Explore the tropical islands in southern Japan on this 8-day cruise aboard Le Jacques Cartier from Taiwan to Kobe. Experience the amazing rock formations at Keelung. Enjoy the crystal clear waters of Ishigaki. Go back to pre-industrial Japan and experience rural community living in Taketomijima. Try to look for exotic endemic species of flora and fauna in Iriomotejima.
Explore Keelung's spectacular beaches and rock formations
Tour Okinawa's distillery and taste the local cuisine
Visit a traditional village in the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park
Snorkel around the renowned coral reefs of Zamami Island
On the north-east tip of Taiwan, the harbor city of Keelung stands on one of the most beautiful coasts on the island. Nearby is the spectacular natural park of Yehliu, famed for its striking rock formations. It's easy to tour the city's historical sites on trails that cross the lush green hills surrounding the harbor from Chung Cheng Park to Fort Ershawan, you can enjoy superb views of Keelung and the coastline. But the main attraction is the Miaokou night market, where you can taste some typically Taiwanese culinary delights.
Located to the south of the main island of the Yaeyama archipelago, Ishigaki boasts all the aspects of an authentic piece of paradise. You have guessed it, you do not come here for its skyscrapers but for its pure emerald waters and idyllic beaches. The waters off Shiraho, on the island's south-west coast, have one of the largest areas of blue coral in the world.
Off the coast of the Okinawa Prefecture, Taketomi Island (Taketomijima) is fascinating for its traditional character, preserved in a beautiful, lush setting. Like its big sisters, Ishigaki and Kuroshima, this island in the Yaeyama archipelago is the ideal destination for an immersion in typical landscapes and the insular way of life of the former Ryukyu Kingdom. Here, time seems to have stood still. There are very few cars about; bicycles and carriages drawn by imposing oxen remain the only means of transport. This is an ideal opportunity to wander through the picturesque streets lined with traditional dwellings with red-tiled roofs and lion-shaped shisa statues placed in front of the vast majority of houses to keep evil spirits at bay.
Nestled in the very heart of the Yaeyama archipelago, Iriomote Island conjures visions of a hidden paradise. With 90% of the island covered by thick jungle, crossed by rivers and impressive mangrove forests, Iriomote is an ideal destination for fans of large preserved spaces. With exceptional fauna and flora, this lush jewel is home to many endemic species: you may be lucky enough to get to glimpse an Iriomote cat or a crested serpent eagle. During this port of call, you will also have the possibility of admiring the captivating underwater world during a free diving session or contemplating this lush jungle close up on a cruise along the calm waters of the island’s rivers.
Located 90 km (56 miles) to the south-west of Okinawa Honto, Kumejima is a multifaceted island home to natural treasures. Hatenohama, a stunning 7 km-long (4.3 miles) fine-sand beach, promises wonderful carefree moments discovering the exceptional underwater worlds off the coast of Kumejima. Mifuga, a rock formation on the north coast of the island with a hole right through its middle, is a great example of the erosion along the coast. The eastern peninsula offers another geological feature, visible at low tide: 1,000 flat rocks each around one meter (3.2 feet) in diameter, formed by the contraction of lava from a nearby eruption a million years ago. They create a rocky plateau resembling a traditional Japanese tatami, hence the name Tatami-ishi.
Zamami is an island in the Kerama archipelago, 40 km (25 miles) west of Okinawa Island in the China Sea. Visitors to this 16 km2 (6 mi2) quasi-uninhabited isle are enchanted by the many untouched natural treasures they find here. You will discover a tranquil island with lush vegetation, lined with stunning white-sand bays bathing in the glimmering ‘Kerama blue’ waters around the archipelago. Zamami is also renowned for the beauty of its coral reefs, where multicolored fish engage in an endless mesmerizing ballet. The observation deck on Mount Takatsuki reveals stunning views of the Kerama Islands, granted national park status in 2014. With subtle shifting shades of azure above and all around, this island truly is paradise.
Located between continental Japan and the main island of Okinawa, Kikaijima is a small preserved coral island where nature unfurls in all its splendour. Amidst this abundance of plants, you will be enchanted by century-old trees, majestic banyan trees and sugar cane plantations, which produce a delicious brown sugar. This island, inhabited since the 10th century and located on the trade route between China and Japan, has a turbulent history. During your exploration, perhaps you will notice some ancient coral stone walls, like an echo of the ever-present ocean. Between the white sandy beaches and the limestone coastlines, you’ll also be able to enjoy a snorkeling trip and delightful possibilities for swimming.
During your journey at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Day 8: Kobe | Disembark
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.
For full cancellation policy details, please contact us for a quote.
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
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)
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.
Flight costs (please request a quote)
Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
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
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
Diving - Expedition Cruise
Excellence and Passion packages must be pre-booked with your travel consultant before departure. Beyond that, all reservations will be confirmed once on board and subject to availability. The Exploration dive must be organized on board directly with your diving instructor.
When to Go
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
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