On this 12-day tour, explore Japan's unique heritage, culture, and stunning natural landscapes aboard the Heritage Adventurer, the perfect vessel for a voyage through the 'Land of the Rising Sun'. Visit ancient castles, serene gardens, and opulent temples and shrines in Matsue, Hagi, Miyajima, and Koraku-en. Discover lesser-known areas such as Shikoku Island, where you'll learn about pearl cultivation, and visit the picturesque five-storied Pagoda of Rurikoji Temple. The itinerary also includes a day in Gyeongju, South Korea, to visit the 'Museum Without Walls' and the Haeinsa Temple. Immerse yourself in the myth and mystique of these ancient lands each evening in the comfort of the vessel.
Discover the charming five-story Pagoda of Rurikoji Temple
Visit one of the three great temples in Korea, the Haeinsa Temple
Explore the historic and serene castle town of Matsue
Marvel at one of Japan's most famed gardens, Koraku-en
Visit the 'Museum Without Walls' in Gyeongju, South Korea
Arrive at Japan’s famed neon-lit capital Tokyo, where tradition meets ultramodern and towering skyscrapers sit alongside ancient temples, and make your way to the hotel where your group spends the first night of the expedition. This evening meet your fellow voyagers and expedition guides over dinner at the hotel.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before traveling by Shinkansen, ‘bullet train’, to Kanazawa. This afternoon you board Heritage Adventurer and settle into life on board. You also take the opportunity to be introduced to your expedition team and your voyage plans as you moor overnight.
Options today include exploring 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, and 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.
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 your visit is the Matsue Castle, a national treasure and one of Japan’s few largely intact 17th Century castles. Other options today may include exploring 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 perhaps you may wish to spend some time exploring the picturesque streets and local canals.
Relax on board as you sail south to Hagi, originally a minor fishing port but now famously known for its traditional pottery making, which you have a chance to learn about. You also have the opportunity to discover the Teramachi District with its temples and shrines, including the famed ‘Ninja Temple’, the Jokamachi District with its old Samurai houses, Hagi Castle ruins at Shizuki Park and beautiful Zen Tokoji Temple.
Today you cross the Sea of Japan to Ulsan in South Korea where you plan 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, and cultural performances, and visit the National Museum with its gold jewelry, metal weapons, and distinctive pottery. Today provides a perfect taste of the best South Korea has to offer.
From your berth in Masan, you head inland to the Haeinsa Temple. Regarded as one of the three great temples in Korea, it was first settled in 802AD and its name derives from a verse in a Buddhist Sutra as “reflections on a smooth sea”. In the 13th Century when Korea was at war with the Mongols, the government commissioned the Tripitaka Koreana, a complete copy of Buddhist scriptures, in the hope of Buddha’s intervention in the war. It was carved onto 81,258 double-sided wooden blocks and stored on floor-to-ceiling shelves in the Janggyeong Panjeon building. You also visit the main worship hall of the temple. Returning to Masan this afternoon you may wish to visit the vibrant fish market selling the daily catch.
After a leisurely morning at sea, you return to Japan and the port of Ube for your exploration of the historic, southern Yamaguchi prefecture. There is a choice of tours and you may wish to travel inland to visit the picturesque five-storied Pagoda of Rurikoji Temple and the surrounding park. Dating back to 1442, the pagoda was built in memory of Yoshihiro Mori Terumoto who ruled the area during this period. Alternatively, drive to Hofu Tenmangu, believed to be the oldest Tenmangu in Japan having been built in 903 at the site where the court officials and scholar Sugawara Michizane stopped on his way to Fukuoka following his exile. Afterward visit the museum which houses more than 20,000 national treasure items, including swords, armory, calligraphy, and scrolls. You then have a chance to explore the beautiful gardens.
This morning you land on Shikoku Island and the port of Uwajima situated deep inside the sawtoothed coast of Uwajima Bay. The city of Uwajima is emerging as the nation’s largest pearl cultivation center and you can learn the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting, and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. You also see Uwajima Castle which is built on top of the hill with panoramic views over the town and harbor and the Tenshaen Garden, built in the Samurai era. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
Despite its history including being the site of the world’s first atomic bomb attack on the 6 August 1945, Hiroshima is a vibrant and thriving cosmopolitan community. Plan to visit the beautiful Peace Park and Museum, with its somber cenotaph containing names of atomic bomb victims, and the permanently lit ‘Flame of Peace’. After visiting the Peace Park, travel to Miyajima Island, considered one of Japan’s most scenic spots, and the location of the Torii Gate and the Daisho-in Buddhist temple. For those after a nature fix, ascend Mount Misen on Miyajima Island by cable car and enjoy a hike, admiring the views below of the Shinto Shrine and Torri Gate.
From the port of Uno-Ko, visit one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en, which translates as ‘garden of pleasure after’. This 17th-century formal garden has 28 acres to explore. This afternoon you continue to Kurashiki where you explore the old merchant quarter and its fine 17th Century wooden warehouses
painted white with traditional black tiles, along a canal framed with weeping willows and filled with koi. There is the opportunity to visit the Ohara Museum of Art which includes rare works by Matisse, Picasso, and Renoir as well as collections from Japan’s renowned Mingei movement including ceramics by Hamada Shoji.
Day 12: Kobe
This morning sail back into Kobe, after breakfast there is a complimentary coach to a central hotel or to the Osaka airport. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from Osaka, it is not recommended to book flights departing before 1300 hours.
During your 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 is going to keep you fully informed. Please note: Voyages are planned and scheduled pending final regulatory approval.
Apologies for the inconvenience. Prices for not yet published. Below per person rate based on previous season. Contact us to confirm upcoming season pricing.
Prices for are estimated based on inflation. Contact us to confirm pricing and availability for your desired departure date.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
- Single clients are matched with a sharer of the same sex in a twin-share cabin. Payment of a single supplement guarantees a single cabin. The single supplement is 1.8 times the price of the voyage with the exception of the suites which are double the single rate.
-Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a minimum of US$100,000 per person required. Contact us for details on arranging travel insurance.
Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.