KYUSHU PREMIUM: kyushu with Hiroko 2019, November 3-15:

This is the second Kyushu tour to be offered and conducted by Hiroko; This exclusive tour takes place in one of the most important culinary regions, Kyushu.

Please enjoy reading the itinerary described in this document – the content of itinerary of 2019 tour is the improved version of 2018 tour.  If you have any questions, call me or text me.  There is an early bird discount.  When you send an application and make a deposit by April 12, 2019, you are entitled to $500 discount.  Please reserve your space earlier than later.  Here is the link for Tariff and Application Form.

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Kyushu, the southernmost large island of Japan, is chockfull of incredible interests of so many kinds. In 2017 I did through research of Kyushu; cuisine, natural environment, history, onsen hot springs, geology and people.  I carefully picked the places, each of which highlights the unique characteristics of Kyushu.  All accommodation is unique and refined, including one Relai et Chateau hotel.

Find the Trip Overview and some of the photos at the end of this note (click here).


“Some of you may have heard these Japanese culinary words: kabocha (squash), kara-age (a deep-frying method without batter), tempura (deep-frying method with batter), chawan’mushi (savory egg custard), kasutera (pound cake) just to name a few. These words describe foods and cooking techniques brought from abroad to Kyushu, reflecting the rich history of foreign influence that extend back nearly 1500 years. This unique history of foreign influence is a major part of the fascination of Kyushu. It is very different from that experienced in the usual more familiar tourist precincts of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.”

“Kyushu sits close to China and Southeast Asia. It was, therefore, the window for the introduction to Japan of Asian culture and religion in the earliest years of the first millennium. Kyushu is also the closest sea access to Europe, and it became the window to European civilization, including Christianity, beginning in the early 16th century. The strong influences of these early international contacts remain present everywhere in the island and its culture to this day.”

“Kyushu is well known as hot spring heaven in Japan due to its unique geology at the intersection of two tectonic plates. Active volcanoes, Mt. Aso and Mt. Sakurajima, tell the history of the changing natural and geographic environment of Kyushu. Both the beneficial and the causes of disaster, these volcanoes determine much of Kyushu’s human and natural history. A particular consequence of their presence is natural glory.”

“Kyushu’s Christian history is a story of introduction, prosperity, suppression, persecution and rebirth. We will see this miracle first-hand and explore this complex story at many locations and from many perspectives. What happened in Kyushu is unique in world history.  At this particular time when we live with growing international tensions visiting Nagasaki Atomic Peace Park and Museum will remind us of the horror of atomic weapons and the need for maintaining world peace to preclude their use.”

“You may know that for 250 years beginning in the 17th century Japan was closed to the outside world with only the Dutch occupying a tiny man-made island, Dejima (‘separated island”), just off of Nagasaki. That island compound has been faithfully recreated. It is not Disneyland, but is a living, fascinating and accessible historical site replete with Japanese and Dutch history.”

One of the three factory visits during the tour is the visit to Katsuobushi (smoke-dried, mold applied skipjack tuna) manufacture.  Katsuobushi is an indispensable ingredient for making Japanese stock, dashi, the foundation of Japanese cuisine is dashi. Katsuobushi comes from the town of Makurazaki in Kyushu. A visit to a factory eveals the fascinating traditional, artisanal production of katsuobushi. Without seeing this, you cannot say that you know Japanese cuisine.  An equally fascinating and delicious product of Kyushu is shochu, the distilled liquor made variously from rice, barley, sweet potato, potato, brown sugar and more. A visit to shochu factory teaches us how to make this traditional spirit; tasting of different varieties of shochu follows.

I look forward to experience all of the sights and experience described above along with delightful walks and hikes with you this November in Kyushu!

Trip Overview:

Click here to read the Trip Overview PDF file.

Photos and videos:!Avh5B-sJNdX4jjCg74TUMg0hEqQa

January 24, 2018


Hiroko Shimbo

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