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13 nights
from £7895

Timeless Japan

Discover the cultural treasures of Japan & the ancient wonders of South Korea aboard the Heritage Adventurer

  • 16 April 2023
  • History and Culture
  • Matsue Castle

Set sail from Tokyo for this comprehensive exploration of Japan which is a marvellous balance of ancient castles, serenely beautiful gardens, opulent temples and shrines combined with beautiful natural landscapes. Like all wellplanned itineraries we have included some of the best known highlights, but equally will also take you to some places where relatively few foreign tourists set foot. The Heritage Adventurer allows us to visit out of the way islands and remote stretches of coast which would not be practical on a regular land tour. It is in such places that we find timeless villages, rural landscapes and a rich cultural heritage.

Over the course of just eleven nights we will be able to see a variety of cultures, natural wonders and architectural styles. Amongst the many highlights will be our visit to Kyoto including the breathtaking Golden Pavilion, and the iconic gardens of Ritsurin and Koraku-en where we hope to see the cherry blossoms. We will also discover the shrines and pagodas of Miyajima and the 17th century Matsue Castle, one of only a dozen original castles in Japan. For the natural world enthusiasts we will visit the Mount Fuji National Park and see the ancient pilgrimage trails at Kumano and, for those who prefer a historical perspective, we will visit the Peace Memorial at Hiroshima and South Korea’s World Heritage Site of Gyeongju with its abundance of archaeological sites. All this will be achieved with great ease sailing aboard the Heritage Adventurer and we will be joined on board by our expert Guest Speaker and excellent local guides who will provide an insight into the fascinating culture and history along the way.

Useful links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  


Heritage Adventurer

Heritage Adventurer

For our explorations in Japan for 2023 we are delighted to have chartered the Heritage Adventurer, a pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. The vessel was purpose built for small ship adventures in 1991 in Finland’s Rauma shipyard. Formerly known as the MS Hanseatic, we know the vessel well and she is ideal for our small ship explorations. When required, the onboard fleet of 14 Zodiac landing craft enables guests to reach every spectacular site, no matter how remote and explore otherwise inaccessible fjords and waterways.

Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, the Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 passengers ensuring ample space on board and the opportunity to accommodate more solo travellers than is usual for a vessel of this size. The vessel offers an informal and relaxed atmosphere and you will be joined on board by a knowledgeable cruise team including a Guest Speaker who will provide informative talks in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre whilst the excellent crew will offer attentive service on board.

View vessel details

Itinerary

  • Matsue Castle
  • Hiroshima

Day 1 London to Tokyo, Japan.

Fly by scheduled flight.

Day 2 Tokyo.

Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the Heritage Adventurer moored in Yokohama. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail this evening.

Day 3 Shimizu for Mount Fuji.

With a commanding view of Mount Fuji, the Port of Shimizu is considered one of the most beautiful harbours in Japan. Our day will be spent at the Mount Fuji World Heritage Centre where we will see exhibits revealing how the mountain formed and the way humans have interacted with it through the ages before enjoying the views from the observation deck. See the Fujisan Sengen shrine, originally built over 1,000 years ago to worship the spirits of Mount Fuji and to provide spiritual offerings to reduce the number of volcanic eruptions. We will also see the Shiraito Falls within the Mount Fuji National Park where a 150 metre wide cascade of the volcano’s spring water falls over a 20 metre cliff.

Day 4 Kumano.

From our berth in Shingu we explore the southern part of the Kii Peninsula, known since ancient times as Kumano, which was famous as a hiding place for gods and spirits of the departed. Since then, people have come to worship at the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano and the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Today we will visit the Hongu Taisha, located in the centre of the pilgrimage routes it serves as the head shrine of over 3000 Kumana shrines across Japan. It is also home to the tallest torii gate in the world. Hayatama Taisha is believed to be the site where according to Shinto creation myth, three deities arrived in Japan. Those feeling active may wish to visit Nachi Taisha, which sits alongside the 6th century Buddhist temple Seigantoji, before ending at the Nachi no Taki waterfall which at 133 metres is the tallest single tiered waterfall in Japan. We also hope to walk some of the forested pilgrimage trails.

Day 5 Takamatsu.

Arrive this morning in Takamatsu, located on Shikoku Island on the northern shores of the Seto Inland Sea. This morning we visit the small town of Kinashi which has a rich history of producing bonsai for 250 years. We will explore the town, visit a Bonsai nursery and make our way to Ritsurin Garden, recognised as one of the most beautiful in Japan and built by feudal lords in the early Edo period. With a backdrop against the wooded Mount Shiun, we will wander along the paths of this historic landscape garden dotted with ponds, historic trees and pavilions. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore Takamatsu.

Day 6 Koraku-en & Kurashiki.

From the port of Uno-Ko we will visit one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en, which translates as ‘Garden of pleasure after’. This 17th century formal garden has 28 acres of walking trails, ponds, plum and cherry trees. After lunch in a local restaurant we will continue to Kurashiki where we explore the old merchant quarter and its fine 17th century wooden warehouses. There will also be the opportunity to visit the Ohara Museum of Art which includes rare works by Matisse, Picasso and Renoir as well as collections from Japan’s mingei movement.

Day 7 Hiroshima & Miyajima.

Arrive this morning in Hiroshima for our visit to the compelling Peace Memorial Park. The park is dotted with memorials, including the Cenotaph which contains the names of all the known victims of the A-bomb and the permanently lit ‘Flame of Peace’. Just outside the park, the A-Bomb Dome is a haunting reminder of the destructive forces that were unleashed on the city being one of the few original buildings to survive. In the museum we will see photos, videos and victim’s personal effects relating to the bomb. Over lunch we sail to Miyajima. Considered one of Japan’s top scenic wonders, Miyajima provides a picture postcard vista of the scarlet Torii gate, the giant camphor wood gates at the entrance to the Shinto Shrine. We will use our Zodiacs to go ashore here and explore the Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, founded in the 6th century and dedicated to three sea goddesses.

Day 8 Hagi.

Spend a relaxing morning at sea as we sail to Hagi. Hagi was a minor fishing port until Mori Terumoto fortified it in 1604 and it was Mori Samurai that helped spark off the anti- Tokugawa revolt in the mid-19th century. Today it is better known for its traditional pottery making. This afternoon we will explore the Teramachi District with its temples and shrines, the Jokamachi District where we find the old samurai houses and take time to explore Hagi Castle, Shizuki Park and Tokoji Temple.

Day 9 Ulsan, South Korea.

Crossing over to South Korea we embark on a full day excursion to magnificent Gyeongju, a World Heritage Site which is often described as the world’s finest open-air museum embracing ancient Korean history and Buddhist culture. As the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty, Gyeongju’s cultural heritage dates back to the first millennium. Today, as we stroll through some of the hundreds of excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, there will be time to explore the National Museum with its exceptional collection of finely worked gold jewellery, metal weapons and distinctive pottery. At lunch time, we will sample Korean delicacies and enjoy a cultural performance of traditional dance.

Day 10 Matsue, Japan.

Spend a leisurely morning at sea as we return to Japan and the port of Sakaiminato for our visit to Matsue, the ‘town of water,’ which nestles between a scenic lake and a large lagoon. We will visit the cultural attractions of the town including the 17th century Matsue Castle before enjoying a boat ride along the local canals. Alternatively visit the Adachi Museum of Art which is set in a beautiful natural environment and well known for both its superb Japanese gardens and its collection of contemporary Japanese paintings, comprising approximately 1500 of the country’s most highly regarded paintings produced after the Meiji period.

Day 11 Maizuru for Kyoto.

From our berth in Maizuru we drive inland to Kyoto, Japan’s former historic capital and Emperor’s home for nearly 1000 years. Our visit will include the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was built as a retirement villa for the Shogun and converted to a Buddhist Temple after his death, and Ryoanji Temple, the site of one of Japan’s famous rock gardens.

Day 12 Kanazawa.

Kanazawa is a thriving centre of the arts, long known for its lacquerware, outstanding collectable pottery of the Kutani style, gold-leaf workmanship, delicate hand painting of silk and Noh theatre dramas. The narrow and winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm with wooden lattice windows hiding elegant restaurants and craft galleries. Around each bend is a traditional house, museum, art gallery, craft shop, historic samurai residence and even a geisha house to explore. The fascinating open-air market displays a vast variety of items and next to the Kanazawa Castle ruins is one of Japan’s premier highlights, the famed Kenroku-en Garden, ranked among the country’s top three gardens.

Day 13 Kanazawa to Tokyo.

Disembark this morning and take the bullet train to Tokyo. On arrival we enjoy an afternoon city tour including the Meiji Shrine and Sensoji Temple before we transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. The evening is free to explore further at your own pace.

Day 14 Tokyo to London.

After breakfast in the hotel we transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.

  • Tokyo’s Asakusa district
  • Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto
  • Torii Gate, Miyajima

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £500 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Prices per person based on double occupancy
16 to 29 April 2023
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
1 Deluxe Twin/Double Cabin with Portholes £8395 £7895
2 Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Windows £8695 £8195
3 Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Windows £8995 £8495
4 Worsley Suite with Panoramic Windows £9995 £9495
5 Heritage Suites with Double Panoramic Windows £10495 £9995
6 Deluxe Twin/Double Cabin with Portholes for sole occupancy £8395 £7895
7 Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Window for sole occupancy £9695 £9195
8 Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Window for sole occupancy £9995 £9495

Tour Reference Code: SCHA160423

PRICE INCLUDES: Economy class scheduled air travel • 11 nights aboard the Heritage Adventurer on a full board basis • House wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch & dinner • Noble Caledonia onboard team including Guest Speaker • Shore excursions • Overnight hotel accommodation in Tokyo with breakfast • Gratuities • Transfers • Airport taxes • Port taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance.

  • Heritage Adventure Deckplan

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

Heritage Adventurer

For our explorations in Japan for 2023 we are delighted to have chartered the Heritage Adventurer, a pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. The vessel was purpose built for small ship adventures in 1991 in Finland’s Rauma shipyard. Formerly known as the MS Hanseatic, we know the vessel well and she is ideal for our small ship explorations. When required, the onboard fleet of 14 Zodiac landing craft enables guests to reach every spectacular site, no matter how remote and explore otherwise inaccessible fjords and waterways.

Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, the Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 passengers ensuring ample space on board and the opportunity to accommodate more solo travellers than is usual for a vessel of this size. The vessel offers an informal and relaxed atmosphere and you will be joined on board by a knowledgeable cruise team including a Guest Speaker who will provide informative talks in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre whilst the excellent crew will offer attentive service on board.

 
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Your Cabin/Suite

    The accommodation on board the Heritage Adventurer is spacious and well appointed. All cabins measure 22 square metres and the four Heritage Suites measure 44 square metres. All accommodation offers comfortable living and sleeping areas with a king or two single beds, flat screen entertainment system, ample storage, a writing desk and a modern en-suite bathroom – cabins have a shower and suites have a bathtub and shower. Cabins on Deck 3 feature two maritime portholes and all other cabins and suites have large panoramic windows.

  • Your Space

    Your Space

    The vessel features two spacious restaurants where you can dine on international gourmet fare from leading chefs whilst the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 is the social hub of the Heritage Adventurer. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. There is also a Presentation Theatre on board with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment where you can enjoy talks and presentations from our Guest Speaker. One of the most celebrated features of the vessel is the Observation Lounge, located on Deck 7 directly above the Bridge from where you can enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. For further viewing opportunities, the Observation Deck is above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is an ideal spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold. When relaxing on board you can enjoy time in the dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7 and take a dip in the pool and hot tub. Surrounded by seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. There is also a wellequipped gym, a library, a lift which serves all decks, a shop and a doctor on board.

  • Your Dining

    Your Dining

    Indulge in fine international cuisine from the talented chefs in the comfortable surrounds of the Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Alternatively, simple and delicious meals and snacks are available in the relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options, the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area.

  • Life On Board

    Life On Board

    The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is on well-thought out itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers and discovery. There is an Open Bridge policy on board meaning you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It is a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however, please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port and at the Captain’s request. You can join members of the onboard team and Guest Speakers in the Presentation Theatre for fascinating talks and presentations and whilst relaxing on board can unwind in the library, saltwater pool, well-equipped gym, enclosed hot tub, sauna and steam room or find a quiet place to enjoy a beverage. Watch your adventure unfold from numerous spectacular viewing locations including the Observation Lounge resplendent with 270-degree views, discover the relaxed atmosphere of the Bar and Lounge, or head outside to the teak decks of the open-topped Observation Deck and numerous weather protected locations including the expansive space aft of Deck 6. Informative port briefings from our onboard team, talks from our Guest Speaker and of course, good food with wine included at lunch and dinner, all contribute to make a voyage aboard the Heritage Adventurer a memorable and joyful experience.

  • Deck plans
    • Heritage Adventure Deckplan

      {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

  • View all tours
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Your Cabin/Suite

    The accommodation on board the Heritage Adventurer is spacious and well appointed. All cabins measure 22 square metres and the four Heritage Suites measure 44 square metres. All accommodation offers comfortable living and sleeping areas with a king or two single beds, flat screen entertainment system, ample storage, a writing desk and a modern en-suite bathroom – cabins have a shower and suites have a bathtub and shower. Cabins on Deck 3 feature two maritime portholes and all other cabins and suites have large panoramic windows.

  • Your Space

    Your Space

    The vessel features two spacious restaurants where you can dine on international gourmet fare from leading chefs whilst the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 is the social hub of the Heritage Adventurer. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. There is also a Presentation Theatre on board with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment where you can enjoy talks and presentations from our Guest Speaker. One of the most celebrated features of the vessel is the Observation Lounge, located on Deck 7 directly above the Bridge from where you can enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. For further viewing opportunities, the Observation Deck is above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is an ideal spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold. When relaxing on board you can enjoy time in the dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7 and take a dip in the pool and hot tub. Surrounded by seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. There is also a wellequipped gym, a library, a lift which serves all decks, a shop and a doctor on board.

  • Your Dining

    Your Dining

    Indulge in fine international cuisine from the talented chefs in the comfortable surrounds of the Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Alternatively, simple and delicious meals and snacks are available in the relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options, the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area.

  • Life On Board

    Life On Board

    The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is on well-thought out itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers and discovery. There is an Open Bridge policy on board meaning you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It is a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however, please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port and at the Captain’s request. You can join members of the onboard team and Guest Speakers in the Presentation Theatre for fascinating talks and presentations and whilst relaxing on board can unwind in the library, saltwater pool, well-equipped gym, enclosed hot tub, sauna and steam room or find a quiet place to enjoy a beverage. Watch your adventure unfold from numerous spectacular viewing locations including the Observation Lounge resplendent with 270-degree views, discover the relaxed atmosphere of the Bar and Lounge, or head outside to the teak decks of the open-topped Observation Deck and numerous weather protected locations including the expansive space aft of Deck 6. Informative port briefings from our onboard team, talks from our Guest Speaker and of course, good food with wine included at lunch and dinner, all contribute to make a voyage aboard the Heritage Adventurer a memorable and joyful experience.

  • Deck plans
    • Heritage Adventure Deckplan

Travelling with You

  • Judith Thomas

    Dr Judith Thomas

      Judith has lived and worked twice in Japan and spends considerable time annually in the Far East on research. She has taught at a Buddhist University in Tokyo.  Her particular interest is how ancient cultures adapt to the modern world. For the past ten years she has lectured on small cruise ships in the Far East, lecturing not only on Japanese history/culture but also on Indian and Burmese history.  She has authored two books, one of which reflects her great love of travel, short stories on the countries she has lived in or visited. She is passionate about Asia and its peoples and seeks to convey her great love of these fascinating cultures to those visiting the areas.

      Judith has lived and worked in many countries including the USA, Indonesia, New Zealand, The Middle East and Japan. Her summers growing up were spent in France and she studied French at University, completed a postgraduate Diploma in Management, later working for Management Consultants in Brussels.

      As a Management Training specialist for overseas assignments, she developed her interest in the cultural changes confronted in our increasingly globally mobile world.  She holds degrees from British and American universities, two Masters (Princeton) and her doctorate (San Francisco) focused on the pressures of adjusting to, and learning from, a different culture, focusing on Company compound housing in the Middle East. She has lectured abroad, and at British universities on a variety of women’s issues.

Tour Extensions

    • If you would like to spend some more time in Tokyo we have arranged a two night extension.

      The Itinerary

      Day 1 London to Tokyo, Japan.

      Fly by scheduled flight.

      Day 2 Tokyo.

      Arrive today and transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore independently.

      Day 3 Tokyo.

      Enjoy a full day tour of Tokyo. This morning we will visit the attractive Hama Rikyu Gardens and the Edo Tokyo Museum, with exhibits from the Edo Period to the present day. After lunch we see the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower before returning to the hotel. (B, L)

      Day 4 Tokyo to Yokohama.

      Spend the morning at leisure before we transfer this afternoon to the Heritage Adventurer moored in Yokohama. (B, L)

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      14 to 17 April 2023
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £1195
      Single £1495

      Price Includes: Two nights hotel accommodation in Tokyo, full day tour of Tokyo, Noble Caledonia Tour Manager, meals as indicated (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner), gratuities, transfers.

      Not Included: Travel insurance.

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