Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures. After lunch, we will head to the town of Oguni to visit the Horai Yoshimi Shrine and then take a trek to Nabegataki Falls. Horai Yoshimi Shrine is largely known for its 700 year old towering twin cedars, while the Nabegataki Falls boast a 20 meter (65.6 feet) wide curtain of cascading water.
There is even an accessible spacious area behind the falls, making this an ideal location for photography. The final onsen of the day will be found at Kurokawa Onsen, a village with an assortment of some 25 different hot springs and outdoor baths. Food stands, Japanese inns and souvenir shops line the streets of this village, creating a charming atmosphere that makes for the perfect escape from urban
life.

Important information

Included in price

  • Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Accommodation

Not included

  • Walking equipment

Know before you book

  • You should be able to carry your personal belongings and walk for up to an hour and also be able to climb stairs. You should be able to walk around 15-25 km per day. Walks may include some hills, but not over extended periods of time. Walks range from 3 to 5 hours per day.
  • Walking is on well-made paths and flat earth surfaces.
  • For cancellations more than one calendar month before the Tour start date, only the deposit will be forfeited.
  • For cancellations from one calendar month up to and including 15 calendar days before the Tour start date, 60% of the total amount will be forfeited.
  •  For cancellations from 14 calendar days up to and including 8 calendar days before the Tour start date, 80% of the total invoice amount will be forfeited
  • For cancellations within 7 days of the Tour start date, 100% of the total invoice amount will be forfeited.
  • If you are interested in departure dates other then those designated, feel free to contact us at tours@japantravel.com for further advice 

What you need to bring

  • Walking equipment if required

Meeting point

Kumamoto Station

View Directions

Organised by Heartland Japan

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