Wonders of Japan Cruise: Cherry Blossom Season (2022)

​Experience fascinating Japan during springtime with a chance to witness the country’s iconic cherry blossoms alongside a professional photographer.

Journey Overview

Experience fascinating Japan during springtime with a chance to witness the country’s iconic cherry blossoms alongside a professional photographer. Spanning across five islands, this all-encompassing cruise explores Japan’s culturally rich coastline with a pre-cruise stay in Osaka and included shore excursions throughout, including a visit to Hiroshima’s Peace Park, the Adachi Museum of Art and its gardens, and Kanazawa’s historic district.

Journey Highlights

  • Witness private performances by the world-renowned Kodo taiko drummers, Kabuki warriors and geishas
  • Immerse yourself in mesmerizing Japanese gardens, perhaps visiting the Adachi Museum of Art gardens
  • Visit Gyeongju, South Korea, ancient dynastic capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Reflect on Japan’s turbulent history and witness its miraculous resurgence in Hiroshima
  • Enjoy fascinating onboard lectures and presentations led by our enrichment specialists on photography, Japanese history, culture and gardens

Take 10 with an A&K Expert to Hear More About This Voyage


Featured Experts

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Simon Rickard, Japanese Gardens Lecturer
Former head gardener at Australia’s iconic Heronswood and the Garden of St Erth, Simon runs his own gardening design consultancy. He has led many expeditions to Japan and is excited to return during cherry blossom season

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Suzana Machado D'Oliveira, Expedition Director
Leading A&K cruises for nearly 30 years, Suzana has travelled everywhere, including Greece, the Arctic and Antarctica. She has led A&K’s Japan program for years with a strong passion for Japanese culture.

Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Mar 22: Arrive Osaka, Japan

Meet your A&K representative and transfer to your ideally located hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

Mar 23: Osaka | Cultural Wonders

Begin your adventure with a chance to explore one of Japan’s most vibrant cities: Osaka. On a full-day excursion to Kyoto, visit the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji Temple), attend a talk about Zen Buddhism at Tenryuji Temple, and explore Nijo Castle. You can also enjoy a historic voyage to Nara, the first Japanese capital, including Horyu-ji, the country’s oldest temple. For an incredible overview, take a scenic drive to Uji, possibly enjoying the sight of cherry trees blossoming along Uji River. Gather this evening for a welcome reception and dinner with fellow guests.
The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka | Meals: BLD

Mar 24: Osaka | The Adventure Begins

After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy the morning at leisure or join a panoramic tour of Osaka that includes a visit to the Dotonbori district and the imposing Osaka Castle. Enjoy lunch followed by a stroll through the wandering paths of Taiko-en Garden, admiring its ponds and stone bridges. This afternoon, transfer to Kobe where you board ‘Le Soleal,’ your luxurious floating home for the next 11 nights.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Mar 25: Takamatsu | Explore Your Way

Wake up in charming Takamatsu, the gateway to Shikoku Island. Opt for a boat ride to Shodoshima, the heart of Japan’s olive-growing industry, for a full-day tour. You may otherwise remain on Shikoku Island. Here, your day starts with a visit to picture-perfect Ritsurin Park, one of Japan’s finest gardens. Next, explore the Kinashi area of Takamatsu, among the country’s main bonsai production centres, where you learn about traditional methods of growing and caring for these meticulously cultivated little trees. A few others may travel to Naoshima Island by ferry for a full-day excursion, celebrating its architecture and art museums. Visit the hillside Chichu Art Museum and stop at Benesse House, a complex featuring unique work by both Japanese and international artists.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Mar 26: Hiroshima & Miyajima | Memorials & Shrines

Vibrant and full of historical significance, Hiroshima is home to magnificent memorials and shrines. Start the day with a visit to the beautiful Peace Park and Museum, with its sombre cenotaph containing names of atomic bomb victims. Then, take a speedboat ride to Miyajima Island, site of the iconic Torii Gate and the Daisho-in Buddhist temple. Or enjoy a full-day excursion through Hiroshima, visiting the Hiroshima Castle and namesake Peace Park and Museum, where you attend a private talk with an atomic bomb survivor. If you prefer a day in nature, head out to the tranquil island of Miyajima. Ascend Mount Misen by cable car for a hike, admiring the Shinto shrine and Torii Gate from above.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Mar 27: Uwajima | Seaside Splendour

Spend the day in Uwajima, situated on the west coast of Shikoku and home to Japan’s main producers of pearls, for a glimpse of small-town living. While there, learn the process of cultivating and sorting pearls during a visit to a pearl farm. Continue to the samurai-era gardens of Tensha-en, with their spectacular mountain backdrop. Alternatively, explore Nanraku-en Garden, the largest on Shikoku, and enjoy a scenic hike in picturesque Yakushidani Canyon. Another option is a historic stroll to Yoshida along a cherry tree-lined lane, followed by an old town visit that includes a historic Kabuki theatre. Return to the ship for a relaxing evening on board.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Mar 28: Karatsu | Ancient Trading Post

This afternoon, your luxury expedition vessel arrives at the port of Karatsu. Once an early trading post between Japan and mainland Asia, Karatsu still maintains its medieval heritage. Visit Karatsu Castle, known as the “flying crane castle.” Tour the Hikiyama Exhibition Hall, which houses the floats and artifacts used in the annual Karatsu Kunchi autumn festival. Alternatively, head to the city of Imari to visit its celebrated porcelain pottery kilns and the Mifuneyama Rakuen garden.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Mar 29: Gyeongju, South Korea | Korean Capital

Disembark and spend a full day exploring Gyeongju, South Korea, the ancient capital of the Silla Dynasty and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gyeongju’s cultural heritage dates back to the first millennium. Witness its excavated temples, tombs and pagodas. Then, view the treasures of the National Museum, which houses an exceptional collection of jewellery, weapons and pottery. Sit down to a lunch of Korean delicacies and witness a traditional dance performance.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Mar 30: Matsue, Japan | Verdant Gardens

Return to Japan and disembark at Sakaiminato to visit Matsue, the “town of water.” Explore the countryside, pausing to wander through the picturesque Yuushien Garden. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before visiting historic Matsue Castle, one of Japan’s few remaining medieval castles, built in original wooden form. Art lovers can visit the Adachi Museum of Art, which melds the founders’ passions for art and garden design. After a traditional lunch at a ryokan (inn), visit Yakumo-mura village to learn about the art of Japanese paper making.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Mar 31: Kanazawa | Immersion into the Arts

Spend the day in the thriving art centre of Kanazawa, known for its Kutani-style pottery and gold-leaf workmanship, followed by a visit to Edo-period Kenrokuen Garden, considered among the best in Japan. For a more active alternative, take a hike in Kakusenkei Gorge with a soothing onsen (spa) experience in the Yamanaka Onsen district. Wander Omicho Market, which features everything from fresh flowers to fish, and then stroll in the Higashi Chaya-gai geisha district, with its well-preserved historic geisha houses.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Apr 1: Sado-ga-shima | Kodo Taiko Drummers

Arrive at pastoral Sado Island, with its rice paddies, bamboo groves and surf-pounded seacoasts. Political exiles and deposed emperors were once “banished” to live on this beautiful isle. Enjoy an exclusive, private performance by the Kodo taiko drummers, and then visit the Hakusanmaru Exhibition Hall and Ogi Folk Museum, followed by a farmer’s talk at the rice paddies.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Apr 2: At Sea | Hokkaido Island Cruising

Enjoy a relaxing day on board while cruising toward Hokkaido. Share stories and photographs with newfound friends and take advantage of the ship facilities, including relaxing lounges, the panoramic fitness room and sauna.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Apr 3: Otaru | Historic Canals

Arrive in Otaru, your gateway to Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. Visit the city known for its canals, sake distilleries, architecture and views of Mount Tengu. Opt for a historical and cultural tour of the city, once a prosperous fishing village. Afterward, discover Otaru’s storied glassmaking and visit a sake distillery, where you may sample the rice wine. Whiskey lovers can learn about Japanese whiskey during a visit and tasting at Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery while others can choose to stroll along the city’s canals.
‘Le Soleal’ | Meals: BLD

Apr 4: Depart Sapporo

Disembark luxury ‘Le Soleal’ in Otaru. Transfer to the airport in Sapporo and board your homebound flight.
Meals: B

Journey Details:

This journey contains some active elements.

Note: Itinerary is for guidance purposes only and may be adjusted due to unforeseen circumstances including weather, medical emergencies and other conditions beyond A&K’s control at the sole discretion of the Captain.

While the itinerary is scheduled over estimated cherry blossom dates, this natural phenomenon is subject to climate and weather, and cannot be guaranteed. Excursions may be altered to offer optimum opportunities to view the cherry blossoms if available.

Minimum age is 7 years.

Categories 4–8 include room upgrade at the hotel and butler service aboard the ship.

First group event: morning excursion on Mar 23.

Last group event: disembarkation by 9:00 am in Otaru on Apr 4.

Show Full Itinerary
Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

Le Soleal

Wonders of Japan Cruise: Cherry Blossom Season (2022)

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Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Mar 22, 2022 - Apr 4, 2022 Special Special Special Special Special Special Special Special
Cabin Class Le Soleal: Category 1 - Classic Balcony Stateroom Price AU$25,665pp was AU$28,370 Single Supplement AU$21,275 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Le Soleal: Category 2 - Deluxe Balcony Stateroom Price AU$29,045pp was AU$31,750 Single Supplement AU$23,820 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Le Soleal: Category 3 - Premier Balcony Stateroom Price AU$30,395pp was AU$33,100 Single Supplement AU$24,830 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Le Soleal: Category 4 - Superior Balcony Stateroom Price AU$37,830pp was AU$40,535 Single Supplement AU$30,400 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Le Soleal: Category 5 - Prestige Balcony Suite Price AU$44,585pp was AU$47,290 Single Supplement AU$42,360 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Le Soleal: Category 6 - Premier Two-Room Balcony Suite Price AU$56,070pp was AU$58,775 Single Supplement AU$53,275 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Le Soleal: Category 7 - Prestige Two-Room Balcony Suite Price AU$58,775pp was AU$61,480 Single Supplement AU$55,845 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Le Soleal: Category 8 - Owners Suite Price AU$67,560pp was AU$70,265 Single Supplement AU$64,180 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Notes:

Availability shown here is updated weekly and indicative only. Availability on any product or journey shown here is not specific to a category of travel and may not denote availability at the cheapest ‘From’ price. For real time availability, talk to your travel agent or call Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800.

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