AUSSIE AGENTS have joined their counterparts from New Zealand on a famil highlighting the best of Oita and Fukuoka in Japan.

Located on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, the famil showcased the best of the prefectures on a seven-day itinerary, organised by Tourism Oita and the Fukuoka Prefecture Tourism Association.

Starting in Oita Prefecture, the group dressed up in kimonos before exploring the historic castle town of Kitsuki (often referred to as Little Kyoto), then witnessed a fire ceremony at the remote Monjusen-ji Temple on the Kunisaki Peninsula.

A stay at the recently opened ANA Intercontinental Resort and Spa in Beppu offered views over the city before the agents got a sneak preview of the Jigoku Onsen Museum the day before its official opening.

In Fukuoka, the itinerary included green tea fields in the Yame Central Tea Garden and a visit to the Hoshino Tea Museum in Hoshino Village.

The visitors sampled traditional Hon-Gyokuro green tea and learnt firsthand the art of matcha-making, then enjoyed a green tea-infused lunch of authentic dishes, finishing with Daifuku Mochi, a famous Japanese sweet.

The experience ended with a cruise on the Yanagawa River and a visit to a local soy sauce factory and sake brewery, offering insights and a taste of some of the region’s most famous flavours and food history.

“Our purpose at Travel Associates is to unearth hidden luxury gems for our clients, and Oita and Fukuoka did not disappoint,” said Maddison Done, National Marketing Manager at Travel Associates.

“The locals welcomed us with open arms wherever we stopped, all very excited to have international visitors back.”