Sacred Japan & South Korea

10 Days Starting in Osaka and ending in Niigata - Tokyo

Visiting: Japan, South Korea

Tour operator:

Heritage Expeditions

Ship Name:
Heritage Adventurer
Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Ship Capacity:

Tour operated in:
English
From:
$7650
$7440 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$210

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

'The land of the Rising Sun', Japan is a fascinating combination of ancient heritage and traditional 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 these seldom visited destinations is by sea and the Heritage Adventurer is the ideal vessel for such a voyage.

Set sail on this authentic 10-day expedition cruise as our unique itinerary sees us exploring ancient castles, serenely beautiful gardens and opulent temples and shrines combined with witnessing some of Japan's stunning natural landscapes.

Experience all-inclusive luxury cruise travel as we venture to destinations such as the historic and serene castle town of Matsue, the ancient anachronistic town of Hagi, and experience the tranquillity of sacred Miyajima. Discover one of Japan's most famed memorials at historic Hiroshima, dedicated to remembering the lives lost from one of the most difining moments of World War II.

Although we will also visit Japan's awe-inspiring contemporary landscape, what makes our itinerary truly special is our visits to parts of Japan where relatively few tourists set foot such as Sado Island - widely considered a perfect miniature Japan and thriving cultural capital filled with performing arts, natural scenery, samurai history, and more.

Our exploration of Japan also takes us to 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 South Korea. Such places invoke the strongest of memories and allow you to immerse yourself in the myth and mystique of these ancient lands while 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 Speakers and Japanese guides who will add immeasurably to your enjoyment and understanding of this captivating country.

Highlights

  • Experience all-inclusive luxury cruise travel as we venture to destinations such as the historic and serene castle town of Matsue

  • the ancient anachronistic town of Hagi

  • and experience the tranquillity of sacred Miyajima. Discover one of Japan's most famed memorials at historic Hiroshima

  • dedicated to remembering the lives lost from one of the most difining moments of World War II.  

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Osaka

Arrive at Honshu’s largest port city Osaka where modern architecture and a vibrant dining scene are nestled alongside the 16th Century shogunate Osaka Castle, and make your way to your hotel where you will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening meet your fellow voyagers and expedition guides over dinner at the hotel.

Day 2: Osaka

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before exploring Osaka, opportunities here include visiting Minoh Park and Osaka Castle. With an area of just 9.6 square kilometres (963 hectares) Minoh Park is one of Japan’s smallest National Parks and home to iconic 33-metre high Minoh Waterfall and diverse wildlife including Japanese Salamander and protected Mino Monkeys. Explore Osaka Castle, one of Japan’s most famous landmarks, take in the views from Osaka Castle Main Tower and relive dramatic stories of warlords and Osaka’s fascinating history. Board Heritage Adventurer for lunch as your Captain and Expedition Team welcome you aboard and we set sail for Miyajima.

Day 3: Uno Ko/Naoshima

Departing from the pier of Uno Ko, we will drive to Okayama City, the capital of Okayama Prefecture, to visit Korakuen Garden, one of Japan’s most significant gardens. ln Kurashiki explore the old merchant quarter featuring historic 17th-century houses that are painted white with traditional black tiles and are situated along a scenic canal framed with weeping willows. Visit Ohara Museum in Kurashiki, which was built in 1930 and expanded its original collection of Western paintings and sculptures after the war. For those interested in history and art you may wish to travel to Naoshima Island for a full-day excursion. Known for its art, Naoshima will have you admiring its architecture and art museums, including Chichu Art Museum and Benesse House, featuring work by Japanese and international artists.

Day 4: Hiroshima/Miyajima

Despite its history including being the site of the world’s first atomic bomb attack on the 6 August 1945, Hiroshima is a vibrant and thriving cosmopolitan community. We plan to visit the beautiful Peace Park and Museum, with its sombre cenotaph containing names of atomic bomb victims, and the permanently lit ‘Flame of Peace’. After visiting the Peace Park we will travel to Miyajima Island, considered one of Japan’s most scenic spots and the location of the Torii Gate and the Daisho-in Buddhist temple.

Day 5: 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 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 6: 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. For lunch, we will sample Korean delicacies and enjoy a cultural
performance of traditional dance.

Day 7: 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 reknown for its superb Japanese gardens and collection of contemporary Japanese paintings, comprising some 1,500 of the country’s most highly regarded paintings produced after the Meiji period.

Day 8: 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 painted silk, and classical 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 9: Sado Island

Today we plan to explore remote Sado Island off the coast of Niigata. Comprising the mountain ranges of Osado and Kosado flanking the Kokunaka Plain, Sado was once a destination of political exile. It now boasts its own rich cultural and religious life incorporating puppet theatre, Okesa folk songs, Ondeko drumming and demon dances, and Noh theatre thanks to some of its more famous displaced figures. Home to the Japanese Crested Ibis, extinct on the Mainland, and the iconic taraibune tub boats, this island off the beaten path combines stunning natural scenery including Senkakuwan Bay and Ogi Peninsula, and wilderness and wildlife with a rich history including gold and silver mining, Samurai warrior culture and unique agri- and aqua-culture practices. Sado Island is widely considered a perfect, miniature version of Japan.

Day 10: Niigata To Tokyo

Sailing into the bustling port town of Niigata this morning, famous for snow, rice, sake and hot springs. Enjoy breakfast before disembarking and travelling by Shinkansen, ‘bullet train’, to Tokyo Station where you can continue to Tokyo (Haneda) or Narita International Airports, or continue your travels in Japan’s neon-lit capital.

Ship Details

Heritage Adventurer

Image Of Ship

Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the 'Grande Dame of Exploration Cruising' due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purposebuilt for adventure in 1991 at Finland's Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.

Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship iceclass rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.

Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship.

Ship Name:

Heritage Adventurer

Draft:

4.97 metres

Shipyard:

Rauma, Finland

Year Built:

1991

Maximum Speed:

15 knots

Gross Tonnage:

8,378gt

Engines:

3,940 horsepower (x2)

Length:

124 metres

Zodiacs:

14

Beam:

18 metres

Classification:

Lloyds 1AS, GL E4

Cruising Speed:

12 knots

Accommodation:

140 guests

Range:

8,600 nautical miles

Deck Plan

Deck Plan

Deck 5 Superior

Superior Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

Worsley Suite

Located on Deck 6, Worsley Suites are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable chaise-style lounge suite, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

Main Deck Triple

Main Deck Triple Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

Superior Single

Superior Single Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

Superior Triple

Superior Triple Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

Deck 4 Superior

Superior Cabins on Deck 4 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

Heritage Suite

Located on Deck 6, Heritage Suites are an expansive 44m2 and feature large double panoramic windows, king bed, large living area with a sofa, coffee table and chairs and grand marble bathroom with a double basin, bathtub and shower, large writing desk, floor to ceiling cabinetry for storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

Main Deck Single

Main Deck Single Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

What's Included

  • Landing fees

  • one night hotel accommodation equivalent to your on board accommodation (incl. dinner/breakfast)

  • pre cruise transfer and post cruise bullet train transfer

  • house beer

  • all on board ship accommodation with meals

  • wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner

  • and all shore excursions and activities. Programme of lectures by noted naturalists.

What's Not Included

  • All items of a personal nature

  • laundry

  • drinks

  • gratuities. International/domestic flights

  • visas and travel insurance.

Check out our Q&As

  • What fitness level is required?

    Guests are required to have a reasonable level of fitness in order to participate in landings. While not strenuous, travellers who participate on excursions must be able to climb a ship-side gangway, get in and out of Zodiacs and be able to stand unaided. Each landing and excursion caters to all fitness levels ranging from easy to challenging, ultimately each guest is able to decide how active or relaxing their voyage is.

  • Is any clothing included?

    Thermally-insulated Muck Boots are provided for use on all our Southern Ocean voyages while guests travelling to the Ross Sea are supplied with an Antarctic grade jacket during their time in Antarctica.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for our latest Covid-19 policies

  • Is there a doctor on board?

    Yes, on Heritage Adventurer there is an on board doctor with a small infirmary and on many voyages a First Responder will travel with guests on excursions. Heritage Explorer does not have a doctor on board, however our crew are trained in first aid.

  • Are drinks included?

    Yes, house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner on all Heritage Expeditions voyages. Complimentary drinks can also be enjoyed during special events on board while bar purchases can also be charged to your stateroom.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Travelling with Heritage Expeditions is to travel responsibly. As biologists and ornithologists, we are intimately aware of the many issues that confront animals and their habitats, the world's oceans and isolated ethnic groups. We also take action: we actively contribute to the conservation of the places we visit in several ways; we 'buy local' and employ locally; we make sure that travellers are respectful of local customs and traditions; and we dispose of waste responsibly.

  • Is there a gym on board?

    Yes, Heritage Adventurer has a gym, pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and Spa on Deck 7. While there is no gym on Heritage Explorer, guests have plenty of opportunity to stretch their legs on shore or take the kayaks out, weather permitting.

  • What is the onboard currency?

    Heritage Adventurer operates in US$ while Heritage Explorer is NZ$.

  • Does a single supplement apply?

    Heritage Adventurer has 20 dedicated single cabins (12 x Main Deck Single Staterooms on Deck 3 and 8 x Superior Single Staterooms on Deck 5). Heritage Adventurer also has the option of guests sharing in our Main Deck Triple (Deck 3) and Superior Triple (Deck 5) Staterooms. There may also be the option to share a Deck 4 or Deck 5 Superior Stateroom with another solo-travelling guest of the same gender. Heritage Explorer has 2 dedicated single cabins, Wandering, and if these are booked there may be availability to book a Salvin’s Twin/Double or Buller’s as a single at 1.8 times the published per person rate.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Heritage Expeditions was formed in 1985.

  • Is there Wi-Fi on board?

    Yes, there is Wi-Fi available on both ships. Heritage Adventurer has a connection via satellite and vouchers can be purchased from reception. Wi-Fi is included on Heritage Explorer.

  • Are all excursions included?

    Yes, all standard excursions are included in the voyage cost. All you will need to pay for on board is anything of a personal nature, laundry, drinks and gratuities.

Reviews of this Operator

Anne Carroll (Google Reviewer)  

I’ve just returned to Canada...

06-Sep-2023

I’ve just returned to Canada after an absolutely stupendous trip to the Kimberley region of Western Australia aboard the Heritage Adventurer. Everything from booking the trip to exiting the ship on our last day was first class and run like a well-oiled machine. The guides were informed, interesting, interested, enthusiastic, friendly, and made us guests feel like we were part of the ship family. Every day I wondered how they could top the daily activities, and the next day was another mind-blowing experience. The daily recaps were well-presented and always so interesting. We always knew what was coming up next - everything was very well organized. The camaraderie amongst the guides was obvious and that translated into a truly remarkable experience for me and the many other guests I met and befriended on board. The ship crew were always smiling and quickly learned our names and preferences. To a person, they were delightful and couldn’t have done more to ensure a fabulous experience for all. Great staff, lovely ship and absolutely amazing daily experiences. Wildlife, stunning landscapes, ancient art sites, and guides who explain in detail what we are seeing whether it’s insects, birds, rocks, whales, crocodiles, plants, fish and so much more. I came away with a much deeper appreciation for nature and how we humans are affected by and have an effect on nature. The cruise was ten days, but it felt like I had a month worth of experiences. I’d jump at the chance to explore any place with this company. I’m now hooked on the small ship cruise experience! Thank you Heritage Expeditions!

Sally Adams  

In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton: Ross Sea Antarctica “A Fantastic Voyage!”

01-Mar-2023

It was a fantastic voyage! The weather was amazing, the ship was stable, all the staff were terrific, the lectures were really interesting the food was excellent & I met many wonderful fellow travellers, some of whom I am keeping in touch with. And now I am belatedly reading a book about the Antarctic explorers it means a lot more, having been to the area, seen the huts etc. So thank you very much for a memorable experience.

Heritage Expeditions Customer
Emily P  

The Best of New Zealand: An Intimate Exploration Cruise of New Zealand's Islands “One of the greatest experiences of my life!”

01-Mar-2023

“The expedition was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We journeyed to many incredible parts of Aotearoa that I wouldn't have otherwise sailed to, hiked, or photographed. I loved how the daily itinerary responded to the weather conditions and different abilities so that we could all have a meaningful time in each place. The vessel is stunning and the crew took excellent care of us, as did the expedition team. Getting to know them and our fellow adventurers was a special part of the trip. It still feels like a dream!”

Heritage Expeditions Customer
Graham Barrie (Google Reviewer)  

Have just booked a trip...

28-May-2021

Have just booked a trip later in the year and the service I had with the staff and Emma in particular has been wonderful. Thank you 😊

Lorraine Knowles (Google Reviewer)  

Our trip on Hertiage Explorer...

10-Oct-2022

Our trip on Hertiage Explorer to the Southern Fiords was awesome. There was not one aspect that we could fault. The food, crew, expeditions ashore, fellow passengers and the knowledge of our guides was A+. We will definately book with you again - 2024 around the Bay of Islands.

Kita Williams  

Galapagos of the Southern Ocean: New Zealand and Australia's Subantarctic Islands “This was a Fantastic Trip - I Enjoyed Every Moment”

01-Mar-2023

This was a fantastic trip! From the glorious king penguins, to the sweet young elephant seal pups with their huge eyes, to the breathtakingly beautiful albatrosses on Campbell Island, and the colourful megaherbs, I enjoyed every moment. The sub-Antarctic islands are all very different, with unique landscapes and characteristics that were wonderful to experience. It was great to watch the lectures on board the ship, and our guides were very knowledgeable, helpful, fun and organised. We were so spoiled with the delicious meals and almost endless choices on board as well! The ship became a very cozy, familiar place and I enjoyed meeting some wonderful guests and exploring or cruising around in Zodiacs together. This trip really was a photographer's paradise, the wildlife and landscapes were incredible. Thank you Heritage Expeditions, I hope to join you again in the future!

Heritage Expeditions Customer
Chris Verstappen (Google Reviewer)  

A travel company that makes...

04-Oct-2017

A travel company that makes expedition cruising available to remote places on earth. I had the opportunity to go on a trip to the South Pacific in April 2017. A truly remarkable and well organized expedition and for sure a company I will come back to for more of their trips.

Brent Narbey (Google Reviewer)  

I had the trip of...

21-Dec-2017

I had the trip of a lifetime, the boat, crew and expedition leaders were WORLD CLASS! We cruised from Papua New Guinea through the Solomon Islands (Melanesia) for two weeks. The wildlife was wonderful as the indigenous peoples were friendly - Cant wait to do another one of their trips. Thanks for everything!

Dates & Availability

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Instant Booking Available

Wednesday - Friday

May 08, 2024 - May 17, 2024
$7650 $7440 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$210 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Heritage Expeditions requires a minimum deposit of 25% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 90 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of heritage expeditions charges.

    Up to 91 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 90 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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