Awaji: Culture, Nature, and Hot Springs (1 night)

KOB 206-301
  • Enjoy hot springs in a beautiful setting
  • Learn the area’s enchanting folk culture through Awaodori dance and Joruri Ningyo theater
  • Make somen noodles – a staple of Japanese cuisine that’s little known abroad
  • Witness marine whirlpools, one of Japan’s most extraordinary natural phenomena
  • Explore rural Japan on Awajishima Island
Program Overview
Country: Japan
Depart: 01/26/2017 0930
Return: 01/27/2017 1800
Duration: Overnight
Difficulty: Easy
Capacity: Min. 10 / Max. 38
Program Fee
$853 (early booking: $805)

Travel by coach to the charming Awajishima Island. It is more rural and off the beaten path when compared to big cities like Kobe or Osaka, but it is a sacred place in Shinto religion and it has actually played a pivotal role in history as it used to be an important fief, as such the traces of history and religion are very strong.

For a first taste you will visit Izanagi Shrine where you will learn all about the Shinto legend of the creation of Japan, and the small but rich in history Sumoto Castle, which commands breath-taking views over the sea.

After lunch, reach the Awaji Ningyoza, the only theatre that still performs the highly dramatic Joruri Ningyo puppet drama. The Joruri Ningyo originated in Awaji and is very different from Tokyo and Osaka’s famed Bunraku puppet theatre.
Tonight you will have dinner at your hotel and you have free use of the hotel’s hot springs facility, where you can relax as you please.

Next morning you will travel by coach to the south of the island where you will experience making somen, light and thin noodles, which are one of the island’s delicacies. You will be able to eat a simple somen noodles lunch and take the ones you have made with you as a souvenir. Continue to the Naruto Strait, connecting Awajishima Island to Tokushima Prefecture in Shikoku. The area is known for its whirlpools, which are created by the large volumes of water moving between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean between high and low tide, combined with the unique underwater geography of the narrow strait. The whirlpools are not dangerous to boats and are best viewed from sightseeing cruises which get right up next to and among them. You will board one of these boats for a 25-minute thrilling ride through the whirlpools.

Your last stop will be the Tokushima Awaodori museum. Awaodori is a folk dance originating from Tokushima that is extremely ancient but still very popular as a celebration in festivals throughout Japan. You will learn about the dance, see its colourful costumes, and witness a performance held by skilled Awaodori dancers.


Day 1

January 26
0930 Departure from Kobe Port Terminal to Awaji Island
1030 Arrival Izanagi Shrine, visit
1200 Lunch at local restaurant
1300 Depart
1330 Arrival at Sumoto Castle
1445 Depart Castle
1530 Arrival at Awaji Ningyoza puppet theatre, see show
1700 Depart theatre
1740 Arrival hotel
1900 Dinner at hotel
Overnight at Hotel New Awaji

(Please note times, activities, and accommodations are subject to change)

Day 2

January 27
Breakfast at hotel, check out
0930 Depart hotel
1000 Somen noodles making experience + light noodles lunch
1200 Depart noodle making factory
1245 Board Naruto whirlpool cruise
1315 Disembark whirlpool cruise
1400 Visit Awaodori Museum, see dance performance
1600 Depart Tokushima Awaodori Museum
1800 Arrival Port Terminal

(Please note times, activities, and accommodations are subject to change)

Meals Included

Jan 26: Lunch, dinner
Jan 27: breakfast, light lunch

Special Note

At Japanese hot springs, the baths are public and gender separated. Clothing or cloth, including swimsuits and towels, are not allowed in the springs. In Japanese culture, tattoos are taboo and often associated with criminal groups. The establishment may deny access to the baths to people with tattoos. If you have tattoos, even small, you may take part in the tour but likely will not be able to use the hotel’s onsen hot springs.

The tour will be mostly outside. Please wear warm clothes.

We have set the date and time of the cruise to match the best forecast viewing time for the whirlpools. These dates are generally quite accurate, however as this is a natural phenomenon, we cannot guarantee sightings.