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Night view of Kobe Port, Japan

Asia Expedition Cruise: Kobe to Hokkaido

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Silver Explorer
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Starting in Kobe, Silver Explorer will sail around the southern tip of Japan’s main island to cross the Sea of Japan to Busan, South Korea, and to continue on to Hokkaido. Experience the ways that modern societies of Japan and South Korea are influenced by their past and learn how tradition still plays an important part in daily life. On the semi-circumnavigation of Japan you will visit some of the most outstanding natural and man-made sites Japan has to offer including National Parks and three of Japan’s highest-ranked gardens. Along the way you will see traditional buildings such as castles, homes and warehouses and feel serenity in outstanding shrines, temples and memorials. In South Korea, we intend to see Gyeongju, once the Silla royal capital, and its historic area, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Kobe, Japan | Embark
Day 2 : Okayama, Japan
Day 3 : Takamatsu, Japan
Day 4 : Miyajima Island | Hiroshima
Day 5 : Hagi, Japan
Day 6 : Busan, Korea
Day 7 : At Sea
Day 8 : Sakaimato, Japan
Day 9 : Kanazawa, Japan
Day 10 : At Sea
Day 11 : Hakodate
Day 12 : Otaru, Japan | Disembark

Highlights

  • Visit the renowned Koraku-en Garden and Ohara Museum in Okayama
  • See the 75-hectare Ritsurin Garden and a 3-star awardee Michelin Green Guide Japan
  • Tour the Samurai Quarter in Hagi and explore their traditions
  • Stand at Hiroshima Ground Zero and experience the somber history of World War II
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Hagi's Old Town

Ship

Silver Explorer

Places Visited

  • Asia
  • Busan
  • Hagi
  • Hakodate
  • Hiroshima
  • Hokkaido
  • Japan
  • Kanazawa
  • Kobe
  • Miyajima
  • Okayama
  • Otaru
  • Sakaiminato
  • South Korea
  • Takamatsu

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Night view of Kobe Port, Japan Hiroshima Peace Memorial or Atomic Bomb Dome Architecture of Keisha village at Kanazawa Traditional architecture of Asia. Local Japanese woman in traditional dress.

Day 1 Kobe, Japan | Embark

Located on the calm waters of the Inland Sea, Kobe has served as an important port town for hundreds of years. It was one of the first harbors to accept foreign traders in 1868 when Japan was just emerging from its centuries of isolation. What followed was a surge of Western trade and exports. Today, Kobe is quite multicultural, with expatriates from 98 different nations in residence, providing a cultural diversity most easily visible in restaurants serving every kind of cuisine, including the now world-famous Kobe beef.

Day 2 Okayama, Japan

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Okayama is an important transportation hub and one of the largest cities of the Chugoku Region. It is famous because it has one of Japan’s most significant gardens. Although the “Korakuen” Garden was severely damaged by bombs in WWII, the descriptions and paintings from the Edo period permitted an exact reconstruction. It is one of the “Three Gardens of Japan” and has been designated a “Special Scenic Location”. Known formerly as the centre of rice-distribution in the Okayama area, many old warehouses next to the preserved canal have been converted into museums, boutiques and cafes.

Day 3 Takamatsu, Japan

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Takamatsu city is the capital of Kagawa prefecture which is Japan’s smallest prefecture. This city is a vibrant blend of natural beauty and cosmopolitan functionality with a population of 420,000 people. The port of Takamatsu used to be the main gateway to Shikoku Island until the opening of the 37km long Seto Ohashi Bridge in 1988. Takamatsu city has flourished along with the Seto Inland Sea since 17th century when Matsudaira family, the relatives of the Tokugawa Shogun, ruled this area. Matsudaira family has completed the famous Japanese “Ritsurin Garden”.

Day 4 Miyajima Island | Hiroshima

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The small island of Miyajima (“The Shrine Island”) is known for the Floating Torii Gate, which is one of “The Three Most Beautiful Views” of Japan. Built in the water, the Torii Gate leads to the Itsukushima Shrine and at high tide it seems to float. The Torii Gate is one of the most photographed sites in all of Japan. There are many more shrines and paths on Miyajima that are inviting to walk. Mount Misen has a cable car leading partly up to the top with nice views and wild monkeys and deer roaming the trails.

Day 5 Hagi, Japan

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Hagi is a former castle town located in the middle of Yamaguchi prefecture along the coast of the Sea of Japan. It is surrounded by the ocean, mountain and Abugawa River. Early in the 17th century, Terumoto Mori built Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki-yama, and the area served as the seat of the Yamaguchi prefecture government until the middle of 19th century. Around then, Hagi produced many capable men who played a leading role in the construction of modern day Japan, including Hirobumi Ito who became the first prime minister in Japan.

Day 6 Busan, Korea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
White-sand city beaches and hot-spring resorts may not be everyone's first image of Korea, but these are what Koreans flock to Busan for all year. And there are plenty of opportunities for rest, relaxation, retail therapy, and even a touch of glamour every October with the Busan International Film Festival. Busan's beaches are the big summertime draw but there is plenty to be seen year round. Quintessential experiences include taking some rest and relaxation at a local spa and exploring the Beomeosa temple complex.

Day 7 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

Day 8 Sakaimato, Japan

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sakaiminato is a small city almost totally surrounded by water: the Sea of Japan to the east, the Sakai Channel to the north and Lake Nakaumi to the west. Across the lake the towns of Matsue and Yasugi offer interesting experiences. Matsue is known as the “Town of Water” next to scenic Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi. It has one of the very few wooden castles that still remain in Japan. Touring the castle and boat rides on the Horikawa River and the castle’s moat are popular.

Day 9 Kanazawa, Japan

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa once rivalled Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo) as a town rich in cultural achievements. Kanazawa escaped destruction during World War II and accordingly has been able to preserve many of the old districts in good shape. The city is famous because of Kenrokuen. Located next to Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen is classified as “One of the Three Gardens of Japan”. The garden has an artificial pond, and hills and houses are dotted within the 11.4 hectares. It has Japan’s oldest fountain using natural water pressure and a tea-house dating back to 1774.

Day 10 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

Day 11 Hakodate

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Facing out on two bays, Hakodate is a 19th-century port town, with clapboard buildings on sloping streets, a dockside tourist zone, streetcars, and fresh fish on every menu. In the downtown historic quarter, a mountain rises 1,100 feet above the city on the southern point of the narrow peninsula. Russians, Americans, Chinese, and Europeans have all left their mark; this was one of the first three Japanese ports the Meiji government opened up to international trade in 1859. The main sights around the foot of Mt.

Day 12 Otaru, Japan | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Otaru is a small harbor city west of Sapporo. Famous for its many hills and a nearby ski resort, the town has been an important trade and herring fishing center. A wide canal that led from the port to the old town’s warehouses has been maintained for touristic purposes and the old stone or brick-built warehouses have been beautifully converted to restaurants and boutiques.

Silver Explorer

Per person starting at
$7,110
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Adventurer Class
6 cabins on Deck 3, 180 sq. feet, Twin or Queen beds, 2 portholes.
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Explorer Class
4 cabins on Deck 4, Twin or Queen beds, 180 sq. feet with view window.
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View Suite
12 suites on Deck 3, 230 sq. feet with view window, Twin or Queen beds.
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Vista Suite
16 suites on Deck 4, 194 - 230 sq. feet with large window, Twin or Queen beds.
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Veranda Suite
8 suites on Deck 5, 215 sq. feet with French balcony, Twin or Queen beds.
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Medallion Suite
2 suites on Deck 7, 358 sq. feet with private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.
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Silver Suite
6 suites on Deck 5, 430 sq. feet with 2 French balconies, Twin or Queen beds.
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Grand Suite
2 suites on Deck 7, 650 sq. feet with large private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.
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Owner
2 suites on Deck 7, 540 sq. feet with large private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.

Notes

Please note: Fares are capacity controlled, and subject to change at any time without notice. All prices are in US dollars, cruise-only per person based on double occupancy.

- The supplement for single occupancy in a Vista, Veranda or Midship Veranda Suite ranges from 25% – 100% above the double occupancy fare, depending upon the sailing and suite selected. Single supplement for a Silver or Medallion Suite (Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper), Owner’s, Grand or Royal Suites are 100% above of the double occupancy fare. Suites for single and third guests are capacity controlled.

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and sea conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.

Included in the cruise fare:
  • Highly qualified expedition team with experts in their field (marine biologists, ornithologists, historians and more)
  • Excursions and activities, including explorations by Zodiac®
  • Complimentary expedition gear: backpack and water bottle on every voyage, parka for polar expeditions
  • Personalised service with a butler for all suites and the highest crew to guest ratio in the industry
  • Comfortable amenities with the largest expedition suites at sea
  • Inclusive room-service, select wines, spirits and soft drinks throughout the ship
  • Free WIFI* throughout the ship
  • Onboard Gratuities.
Not included in your cruise fare:
  • Airfare
  • Optional hotel accommodation,
  • Transfers and luggage handling,
  • Fuel surcharges
  • Optional shore excursions 
  • Meals ashore
  • Accommodation while ashore
  • Security surcharges 
  • Any item or service of a personal nature such as casino gaming, laundry or valet services, purchases from the ship boutiques, childcare services aboard ship, massages, spa treatments, private fitness instruction, hair styling and manicures.
  • Some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars are not included in your fare.
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kelly B

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

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