1 Arrive Tokyo
We meet you on arrival and transfer you to your hotel. There's time to step out to explore some of the city. Stay: Conrad Tokyo or similar
2 Tokyo, Niigata, Embark Ship
Enjoy a real taste of Tokyo today as you head into the bustling Shibuya district, home to two of the world's busiest railway stations. While lively crowds are all part of the experience here, you' ll find a restful haven at Meiji Shrine, which is surrounded by forest. Also visit Tokyo's oldest temple, Sensoji, located in the Asakusa district, and the Imperial Palace Plaza among other key sights. Then, farewell the neon-lit city as you board a bullet train and race towards Niigata. Here, your ship is waiting with drinks and dinner to welcome you aboard. Stay 12 Nights: MS Caledonian Sky (B/L/D)
3 Sado Island
Worlds away from Tokyo's skyscrapers, Sado Island is remote and quiet, offering a much needed breath of fresh air. Aside from the temples and fishing villages, the island is best-known for the world-famous Kodo group of taiko drummers, which you' ll witness during a Signature Experience. Onwards, see the traditional Edo-period homes in the village of Shukunegi and ride in the traditional tarai-bune boats used for abalone fishing. (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- Experience traditional taiko drumming during a live performance.
Today, taste your way through ‘Kanazawa's Kitchen', the city's beloved Omicho Market. After lunch back on board, head out and see if you can spot geisha as you take a walk through the Higashi Chaya Gai area. Just two original geisha teahouses remain here today, the others have been converted into restaurants or souvenir shops. You' ll also have the chance to visit Kenroku-en Garden and Kanazawa Castle. (B/L/D)
5 Oki Islands
When you think of Japan
, it's somewhat hard to picture anything but busy streets and bullet trains, but the Oki Islands couldn' t be further from this. The spectacular archipelago is classed as a UNESCO Global Geopark, with rugged coastlines, ancient forests and beautiful beaches. From your base at Nishinoshima, choose your sightseeing. (B/L/D) Freedom of Choice:
- Opt to cliff walk along the coast, or explore the island on a panoramic tour.
Back on the mainland, Matsue is the next stop. Discover Matsue how you like with your choice of sightseeing. Reconvene in the afternoon for a visit to Yuushien Garden, the region's largest Japanese-style garden. (B/L/D) Freedom of Choice:
- Explore the castle and its grounds and watch a samurai performance, then cruise along the castle's moat. Or, head to the town of Daisen for a hike through the forests around Mt Daisen.
Your ship arrives in Hagi this morning. Step off for a tour. See ancient temples and samurai homes. Walk through streets lined with merchant houses to the ruins of Hagi Castle in Shizuki Park. Head back on board for lunch before free time this afternoon. (B/L/D)
8 Masan, Haeinsa (Evening Departure/Overnight)
Wake up to South Korean shores. You' ll experience an entirely new culture today in Masan, from where you' ll enjoy a Signature Experience. Enjoy more typical Korean cuisine over lunch before a wander through the lively fish market back at Masan. (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- Travel to the Haeinsa Temple. One of the country's three great temples, here you' ll learn about ancient Buddhist traditions that date all the way back to AD802.
9 Ulsan, Gyeongju (Evening Departure/Overnight)
Start your day with a Signature Experience. Try typical Korean fare over lunch and watch a traditional dance performance. The afternoon is yours to explore. (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- Discover the World Heritage-listed city of Gyeongju on South Korea's southern shores.
From the port of Ube, your first stop today is the five-storied Pagoda of Rurikoji Temple. As you wander through the surrounding park, you' ll wonder how this magnificent structure has stood the test of time since 1442. Later, at the Fujigochi Tea Plantation, you' ll see where the local Ono Tea is produced. The rolling green countryside is indeed a beautiful sight in itself. (B/L/D)
11 Miyajima, Hiroshima
Spend the first half of your day on Miyajima Island, famous for its ‘Floating Torii Gate' and deer that roam along the shoreline nibbling crackers from tourists. It's then on to Hiroshima where you can choose your sightseeing. (B/L/D) Freedom of Choice:
- It's impossible to visit Hiroshima without visiting the Peace Memorial Park. See the cenotaph, and the A-Bomb Dome before entering the museum. If you' d rather stretch your legs, choose to hike up to Sandankyo Gorge.
12 Uno-ko (Evening Departure/Overnight)
Little compares to the serenity of a classic Japanese garden, and Koraku-en is ranked among Japan's top three best. Wander along the trails, leading you past ponds, cherry trees and plum trees. At the tea garden, sample matcha green tea, a specialty of the region. Continue to Kurashiki and explore the old merchant quarter and canals. Finish the day at the Ohara Museum of Art, where you' ll view rare works by Matisse, Picasso and Renoir. (B/L/D)
Venture inside the walls of World Heritage-listed Himeji Castle, one of the few remaining feudal-era fortresses. Later, at the Koko-en Japanese garden, stroll across bridges arching over koi-filled ponds. After lunch back aboard your ship, enjoy a free afternoon to relax or explore a little more. (B/L/D)
14 Kobe, Disembark Ship, Osaka
Awaking in Kobe this morning means it's time to say goodbye to your ship. You' ll be transferred to the airport at Osaka where the journey comes to an end. (B)