Summary : Discover the cultural highlights, natural attractions, and dramatic coastlines of Honshu and Kyushu Islands as you sail the Inland Sea on this Japan and South Korea expedition. From imposing castles and timeless villages to a moving exploration of Hiroshima during your Japan tour, and from elegant court dancers and sacred Shinto shrines to exquisite formal gardens, this voyage presents an intricate tapestry of Japanese riches. Among the many highlights of the South Korea tour is a full-day excursion to Gyeongju, a World Heritage Site encompassing hundreds of excavated monuments, temples, tombs, and pagodas. You may choose to begin your Japan adventure travels with a pre-voyage extension to charming Kyoto and to Nara, home to some of the most ancient Buddhist temples in Japan.
Activities : Culture, Photography
$999,999,999 to $0
Depart on your independent flight to Osaka, Japan.
Arrive in Osaka, transfer to Kyoto and check in to the Kyoto Hotel Okura.
After breakfast enjoy a morning tour of Japan’s lovely cultural capital. Founded in the 8th century, Kyoto was the Emperor’s residence for more than one thousand years. Today, its historic shrines, monuments, art, and architectural landmarks represent nearly 20 percent of Japan’s national treasures. Among the tour highlights is a visit to the Heian-jingu Shrine and its gardens, built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto; the 12th-century Sanjusangen-do Temple, housing the Thousand-Armed Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy; and the exquisite Kiyomizu-dera Temple with its sacred waterfall. After lunch at a local restaurant the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Depart Kyoto this morning and board one of Japan’s famed bullet trains for the trip to Kobe. After lunch at a local restaurant, board motorcoaches for a drive to a spectacular city overlook on the verdant slopes of Mount Rokko. In town you will visit a museum that chronicles the devastating 1995 earthquake and recovery efforts. Later this afternoon, embark the Clipper Odyssey and set sail into the fabled Inland Sea.
Disembark in Uno-Ko and board motorcoaches for the scenic drive to Okayama. Enjoy a walk through one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens, Koraku-en, a 17th-century formal garden encompassing 28 acres of walking trails, ponds, plum and cherry trees, and a classic teahouse. After lunch at a local restaurant drive to Kurashiki, first established as an administrative center for the Shogunate in the early 17th century. The village evolved into a regional commercial center for rice, sake, and cotton. Today the old village is a historic jewel, its black-tiled warehouses fronting a willow-lined canal which is criss-crossed with old stone bridges.
Naoshima is known for its many contemporary arts museums. Visit the Benesse House Museum, with interesting displays that combine art and nature through the collaborative efforts of many world-renowned artists and architects. The Chichu Art Museum (literally, “in the earth”) houses a number of site-specific installations by James Turrell and Walter De Maria, and paintings by Claude Monet. The Ie (or House) Project takes empty houses scattered about residential areas, and turns the spaces themselves into works of art, weaving in the history and memories of the period when the houses were people’s homes.
Considered one of Japan’s scenic wonders, Miyajima, “shrine island,” offers a superb vista of the scarlet Torii, a giant camphor-wood gate at the entrance to the Itsukushima Shrine and a sacred site of pilgrimage. At high tide it appears to float in the surrounding waters. Take Zodiacs ashore to explore the World Heritage Site shrine, sacred both to Shintoism and Buddhism.
After lunch join a tour of Hiroshima and visit the compelling Peace Memorial Park located in the heart of the city. A World Heritage Site, the park and its monuments are dedicated to the hope for world peace; an arch-shaped cenotaph includes the names of all the known victims of the atomic bomb.
Uwajima Castle was built in the early 17th century and is one of only 12 surviving castle towers built in the Edo Period. The castle houses a small museum which includes armor, furnishings, and archives of the Date family. Then stroll though Tensha-en, a traditional Japanese landscape garden constructed in 1868 as the retreat of the Date’s seventh lord, Munetada. You will also visit the Flying Squirrel Temple. The temple’s abbot is a well-known inventor and photographer and many of his creations will be on display.
Today disembark in Oita to view the Usuki Stone Buddhas, carved during the 12th – 14th centuries. Continue to Yufuin, a hot spring resort town, for lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards you may choose to stroll around town and perhaps browse through the charming folkcraft shops. Or choose to take a dip in one of the hot springs at a traditional onsen. A short drive brings you to Usa Shrine, founded in the early eighth century, its Main Shrine structure is designated a National Treasure. The tour ends at Nakatsu where you reboard the ship in time for dinner.
Disembark in Hagi this morning to visit this exquisite medieval samurai town which served as the capital of the local daimyo, feudal lords, between 1603 and 1868. Stroll through the serene Tokoji Temple and burial site of the daimyo which is surrounded by thousands of stone lanterns. Hagi is also world-renowned for its pastel-glazed pottery and you will have the opportunity to watch a master-potter at work.
The coastline along the north shore of Honshu offers splendid views of craggy rock faces and rugged shores sculpted by waves. Matsue, the “town of water,” is nestled between a scenic lake and a large lagoon. Visit the cultural attractions of the town which include the Matsue Castle and a 250-year-old samurai house complete with tatami rooms. Afterwards take a drive though photogenic countryside to a rural village known for traditional Japanese paper-making.
After lunch on board, disembark in the bustling port of Ulsan. From here you travel overland to visit the lively harbor-side Jagalchi fish market in Busan. Return to the ship for dinner and overnight pier side.
Magnificent Gyeongju, considered by UNESCO as one of the world’s ten most historically significant sites, is often described as a “museum without walls.”As the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty, Gyeongju’s cultural heritage dates back to the first millennium when the dynasty began its rule of Korea after conquering and uniting divergent monarchies. The cultural flowering of Gyeongju reached its artistic pinnacle in the 8th century as craftsmen created masterpieces in wood, metal, stone, and pottery.
After breakfast disembark and transfer to the airport for your independent flight via Tokyo, arriving in the USA the same day.
All gratuities; accommodations in hotels and on board the Clipper Odyssey as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals; all group meals on land; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; landing and port fees; $50,000 of medical expense coverage and $75,000 in emergency evacuation insurance.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; baggage/trip cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.