At a glance
19 Day expedition voyage on Crystal Endeavor, Crystal Cruises - Call for price
Departure 27 August 2020 | Japan’s Cultural & Coastal Discovery
- Coast of Japan
- Sado Island
- Hamda and Senzaki
- Miyajima and Hiroshima
Japan’s Cultural & Coastal Discovery
This journey delves into the sacred sites of Japan – locales that have held the captivation of local residents and travelers for centuries. Temples, gardens and monumental heritage sites, remote islands of natural beauty and thriving cosmopolitan culture beautifully illustrate the complexities of the destinations.
From Mikimoto Pearl Island to towering Mt. Fuji, this is a journey of iconic sites accentuated with dynamic landscapes waiting to be explored. The Samurai legacy at Matsue Castle in Japan and the vestiges of the Silla Kingdom at South Korea’s Gyeongju UNESCO site allow guests to travel back in time while exploring the world aboard one of the most state-of-the-art luxury vessels of today.
Voyage highlights: Immersive exploration of some of Japan’s most treasured temples, gardens and heritage sites including Kenroku-en Garden, Matsue Castle, South Korea’s Gyeongju Historic Site, Mikimoto Pearl Island and Mount Fuji.
Day by day itinerary
Fly overnight from Heathrow to Tokyo on British Airways, arriving the following morning.
Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred by private vehicle to the port to embark the ship.
Fusing the vitality of a modern metropolis with the stately elegance of yesteryear, Tokyo is truly unique. From the timeless beauty of the Meiji Shrine to the glittering Ginza district and impressive Tokyo Tower, this international giant is a complex blend of East and West. Houses of wood and paper stand beside towering steel skyscrapers, while kimono-clad women stroll beside teenagers who have created a fashion all their own.
Enjoy the night life of the city as the ship remains in port overnight.
Aboard the world’s largest and most spacious luxury expedition yacht, you’ll find an array of unmatched experiences to immerse in during your days at sea. Indulge your senses at the serene Crystal Life Spa & Salon, work-out at our state-of-the-art fitness center, and learn about art, history and worldly destinations with our engaging enrichment programs. Or simply lounge poolside in solarium bliss while our attentive crew caters to your every whim. As evening arrives, indulge in the renowned culinary creations of Nobu Matsuhisa, enjoy special wine-makers dinners, lounge in luxurious spaces, or try your luck at the action-packed Resorts World At Sea Casino.
Located on Hokkaido, Muroran is the gateway to mountainous majesties in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. From hiking to hot springs, pursuits here range from adrenaline-inducing to seriously soothing. One of the centerpieces of the park is Mount Yotei, a perfectly shaped volcano that offers black diamond extreme skiing along its craters. Two namesake caldera lakes – Shikotsu and Toya – are playground in their own rights, also offering idyllic settings for walking and biking.
Whether you reach the spectacular summit of Mt. Hakodate by gondola or invigorating hike, sprawling vistas of the town below offer a beautiful reward. Venture further into the rich natural wonders to Lake Onuma Park, where trails in every direction lead to adventure and tiny lake islands are just a canoe quest away. In town, the local fish market, modern Motomachi neighborhood and Russian Orthodox Church express the storied past and varied present-day culture of Hakodate.
Ryotsu, Sado Island. This “Island of Exile” was the landing spot for many political dissidents, from a deposed emperor to a Buddhist monk, and is still one of the most remote locales to access in Japan. From the main town of Ryotsu, venture to Kodo Village, where the rhythm and art of taiko drumming originated. Rooted in the literal meaning “heartbeat” and the childlike yearn to simply play, this musical form is as entertaining for the musicians as it is for the audience.
Futami, Sado Island. The fact that this paradisiacal island is an important stop for some of the east’s most beautiful migratory birds makes it an equally important stop for nature-loving explorers. It is also home to numerous pristine coves, inlets, bays, forest and nature reserves, comprising every type of coastal landform found throughout Japan, making it an ethereal microcosm of the country’s entire natural landscape.
It rivals Kyoto in historical significance and is virtually unrivaled in its beauty. Kanazawa is home to Japan’s most celebrated garden, Kenroku-en, an elaborate natural landscape of tranquility and color. A remarkably preserved samurai quarter, Higashi Chaya geisha district and Ninjadera temple with secret doors and traps juxtaposed with busting dining and shopping areas make this charming modern city an epicenter of intrigue.
Home to one of the few medieval castles remaining in its original form in Japan – Matsue Castle, or “the Black Castle” – Sakaimonato is a relatively young city. Officially founded in 1956, the city has a deceptive amount of ancient history to explore. Visit the castle, completed in 1611, as well as the Izumo Taisha, or Grand Shrine, and explore its mysterious beginnings that trace beyond the 8th century.
Pohang is home to the Juwangsan National Park in the Baekdu Mountain range, known for its many stone peaks, waterfalls, caves and the Daejeonsa Temple. It is also the gateway to the Bogyeongsa Temple, a Buddhist pilgrimage site constructed in 603 near the twin falls of the Sangsaeng Waterfall.
Hamda - The subtropical climate extends a warm welcome to visitors on the white sand beaches along the Sea of Japan, as the cultural jungle in Hamada entices with the legacy of the Samurai and the remnants of the Shogunate palace. Embark on a quest to nearby Hagi and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Zen Buddhism at 17th-century Tokoji Temple, then visit the Kikuya Residence for a glimpse at the remarkable architecture of the Edo Period.
Senzaki - This tiny island is surrounded by brilliant turquoise water – and even tinier islands. Jagged rock formations jut out of the sea like decorations on the cobalt horizon. In town, the flavors and personality of Senzaki shine through. Famed children’s poet Misuzu Kaneko called this place home, clearly inspired by its quaint beauty. Discover her motifs and homages to her writing throughout the town, then stop for a taste of Senzaki’s signature kamaboko fish cakes.
This ethereal island’s fame – and name – come from the iconic 1400-year-old floating Itsukushima Shrine that illustrates the spiritual sanctity of Miyajima (the island’s popular name). This “island of gods” is rich with adventures, including a challenging climb up Mount Misen rewarded with sweeping views and cultural highlights at the summit, biking through the island’s picturesque pathways and possible Zodiac landings.
In the evening, visit Hiroshima. Despite its brief period of travesty during the second World War, Hiroshima’s past and present are remarkably peaceful. Throughout the modern cosmopolitan city center lie cultural curiosities and a friendliness that permeates every facet of exploration here. Lush greenery is everywhere along the wide boulevards, as are monuments to 20th-century tragedies and historical Japanese temples and gardens that illustrate the city’s beautiful history of centuries past.
After a morning and afternoon cruising the Inland Sea, arrive at Takamatsu. One of Japan’s most spectacular gardens – a bold claim in this land of artfully curated landscapes – Ritsurin Koen is nestled in the hillsides of Takamatsu. This is a striking contrast to the city’s innovative and modern downtown along the waterfront, where modern society thrives, but evidence of former ruling clans from the Edo Period is still found everywhere.
This cosmopolitan gem boasts a proud maritime history and is a gateway to some of Japan’s other legendary locales. Venture to the spiritual heart of Kyoto, home to the famed Golden Pavilion and many cultural intricacies, from the secret lives of the geisha to today’s innovative cuisine. Explore Nara’s Daibutsu (Great Buddha) and wander a park of temples on this journey through Japan’s sacred past and chic present.
A short distance from the town of Hamajima in the heart of a sacred forest is the most important Shinto shrine in Japan. Ise Grand Shrine was first built in 4 CE during the reign of Emperor Suinin, dedicated to the sun goddess Amerterasu. Exploring the hallowed grounds conveys the story of the surrounding towns that has influenced Japanese lore for millennia.
Mikimoto Kōkichi is credited with creating the first cultured pearls, subsequently turning his discovery into the luxury pearl company, Mikimoto. A visit to Toba takes you to the Mikimoto Pearl Island, where you’ll witness the dives for pearls, learn about the culturing process and the dazzling history of this small town.
The height of adventure is visible from downtown Shimizu, as Mount Fuji overlooks the city. A day trip to the legendary 12,388-foot peak promises high-adrenaline challenges and rewarding vistas, not to mention extreme bragging rights. Shimizu itself has also known a legend or two in its day, as the port city was referred to in Japan’s oldest texts, circa 700. It’s a bustling metropolis with a cultural charm that entices with fresh seafood and breathtaking views.
Debark and take your included private transfer to the airport for your onward flight to the UK, arriving the same day.
Sailing on Crystal Endeavor
Crystal Endeavor will be the largest and most spacious megayacht afloat - carrying 200 guests in 100 suites.