Join us on a spectacular walking safari at the remote Kunisaki Peninsula on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu.
Iain Allan, the Managing Director and founder of Tropical Ice wrote the following:
The first time my ears pricked up at the mention of Japan was whilst watching David Attenborough’s amazing Planet Earth series. It was when he said that the island of Japan was 70% wilderness that I realized perhaps there was more to this country than I had hitherto imagined: grey concrete, pitifully clean, sterile cities teeming with people. To say that I was pleasantly surprised when I visited late in 2017 doesn’t come close to the impact it had on me.
As always, we at Tropical Ice search for places far away from the over frequented tourist trails; we have no problem meeting local tourists in countries we visit – for us they are an integral part of the experience – but, for the most part we travel to get away from western and (more recently) far eastern package tours. The region we settled on was a remote corner of the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, and what we saw was so much more than we had expected.
The Kunisaki Peninsula is located on the north-eastern corner of Kyushu. It is a range of low-lying mountains and hills overlooking the Seto Inland Sea. These hills are the setting for some of the most ancient pilgrimage trails created by monks over 1,000 years ago. One of the things which appealed to us about Kunisaki Peninsula is that it isn’t easily reached from the outside world, public transport has yet to find it.
The villages and hamlets are pristine, trapped in a beautiful time warp, rural Japan at its best.
We begin our journey in the old city of Kyoto where we’ll spend two days roaming the spectacular sites. A great way to recover from jet lag prior to the walking safari. We’ll then board the bullet train to the charming city of Fukuoka, the jumping off point for the Kunisaki Peninsula.
This isn’t a walking safari where we begin at point A and end at point B ten day’s later. Instead, we stay every night at a traditional Japanese inn, and hike each day from a different base. The hiking is moderate to difficult (and the more difficult sections can be avoided), but experienced hikers will thoroughly enjoy these ancient trails, which are now largely forgotten. The walking is through sleepy hamlets, verdant forests, and along craggy ridges with stunning views. Our route passes many Buddha statues, large and small, and the caves where monks once found shelter. We have scheduled our departure at a time when the fall colours will be sublime!
As with all Tropical Ice safaris, we pay particular attention to our food, and on this trip you will experience traditional food at its best. If your wish is to see “old Japan” and a world of hermits, monks and Shoguns…and to experience it all on foot, this could be the safari for you.