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Bears at Shiretoko National Park, located on the Shiretoko Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido, Japan.

A Journey from Nome to Tokyo: Ring of Fire to Ainu Culture

Example 20 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Resolution
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Discover the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire from Alaska to Japan. Explore the untamed islands of the Bering Sea and marvel at the millions of seabirds, northern fur seals, and bears in the Pribilof and Aleutian Islands. Watch towering volcanic cones on the rugged shores of Hokkaido, home to more than 51 volcanoes. Walk through the mystical lakes and forests of northern Japan’s national parks, explore historic sites along the coast of Honshu, and cap off your voyage in the thriving metropolis of Tokyo. 
Shiretoko Peninsula in autumn colorsView of Tokyo skylineFresh green,pond and Mount YoteiView of the Haystack Hill, Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, Alaska, USA.Bears at Shiretoko National Park, located on the Shiretoko Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido, Japan.
Highlights
  • Experience Pribilof Islands, a naturalist wildlife paradise
  • Explore the Baby Islands with its otters, seals and fur seals
  • Learn about the hunting culture of the Aleuts
  • Learn about the Wildlife at the Pacific Ring of Fire
  • Visit Kushiro Shitsugen National Park
  • Wander at the mirror lakes of ShikotsuTōya National Park
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Anchorage, Alaska / Nome / Embark

Start the exploration in Anchorage and fly to Nome, Alaska. Embark National Geographic Resolution in the afternoon.

Day 2-3: Pribilof Islands / St. Paul & St. George Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Explore the naturalist’s paradise of Pribilof Islands. Home to three million seabirds and a million marine mammals each summer during the breeding season. Glide in Zodiacs beneath the cliffs of St. George, rocky outcrops that harbor one of the largest seabird colonies in the Northern Hemisphere. Spot horned and tufted puffins, red-legged kittiwakes, crested auklets, and rare Asian vagrant species seldom seen in North America.  Go ashore on St. Paul, home to the majority of the Pribilofs’ more than half a million northern fur seals.

Day 4: Baby Islands / Dutch Harbor

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Begin our exploration of wildlife-rich archipelago at the Baby Islands, east of Unalaska. Here, dynamic tides offer the chance to spot sea otters and fur seals, as well as rare seabirds. Watch from on deck as the ship navigates Baby Pass, and board Zodiacs for a closer look at the islands’ wildlife. Arrive at Dutch Harbor, site of a fierce WWII battle and now one of the world’s most important fishing ports. The westernmost tip of the Alaskan mainland gives way to a 1,100-mile-long string of islands that separate the Bering Sea from the northern Pacific: the Aleutian Islands

Day 5-8: Exploring the Aleutian Islands

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Spend four days exploring these rugged and remote volcanic islands—some of which still harbor active volcanoes. With 69 islands, countless islets, and tens of millions of seabirds, the Aleutians offer much to discover. Learn about the culture of the Aleuts, a fishing and hunting people who have inhabited these islands for millennia. Observe marine mammals such as northern fur seals, Steller sea lions, and a variety of whales, as well as prolific birdlife. Venture out by Zodiac or kayak to explore the wild shores of these islands. Among the islands we’ll visit are Attu and Kiska, both of which were occupied by the Japanese for nearly a year during World War II.

Day 9-12: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Study and learn from discussions with our naturalists as they set the stage for our time exploring the northern shores of Hokkaido. Join our naturalists on deck to identify the seabirds that follow us and the volcanic cones in the distance that make up the “Ring of Fire.” Attend a photo workshop with our National Geographic photographer, treat yourself to a massage or a wellness class, or snuggle up in the library and enjoy a good book. As we make our way to Asia, we will lose a day crossing the International Date Line.

Day 13: Abashiri, Japan / Shiretoko National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore Abashiri on the island of Hokkaido. After our ship’s clearance into Japan, visit the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples, dedicated to the cultures of the indigenous tribes of the Earth’s subarctic regions. Venture to Shiretoko —the “end of the Earth” in the native Ainu dialect. One of Japan’s most spectacular national parks, Shiretoko provides a habitat for numerous species of land and marine mammals, such as brown bears, Steller sea lions, and sperm whales. We’ll also be on the lookout for white-tailed eagles, Blakiston’s fish owls, and Steller’s sea eagles, which spend the winters here.

Day 14: Kushiro Shitsugen National Park / Akan Mashu National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise Hokkaido’s northeastern coast to Kushiro and head inland to explore Kushiro Shitsugen National Park, Japan’s largest wetland and home to the endangered red-crowned crane, which was thought to be extinct in the early 20th century. Head to Akan Mashu National Park, known for its ethereal, mist-shrouded lakes, where we’ll delve into forests of Sakhalin spruce and visit a charming Ainu village.

Day 15: Muroran

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Dock at Muroran and choose to drive to ShikotsuTōya National Park, filled with mirror-like lakes and forest-covered hills set against the silhouette of the snowcapped Mount Yotei stratovolcano. Drive to the lush town of Shiraoi to visit the newly opened National Ainu Museum and Park, an open-air museum where visitors can experience various elements of Ainu culture..

Day 16: Sendai

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore Sendai’s lush greenery which earned it the nickname of “Forest City”. Wind your way to the hills above town to the site of Sendai castle. Built in 1600 by the powerful feudal lord, Date Masamune, the castle has survived antifeudal warfare, bombings of WWII and the powerful earthquake of 2011. Continue on to Zuihoden, the mausoleum of the Date clan— spectacular grounds and intricate design pay tribute to the powerful Masamune and his descendants. Explore the secluded bay on the shores of Matsushima. Known as one of Japan’s three most scenic views, this gorgeous bay is dotted with pine clad islets.

Day 17: Oarai / Mito City

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Head inland to Mito, a power base during the Edo period and best known today for Kairakuen garden, considered one of Japan’s three finest landscape gardens. Originally created in 1841 for the ruling lord, the park was also intended for the enjoyment of all. Walk through 3,000 plum trees, cedar woods and a bamboo grove. Learn about the treasures of the Samurai that went beyond swords and armor. The Tokugawa Museum houses exhibits chronicling the life of the powerful Tokugawa family, as well as those who lived under their rule.

Day 18-19: Tokyo / Disembark

  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Disembark in the vibrant city of Tokyo. Explore both the ultramodern and storied past of this amazing city. Visit the serene Meiji Jingu shrine, dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji, who ruled over Japan from 1867 to 1912 and helped transform the country into a modern power. Learn about the Tokugawa shogunate at the Edo-Tokyo Museum, the powerful military government that preceded the Meiji era. Delve into the bustling lanes of the Asakusa district and visit the iconic Sensoji temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple.

Day 20: Tokyo / U.S.

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
After breakfast, depart for the airport to connect to your flight home.

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Resolution

Bar
Dining Room
Gym aboard

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$28,850
Cabin
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Category 1
Fore Deck with two large windows, Alcove seating, Relax chair 183 square ft. #406, 408, 411, 413, 415. Standard Cabin Amenities
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Category 2
Fore Deck with two large windows, Alcove seating, Relax chair 205 square ft. #410, 412, 414, 416-419, 421-427
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Category 3
Main Deck—Suite with balcony and sofa 205 square ft. #512-524
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Category 4
Lounge Deck—Suite with balcony and sofa, 205 square ft. #608, 610, 612, 613-623 Standard Cabin Amenities
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Category 5
Bridge Deck—Suite with balcony and sofa 205 square ft. #708, 709, 711, 713
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Category 6
Bridge Deck—Junior Balcony Suite with large balcony, sofa bed 344 square ft. #710
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Category 7
Bridge Deck—Large Balcony Suite with large balcony, sofa bed, bathtub, walk-in closet 430 square ft. #700-707, 712, 714-717
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Category A Solo
Main Deck—Suite with balcony and sofa 140 square ft. #504-510, 513
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Category B Solo
Lounge Deck—Suite with balcony and sofa 140 square ft. #604, 606, 609, 611
Included
  • 19 Breakfasts, 18 Lunches, 19 Dinners
  • 19 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • The Guidance and Company of the Expedition Staff
  • Hotels Ashore as Indicated in the Itinerary
  • Sightseeing & Entrance Fees
  • Special Access Permits, Park Fees, Port Taxes
  • Zodiac & Kayak Explorations
  • Snorkeling, Including Wetsuits, Masks, Fins & Snorkel Where Relevant
  • Presentations and Guest Speakers in the Lounge
  • Gratuities to the Ship Crew
  • Complimentary Parka 
  • Alcohol (except premium brands) 
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Scuba Diving
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Additional Hotel Nights 
  • Private Transfers
     
  • Expedition Extensions 
  • Laundry 
  • Internet & Phone Charges
  • Rubber Boots: Please bring your own. 

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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