Through this exceptional itinerary, PONANT invites you to discover the Land of the Rising Sun, where the history of the samurai and the daintiness of the geishas exist side by side.
In Osaka, you will board your ship for a 9-day cruise to the heart of Japan.
At the start of your trip, you will discover the small Japanese city of Tamano, a former feudal domain with a unique cultural heritage. Among its sites, you will be able to admire its famous Korakuen Garden, one of the country’s three must-see landscaped gardens.
We will call at Miyajima, home to the majestic Shinto shrine whose entrance is guarded by a magnificent vermillion Torii listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Your ship will then take you to Busan, a warm and welcoming city where you will enjoy a spectacular view of the port. This ancient city full of contrasts presents numerous vestiges that speak of its prestigious past.
In Sakaiminato, you will set off to discover medieval Japan and the ancient dwellings of the samurai, who had lavish homes and castles built.
Day 1 – Ossaka
Embarkation 07/05/2020 from 18H00 to 20H00 . Departure 07/05/2020 at 22H00 .
Like its big sister Tokyo, Osaka is the product of ancestral traditions and amazing technological innovations. And despite its size, its location on the Pacific Ocean give it a sense of serenity. The main historic landmark is the 16th-century Osaka Castle, which stands proud in the midst of majestic skyscrapers. The lively streets of Dotomburi and the bizarre Shinsekai district attract thousands of locals and visitors. A multitude of restaurants offer menus full of regional specialities: takoyaki, made with octopus, and other succulent dishes such as kushikatsu kebabs.
Day 2 – Tamano
Arrival 08/05/2020 early morning. Departure 08/05/2020 evening.
Located on the island of Honshu, hugging the banks of the Sento Inland Sea, Tamano is a popular destination thanks to its sun-drenched climate. Upon arrival, marvel at the way in which the city has been built along the coast at the foot of a deep, dark forest. In the area surrounding Tamano, stroll down the streets of Kurashiki, known as the ‘white-walled city’ in a nod to the pretty façades of the houses that line the streets of this ancient Edo-period trading town. Another major regional attraction is the Seto Ohashi bridge. Its 12.5 kilometres make it the world’s longest double-decker bridge.
Day 3 – Hiroshima
Arrival 09/05/2020 early morning. Departure 09/05/2020 midday.
Visiting Hiroshima is a moving experience. The town spreads along Honshu Island, along the inside coasts of Seto. While firmly focused on the future, Hiroshima doesn’t forget its past, and a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Genbaku Dome is a must. You’ll enjoy the city’s modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere and effervescent nightlife just as much as the peaceful stillness of its natural parkland areas such as splendid Shukkei-en, the town’s historic garden.
Arrival 09/05/2020 early afternoon. Departure 09/05/2020 evening.
At the heart of the Inland Sea, Miyajima, the “island sanctuary” will reveal its treasures. In the background you will see the Shinto Grand Sanctuary, whose entrance is guarded by a magnificent vermillion “Torii“. Considered to be one of the most beautiful sites in the Japanese islands, you will be transported by the unique character and the serenity of this sacred site.
Day 4 – Uwajima
Arrival 10/05/2020 early morning. Departure 10/05/2020 early afternoon.
Located on the west coast of Shikoku island, Uwajima will delight lovers of history and traditional customs. The magnificent Uwajima Castle was built in the 17th-century by the powerful Date clan and has a beautiful ornamental garden and bridge. The much-visited Taga Shrine is dedicated to fertility and is full of phalluses. As for eating, you must taste jakoten, a local delicacy based on fried fish.
Day 5 – Kagoshima
Arrival 11/05/2020 early morning. Departure 11/05/2020 late afternoon.
The seaside city of Kagoshima, at the south of Kyushu Island, ﾠis best known for Sakurajima, an active volcano that faces Kinko Bay. A visit to this busy metropolis will remind you just how much the volcano is part of the inhabitants’ everyday life: in the wake of the almost daily eruptions, a delicate layer of ash settles on everything. The top of a buried torii (traditional Japanese gate) measuring three metres that was ‘swallowed up’ by a giant lava flow in 1914 can still be seen. The power of nature will send a shiver down your spine.
Day 6 – Nagasaki
Arrival 12/05/2020 early morning. Departure 12/05/2020 early evening.
Located on the north-west coast of Kyushu, Nagasaki will impress you by its rich heritage. Despite the destruction in 1945, you can visit several ancient sites, including the beautiful 19th-century Catholic Church of Oura and its garden, the sanctuary of Suwa Shrine or several Buddhist temples. A visit to the Atomic Bomb Museum gives you insight into the extent of the damage caused by the nuclear attack. Close by, a walk in the Memorial Peace Park leads you to a collection of objets d’art offered as a gift from Japan to the world.
Day 7 – Busan
Arrival 13/05/2020 early morning. Departure 13/05/2020 early afternoon.
With around four million inhabitants, Busan is the second largest metropolis on South Korea, after Seoul. This dynamic harbour city, located in the south-east, surrounded by the warm waters of the Sea of Japan, benefits from a mild, pleasant climate. You’ll find delightful simply to stroll around the lively streets and explore the city’s outstanding cultural heritage of art galleries, museums, and Buddhist sites, such as the Haedong Yonggungsa temple, which elegantly sits on the waterfront. Rich too in magnificent beaches and superlative natural landscapes, Busan’s peaceful atmosphere will win you over, as will its inhabitants, whom you’ll have the pleasure of meeting.
Day 8 – Sakaiminato
Arrival 14/05/2020 early morning. Departure 14/05/2020 early evening.
Located on the south-west coast of Honshu Island, the busy fishing port of Sakaiminato celebrates the comic writer and artist Shigeru Mizuki, who was born here. As well as a museum a dedicated tourist route leads through streets and squares that feature 134 bronze statues representing his beloved characters. This isn’t the only thing Sakaiminato has to offer; try some local seafood specialities and enjoy the stunning views of Mt Daisen and the Yumigahama peninsula.
Day 9 – Maizuru
Disembarkation 15/05/2020 at 07H00 .
Located on the western coast of Honshu island, in the province of Kyoto, the charming town of Maizuru boasts one of Japan’s most exquisite closed bays. A climb to the observatory allows to appreciate the splendour of this inlet scattered with tiny wild islands. Visitors can also admire the treasures of traditional architecture by visiting the temple of Enryu-ji or the Tanabe-jo castle. The town also bears traces of a rich military past, which you can see in the old arsenals of the navy, red brick buildings that today house a museum.