Duration: 9 May 2018 - 22 May 2018
Location: Tokyo, Osaka, Japan, Koraku-en & Kurashiki, Miyajima & Hiroshima, Uwajima, Yakushima, Masan for Haeinsa, South Korea, Ulsan for Kyongju, Hagi, Japan, Matsue, Kanazawa, Sado Island, Niigata
Price: From £6195.00

TO ENQUIRE ABOUT THIS TOUR PLEASE CALL 020 7766 5267, OR EMAIL info@japanjourneys.co.uk or Click here to download a Brochure: Eternal Japan 2018 Brochure and a Reservation Form: Eternal Japan Cruise 2018 Reservation Form

The TourDaily ItineraryYour ShipDates and InclusionsGallery
timeless japan cruise

Join us for an unforgettable cruise as we explore the beautiful islands and coastline of Japan. Discover castle towns, stunning gardens, invigorating hot springs and the lovely Inland Sea on this 12-night trip. Begin your journey from the bustling port of Kobe. On your cruise you will pay moving visits to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, thriving cities devoted to peace. 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. Other lovely towns you’ll visit en route include Hagi with its old samurai houses and Kurashiki known for its canals an old merchant quarter. Your last stop is Kanazawa where you can enjoy exploring the town and its many arts and crafts with the highlight being the glorious Kenrokuen garden. After Kanazawa you will transfer by Bullet Train to the buzzing metropolis of Tokyo where you will stay one night in a superb 5* hotel.

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.

ITINERARY

Day 1 – London to Osaka, Japan
Day 2 – Kobe
Day 3 – Koraku-en & Kurashiki
Day 4 – Miyajima & Hiroshima
Day 5 – Uwajima
Day 6 – Yakushima
Day 7 – Nagasaki & Dejima
Day 8 – Masan for Haeinsa, South Korea
Day 9 – Ulsan for Kyongji
Day 10 – Hagi, Japan
Day 11 – Matsue
Day 12 – Kanazawa
Day 13 – Sodo Island
Day 14 – Niigata to Tokyo
Day 15 – Depart Japan

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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.

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FULL ITINERARY

Day 1 – London to Osaka, Japan
Flights arranged by you.

Day 2 – Kobe
Arrive today in Osaka and on arrival transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky moored in Kobe and sail this evening.

Day 3 – Koraku-en & Kurashiki
From the port of Uno-Ko we will 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 of walking trails, ponds, plum and cherry trees, and a classic teahouse where we will experience a traditional tea ceremony. After a Japanese lunch in a local restaurant we will continue to Kurashiki where we explore the old merchant quarter amd its fine17th century wooden warehouses painted white with traditional black tiles, along a canal framed with weeping willows and filled with koi. There will also be 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 mingei movement including ceramics by Hamada Shoji.

Day 4 – Miyajima & Hiroshima
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 use the vessel’s Zodiacs to go ashore and explore the Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, founded in the 6th century and dedicated to three sea goddesses. The shrine is a designated World Heritage Site. Over lunch we sail to Hiroshima for our visit to the compelling Peace Memorial Park. The park is dotted with memorials, including the cenotaph which contains the names of all the known victims of the A-bomb and the permanently lit “Flame of Peace”. Just outside the park, the A-Bomb Dome is a haunting reminder of the destructive forces that were unleashed on the city being one of the few original buildings to survive. In the museum we will see photos, videos and victim’s personal effects relating to the bomb.

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Day 5 – Uwajima
This morning we land on Shikoku Island and the port of 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 also see Uwajima Castle, which is built on top of the hill with panoramic views over the town and harbour, Tensha-en Garden, built in the Samurai era and the Date Museum which exhibits items dedicated to the Date family, who ruled Uwajima from the castle for 250 years during the Tokugawa period.

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Day 6 – Yakushima
During our morning at sea we sail to the very south of Kyushu and the island of Yakushima which became Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993 and has a particularly diverse flora. We will spend the afternoon on a choice of nature walks in Yakusugi Land, a nature park populated by a number of the island’s ancient cedar trees, such as the Buddhasugi, Futagosugi and Sennensugi, which are over 3000 years old.

Day 7 – Nagasaki & Dejima
Arrive this morning in Nagasaki, the second city destroyed by an A-bomb in World War Two. We will tour the Peace Memorial Park, Atomic Bomb Museum and Dejima Island which was built during the Edo Period to accommodate Portuguese Christian missionaries and prevent the propagation of their religion. It was also 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. With the reopening of the port to Westerners in the latter half of the 19th century, Nagasaki flowered as a prosperous and sophisticated international city. Suitable housing was required for the sudden influx of foreigners who made their homes here. Many of the comfortable stone and clapboard residences that were built during this period survive today and are preserved in Glover Garden which we will visit this afternoon. The best known European-style residence here is Glover House. Built in 1863, it was the setting for Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly.

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Day 8 – Masan for Haeinsa, South Korea
From our berth in Masan we head inland to the Haeinsa Temple. Regarded as one of the three great temples in Korea it was first settled in 802 A.D. 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 Triptaka Koreana, a complete copy of Buddhist scriptures, in the hope of Buddha’s intervention in the war. They were carved onto 81,258 double sided wooden blocks and stored on floor to ceiling shelves in the Janggyeong Panjeon building. We also visit the Daejokkwangjeon, the main worship hall of the temple. After lunch in a nearby restaurant we will return to Masan this afternoon, here you may want to visit the vibrant fish market selling the daily catch as well as dried and salted fish and seaweed and try a sample at one of the raw fish restaurants.

Day 9 – Ulsan for Kyongju
Today we 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 embracing ancient Korean history and Buddhist culture. 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 lunchtime, we will sample Korean delicacies and enjoy a cultural performance of traditional dance.

Day 10 – Hagi, Japan
Hagi was a minor fishing port until Mori Terumoto fortified it in 1604 and it was Mori Samurai that helped spark off the anti-Tokugawa revolt in the mid-19th century. Today it is better known for its traditional pottery making traditions. On our morning tour we will explore the Teramachi district with its temples and shrines, the Jokamachi District, where we find the old samurai houses and also take time to explore Hagi Castle, Shizuki Park and Tokoji Temple. Return to the vessel for lunch and this afternoon is free to relax or travel to the outskirts of the city and the Yoshika Taibi Memorial Museum which is dedicated to a large collection of Hagiyaki pottery which was highly prized in the Edo Period as wares for tea ceremonies.

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Day 11 – Matsue
Called the ‘town of water,’ Matsue nestles between a scenic lake and a large lagoon. We will visit the cultural attractions of the town including the 17th century Matsue Castle before enjoying a boat ride on the local canals. This afternoon is free to relax or explore the town at leisure. Alternatively join a full day excursion visiting both Matsue Castle and the Adachi Museum of Art which is set in a beautiful natural environment and well known for both its superb Japanese gardens and its collection of contemporary Japanese paintings, comprising approximately 1500 of the country’s most highly regarded paintings produced after the Meiji period.

Day 12 – 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, delicate handpainting of silk for kimonos and Noh theatre dramas. The narrow and winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm with old-fashioned streetlamps and wooden-lattice windows hiding elegant restaurants and craft galleries. Around each bend is a traditional house, museum, art gallery, craft 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 and 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 three gardens. Enjoy a morning garden visit and an afternoon city walking tour.

Day 13 – Sado Island
Sado is Japan’s sixth largest island, made up of two parallel mountain chains, between which lies an extensive plain with small rice farms. In its early history, the island was a place of exile for intellectuals and political dissidents whilst in the Edo Period a rich gold mine was found. Sado Island is now famous for its premium quality rice and sake (rice wine), and is also the home base for the taiko drumming group, Kodo (“heartbeat”). During our full day call we will visit the Taiko centre to learn more about the history of the drums and visit the picturesque fishing village of Shukunegi, where over one hundred traditional Edoperiod houses line the narrow streets. You may wish to take a ride aboard one of the unique local boats called tarai-bune. These circular wooden tub boats are rowed with a single oar and designed to be capable of tight turns in order to manouevre through the deeply indented shores of the island as locals head out to collect shellfish and seaweed.

Day 14: Niigata to London
Disembark this morning and take the bullet train to Tokyo. On arrival we enjoy an afternoon city tour including Meiji Shrine, Sensoji Temple and the Imperial Palace Plaza. We then transfer to the New Otani hotel (or similar) for an overnight stay.

Day 15: Tokyo to London
Check out this morning and transfer to the airport for the return scheduled flight to London arriving this evening.

MS Caledonian Sky

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Formerly known as the Hebridean Spirit, the MS Caledonian Sky began her life with Noble Caledonia in May 2012. Accommodating a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites, she is more akin to a country hotel than the big cruise ships of today. The vessel is the ideal partner to our MS Island Sky, both were built in the same yard and at similar times and share the same excellent attributes that make them two of the finest small ships in the world and we are very proud to have them as our flagships.

Your Cabin/Suite

Onboard the MS Caledonian Sky there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites, 23 of which have private balconies located on the Promenade or Bridge Decks. Each suite exudes great character and grandeur with wood panelling and brass features found throughout.

The large suites all measure between 20 and 23 square metres and the balconies range in size from 4.2 to 5.6 square metres. Suites are arranged over four decks and all have outside facing views. All suites feature a sitting room area complete with coffee table, armchairs and flat screen televisions (DVD players and DVDs can be borrowed from reception for use in your suite). The beds in each cabin offer exceptionally comfortable mattresses and pillows and can be configured as large double beds or twins. Each suite affords considerable comfort with an en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, a hot towel rack, shaver outlet and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or corner bath tub. Towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Further facilities in the suites include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, minifridge, cabin to cabin telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted Molton Brown toiletries, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, bottled water replenished daily, as well as extra blankets and pillows.

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Your Space

The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge featuring comfortable seating and classic winged armchairs to enhance the modern country-style furnishings throughout. Daily briefings given by the Cruise Director or Expedition Leader and talks from Guest Speakers and Expedition staff take place in the main lounge which is fitted with the highest standard of presentation equipment including multiple screens. Also featured in the Lounge is an elegant bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. In addition to the main lounge on the Caledonian Deck, there is the Lounge on the Panorama Deck which features a bar, library and two computers and further spacious seating arrangements, ideal for watching the world go by as you cruise to your next destination. The travel library is the perfect place to relax with a good book. The main dining room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Castle Deck. Outside there is a rear Lido Deck located on the Bridge Deck which is complete with deck tables and chairs where meals are served in warm weather under shade. Further to this on the Panorama Deck towards the front of the vessel there is a further observation deck, complete with bar service and comfortable cushioned deck furniture for sun bathing, relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. On the Promenade Deck there is also a small gymnasium featuring a treadmill, bicycle and cross trainer, and a hairdressers with appointments made on request.

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Your Dining

With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the cuisine onboard is of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets their high standards, our accomplished chefs will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapes take place every day in either the comfort of the lounge or out on the Lido Deck when the weather is favourable. In keeping with the informal atmosphere onboard, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure. Whether that be joining a table of four to six other like minded passengers outside on the Lido Deck in the evening’s sunshine or whether you prefer to enjoy meals in the à la carte restaurant. For those travelling alone, our onboard friendly restaurant staff will take care to ensure you are seated with other like minded travellers. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order on request. Lunch and dinner are an à la carte five course affair, with the menu reflecting the daily catch or local delicacies. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with both meals.

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Life Onboard

The atmosphere onboard is warm and convivial 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 and of course good food, all contribute to make any voyage aboard this wonderful vessel a memorable and joyful experience. After a day ashore you will return to the comfort and peace of an exceedingly comfortable ship.The daily programme onboard is in the capable hands of our Cruise Director or Expedition Leader or Cruise Director and staff who coordinate with the Captain and Officers to make the most of each day. Briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage together with a ‘Daily Programme’ that is distributed every evening to your suite outlining the next day’s activities. Dress onboard is casual and relaxed and there will be no ‘black tie’ evenings.

For your Comfort, Safety & Security

The MS Caledonian Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimise the ship’s motion. During your voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the vessel’s progress by charts and learn more about your journey. Onboard you will also find a clinic and doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking onboard is restricted to deck 4 aft.

Eternal Japan Cruise 2018

9 to 22 May 2018

Based on double occupancy:

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Price Includes: Overnight hotel accommodation in Tokyo on breakfast only basis, 12 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.

Not Included: Travel Insurance, flights, optional excursions, visas.

INSURANCE

Travel can be a great experience, but it can also be fraught with problems, so when going anywhere it is essential you are properly covered with good travel insurance. You should be protected against cancellation, curtailment and loss or damage to your belongings as well as medical emergencies and have peace of mind if the unexpected happens.

Japan Journeys in association with Holiday Extras, is now able to offer excellent low cost cover to their customers.

Please click on the image below for a quote.

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