Pottery, Bamboo, Textiles in Northern Kyushu

Itinerary

The following schedule is subject to change in accordance with the circumstances of our lodgings, transportation, local events and hosts. We will send participants the finalized itinerary one month in advance of the departure date.

Day 1. Arrive in Oita Airport
Arrive in Oita Airport. Participants flying on our designated flight will be greeted by our tour representative and transferred to the hotel. As particpants are arriving at diffrent times, no activities are planned for this day.

Day 2. Kitsuki
In the morning, we will have a walking tour of Kitsuki, a small quiet castle town. We will visit the History Museum, Samurai houses and an old tea shop. Our lunch will be local specialties
at a craft shop/restaurant. In the afternoon, we will see a traditional and modern music and dance performed by a traveling troupe. (B)(L)(D)

Day 3. Kitsuki – Usa – Bungo Takada - Kitsuki
Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita was once an important center of Buddhism and Shintoism. In the morning, we will take the local train to visit historic Usa shrine founded in the early 8th century. In the afternoon, we will explore the “Showa-era town” in Bungo Takada, which preserves nostalgic buildings and shops in the 60’s and 70’s. (Showa is the period when Emperor Hirohito reigned from 1926- 1989). Our dinner will be fresh local sashimi over sushi rice and grilled seafood at a seafood market in Kitsuki. (B)(L)(D) )

Day 4. Kitsuki - Beppu - Onta - Hita
In the morning, we will depart for Hita. Along the way, we will stop in Beppu and visit the Traditional Bamboo Craft Museum and a bamboo specialty store.

In the afternoon, we'll visit Onta, a quiet pottery hamlet nestled deep in the mountains. For generations, the craftsmen of Onta have relied solely on the abundance of local natural resources to produce honest and simple pottery. The traditional techniques and unpretentious beauty of Onta potteries were celebrated by the artist-craftsmen of the Mingei (Folkcraft) movement. (B)(L)

Day 5. Hita
We will have a walking tour of Hita in the morning. We will visit Koto-Kan Gallery, which exhibits old pottery and Kasuri (Ikat) textiles used in the daily lives of the common people in the Hita area. Next, we will stroll through the Mameta-machi district, which retains the atmosphere of an old town. For lunch, we will enjoy soba, (buckwheat) noodle. (B)(L)

Day 6. Hita - Oyama - Tsuetate
We will leave our suitcase at our hotel and carry overnight bag for a one-night- two-day trip. In the morning, we will visit Oyama, a small farm known for cooperative agriculture. We will visit farmers and have lunch with them.

In the late afternoon, we will head for Tsuetate hotspring town. We will stay at a beautiful Japanese inn with outdoor, private baths overlooking the river and lush mountains. Our dinner will be an authentic full-course Kaiseki dinner. At night, we will slip between the sheets of a soft futon, totally immersed in the Japanese lifestyle. (B)(L)(D)

Day 7. Tsuetate - -Hita

We will stop by Kono-Hana Garten, Oyama’s local specialty store. We will arrive in Hita in the early afternoon to enjoy the Chikugo River Festival which celebrates the opening of trout fishing. Fireworks at night (7:45 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.) (B)

Day 8. Hita - Hirokawa-cho - Karatsu
In the morning, we'll visit Hirokawa-cho, Japan's foremost producer of kasuri textiles. We'll be guided through family-run factories to see the techniques of indigo dyeing, hand-weaving, and modern mechanized weaving. Our lunch is Kurume Ramen and pot-stickers, local specialties. Late in the afternoon, we will arrive in Karatsu, a charming town by the Sea of Genkai. (B)(L)

Day 9. Karatsu
In the morning, we will have a walking tour of Karatsu, including an elaborate parade floats museum, a historic shrine, and produce market. (B)

Day 10. Karatsu - Okawachi-yama - Karatsu
Breakfast will be served at Kawashima Tofu, a prominent tofu store/restaurant. Their Zaru-dofu (Tofu in basket) was once featured in the New Yorker. In the morning, we will ride a train to visit Okawachiyama, a little village surrounded by soaring mountains and rocks. This is the place where Arita and Imari wares have been produced for over three centuries. You can browse, shop or observe the work of artisans. You can also take a walk along the river and hillside, and visit a cemetery of many unknown Korean artisans who were brought from Korea to produce fine ceramics in the late 16th century. We will come back to Karatsu in the mid afternoon. (B)(L)

Day 11. Karatsu - Hato Misaki
Today, we will visit a Karatsu potter at his home/studio. In the late afternoon, carrying overnight bag, we will visit Hato Misaki Cape, known for its splendid ocean view and fresh seafood. (B)(D)

Day 12. Hato Misaki- Karatsu
In the morning, we will visit a morning market for fish and produce. We will return to Karatsu in the afternoon. In the evening, we'll have our final group meal (B)(D)

Day 13. Karatsu - Fukuoka Airport
Transfer to the Fukuoka Airport by Airport Bus. The bus will arrive at Fukuoka Airport around 10:00 a.m. The tour disbands at the airport. (B)