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SPECIAL OFFER

12 Days$9185USD

Activities
  • 10 days expedition cruising
Accommodation
  • 10 nights aboard Heritage Adventurer
  • 1 night hotel
Meals
  • 11 Dinners
  • 10 Lunches
  • 11 Breakfasts
1
Discovery and Cruising
 
 

Trip highlights


  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Yakushima
  • Visit the 'town of water', Matsue
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gyeongju in South Korea
  • The castle town of Fukuoka
  • Walk the cobblestone streets of Kanazawa
  • Visit one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en

Made up of 6,852 islands, the perfect way to explore Japan’s seldom visited destinations is by sea and Heritage Adventurer is the ideal vessel for such a voyage. Combining a thrilling mix of culture, history and the natural world our authentic expedition cruise will see us exploring ancient castles, serenely beautiful gardens and opulent temples and shrines combined with witnessing some of Japan’s stunning natural landscapes. Venture to destinations such as the historic and serene castle town of Matsue, the ancient anachronistic town of Hagi, and experience the tranquillity of Yakushima Island, a world away from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s mega cities with its towering mountains and ancient forest. We’ll also moor at Uwajima, one of Japan’s premier pearl producers with the opportunity to visit one of the city’s traditional pearl farms. During our exploration of Nagasaki we will gain further insight into its World War II history as well as its role in international trade during the isolation period, while a visit to Northern Kyushu and the vibrant city of Fukuoka will have options to visit its many highlights including Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine which dates back to the 16th Century. We will also spend a day in South Korea’s Ulsan exploring UNESCO World Heritage Site Gyeongju - the ‘museum without walls’ and visiting the Haeinsa Temple, considered one of the three great temples in South Korea.

Trip Code: HES

Arrive at Honshu’s largest port city Osaka where modern architecture and a vibrant dining scene are nestled alongside the 16th Century shogunate Osaka Castle, and make your way to your hotel where you will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening meet your fellow voyagers and expedition guides over dinner at the hotel.

Meals:  D

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before exploring Osaka, opportunities here include visiting Minoh Park and Osaka Castle. With an area of just 9.6 square kilometres (963 hectares) Minoh Park is one of Japan’s smallest National Parks and home to iconic 33-metre high Minoh Waterfall and diverse wildlife including Japanese Salamander and protected Mino Monkeys. Explore Osaka Castle, one of Japan’s most famous landmarks, take in the views from Osaka Castle Main Tower and relive dramatic stories of warlords and Osaka’s fascinating history. Board Heritage Adventurer for lunch as your Captain and Expedition Team welcome you aboard and we set sail for Takamatsu.

Meals:  B,L,D

From the port of Uno-Ko we will visit one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en, which translates as ‘garden of pleasure after’. This 17th Century formal garden has 28 acres of walking trails, ponds, plum and cherry trees. This afternoon we will continue to Kurashiki where we explore the old merchant quarter and its 17th Century wooden warehouses painted white with traditional black tiles, along a canal framed with weeping willows and filled with koi. There is also a chance to visit the Ohara Museum of Art which includes rare works by Matisse, Picasso and Renoir as well as collections from Japan’s famous Mingei movement including ceramics by Hamada Shoji.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we land on Shikoku Island and the port of Uwajima situated deep inside the sawtoothed coast of Uwajima Bay. The city of Uwajima is emerging as the nation’s largest pearl cultivation centre and we will learn the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. We will also see Uwajima Castle which is built on top of the hill with panoramic views over the town and harbour and the Tenshaen Garden, built in the Samurai era. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure.

Meals:  B,L,D

During our morning at sea we sail to the very south of Kyushu and the island of Yakushima which became Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 and has a particularly diverse flora. We will spend the afternoon on a choice of nature walks in Yakusugi Land in Yakushima National Park, home of the endemic Yakushima Macaque, and populated by a number of the island’s ancient cedar trees, such as the Buddha Sugi, Futago Sugi and Sennen Sugi, which are over 3,000 years old.

Meals:  B,L,D

Arrive this morning in Nagasaki, the second city destroyed by an A-bomb in World War II. We will tour the Peace Memorial Park, Atomic Bomb Museum and Dejima Island which was built during the Edo period to accommodate Portuguese Christian missionaries and prevent the propagation of their religion. It was also the residential quarters of the Dutch, the only foreigners allowed to trade in Japan during the Sakoku (isolation) period. For 200 years, until Japan reopened the country in the 19th Century, Dejima was its only window to the world. With the reopening of the port to Westerners in the latter half of the 19th Century, Nagasaki blossomed as a prosperous and sophisticated international city. Suitable housing was required for the sudden influx of foreigners who made their homes here and many of the stone and clapboard residences that were built during this period survive today and are preserved in Glover Garden which we will visit this afternoon. The best known European-style residence here is Glover House, built in 1863, was the setting for Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly.

Meals:  B,L,D

The largest city on the island of Kyushu, Fukuoka is the union of the castle town of Fukuoka on the west bank of the Naka River and the merchant town of Hakata on the east bank. This buzzy metropolis combines an effortless blend of trendy yatai food stalls (which made Lonely Planet and The New York Times 2023 travel lists) with vibrant art installations, historic ruins and colourful coastal parks. During our time here there may be opportunities to explore the northern city of Kitakyushu and famed Kokura Castle, TOTO Museum and Kawachi Wisteria Garden or Nanzoin Temple with its reclining bronze Buddha (thought to be the world’s largest bronze statue) and the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, which is built on the gravesite of poet and scholar Sugawara no Michizane and surrounded by beautiful gardens, ponds and bridges with more than 6,000 plum trees.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we cross the Sea of Japan to Ulsan in South Korea where we plan to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gyeongju. The capital of the Silla Dynasty and dating back to the first millennium, Gyeongju is known as ’the museum without walls’ and is full of ancient Korean history and Buddhist culture. Enjoy strolling through hundreds of excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, and experience Korean delicacies, cultural performances, and visit the National Museum with its gold jewellery, metal weapons, and distinctive pottery. Today provides a perfect taste of the best South Korea has to offer.

Meals:  B,L,D

Hagi was a minor fishing port until Mori Terumoto fortified it in 1604 and it was Mori Samurai that helped spark off the anti-Tokugawa revolt in the mid-19th century. Today it is better known for its traditional pottery making. This morning we will explore the Teramachi District with its temples and shrines, the Jokamachi District, where we find the old Samurai houses and also take time to explore Hagi Castle, Shizuki Park and Tokoji Temple. This afternoon travel to the outskirts of the city and the Yoshika Taibi Memorial Museum which is dedicated to a large collection of Hagiyaki pottery which was highly prized in the Edo period as wares for tea ceremonies. Alternatively, discover the natural wonders of 300 million year old limestone Akiyoshido Cave.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we arrive at the port of Sakaiminato, entry point to Matsue, known as ‘the town of water’ due to being situated between Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi. We plan to visit Matsue Castle, a national treasure and one of Japan’s few largely intact 17th Century castles. Other options today may include exploring Daisen-Oki National Park, steeped in beauty and history it’s also the home of rare flora and fauna including the giant salamander, visiting the picturesque Yuushien Garden (our April departure coincides with the iconic annual Yuushien Peony Festival where we plan to experience the spectacle of more than 30,000 of the colourful blooms floating on serene ponds and lining the traditional garden’s paths in a floral carpet), the Adachi Museum of Art, learning about the art of Japanese paper making at the Yakumo-mura village, or perhaps you may wish to spend some time exploring the picturesque streets and local canals.

Meals:  B,L,D

Options today include exploring the historic mountain settlement and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, high in the remote mountains of the Shogawa River Valley in Hakusan National Park. Take in the sights on mountain walks and experience the unique cultural traditions including the region’s iconic Gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old, designed to withstand the heavy snow in winter and provide a large attic space for cultivating silkworms. Alternatively explore the rich art centre of Kanazawa discovering some of the unique styles of Japanese art. Kanazawa is rightly famous for its Kutani-style pottery, exquisite lacquerware, gold-leaf workmanship, hand painted silk, and classical Noh dance-drama performed since the 14th Century. Wander winding cobblestone streets, elegant restaurants, craft galleries and visit the impressive Edo-period Kenrokuen Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, and explore the Omicho Market boasting everything from flowers, to crafts and food.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast and final farewells board a Shinkansen ‘bullet train’ to Tokyo Station where you can continue to Tokyo (Haneda) or Narita International Airports, or continue your travels in Japan’s neon-lit capital. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from, we do not recommend booking flights departing before 1500 hours.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 11 dinners
  • 1 night's hotel accommodation in Osaka on a twin share basis
  • Transfers to and from the boat on day 2 and Day 11
  • Comfortable cabin accommodation and use of all public areas on cruise
  • House drinks (beer, wine, soft drinks and spirits) during lunch and dinner
  • Expert on board naturalist guides
  • All sightseeing and shore excursions from the boat
  • Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities
  • Train travel from Kanazawa to Tokyo
  • Pre-departure information
  • Mandatory landing Fees

  • Travel to and from start /end point of trip
  • Optional activities offered during the voyage (some charges may apply)
  • Visa, passport and vaccination charges, and airport departure taxes
  • Accommodation and meals or other services not included in the ship cruise itinerary
  • Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as laundry and phone calls
  • Emergency evacuation charges
  • Customary end of voyage tips

Cabins


Departure dates


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Priceper person from

$9185USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Superior Triple SupplementUSD$190
  • Superior Deck 4 SupplementUSD$1210
  • Superior Deck 5 SupplementUSD$1910
  • Worsley Suite SupplementUSD$5250
  • Heritage Suite SupplementUSD$7815
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Discover the Islands of Japan: Osaka to Tokyo trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

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Our vision is to leave the world a better place by following our sustainable active outdoor travel charter. All our adventures are 100% carbon offset and our Regenerative 2030 Project aims to integrate ‘regenerative’ projects into every one of our global operations by 2030.

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 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

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