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Osaka's city lights after sunset

Expedition in the Seto Inland Sea

Osaka - Fukuoka - Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Le Soleal
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Discover the Land of the Rising Sun, where the history of the samurai and the daintiness of the geishas exist side by side. With this brand-new itinerary, PONANT is taking you on a cruise from Osaka to Fukuoka aboard Le Soleal. This 8-day circuit allows you to discover the jewels to be found in the picturesque towns and cities of the Seto Inland Sea. The oldest sea route in Japan, a strategic hub during Antiquity, it was also the theatre of many battles and historic events that shaped its myth and grandeur over time with the ebb and flow of the tides.  
Local Japanese woman in traditional dress.Cherry blossoms frame Osaka castleNagasaki cityTwilight over OtaruSunset over NagasakiOsaka's city lights after sunset
Highlights
  • Visit Onimichi, a charming coastal town surrounded by green hills and home to a large number of temples and emblematic shrines
  • Explore Hagi, the home of the samurai and of Hagi ware
  • Discover the cultural richness of Japan’s oldest sea route, dating back to the 7th.
  • Be impressed by Nagasaki's rich heritage and culture.
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Kobe| Embark

A coastal city on the main island of Honshū, Kobe is a vital Japanese port. You will be inspired by the authenticity, way of life and heritage of the capital of Hyōgo Prefecture, which is bordered by the sea. Its beef is internationally renowned, but there is much more to the city’s attractions than this delicate speciality. As soon as you arrive, you will be welcomed by the Kobe Port Tower, located, along with the Maritime Museum, in the much appreciated Meriken Park. The Mount Rokkō National Park is a real island of greenery in the very heart of the vibrant city. Long frequented by Shinto monks, then popular with the expatriates who flocked to Kobe during the second half of the 19th century, it is one of the symbols of the city.

Day 2: Inujima (Okayama)

A small verdant island in the Seto Inland Sea, Inujima charms lovers of rugged landscapes and art. A flourishing center of the mining industry more than a century ago, particularly for copper extraction, the island is now a favorite destination of modern art enthusiasts, due to the activities developed since the 1980s. It is notably home to the Seirensho Art Museum, designed around the remaining blackened walls of a former copper refinery. Inujima offers an ideal mix of wild landscapes, industrial past, and contemporary art. The island will be the perfect port of call for relaxing, enjoying this exceptional panorama, and admiring singular and ambitious works of art.

Day 3: Tomonoura | Onomichi

Anchored to the south-eastern end of the Nunakama Peninsula, facing the calm and clear waters of the Seto Inland Sea, Tomonoura is a destination particularly appreciated for its authentic and old-fashioned atmosphere that gives it an incomparable charm. In the past used as a port where boats would moor while waiting for a favourable wind, the charming and picturesque village now serves to inspire many filmmakers and artists. With good reason, since its craggy landscapes, its cherry trees in blossom, its gentle way of life, its traditional wooden houses and its port, preserved since the Edo era, notably enabled the artist Hayao Miyazaki to make the animated film Ponyo.

Anchored on the northern shores of the Seto Inland Sea, in the Hiroshima prefecture, the historical city of Onomichi extends from the main island of Honshu to certain neighboring islands, linked by the bridges of the Shimanami Kaido motorway. Before becoming this peaceful town with its charming, sloping little streets, Onomichi established itself in the 7th century as a nerve center of the rice trade for the entire Japanese archipelago.  Although its activity is diminished today, the port remains at the center of the town’s culture. Onomichi now stands out for its exceptional heritage. With good reason, since it can boast over twenty temples and shrines, saved from the bombing of the Second World War. Among them are Senko-ji, offering an outstanding panoramic view over the whole town, Saikoku-ji and its three-storied pagoda, and Jodo-ji and its emblematic eleven-faced statue of the goddess Guanyin. 

Day 4: Mitarai | Shimokamagari

A charming fishing village nestling in the east of Osaki Shimojima Island, on the edge of the Seto Inland Sea, Mitarai is appreciated for its traditional charm and authentic character. A trip back in time to the Edo Period, where the hustle and bustle of modern cities is replaced by the gentle sound of fishing boats. Thanks to its 19th century wooden dwellings lining the small, narrow streets, its great causeway, its centuries-old sanctuaries and its gangi stairs, a stone structure giving on to the sea, the old town was classed as a Preservation District by the Japanese state in 1994.

The island of Shimokamagari stretches into the heart of the Seto Inland Sea, off the coast of the town of Kure, in the Hiroshima prefecture. A historical city during the feudal period, the island was the theatre of major diplomatic missions for the future and the Empire’s trade relationships, notably with repeated visits from mainly Korean, but also Chinese and Dutch, emissaries. Registered since 2017 on the UNESCO Memory of the World Program, documentary heritage of these encounters is conserved in the Shotoen Garden, one of the emblems of this lush islet. A magnificent Japanese garden with perfectly kept grounds, interspersed with raked pebbles and surrounded with majestic trees, it is home to a Rantokaku Museum complex, consisting of four exhibition rooms tracing the island’s naval history.

Day 5: Hagi

In the south of Honshu island, surrounded by mountains, Hagi is a city of water. For good reason; it was built on the delta of the Abu-gawa river. Its castle was built in the 17th century and its outer walls remain in the lovely Shizuki Park. The old town was one of the cradles of the Meiji revolution. You will discover its rich past in streets lined with old houses and samurai manors, or within the walls of the many museums and Hagi-yaki ceramics workshops.

Day 6: Tsushima

A mountainous island nestling in the heart of the Sea of Japan, between the Japanese archipelago and the shores of South Korea, Tsushima is made up of two distinct islands, separated by the captivating Aso Bay. This deep fjord, separating the northern and southern parts of the island, will enthral you with its remarkable ria coastline and its string of luxuriant islets. Naturally preserved, Tsushima is almost 90% covered with natural vegetation. This green setting in the Iki-Tsushima Quasi-National Park is notably the natural habitat of the Tsushima leopard cat, an endemic species on the Japanese Red List of Endangered Species.

Day 7: Yeosu

Yeosu is a charming coastal city in South Korea’s South Jeolla Province. It is part of an archipelago comprising more than 317 verdant islands. Yeosu is known for being a hidden gem with picturesque scenery, but also for its strong naval history. And with good reason since, in the early 14th century, the city became home to naval headquarters during the Joseon Dynasty. This destination, with a mix of modern architecture and vestiges of a strong past, will enthrall you with its stunning beaches edged by the pure and warm waters of the Sea of Japan.

Day 8: Fukuoka | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
At the northern tip of the subtropical island of Kyushu, Fukuoka stands proudly at the center of a veritable natural setting, between lush mountains and the crystal-clear and calm waters of Hakata Bay. A modern city and high-tech hub, which has earned it the nickame of the Japanese “Silicon Valley” in particular, the seventh town in Japan stands out for its rich cultural and historical heritage. Promoted as one of the nerve centers of maritime trade from the 15th century onward, it experienced long decades of prosperity. A period of splendor which, among other things, saw the construction of many spiritual buildings, including the Sumiyoshi-jinja shrine and the Tochoji temple, as well as its emblematic Maizuru Castle, erected in the 17th century.

Disembark after breakfast in Fukuoka. 

Ship/Hotel

Le Soleal

Enjoy a show in the movie theater.
Bar and lounge with a view.
Restaurant aboard the Le Soleal.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$6,390 2-3 travelers
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
The Superior Stateroom has a capacity of up to 3 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
The Deluxe Stateroom has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 4 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 5 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 6 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
The Deluxe Suite has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
The Prestige Suite on Deck 5 has a capacity of up to 4 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and an 8m² private balcony.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
The Prestige Suite on Deck 6 has a capacity of up to 4 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and an 8m² private balcony.
Owner's Suite
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Owner Suite
The Owner's suite is situated on Deck 6 with a capacity up to 2 passengers per cabin. With a king-sized bed, it has been decorated by French interior designers and provides you with a breathtaking panoramic sea view.

Notes

Please note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and are subject to change without notice.

Discounts are available for children sharing a cabin with two adults and third adult passengers in select cabin categories. Please contact us for details.

Single travelers can opt for a solo cabin - supplements start at 50%.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • CDP recommends that every Traveler has full and adequate travel insurance covering the risks of cancellation, assistance being required, repatriation, damages to and loss of baggage, and medical expenses

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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.
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