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Kunisaki and Yufuin Walk

Duration

5 Days, 4 Nights

Physical Level

Start / Finish

Fukuoka / Yufuin

Technical Level

A walking tour following paths once trod by monks in Kyushu.

Guided walking exploration, a gentler and shorter version of Walk Japan’s Kunisaki Trek tour. Easy walks through beautiful rural scenery, dotted with the relics of a once dominant Buddhist society; charming local inns, farmhouse cuisine, onsen hot spring baths.

March, April, May, June, September, October, November & December.

The Kunisaki & Yufuin Walk is a fully guided tour suitable for reasonably fit people who can walk comfortably for 3 hours a day. The route is mainly on forest trails, which are uneven underfoot, and includes some short, steep climbs. Please read more on Tour Levels here.

 

A 5 day, 4 night tour starting at Fukuoka’s Hakata Station and finishing at Yufuin. Accommodation is in Japanese inns with onsen thermal hot spring baths. The maximum group size for this tour is 12 persons. We have no minimum size. If we accept a booking we guarantee to run the tour.

 

This short-stay, fully-guided tour provides an introduction to Kunisaki Peninsula, one of Japan’s most beautiful yet least known areas, and nearby Yufuin, one of Japan’s elegant onsen thermal hot spring resorts. Our route follows in the footsteps of monks, who have walked through the mountains of the Peninsula for more than 1,200 years. Any experienced trekker will thoroughly enjoy the ancient trails, which provide excellent walking through sleepy hamlets, verdant forests, along craggy ridges and tower over the surrounding myriad valleys. En route we pass many stone Buddha statues, large and small, and sometimes caves where monks once found shelter and meditated. As with all our tours, on the Kunisaki & Yufuin Walk you will be immersed in Japanese culture of the past and present, enjoy Japanese cooking at its best, luxuriate in hot springs and simply gaze at the beautiful scenery. This, of course, all with expert guidance of the Walk Japan tour leader.

 

The tour starts at 14:30 at Fukuoka’s Hakata Station, where the Walk Japan tour meets the group. An express train whisks us quickly into the rural interior of Kyushu and the Kunisaki Peninsula, a beautiful and seemingly forgotten area of Japan. We stay on the peninsula for three nights at two different, delightful inns, both with onsen thermal hot spring baths. An added bonus at one is the adjacent Fuki-ji temple, which has one of Japan’s most beautiful temple structures. Besides enjoying reviving dips in our accommodation's onsen, the meals our inn provides are a feast of locally sourced ingredients contrived into dishes of delicacy and great flavours.

 

This tour provides a gentle walking introduction to Kunisaki: we visit Usa Jingu, one of the greatest but least known of Japan’s grand shrines; walk through Tashibu, a lovely village in a bucolic setting; make a short but steep climb to two ancient Buddha relief carvings on the face of a towering cliff. We also climb to Itsutsuji-Fudo, the inner sanctum and one of the few structures to remain of a once important and powerful temple. As we climb, great views open up of the surrounding mountains and valleys and on a clear day we can see the Seto Inland Sea, the route by which Buddhism first arrived in Kunisaki from China, and Japan’s main island, Honshu. Other walks take us through Walk Japan’s Community Project, which is successfully helping revive a local rural community, and to Kitsuki, a quiet town, once the seat of the local samurai baron.

 

Price: From JPY224,000 (JPY = Japanese Yen) per person. Single accommodation is available on a limited basis at JPY12,000. Please contact us for further details.Please use the currency converter on the right-hand side of this page to find the current rate in your local currency. See Booking Conditions.

 

What is included and not included? A fully guided tour including local travel from tour meeting point at Hakata Station in Fukuoka to tour finish point in Yufuin; accommodation for 4 nights; 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 4 evening meals; baggage transfers and entrance fees. Not included are flights; transport to the tour meeting point at Hakata Station in Fukuoka and from tour finish point in Yufuin; and drinks.

 

Please see the Itinerary for the tour and Tour Dates for dates and availability by clicking on the buttons found further up this page.

Please contact Walk Japan for more information and to book this tour.

Please visit the Custom Tours page to find out about arranging Walk Japan tours tailored to your specific requirements.

The itinerary for the Kunisaki & Yufuin Walk is ground only beginning in Fukuoka and ending in Yufuin. After receiving the booking form and deposit we will provide detailed instructions for travelling to the meeting point in Fukuoka.

 

Day 1 Fukuoka - Yamaga


The tour group meets in Fukuoka’s Hakata Station at 2:30pm before travelling by the award-winning Sonic express train for a one-and-half-hour journey to Yanagigaura. A short transfer by vehicle takes us through the verdant, rural countryside of the edge of the Peninsula to our accommodation, a small onsen thermal hot spring resort popular with the locals.

 

The onsen baths are a lovely way to relax before we enjoy together our first meal, Japanese cuisine with a modern twist, in chic surroundings.

 

Accommodation: Small resort with onsen thermal hot spring baths.
Meals: Dinner provided.
Total walking: N/A.

 

Day 2 Yamaga - Makiodo - Usa - Fuki-ji


For those awake early enough, a dip in the onsen baths is a great way to start the day. Breakfast is followed by a short vehicle transfer to the impressive Kumano Magaibutsu. Although the largest Buddha relief carvings in Japan, 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.

 

Nearby is Makiodo, a rather basic temple building that has become 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 takes us through Tashibu-no-sho, a charming village with some of the most picturesque countryside found in Japan. Along the way we 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 centre some 1,200 years ago.

 

The rural temples we first visit today are in striking contrast to the scale and opulence of 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 distinctively different Buddhism found on Kunisaki.

 

We end the day at a Japanese inn set in a delightful, rural hamlet and adjacent to Fuki-ji, a temple that includes one of the simplest and most beautiful Buddhist structures in Japan. Our inn has onsen baths to relax in before dinner. We enjoy our evening meal, a feast of local fish and farm produce, in our inn. We stay here for the next two nights.

 

Accommodation: Japanese inn with onsen thermal hot spring baths.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Total walking: 3 hours walking of approx. 7km (4.3miles)

 

 

Day 3 Fukiji - Coton-mura - Kyu-Sento-ji - Fukiji


Breakfast is followed by a visit to Fuki-ji temple, immediately adjacent to our accommodation. Its main building is a simple, refined wooden structure and, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful in Japan. We soak up the serene atmosphere here before transferring to Coton-mura, a lakeside park, where we begin our hike today.

 

Our walk takes 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 to Choan-ji, which was once the most powerful temple in Kunisaki. A castle once dominated the area high above on Mt. Yayama, and the well-tended garden is renowned in the area for its flowers, which bloom throughout the year, as well as autumn leaves.

 

After lunch, a quick visit to 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.
 

We continue to the grounds of Kyu-Sento-ji, a once-powerful temple. Little now remains of the temple buildings but stone Buddha statues, impressive stone walls and hundreds of monks’ gravestones allude to the long-disappeared, religious community. The gravestones include Ninmon’s, the legendary monk reputed to have first brought Buddhism to Kunisaki over 1,200 years ago. We climb to Itsutsu-ji Fudo, a small temple structure set into the side of a giant rock outcrop. On a clear day, from here we 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. We take time here 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 return to our accommodation at Fuki-ji for a second night.

 

Accommodation: Japanese inn with onsen thermal hot spring baths.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Total walking: 3.5 hours walking of approx. 7km (4.3 miles).

 

Day 4 Fuki-ji - Ota - Kitsuki - Yufuin


This morning we travel by vehicle a short distance through valleys at the heart of Kunisaki to visit Ota and Walk Japan’s Community Project. We stroll through a delightful, 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 Walk Japan works closely with in sustaining and reviving the area, and spend some time chatting with them. Please read more about our Project here.

 

We then set off for Kitsuki, once the seat of Kunisaki’s daimyo baron. Now a quiet, elegant town, Kitsuki still retains an air of its feudal past. We stroll through its streets to a lovely and rare bukke-yashiki, a thatched-roofed building that was once the residence of a senior samurai aide to the daimyo.

 

After lunch, we also visit some long-established emporiums including a tea shop, miso soya bean paste manufacturers and a sake brewer. At each we have an opportunity to sample the wares.

 

Finally, we transfer to Yufuin, one of Japan’s elegant onsen towns. We spend our last night together here in a modern ryokan inn. There may not be much time to dip in our inn’s onsen thermal hot springs before dinner – the Japanese enjoy dinner earlier rather than later – but there is plenty of time to do so later as they are open throughout the night. A refined bar nearby provides a pleasant environment for an evening nightcap.

 

Accommodation: Japanese inn with onsen thermal hot spring baths.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Total walking: 2 hours walking of approx. 5.5km (3.4 miles).

 

Day 5 Yufuin


The tour finishes in Yufuin after breakfast but you may want to spend some time here exploring on your own. Nestled into the lee of Mt. Yufu-dake, the town with its elegant cafes and shops, provides a pleasant way to wind down before departure. Travel back to Hakata Station or Fukuoka Airport by direct express coach or onward travel elsewhere in Japan by air and rail is easily accomplished. Your Walk Japan Tour Leader will assist in the purchase of your tickets and make sure you know what to do to complete your journey without a problem.

 

Accommodation: N/A.
Meals: Breakfast included.
Total walking: N/A.

 

This itinerary is subject to change.

 

Please see Tour Dates for scheduled tours and their availability.

Please contact Walk Japan for more information and to book this tour.

Please visit the Custom Tours page to find out about arranging Walk Japan tours tailored to your specific requirements

Map image
The itinerary for the Yufuin & Kunisaki Walk is ground only beginning in Fukuoka and ending in Yufuin.
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The nearest airport to the meeting point of Hakata Station is Fukuoka International Airport, with domestic flights departing frequently from Tokyo and Osaka’s airports. While the group meets at Hakata Station in Fukuoka before transferring to the accommodation, direct access to the accommodation is achievable from Oita Airport. Please contact us for more details.
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FROM FUKUOKA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (FUK)
From Fukuoka International Airport, please either take the City Subway line, which costs about JPY260 and takes approximately 5 minutes. The journey by taxi costs about JPY1,500 per person and takes approximately 15 minutes.
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Tour participants are advised not to book themselves out on an early morning flight at the end of the tour. The earliest bus from Yufuin arrives at Fukuoka at approximately 8.20 am. After receiving the booking and deposit we will provide detailed instructions for travelling to the meeting point, complete with a map of the vicinity of the first night’s accommodation for those travelling directly. Please note that Walk Japan is unable to reserve train tickets, with these being easily purchased on the day or in advance after arrival in Japan.

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