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Mt. Fuji beyond the glittering lights of Tokyo

Beyond Japan's National Parks

Kanazawa to Otaru - Example 16 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Adventurer
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Discover Japan's distinctive culture and way of life aboard the Heritage Adventurer. In Kanazawa, experience the historic mountain settlement and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go. Set sail for the port of Sakaiminato and Matsue's port of entry. Cross the Sea of Japan to reach Ulsan, South Korea, where you intend to see Gyeongju, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover clean water beaches, bays, inlets, and coves, stunning towering cliffs and rock formations weathered by the elements, lush woods & steep mountains, notably Mt Daimanji, which rises more than 600 meters, and old sacred places of its interior on the island of Dogojima. Continue to Niigata, which is renowned for its snow, rice, sake, hot springs, and six-arched, granite-sided Bandai Bridge.
View of Tokyo skylineTwilight over OtaruEvening lights over the Otaru canalsShip on a dockRural view in UlsanWaterfalls in Japancable car in JapanMt. Fuji beyond the glittering lights of Tokyo
Highlights
  • Visit Hokkaido's rugged scenery,¬†famous for its volcanoes and hot springs
  • Explore the volcanic sceneries of Bandai Asahi
  • Savor the culinary delights of Noshiro
  • Visit the incredible UNESCO registered Global Geopark Dogojima Island
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Tokyo | Embark

Arrive at Japan’s famed neon-lit capital Tokyo, where tradition meets ultramodern and towering skyscrapers sit alongside ancient temples, and transfer to your hotel where our group will spend the first night of the expedition. In the evening, meet your fellow voyagers and expedition

Day 2: Tokyo/Kanazawa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before travelling by Shinkansen, ‘bullet train’, to Kanazawa. In the afternoon, settle into your cabin and familiarize yourself with Heritage Adventurer. We will also take the opportunity to introduce you to your expedition team and our voyage plans as we moor overnight.

Day 3: Kanazawa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore 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 center 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.

Day 4: Matsue

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Set sail towards the port of Sakaiminato and the entry point to Matsue, known as ‘the town of water’ due to being situated between Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi. A highlight of our visit will be the Matsue Castle, a national treasure and one of Japan’s few largely intact 17th Century castles. Explore 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, the Adachi Museum of Art, learning about the art of Japanese paper making at the Yakumo-mura village, or  spend some time exploring the picturesque streets and local canals.

Day 5: Hagi

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sail south to Hagi, originally a minor fishing port but now famously known for its traditional pottery making. Discover the Teramachi District with its temples and shrines, including the famed ‘Ninja Temple’, the Jokomachi District with its old Samurai houses, Hagi Castle ruins at Shizuki Park, and beautiful Zen Tokoji Temple.

Day 6: Ulsan, South Korea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cross the Sea of Japan to Ulsan in South Korea  to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gyeongju. The capital of the Shilla 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.

Day 7: Dogojima Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore and wander at the picturesque and otherworldly Dogojima Island, the largest of the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan and part of the Daisen-Oki National Park and a UNESCO registered Global Geopark. Accordingly it is home to some outstanding coastal and interior scenery to explore and experience. With its clear water beaches, bays, inlets and coves, impressive towering cliffs and rock formations eroded by the elements to the dense forests and steep mountains, including Mt Daimanji which rises more than 600-metres, and ancient sacred sites of its interior, today we discover a rarely visited corner of Japan.

Day 8: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Unwind after the adventures of Dogojima Island. Look for cetaceans and sea birds, join a lecture or catch up on your photos or journaling.

Day 9: Niigata

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Visit the bustling port town of Niigata, famous for snow, rice, sake, hot springs and the six-arched, granite-sided stone Bandai Bridge, designated as an Important Cultural Property in 2004, and one of the most scenic spots in the city. Highlights here include BandaiAsahi National Park, Japan’s second largest national park, combining stunning volcanic scenery and hot springs with lush forests, verdant highlands crisscrossed with walking trails and home to Asiatic black bears, squirrels, foxes, and migratory birds. Elsewhere Takada Castle Site Park, with it 3-storey castle from the Edo Period, offers panoramic views of the Takada Plain, while the 193 hectares of Fukushimagata Wetlands is home to endangered flora and fauna, including the rarely seen gigantic lotus Euryale Ferox, and listed on Japan’s 100 greatest natural environments.

Day 10: Noshiro

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Savor the culinary delights of Noshiro. Famous for its local beef, pork and chicken and rice soup known as Kiritanpo, tranquil Noshiro is a modern city flanked by nature with the Yoneshiro River winding through its heart. Gateway to the iconic Juniko (12 Lakes) park, this national treasure is actually a collection of 33 crystal clear ponds and lakes formed by an earthquake in 1704 and surrounded by ancient beech forest. Explore the forested walks that lead to these serene blue holes including 10-metredeep Aoike (Blue Pond). Other options may include visiting stunning Lake Towada, a 2,000 year old double caldera 400 metres above sea level, and its surrounding forest in TowadaHachimantai National Park and Japan’s largest pine forest, Kaze no Matsubara, where more than 7 million trees were planted to prevent coastal erosion. Known as the ‘Wind of Matsubara’, in 1996 it was designated as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan.

Day 11: Muroran

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore ShikotsuToya National Park, named after its famous twin caldera lakes. Another picturesque natural hot spot, the park’s spectacular scenery including its impressive lakes, hot springs and volcanic wonderland, are all easily accessible and offer multiple hiking and walking options. Activities here could include riding the cable car to the top of Mount Usu to take in the grand scale views over Lake Toya or visiting the geothermal spectacle of steaming vents and sulphurous streams at Jigokudani aka ‘Hell Valley’. Explore Muroran at your leisure, visit the scenic cape and lighthouse or take in the city from above after a walk up Mount Sokuryo.

Day 12: Kushiro

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Major fishing port city Kushiro is rightly famous for Kushiro Shitsugen, Japan’s largest marshland and national park home to Japan’s sacred Redcrowned Cranes (tancho). Once thought to be extinct, a flock of 20 birds were discovered here in 1926; despite numbers now reaching almost 2,000 individuals, the cranes’ status remains endangered due to the shrinking of its wetland habitat. Exploring the marshland’s walking trails we hope to see the cranes in their natural habitat before visiting the Kushiro Crane Reserve to learn about its breeding programme and rehabilitation for sick and injured birds. Explore the architecturally striking Kushiro City Museum. Equally fascinating inside, discover Kushiro’s natural history and beauty of the indigenous Ainu culture.

Day 13-14: Abashiri

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Position yourself on the Observation Deck or in the Observation Lounge to enjoy views of the coastline and look for wildlife as we sail through the Nemuro Channel and around the Shiretoko Peninsula to Abashiri. Visit Lake Kussharo, a stunning tree-lined caldera lake, the largest in Akan Mashu National Park with a circumference of 57 kilometres. During our time here we also plan to visit Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park and its 10 hectares of flowering fields which turn vivid pink from May to early June during the park’s annual Shibazakura Festival.

Day 15: Rebun & Rishiri Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 11 Lunches, 1 Dinner
Explore Rebun Island, a scenic isle off the northwest tip of Hokkaido and treasure trove of natural beauty. This tiny island is famous for its rich flora, including many alpine flowers not found anywhere else in the world which carpet the island from late April to mid-September. Take advantage of several opportunities to explore the floral splendour along the coastline which also offers excellent views over the surrounding crystal clear waters, of Rishiri Volcano and the rugged beauty of Cape Gorota. This afternoon we will explore neighbouring Rishiri Island where the skyline is dominated by the dormant volcano of Mount Rishiri climbing to 1,721 metres. The tour of the island may include walking around man-made Himenuma Pond listening to the birdlife and taking in majestic Mount Rishiri and surrounding flora reflected in the pond’s surface, and Kutsugata Cape Park where we hope to see Japan’s famed Black Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit exploring the forest walks. There will also be free time to venture into the town or visit the hot springs.

Day 16: Otaru | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive in Otaru, a port city in Hokkaido known for glassworks, music boxes, sake distilleries and the picturesque Otaru Canal flanked with shops and cafes built within repurposed 1920s warehouses. After breakfast there will be a complimentary coach to a central hotel or to New Chitose/Sapporo Airport. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from Otaru, book flights after 1300 hours. During the voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Please note: Voyages are planned and scheduled pending final regulatory approval.

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Adventurer

Dining area
Heritage Adventurer Restaurant

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$10,950
Superior Triple
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Superior Triple
Superior Triple Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, two single beds, and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Main deck
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Main Deck Triple
Main Deck Triple Cabins on Deck 3 is a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, two single beds, and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Deck 4 Superior
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Deck 4 Superior
Superior Cabins on Deck 4 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Deck 5 Superior
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Deck 5 Superior
Superior Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Main deck
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Main Deck Single
Main Deck Single Cabins on Deck 3 is a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Superior Single
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Superior Single
Superior Single Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Worseley Suite
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Worsley Suite
Located on Deck 6, Worsley Suites are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable chaise-style lounge suite, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Suite
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Heritage Suite
Located on Deck 6, Heritage Suites are an expansive 44m2 and feature large double panoramic windows, king bed, large living area with a sofa, coffee table, and chairs, and grand marble bathroom with a double basin, bathtub, and shower, large writing desk, floor to ceiling cabinetry for storage and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Included
  • 15 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 15 Dinners
  • 15 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Complimentary Parka - available only for the duration of the voyage.
  • Pre- & Post- Cruise Transfers
  • Complimentary boot rental is available. However, due to the limited supply of boots available aboard the ship, it is recommended that you bring your own rubber boots for best fit and availability. Youth size boots are not available.
  • House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Required Visas if applicable
  • Discovery Fund / Government Landing Fees 

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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