Timeless Japan Cruise 2014
29th April-11th May 2014
Join us for an unforgettable cruise as we explore the beautiful islands and coastline of Japan (and visit the lively South Korean city of Busan*). Discover castle towns, stunning gardens, invigorating hot springs and the lovely Inland Sea on this 11-night trip. Begin your journey in the buzzing metropolis of Tokyo before transferring to Niigata to board your ship to Kanazawa where you can enjoy exploring the town and its many arts and crafts with the highlight being the glorious Kenrokuen garden. You will pay moving visits to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, thriving cities devoted to peace. After Nagasaki you will get to explore Yakushima Island, Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its ancient cedar trees and also Uwajima one of Japan’s largest pearl cultivation centres. In the ancient castle town of Okayama, home to Korakuen garden - one of Japan’s three most famous gardens you will get to experience a traditional tea ceremony. Your cruise ends in the historic city of Kobe
*Korean pronunciation Pusan
Japan is a fascinating balance of unique heritage and culture contrasting with the sprawling metropolises of the world’s most advanced technological civilisation. Made up of 6,852 islands, the perfect way to explore the Land of the Rising Sun is by sea. On our journey we will voyage around the stunning coastline and offshore islands of the archipelago, and discover ancient castles, serenely beautiful gardens and opulent temples and shrines. Although we will visit the awe inspiring contemporary landscape of Tokyo, what makes our itinerary truly unique is our visits to parts of Japan where tourists rarely set foot.
- Full Itinerary
- Optional Extensions
- Your Ship
- How to book
Day 1 - London to Tokyo
Day 2 - Tokyo
Day 3 - Tokyo to Niigata
Day 4 - Kanazawa
Day 5 - Matsue
Day 6 - Hagi
Day 7 - Pusan for Kyongju
Day 8 - Nagasaki & Dejima
Day 9 - Yakushima
Day 10 - Uwajima
Day 11 - Hiroshima & Miyajima
Day 12 - Okayama & Kurashiki
Day 13 Depart Japan
Our vessel, the 114 passenger MS Caledonian Sky, allows us to visit out of the way destinations and remote stretches of coast that would not be practical on a land tour. In addition to our circumnavigation of Japan, our course takes us past the south eastern tip of Korea, where we will spend a day in Kyongju, the ‘Museum Without Walls’. Here, history comes vividly to life among the tombs, temples, shrines and pleasure gardens. Join us on this voyage of discovery and venture along the historic shores and off the well beaten tourist paths. May is the ideal time to see the countryside at its most verdant and whilst temperatures are still pleasant.
Day 1 - London to Tokyo.
Fly to Tokyo, flight arranged by you.
Day 3 - Tokyo to Niigata.
After breakfast in the hotel we will enjoy a city tour including Meiji Shrine, Sensoji Temple and the Imperial Palace Plaza. We will then transfer to the train station to join our shinkansen service to Niigata, enjoying lunch along the way. On arrival in Niigata transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky and sail this afternoon. Enjoy a welcome dinner and drinks on board tonight
Day 4 - Kanazawa.
Kanazawa is a thriving centre of the arts, long known for its lacquer ware, outstanding collectible pottery of the Kutani style, gold-leaf workmanship, and delicate hand-painting of silk for kimonos and Noh theatre dramas. The narrow and winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm. Around each bend is a traditional house, museum, art gallery, crafts shop, historic samurai residence and even a geisha house to explore. The fascinating open-air market displays a vast variety of items from flowers to fish to local handicrafts. Next to the Kanazawa Castle ruins is one of Japan’s premier highlights – the famed Kenroku-en Garden, ranked among the country’s top gardens.
Day 5 - Matsue.
Matsue, called the ‘town of water,’ nestles between a scenic lake and a large lagoon. We will visit the cultural attractions of the town including Matsue Castle. This afternoon is free to relax or explore the town at leisure. Alternatively join an optional excursion to the Adachi Museum. Set in a beautiful natural environment, Adachi Museum of Art is well known for both its superb Japanese gardens and its collection of contemporary Japanese paintings, comprising approximately 1,500 of the country’s most highly regarded paintings produced after the Meiji period.
Day 6 - Hagi
Japan’s revolution began here in Jokamachi’s old samurai residential quarter, where we will tour a samurai’s home. Also visit Daisho Temple, the resting place of the two first Mori daimyo and all the evennumbered daimyo. We will also take time to explore Hagi Castle, Shizuki Park and Tokoji Temple.
Day 7 - Pusan for Kyongju
Today embark on a full-day excursion to magnificent Kyongju, a World Heritage Site which is often described as the world’s finest open-air museum. As the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty, Kyongju’s cultural heritage dates back to the first millennium. Today, as we stroll through some of the hundreds of excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, there will be time to explore the National Museum with its exceptional collection of finely worked gold jewellery, metal weapons and distinctive pottery. At lunch, sample Korean delicacies and enjoy a cultural performance of traditional dance.
Day 8 - Nagasaki & Dejima.
Arrive this morning in Nagasaki, the second city destroyed by an A-bomb in World War II. We will tour the Peace Mermorial Park, Atomic Bomb Museum and Glover Garden. We will continue to Dejima Island which was built during the Edo Period to accommodate Portuguese Christian missionaries and prevent the propagation of their religion. It also used to be the residential quarters of the Dutch, the only foreigners allowed to trade in Japan during the Sakoku (Isolation) Period. For 200 years, until Japan reopened the country in the 19th century, Dejima was its only window to the world.
Day 9 - Yakushima
This morning we arrive on the island of Yakushima which became Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. Its natural wonders will astound you as Yakushima has a particularly diverse flora. We will spend our time here on nature walks including Yakusugi Land a nature park populated by a number of the island’s ancient cedar trees, such as the Buddhasugi, Futagosugi and Sennensugi. This afternoon we relax at sea.
Day 10 - Uwajima.
After a morning at sea we arrive at Uwajima situated deep inside the saw-toothed coast of Uwajima Bay. The city of Uwajima is emerging as the nation’s largest pearl cultivation centre. Learn the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. We will continue to Sakiiya Square and Dairakuji Temple.
Day 11 - Hiroshima & Miyajima
Arrive in Hiroshima to visit the compelling Peace Memorial Park. The park is dotted with memorials, including the cenotaph that contains the names of all the known victims of the A-bomb. Return to the ship for lunch and then continue to Miyajima. Considered one of Japan’s top scenic wonders, Miyajima provides a picture-postcard vista of the scarlet Torii gate, the giant camphor wood gates at the entrance to the Shinto Shrine. We will go ashore to explore the Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, founded in the 6th century and dedicated to three sea goddesses. The shrine is a designated World Heritage Site.
Day 12 - Okayama & Kurashiki.
This morning we will visit one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en. This 17th-century formal garden has 28 acres of walking trails, ponds, plum and cherry trees, and a classic teahouse where we will experience a traditional tea ceremony. After a local lunch we will continue to Kurashiki where we 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.i
Kobe to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to Osaka Kansai Airport for your flight home, arranged by you.
Pre / Post Cruise Extension
For those that wish to enjoy more time in Tokyo we have arranged a two night extension which includes accommodation at the New Otani Hotel (or similar) on a bed and breakfast basis, airport transfers and a full day tour to Nikko.
Prices per person
On disembarking the cruise we have also arranged a two night stay in Kyoto. This includes 2 nights at the Westin Miyaka Kyoto Hotel (or similar), a full day tour of Kyoto & Nara on a bed and breakfast basis and transfers.
|Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion), Kyoto||
Your ship - the MS Caledonian Sky
We are delighted to be using the MS Caledonian Sky, sister ship to the MS Island Sky. Formerly known as Hebridean Spirit, this 114-passenger vessel began her new life with Noble Caledonia in May 2012 following an extensive refurbishment. Built in the same ship yard as the MS Island Sky, the MS Caledonian Sky shares the same attributes as her sister vessel, joining her as one of the finest small ships in the world.
The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. The passenger accommodation is arranged over four decks and all suites have outside views. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, hot towel rack and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or bath tub. Facilities in the suites also include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, flat screen television, telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort.
The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. In addition there is the Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck which features a bar. The onboard travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. On the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. There is also a small gymnasium onboard and hairdressers with appointments made on request.
Dining on Board
With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffetstyle, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours a day.
Your Day to Day Life Onboard
Onboard the MS Caledonian Sky, you will not find endless entertainment, round the clock buffets and the people management which is so much a part of today’s big ship style. Instead the atmosphere on board is warm and peaceful and more akin to a private yacht or country hotel in which you can learn more about the wonders of nature, culture and ancient civilisations in the company of like-minded people. A little music in the lounge or bar after dinner, guest speakers and informative port briefings from our expedition leader, all contribute to make any voyage aboard the MS Caledonian Sky a memorable and joyful experience. The daily programme on board is in the capable hands of our Cruise Director and staff who coordinate with the Captain and officers to make the most of each day.
- Overnight hotel accommodation in Tokyo on breakfast only basis
- 10 nights aboard the MS Caledonian Sky on a full board basis with house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Cruise director, guest speaker, shore excursions, gratuities to crew and whilst on excursions
- Transfers, port taxes, airport taxes.
- Flights and Travel Insurance
|Occupancy||Castle Std Forward||Castle Standard||Caledonian Superior||Promenade Premium||Bridge Deluxe Balcony||Promenade Premium Balcony||Promenade Owner’s Corner|
Prices per person
- To make a booking, a deposit of £750 per person is required.
- The balance of the price of the trip must be made 12 weeks prior to departure.
- Full terms and Conditions
All price estimates are based on current rates of exchange and are subject to availability.
NB. Ports subject to change and local weather conditions.
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