- 15 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 15 Dinners
Once home to a major Imperial Japanese base during the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War as well as being the second city after Hiroshima to be hit by an atomic bomb, Nagasaki has a colorful history. Visit the peace memorial for the atomic bomb and the many shrines and temples throughout. Take note of the mix of old and new architecture with international influences from the US, Dutch to Chinese.
Shimokoshikijima is a top geological site with large scenic cliffs along with dinosaur fossils at sites located across the island. Here we have the opportunity to explore Napoleon Rock which stands an impressive 127m tall. Spend time at the Satsumasendai Fossil Exhibition, see the famous three-tiered waterfall, explore dinosaur fossil sites and hear songs played on the traditional instrument called a Gottan.
Kagojima is the easternmost and second-largest of the Sumi Islands belonging to Kagojima Prefecture. Flagged as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International, the island is home to Japanese wood pigeons and Ryukyu robins. Beach hop on the west coast to find pristine white sands and sea turtles, with the opportunity to swim in the clear waters. Explore the network of wide caves at low tide and the fascinating daily operations of the space center.
Walk through UNESCO-listed thousand-year-old cedar forests and view a 25-meter-tall giant cedar tree estimated to be up to 7,200 years old at Yakusugi Land. With a number of walking trails on the island, we may visit some of the many waterfalls as well. The Yakusugi Museum displays the ecology, history, and industry of the forests on Yakujima Island. Here you can learn about the Yakushima cedar trees, the products that come from them, and how they were harvested.
Suwanosejima is one of the Tokara Islands and is home to a population of fewer than 100 people who make their living from agriculture, fishing, and seasonal tourism. The volcano on this island is one of the most active in the world, in a state of near-continuous strombolian-style eruption since 1949. Cruise around the island to view this unique, remote destination.
Amami Oshima is home to rare endemic wildlife including the prefectural Lidth’s Jay bird recognizable by its blue and red plumage and the Amami black rabbit – one of the most primitive species of rabbit alive today. Amami Oshima’s underwater ecosystem is equally as diverse as its shoreside flora and fauna. Enjoy time on the picturesque tropical beaches by swimming, kayaking, and diving. Explore the Kuroshio Forest by kayak and learn of the island’s history at Amani Park.
The ‘island of flowers and limestone caves is a beautiful and peaceful island. Over 300 limestone caves can be found here, where you can discover the natural beauty and mysteries which have spawned many of the legends surrounding these natural treasures. Venture into Shoryudo Cave and be surrounded by twinkling stalactites and stalagmites. Spot abundant marine life alongside numerous species of coral while swimming, snorkeling, and diving in the island’s pristine waters.
Also known as Yoronto and Yoron Island, Yoronjima is the northernmost island in Japan where the Southern Cross constellation can be seen. Part of the Amami Gunto National Park, Yoronjima is famed for its pellucid waters and water sports including diving, swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.
One of the 47 prefectures in Japan, Naha is one of the 160 islands comprising the Okinawa group. Encounter Okinawa’s culture that sets it apart from the other Japanese prefectures, including the local sake: Awamori. Learn of and participate in the rich history here by trying your hand at a traditional Ryukyu Glass workshop, experiencing the 600-year-old practice of Hanhaui textile weaving and visiting one of the oldest distilleries in Okinawa – Zuisen Distillery.
Zami Island, Kerama Island Group
The second largest of the Kerama Islands, Zamami is home to the nationally protected species of Kerama deer, recognizable by their large eyes and a white heart-shaped pattern below their tail. The water clarity here is world-class and the color of the ocean even has its own namesake: ‘Kerama blue’. The underwater scenery is spectacular and lures scuba divers from around the world, though is equally appealing for snorkellers. Visit the observatories on Zamami Island and enjoy magnificent views. Swim, snorkel, scuba dive, and kayak from the pristine beaches of largely undeveloped islands that receive few visitors.
Part of the Okinawa Shoto Island group, Kumejima is known for its numerous unique rock formations and quiet unspoiled natural coastline. The island was once used to produce large amounts of rice due to its abundance of freshwater. Here, we will enjoy water activities in the warm waters and cruise the rocky coastline.
Composed of limestone, this triangular island is one of three islands connected by bridges. Known to be home to some of Japan’s best beaches, it is a great spot for water activities with its unique limestone caves, canyons, and rock formations. It is possible to swim through tunnels, short passageways, and even into a pitch-black dome, where a misty sheet of vapor surrounds you as you pop your head up from the water. Observe the 1600 species of flora on the island on a stroll through the Botanical Garden and walking trails.
Ishigaki, known as ‘the country of poets, the island of songs and the land of dance,’ is an entertainment culture unique to Okinawa. View the majestic manta rays, as Ishigaki is also home to the highest encounters of these ocean giants. Ranked the number one diving destination in Japan for 16 years with high visibility and vibrant coral and marine life, enjoy diving and snorkeling here.
Iriomote and Hateruma
On Iriomote Island, the second largest island in Okinawa, kayak through the mangroves and soak in views of the largely undeveloped island covered in dense jungle. Later, admire the star-filled night sky with the benefit of little light pollution from the Astronomical observation tower on Hateruma Island – the southernmost inhabited island of Japan.
Discover the submerged stone structures of what’s thought to be an ancient underwater city sunk by an earthquake approximately 2,000 years ago. Whale and hammerhead sharks are commonly spotted here. Cruise the coastline to view unique rock formations and learn about the island’s history, culture and language. Climb to the Tindabana outlook where you can gaze at panoramic views of Sonai Village or walk to the monument that marks the westernmost point of Japan.