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12 nights
from £7895

Eternal Japan & South Korea

A voyage from Kanazawa to Kobe including South Korea aboard the Heritage Adventurer

  • 26 April 2023
  • History and Culture
  • Old Merchant Quarter, Kurashiki

Japan is a fascinating combination of unique heritage and culture contrasting with the sprawling metropolises of the world’s most advanced technological civilisation. Made up of 6,852 islands, the perfect way to explore the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ is by sea and the Heritage Adventurer is the ideal vessel for such a voyage. Our fascinating itinerary offers the opportunity to visit ancient castles, serenely beautiful gardens and opulent temples and shrines combined with witnessing some of Japan’s stunning natural landscapes.

During our voyage we will visit the historic and serene castle town of Matsue and the ancient feudal town of Hagi, experience the tranquillity of scared Miyajima and discover one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en. Although we will also visit the awe-inspiring contemporary landscape of Tokyo, what makes our itinerary truly unique is our visits to parts of Japan where relatively few tourists set foot such as Shikoku Island, one of the more traditional islands where we learn about pearl cultivation and our excursion inland from Ube to the picturesque five-storied Pagoda of Rurikoji Temple which dates back to 1442.

In addition to our partial circumnavigation of Japan, our course takes us past the south eastern tip of South Korea where we will spend a day in Gyeongju, the ‘Museum Without Walls’ and also visit the Haeinsa Temple, considered one of the three great temples in Korea. Such places invoke the strongest of memories and allow you to immerse yourself in the myth and mystique of these ancient lands whilst returning each evening to the peace and comfort of our vessel. Helping us understand all we will see and experience, and travelling with us throughout the voyage, will be our expert Guest Speaker and Japanese guides who will add immeasurably to your enjoyment and understanding of this captivating country.

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

  • Old Merchant Quarter, Kurashiki
  • Rurikoji Temple Pagoda

Day 1 London to Tokyo, Japan.

Fly by scheduled flight.

Day 2 Tokyo.

Arrive this afternoon and transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Day 3 Tokyo to Kanazawa.

After breakfast in the hotel our morning city tour will include the Meiji Shrine and Sensoji Temple. We continue to the train station to join our bullet train to Kanazawa where, on arrival, we will transfer to the Heritage Adventurer and embark. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we moor overnight.

Day 4 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 for kimonos and Noh theatre dramas. The narrow and winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm with old fashioned streetlamps and 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 from flowers to fish and local handicrafts 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 5 Matsue.

From the port of Sakaiminato we visit 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. After lunch on board spend the afternoon at leisure or visit the Adachi Museum of Art which is set in a beautiful natural environment. The museum is 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 6 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 traditions. This morning we will explore the Teramachi District with its temples and shrines, the Jokamachi District, where we find the old samurai houses and also take time to explore Hagi Castle, Shizuki Park and Tokoji Temple. Return to the vessel for lunch and this afternoon is free to relax or perhaps travel to the outskirts of the city and the Yoshika Taibi Memorial Museum which is dedicated to a large collection of Hagiyaki pottery which was highly prized in the Edo Period as wares for tea ceremonies.

Day 7 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 8 Masan for Haeinsa.

From our berth in Masan we head inland to the Haeinsa Temple. Regarded as one of the three great temples in Korea, it was first settled in 802 AD and its name derives from a verse in a Buddhist Sutra as “reflections on a smooth sea”. In the 13th century when Korea was at war with the Mongols, the government commissioned the Tripitaka Koreana, a complete copy of Buddhist scriptures, in the hope of Buddha’s intervention in the war. They were carved onto 81,258 double sided wooden blocks and stored on floor to ceiling shelves in the Janggyeong Panjeon building. We also visit the main worship hall of the temple. After lunch in a nearby restaurant we will return to Masan this afternoon where you may want to visit the vibrant fish market selling the daily catch.

Day 9 Ube, Japan.

After a leisurely morning at sea we return to Japan and the port of Ube for our exploration of the historic, southern Yamaguchi prefecture. There will be a choice of tours and you may wish to travel inland to visit the picturesque five-storied Pagoda of Rurikoji Temple and the surrounding park. Dating back to 1442, the pagoda was built in memory of Yoshihiro Mori Terumoto who ruled the area during this period. Alternatively drive to Hofu Tenmangu, believed to be the oldest Tenmangu in Japan having been built in 903 at the site where the court officials and scholar Sugawara Michizane stopped on his way to Fukuoka following his exile. Afterwards visit the museum which houses more than 20,000 national treasure items, including swords, armoury, calligraphy and scrolls. We will then have a chance to explore the beautiful gardens.

Day 10 Uwajima.

This morning we land on Shikoku Island and the port of Uwajima situated deep inside the saw-toothed coast of Uwajima Bay. The city of Uwajima is emerging as the nation’s largest pearl cultivation centre and we will learn the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. We will also see Uwajima Castle which is built on top of the hill with panoramic views over the town and harbour and the Tensha-en Garden, built in the Samurai era. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore at your own pace.

Day 11 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 victims’ personal effects relating to the bomb. Over lunch we sail to Miyajima which is considered one of Japan’s top scenic wonders and 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 and explore the Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, founded in the 6th century and dedicated to three sea goddesses.

Day 12 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 a Japanese lunch in a local restaurant we will continue to Kurashiki where we explore the old merchant quarter and its fine 17th century wooden warehouses painted white with traditional black tiles, along a canal framed with weeping willows and filled with koi. 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 including ceramics by Hamada Shoji.

Day 13 Kobe to London.

Disembark this morning and transfer to Osaka airport for our scheduled flight to London.

  • Dairaku-ji Temple, Uwajima
  • Matsue Castle
  • Haeinsa Buddhist Temple, South Korea

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £500 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Prices per person based on double occupancy
26 April to 8 May 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: SCHA260423

PRICE INCLUDES: Economy class scheduled air travel • 10 nights aboard the Heritage Adventurer on a full
board basis • House wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch & dinner on board • 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

  • Dr Meri Arichi

    Meri Arichi

    Meri Arichi is a Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS, University of London where she lectures on the history of Japanese art. She studied Art History in London and Florence and worked in Christies in London from 1989 to 1993. She returned to university in 1993, and received her PhD from SOAS in 2003 and a post-doctoral fellowship from the CSJR (Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions) at SOAS in 2003. Her area of research interest is Buddhist art of Japan, particularly focusing on the Shinto-Buddhist syncretism in Medieval Japan. She is the convenor for the Japan and Korea module of the SOAS postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art Courses, leads tours to Japan and lectures freelance for The Arts Society. She has taught short courses at the British Museum, V&A and Courtauld Institute of Art Summer School.

Tour Extensions

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

      Sensoji Temple, Tokyo Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

      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 to see the sites of Tokyo including the attractive Hama Rikyu Gardens and the Edo Tokyo Museum. (B, L)

      Day 4 Tokyo.

      Enjoy a free day to explore at your own pace. Continue as per day 2 of the main itinerary. (B)

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      24 to 27 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.

       

    • If you would like to spend some time in Kyoto and discover the city of Nara, we are offering a two night extension.

      Todaiji Temple, Nara Todaiji Temple, Nara

      The Itinerary

      Day 1 Kobe, Nara & Kyoto, Japan.

      Disembark this morning and drive to Nara. During the 8th century Nara was Japan’s capital for 74 years and many of the temples and shrines from this era still remain. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and continue on to Kyoto. Check in to our hotel and the evening is free for independent exploration. (B, L)

      Day 2 Kyoto.

      This morning we will discover Kyoto, Japan’s former historic capital and Emperor’s home for nearly 1000 years. After our visit return to the hotel and the remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)

      Day 3 Kyoto to London.

      Check out after breakfast and transfer to Osaka airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London. (B)

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      8 to 10 May 2023
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £1095
      Single £1395

      Price Includes: Two nights hotel accommodation in Kyoto, meals as stated (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner), excursions, Noble Caledonia Tour Manager, gratuities, transfers.

      Not Included: Travel insurance.

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