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Treasures of Japan by Sea - with Smithsonian Journeys

A voyage specially-tailored for English-speaking travellers including discussions with experts, transfers before and after your cruise, and an included excursion in each port of call.

Cruise Only
8 nights from £6499pp

Luxury Holiday
Miyajima, Hiroshima
Busan, South Korea
Matsue Castle

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Treasures of Japan by Sea - with Smithsonian Journeys Special Offer

Board Le Soléal for an exciting 9-day cruise to discover the many traditions and emblematic sites of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Your voyage begins in Kobe, home to its famous eponymous marbled beef. Continue to Hiroshima, with its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hiroshima Peace Memorial then call at Miyajima, the gateway to the majestic Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, whose magnificent vermillion torii gate appears to float on water. At Hagi Castle Town, walk in the steps of the samurai as you stroll its beautifully preserved streets. Visit Sakaiminato and see Matsue Castle, built entirely of pine in 1611; the Adachi Museum of Art, displaying the great masters of modern Japanese painting and sculpture; and Yushien Garden, a landscape garden in traditional style, famous for its peonies. After a call at South Korean Busan, explore Kozan-ji Temple, founded in the Kamakura period and the oldest Zen style temple in Japan.

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Treasures of Japan by Sea - with Smithsonian Journeys Itinerary

Day 1 - Kobe

A coastal city on the main island of Honshū, Kobe is a vital Japanese port. You will be inspired by the authenticity, way of life and heritage of the capital of Hyōgo Prefecture, which is bordered by the sea. Its beef is internationally renowned, but there is much more to the city’s attractions than this delicate speciality. As soon as you arrive, you will be welcomed by the Kobe Port Tower, located, along with the Maritime Museum, in the much appreciated Meriken Park. The Mount Rokkō National Park is a real island of greenery in the very heart of the vibrant city. Long frequented by Shinto monks, then popular with the expatriates who flocked to Kobe during the second half of the 19th century, it is one of the symbols of the city.

Day 2 - Takamatsu

A former fortified city, ruled over by the Matsudaira clan from the Tamamo castle with its seawater moats, the city is home to one of the most beautiful classic gardens in Japan, the Ritsurin. It was created by the barons of the city at the start of the Edo period, during which time gardening became a profession in its own right. Its landscape incorporates Mount Shiun in the background, an example of what is known as the shakkei technique, which uses the surrounding landscapes to increase the beauty of the gardens.

Day 2 - Crossing Kurushima Strait

Between the islands of Honshu and Shikoku, in the very heart of the emblematic Seto Inland Sea, the Kurushima Strait will unveil a traditional and picturesque Japan. This 4-kilometre (2.5-mile) maritime route, with swift currents, will give you the opportunity to discover certain great feats of engineering, such as the mythical Kurushima Kaikyō Bridge. This colossal construction is the first triple bridge and the longest set of suspension bridges in the world, with a total length of 4,105 metres (almost 13,500 feet) In the footsteps of the Japanese traders from the middle of the 18th century, fall under the spell of the charming picturesque fishing ports that line this historic maritime route.

Day 3 - Hiroshima

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.

Day 3 - Miyajima Island

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 - Crossing the Kanmon Straits

Sailing in the Kanmon Straits, between the Japanese islands of Honshu and Kyushu, promises an unforgettable experience. During the crossing of this emblematic maritime passage linking the Sea of Japan to the Seto Inland Sea, fall under the spell of this traditional Japan, with its charming picturesque fishing ports and its shrines built in the heart of enchanting nature, between verdant hilly peaks and captivating granite cliffs.

Day 4 - Hagi

In the south of Honshu island, surrounded by mountains, Hagi is a city of water. For good reason; it was built on the delta of the Abu-gawa river. Its castle was built in the 17th century and its outer walls remain in the lovely Shizuki Park. The old town was one of the cradles of the Meiji revolution. You will discover its rich past in streets lined with old houses and samurai manors, or within the walls of the many museums and Hagi-yaki ceramics workshops.

Day 5 - Sakaiminato

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 6 - Busan

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 7 - Moji, Kitakyūshū

At the mouth of the Kanmon Straits lies Mojiko, the northernmost port of Kyushu, one of Japan’s four main islands. For many years, Mojiko was the gateway to the island. Today, the old boats are gone, but as you stroll around the picturesque streets you will discover a well-preserved architectural heritage that evokes traditional Japan from the first Meiji era of the late 19th century. From the heights of the Mojiko Retro Observation Room, you can enjoy the amazing views that take in the Shinto shrine and coastal landscape like a postcard of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Day 8 - Uno

The small port of Uno, at the southern end of the town of Tamano, provides access both to the city of Okayama and to the "Art Islands" of Naoshima, Teshima, and Shodoshima. In Okayama, Korakuen Garden, considered one of the three best landscape gardens in Japan, invites you to stroll through its expansive lawn and admire its ponds, rice paddies, and waterfall. And Okayama Castle, now completely restored after its destruction during World War II, offers a glimpse of life in 17th-century Japan. Uno itself is a virtual open-air museum with sculptures inspired by the Setouchi Triennale art festival, including the emblematic Chinu-the Black Sea Bream, constructed entirely of waste material that washed up on the shore.

Day 9 - Kobe

A coastal city on the main island of Honshū, Kobe is a vital Japanese port. You will be inspired by the authenticity, way of life and heritage of the capital of Hyōgo Prefecture, which is bordered by the sea. Its beef is internationally renowned, but there is much more to the city’s attractions than this delicate speciality. As soon as you arrive, you will be welcomed by the Kobe Port Tower, located, along with the Maritime Museum, in the much appreciated Meriken Park. The Mount Rokkō National Park is a real island of greenery in the very heart of the vibrant city. Long frequented by Shinto monks, then popular with the expatriates who flocked to Kobe during the second half of the 19th century, it is one of the symbols of the city.

Price Includes

  • 8-night all-inclusive cruise
  • Specially-tailored for English-speaking travellers with an included excursion in each port of call
  • Expert guests on board
  • Captain's welcome cocktail and gala dinner
  • Open bar with wine, beer and house champagne
  • 24 hour room service (selected menu)
  • Evening entertainments and events
  • Complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi on board
  • Porterage from quayside to ship and vice versa
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2025 Departures £ price per person based on 2 people sharing

  • April
    • Apr 12th - Kobe and back - Sailing on: Le Soleal From: £6499
      Deluxe Stateroom Deluxe Suite Prestige Deck 4 Prestige Deck 5 Prestige Deck 6 Prestige Deck 5 Suite Superior Stateroom
      Blue Water Price from: £7009 Blue Water Price from: £11799 Blue Water Price from: £7749 Blue Water Price from: £8119 Blue Water Price from: £8559 Blue Water Price from: £15859 Blue Water Price from: £6499

Price Information

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