Skip to content
2023 Food Tour of Kyushu, Japan in Autumn

2023 Food Tour of Kyushu, Japan in Autumn

A gastronomic adventure through the island of Kyushu, fast-becoming Japan’s foodie destination for its fresh produce and culinary tradition and innovation.


13 days

Group size

Min 4

Max 8

Tour Overview

The 2023 Food Tour of Japan in Autumn is one of our most popular tours. The tour takes you away from Japan’s main island and its busy cities to explore the island of Kyushu – Japan’s friendly western island famous for its temperate climate, laid-back rhythm, multicultural heritage and fantastic food. Fukuoka is listed in the Eat category of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023.

This tour includes some JttE Special Experiences. You will visit generations old boutique soy sauce maker and green tea merchant, as well as a cooking lesson from an experienced culinary professional at her own home.

You will dine at a variety of settings from a sophisticated haute-cuisine Michelin-starred restaurant, to night-time yatai street vendors. A visit to Kyushu in fall offers access to rich ceramic traditions, spectacular castles, and stunning natural environment ablaze in the colours of fall foliage. A fantastic culinary vacation to learn about Japan’s history and culture through the lens of its food.

The influence of Kyushu’s long-standing connections with European and Asian traders will also be apparent in the food. The 2023 Food Tour of Japan in Autumn is perfect for travelers to discover Japan that lies beyond the big cities, and for both first-time and repeat visitors seeking a comprehensive introduction to the world of washoku – Japan’s famous UNESCO-listed food.

The tour starts and ends in Kyushu Island. We highly recommend you spend a few more days of your own before or after the group tour to discover endless attractions of Japan in other areas especially if you are the first-time visitors to this country. Journey to the East will be delighted to plan your private itinerary and provide information to suit your interests.

Dates & Prices

2023 Food Tour of Kyushu, Japan in Autumn

Per person twin share:


Single supplement



Day 1: Arrival in Fukuoka

Fukuoka, the 'River City', is the capital of Kyushu. It is the fifth largest city of Japan, very vibrant and cosmopolitan. It has good access with an international airport and a JR Hakata shinkansen station. Journey to the East can offer advice its guests on the best way to get to Fukuoka from where you are.

On your arrival in Fukuoka (whether that’s by rail or air), you will be met by a Journey to the East guide and escorted to your hotel.

After a good night’s sleep, you will be ready to start the first full day of your 2023 Food Tour of Japan in Autumn.

*Many of our guests arrive a day or so early to settle in before the tour starts. We can arrange your additional nights accommodation in the same room as the tour.

Fukuoka (Nishitetsu Solaria Hotel)
No meals
Day 2: Fukuoka

Today you begin your exploration of Fukuoka. With a history going back some 2,000 years, Kyushu’s largest city has traditionally been at the centre of western Japan’s trading contact with its Asian neighbors.

At the walking guided tour of Fukuoka, you will visit;

  • Kushida Shrine, where the vibrant Yamakasa Festival, one of the biggest festivals of Kyushu, is based,
  • Hakata Folk Museum to see the traditional industries and crafts of Hakata (Fukuoka),
  • Kawabata Shopping Arcade, a traditional-style shopping arcade selling local food products and traditional cultural items such as Buddhist alters and knives.

For lunch, "Hakata ramen" noodles are on the menu, arguably the most famous dish of Fukuoka, and we find out how serious the locals are about their ramen!

Tonight, you enjoy a welcome dinner at a Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant – an exquisite multi-course banquet of seasonally sensitive local foods served in a beautiful setting. A very fitting introduction to this 2023 Food Tour of Kyushu, Japan in Autumn!

Fukuoka (Nishitetsu Solaria Hotel)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Dazaifu

Today you visit the magnificent Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, which dates back to the 10th century. The shrine commemorates the life of a famous Kyoto poet-scholar who was exiled to Dazaifu but later deified as the god of literature and scholarship.

We also visit the Kyushu National Museum, particularly noteworthy for its informative overview of Japanese history within the context of the broader Asian region.

JttE Special Experience #1!

This afternoon you will have a chance to learn how to make Japanese food yourself. You will visit a cooking studio housed in a renovated traditional house in Fukuoka’s suburb. Here a creative food expert will passionately pass on recipes of Japanese dishes, which you can recreate back at home.

JttE Special Experience #2!

Dinner tonight is another iconic slice of Hakata food culture – the yatai food cart. These mobile carts roll into the city in the evening and serve up delicious food cooked right in front of you. Seating only 10 people, the relaxed atmosphere, shared conversation, and delicious food make it an unmissable Hakata food experience.

Fukuoka (Nishitetsu Solaria Hotel)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Itoshima

Today you will visit Itoshima, which is fast becoming a foodie haven.

JttE Special Experience #3!

Here you will visit a fourth-generation-owned soy sauce brewery and a salt extraction farm which is producing premium sea salt using Japanese traditional methods. In between, you visit a local farmers’ market to inspect the range of fresh produce available.

Today's lunch is not only specially prepared for our group by local chefs using local ingredients, but also is joined by chefs and farmers talking about their provenance.

Tonight, you will stay at a Japanese style ryokan in the seaside town of Yobuko.

Yobuko (Taiboukaku)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Karatsu

The day starts with an authentic Japanese-style breakfast made up of a nutritional feast of grilled fish, miso soup, rice and pickles!

The first stop this morning is Yobuko Morning Market, one of the Japan's three historical morning markets. Locals catch and sell fresh and dried seafood, especially squid for which Yobuko is famous. That is what you will have for lunch today, the locally caught calamari prepared as tempura.

After lunch, in Karatsu, you will visit;

  • Former Takatori Residence, a beautifully preserved 19th century villa showcasing the magnificent traditional architecture,
  • Hikiyama Exhibition Hall which displays exquisitely decorated floats used in the town’s annual festival, Karatsu Okunchi, designated a festival of national cultural importance, and
  • Kilns of famous Karatsu-yaki potteries, highly sought after by Japanese pottery enthusiasts.

Dinner tonight is at a teppanyaki restaurant with juicy Wagyu beef.

Yobuko (Taiboukaku)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Arita and Imari

Today, you visit some pottery kilns specializing in Arita-yaki, a highly decorated style using various colours, and Imari-yaki, a classic pottery style, traditionally using blue and white hues.

With its elaborate designs and influence from Chinese and Korean potters, Kyushu porcelain became highly sought after and popular both in Japan as well as Europe. Essential for the proper presentation of Japanese food, the ceramic dish is seen to be as integral a part of the culinary experience as the food itself.

Tonight, you will travel on to your next destination Nagasaki. Nagasaki was the only area open to the rest of the world during Japan’s closed-door period during the 17th and 18th centuries. The area was visited by Dutch, Portuguese and French missionaries, as well as traders from Europe, China, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Nagasaki is also home of one of Japan's largest Chinatowns. Tonight, you enjoy a silver service Chinese dinner with a Nagasaki twist. Another claim to fame of Nagasaki is its night view. You will drive by Inasayama Outlook after dinner, on the way back to your hotel.

Nagasaki (Hotel New Nagasaki)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Nagasaki

JttE Special Experience #4!
Nagasaki has one of the largest catch of fish in Japan and today we start with a local fishmonger. Here you learn about the local fish trade and see how delicate slices of sashimi are prepared for Nagasaki’s restaurants – you will have the chance to taste freshly prepared sashimi right in front of you by the staff.

You will also visit Glover Garden, where you can tour the Meiji-era residences of European settlers.  Walk past Oura Catholic Church, Japan’s oldest wooden church, which was built by French missionaries in 1865. It remains a symbol of Nagasaki’s long connection with Europe.

Lunch today is at a restaurant specializing in Shippoku cuisine, a unique Nagasaki cuisine combining Japanese, Chinese and local foods.

After lunch you have free afternoon and evening. Nagasaki has so much history and cultures. Enjoy the city in your way.

Nagasaki (Hotel New Nagasaki)
Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8: Nagasaki - Unzen

No trip to Nagasaki is complete without a visit to the Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum which mark the events of that tragic day in August 1945.

After the lunch, your minibus will take you to your next destination, Unzen on the Shimabara Peninsula.

At Unzen, a guided walk through Unzen’s national park is where you can see active geothermal geysers and mud pools. You’ll see how man has harnessed nature’s power to create the heavenly hot springs experience tonight.

At your hotel tonight enjoy the French style course meal in a historical dining room with a view of the geothermal park.

Unzen (Unzen Kyushu Hotel)
Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Unzen and Shimabara

The ropeway ride up Mt Unzen will reveal spectacular fall foliage. We then visit Mt Unzen Disaster Memorial Hall, a unique, high-tech museum which vividly captures the 1991 eruption of Mt Unzen.

The last stop on the peninsula is Shimabara Castle, a five-storied feudal-era castle on a hilltop, to learn about Kyushu’s early samurai clans as well as the fascinating history of the Christian rebellion in the 17th century.

In the late afternoon, we board a car ferry and cross to Kumamoto City.

JttE Special Experience #5!
Dinner tonight is at a Japanese Italian fusion style restaurant, where we meet the local Japanese chef who is famous nationwide for his creative, beautifully presented dishes and the work he does to revive and promote heritage Kumamoto vegetables which were slowly disappearing from use.

Kumamoto (Hotel Nikko Kumamoto)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Kumamoto

You spend a day in the city of Kumamoto, in the middle of Kyushu.

The first stop is a symbol of the city, Kumamoto Castle. Originally built in 1607, it was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2016. You will have a rare chance of witnessing its completed restoration work. You will also visit Kumamoto's sublime Suizenji Japanese Garden this morning.

This afternoon and the evening are free for you to explore the city at your own pace. Kumamoto is a great place for shopping as well as trying many different styles of food from local cuisine to modern western style restaurants. Why not try an izakaya, casual Japanese style eatery, where you can taste many different small dishes (like tapas). Our guide will always assist our guests to choose what to do and eat.

Kumamoto (Hotel Nikko Kumamoto)
Day 11: Aso

This morning, you head through some of the most scenic parts of Kyushu Island, the Mt Aso region.

Mt Aso is one of the world’s largest calderas, and volcanic activity over the last 300,000 years has created a landscape which is visually striking: craggy volcanic peaks, dense forests, and lush grasslands. We will take a short helicopter ride to view the great crater from the sky. We then stop at a local Kuju Winery for a tasting and lunch.

Tonight, we will stay at a hotel atop the great expanse of central Kyushu area. This will be the last chance to experience an onsen on this trip.

Dinner will be a kaiseki banquet at your hotel.

Senomoto Onsen (Senomoto Kogen Hotel)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12: Yame

A trip to Yame district and surrounds is on the agenda today. Kyushu’s Yame district is one of Japan’s leading green tea producing areas.

JttE Special Experience #6!

You visit a centuries-old tea merchant and be hosted by its fourteenth-generation owner to learn about the different varieties of green tea and how to brew the perfect cup of gyokuro (highest quality green tea).

Later, we taste-test another famous Japanese beverage – sake. At a visit to an award-winning local sake brewer, and a personal tour by the brewery staff will reveal the end-to-end processes of sake production – a special experience to engage in first-hand and ask as many questions as you like.

Although the 2023 Food Tour of Kyushu, Japan in Autumn is coming to an end the farewell dinner tonight is truly something special.

Back in Fukuoka, you will have an exquisite sushi banquet. It will bring together all the elements of Kyushu food culture discovered along your journey – from its seas, mountains, rivers, and plains – reaffirming the fantastically diverse nature of its food and geography.

Fukuoka (Nishitetsu Solaria Hotel)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13: Bon Voyage

This morning, you will check out of your hotel after breakfast and your 2023 Autumn Food Tour of Kyushu, Japan in Autumn concludes.

You can fly out from Fukuoka, or return by air or train to the international airports in Tokyo or Osaka. Perhaps you might like to linger in Japan for a little longer. We will be delighted to plan your personal post-tour extension to show you a different part of Japan. Please see our Model Extension Itineraries for inspiration.

Note: The cost of an escorted transfer to your departure airport is not included in our Small Group Tours as we found many guests choose to stay in Japan a bit longer, but we will be happy to arrange your transfer to next destination or to exit airport. Please see our FAQ for more details.


Accommodation listed in itineraries at the time of publishing is an indicative choice only and we may select a similar alternative.



  • 12 nights accommodation (including traditional inns)
  • 12 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 9 dinners
  • Airport meet & greet and hotel transfer by public transport on arrival
  • All local transport mentioned in the itinerary
  • Locally licensed English speaking tour guides
  • All cultural activities and entry fees included in itinerary


  • International and domestic airfare (unless otherwise stated)
  • Transfer on the last day
  • Travel insurance
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Tips and gratuities (not routinely expected in Japan)
  • Transport during free time
  • Personal expenses (laundry, internet, telephone, coin lockers etc.)
  • Visa (if required)

Have a question about this tour? Get in touch with our staff directly.