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A trip through the great outdoors in three prefectures of Northern Kyushu 

2nights, 3days Departure from Local Areas(Hakata)

Enjoying mother nature on Mt. Aso-san with one of the largest calderas in the world, and walking in the remote countryside that maintains the traditions and landscape of Japan.

  • 2nights,3days



Hakata -- <JR Kagoshima Main Line Limited Express 75 mins.> -- Kumamoto -- <Hohi Main Line Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 70 mins.> -- Aso -- <40 mins. by bus> -- Asosan-nishi -- <Ropeway 4 mins.> -- [Mt. Naka-dake] -- <Ropeway 4 mins.> -- Asosan-nishi -- <40 mins. by bus> -- Aso -- <Trans-Kyushu Bus 90 mins.> -- [Yufuin]

*The times required with public transportation are approximate.

Mt. Aso-san

Mt. Aso-san is an active volcano with one of the world's largest calderas-18 km east to west, 25 km north to south and 128 km in circumference. The mountains surrounding Mt. Naka-dake rise to 900 m, and the volcano still emits fumes, creating extremely dynamic scenery.

Mt. Aso Ropeway

Take the Mt. Aso Ropeway from Aso-san-Nishi Station to reach the crater of Mt. Naka-dake. You'll enjoy a magnificent view from the ropeway, which is the first one in the world to be built on an active volcano.


On the way to Aso-san-Nishi Station by bus from Aso Station, you will be amazed by the vast 'Kusasenri-ga-hama' meadow that lies in the remains of a huge crater 1 km in diameter. Access to Kusasenri-ga-hama is not restricted in any way, so you are free to enjoy horseback riding or picnicking there. This landscape is also lovely in winter with a silvery, sparkling beauty.


The small town of Yufuin in Oita Prefecture is famous for its hot springs, and as many as 4 million people visit there each year. Great efforts have been made to control estate development and create a town that exists in harmony with nature.

Yufuin is also known as a center for the arts. More than 20 museums and galleries are situated in Yufuin. If you are interested in art, there's plenty to see here.


1st Day



Yufuin -- <Horse-drawn carriage 60 mins.> -- Yufuin -- [Yunotsubo Kaido Street] -- <20 mins. by walk> -- [Lake Kinrin-ko] -- <20 mins. by walk> -- Yufuin -- <Kyudai Main Line Limited Express 75 mins.> -- Hita [Hita-onsen Hot Spring]

Yunotsubo Kaido Street

On Yunotsubo Kaido Street with its lovely areas of greenery extending out from Yufuin Station, there are many attractive shops selling everything from craftworks such as glass products and pottery to food including confectionaries, soy sauce and jam.

You can tour noted spots in a horse-drawn cab or on an English-style classic bus called the Scarborough from in front of the Tourist Information Center. Another good idea is to rent a bicycle. The horse-drawn cab follows a one-hour route around the old stone wall path overlooking Mt. Yufu-dake.

Lake Kinrin-ko

Walk on to Lake Kinrin-ko where a hot spring wells up from the bottom of the lake, and in the early morning particularly from autumn to winter the lake is covered with a mist creating an otherworldly atmosphere.

Yufuin-no-mori train

After spending some relaxation time, visit Hita on the JR Kyudai Honsen line, also known as the Yufu-Kogen line. From the train window you will see forested rural scenery stretching to the horizon. This line is not an electrified track, so the train runs on diesel. If you wish to take a Limited Express, we recommend the 'Yufuin-no-mori' train, with its lavish wood interiors, buffet and salon cars.

Hita-onsen Hot Spring

You stay overnight at Hita-onsen Hot Spring. Hita City in Oita Prefecture is situated at a key point for Kyushu inland traffic. This area was very prosperous during the Edo Period about 200 years ago and the town still retains the atmosphere of those days.

The geography blessed with mountains and rivers is one of the reasons why the area flourished. The timber industry is actively promoted here and good-quality Japanese cedar generally refers to Hita cedar. Trees cut in the mountains used to be loaded on rafts and transported downriver. The woodworking industry making geta (Japanese wooden sandals) or lacquerware using this cedar is still famous today.

Two large rivers flow through the area, and several of the inns offer a riverboat service called Yakata-bune (old-fashioned houseboat). A 2-hour cruise, available even in winter, leaves the dock after 6:00 in the evening, and a lovely dinner is served on the boat.


2nd Day

Hita Mameda Town


Hita -- <by walk or bicycle> -- [Mameda Town][Hirose Museum][Hita Gion Museum][Ukai (cormorant fishing)] -- Hita -- <Kyudai Main Line Limited Express 120 mins.> -- Hakata

*Bicycles can be rented at the Hita City Tourism Association next to Hita Station.

Mameda Area

As you tour the town of Hita, it is easy to picture life as it would have been here 200 years ago. The central area of the town is called Mameda and this is where the public office of the Edo government was established in the old days. The chamberlain merchants who worked in this office handling government funds were very successful with their money lending, etc. and the town flourished.

Hina Dolls

We can get some idea of the town's prosperity through the luxurious heirloom Hina dolls. In Japan, March 3rd is the Doll Festival or Peach Blossom Festival, a day to pray for girls' sound growth and happiness. To celebrate this festival, a pair of dolls portraying the wedding ceremony of an emperor and empress is put on display. These are the Hina dolls. In many cases, the dolls are displayed on a decorative terrace of shelves like a staircase, with other dolls representing servants, flowers and food.

From mid-February to the end of March every year, carefully preserved Hina dolls are displayed at about 20 places in the town. However, you can also see Hina dolls anytime at the 'Hirose Shiryokan', a museum built in the former warehouse of a business tycoon of the time.

Hita Gion Festival

On the Saturday and Sunday following the 20th of July, the grand "Hita Gion Festival" is held in Hita every year. Flamboyant Yamahoko floats pass through the town, and the festivities are on the same scale as the famous Gion Festival in Kyoto. You can also view the Yamahoko at other times by going to the Hita Gion Yamahoko Kaikan Hall.

Ukai (cormorant fishing)

Another famous feature of Hita is "Ukai (cormorant fishing)", which has been going on here for 400 years. Cormorants are released into the river to catch sweetfish, and the technique demonstrated by a lone fisherman managing from 6 to 8 cormorants is remarkable. The fishing season is from May 20 to the end of October every year. If you are visiting during this time, try one of the many sweetfish dishes prepared by Hita's specialty restaurants.


3rd Day