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Cherry Blossoms, Culture & Sights of Japan Cruise

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A Botanically Themed Cruise.

Enjoy the Japanese Cherry Blossoms and Castles with Botanica.

from $13,245 USD per person

With Botanica World Discoveries venture along the historic shores of Japan and South Korea, exploring ancient castles, peaceful Japanese gardens and opulent temples. Enjoy spring bursts of colour from Cherry Blossoms. View complete itinerary

Trip code: BTJP12
Duration: 12 days
Accommodation: Boutique Small Ships
Journey: Osaka to Tokyo
Meals included: 32

View departure dates & prices

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive Osaka

Depart Osaka Kansai International Airport at 10.30am or the Osaka hotel at 11am to explore Kyoto. Visit the rock garden masterpiece of Ryoanji and see the Cherry Blossom from the famed Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto. After lunch, transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky in Kobe. Enjoy a special dinner with the ship’s crew this evening, as we set sail for the port of Okayama.
Stay: Ten Nights: MS Caledonian Sky
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 2. Okayama, Koraku-en Garden & Kurashiki

After breakfast this morning, we will visit Koraku-en Garden, one of Japan’s most significant gardens – the name meaning ‘garden of pleasure after’. Visit a classic Japanese teahouse with garden views. After a local lunch, continue to Kurashiki, where we explore the old merchant quarter and its fine 17th century wooden warehouses. The beautiful houses are painted white with traditional black tiles, and are situated along a canal lined with rows of majestic weeping willows.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 3. Takamatsu & Ritsurin Park

Today tour the stunning city of Takamatsu on Shikoku, the smallest of the four main Japanese Islands. We will journey over the Seto-Ohashi Bridge and visit Kinashi Bonsai Town. Later visit Ritsurin Park, a 350-year-old garden, famous for its magnificent spring colours and Chrysanthemum-Moon Pavilion.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 4. Hiroshima & Miyajima


Arrive in Hiroshima to visit the compelling Peace Memorial Park. The park is dotted with memorials, including the cenotaph that contains the names of all the known victims of the A-bomb. Return to the ship for lunch, then continue 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 go ashore to explore the World Heritage-listed Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, founded in the 6th century and dedicated to three sea goddesses.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 5. Uwajima, Freedom of Choice

Arrive in Uwajima, situated deep inside the saw-toothed coast of Uwajima Bay, and select from two activities today. As the nation’s largest pearl cultivation centre, you might like to learn the process of cultivating and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. Then continue on to Tensha-en Garden, which is a typical example of a Japanese garden built during the Samurai era. Alternatively, explore Uwajima Castle and Tensha-en Garden.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 6. Nagasaki & Dejima Island

Arrive at Nagasaki, the second city destroyed by an A-bomb in World War II. Tour the Peace Memorial Park, Atomic Bomb Museum and Glover Garden. Continue to Dejima Island, built during the Edo Period to accommodate Portuguese Christian missionaries and prevent the propagation of their religion. It was also once the residential quarters of the Dutch, the only foreigners allowed to trade in Japan during the Sakoku isolation period for 200 years, until Japan reopened to the world.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 7. Pusan, South Korea, Freedom of Choice

Choose between a visit to the Hyundai automotive manufacturing plant or embark on a full-day excursion to Kyongju, in South Korea, a World Heritage-listed site often described as the world’s finest open-air museum. As the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty, Kyongju’s heritage dates back to the first millennium. As we stroll through some of the numerous excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, there will be time to explore the National Museum. At lunch, sample Korean delicacies and enjoy the spectacle of traditional dancers during an enthralling cultural performance.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 8. Hagi

Japan’s revolution began here in Jokamachi’s old Samurai residential quarter, where we will tour a Samurai’s home. We will also visit the historic Daisho Temple, the resting place of the two first Mori daimyo a family of powerful and territorial pre-modern Japanese lords. This traditional temple is located on Mount Mison, considered a holy mountain, on the island of Itsukushima. Inside, you will find a flame that is said to have been burning for some 1,200 years. We will also take time to explore Hagi, one of Japan’s most beautiful castle towns, where you can explore the old streets and see the Hagi Castle ruins, Shizuki Park and the Tokoji Temple.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 9. Matsue & Yuushien Garden

Known as the ‘Town of Water’, Matsue, is on the shores of a scenic lake and a large lagoon. Here, you’ll visit a number of cultural attractions including Matsue Castle. Known as the ‘Black Castle’, it is one of only a few wooden medieval castles that remain in Japan today. Admire the structure’s complexity from the outside, as it stands gracefully, watching over the city, and take the opportunity to explore the interior, which affords magnificent views of Lake Shinji. This afternoon, we will visit the stunning Yuushien Garden, a traditional flower garden full of colour and blossom, famous for ginseng and peonies.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 10. Kanazawa & Kenroku-en Garden

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-painted silk kimonos and Noh theatre dramas. The winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm. Around each bend is a traditional house, museum, art gallery, craft shop, Samurai residence and even a Geisha house to explore. The fascinating open-air market displays a vast variety of items from flowers to fish to local handcrafts. Next we visit the Kanazawa Castle ruins, which is one of Japan’s premier highlights, and the famed Kenroku-en Garden, which is ranked among the country’s top gardens.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 11. Kanazawa & Tokyo

Disembark the ship today and take the bullet train to Tokyo. On arrival, enjoy an afternoon sightseeing tour, then transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Stay: Tokyo, Imperial Hotel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch

Day 12. Depart Tokyo

After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport by shuttle bus for your flight home.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Trip Highlights

  • See the cherry blossom of Japan in full bloom & discover its significance*
  • Learn about the history of Japan during onboard lectures & from local guides
  • Explore the majestic Western Kyoto Garden, Ryoanji
  • See Koraku-en Garden, the famous landscape garden of Okayama
  • Visit Ritsurin Park, a 350 year-old garden famous for its spring colours
  • Discover Kyongju, a World Heritage-listed site in South Korea
  • See Yuushien Garden, famous for growing ginseng & peonies
  • Visit a Samurai’s home
  • Explore Kenroku-en Garden, ranked among the country’s top gardens
  • Travel by bullet train to Tokyo
  • Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Tokyo
  • Learn about Japanese plants & gardens from your Botanical Guide
  • Explore Matsue, the ‘Town of Water’
  • Learn about the process of pearl production in Uwajima

Map

Suite Floor and Ship Plan

MS Caledonian Sky

Discover personalised small ship coastal cruising around Japan and Korea aboard the MS Caledonian Sky with large viewing decks and sun lounge.

Technical Data

Length: 90.6m, Width: 15.3m, Max. Cruising Speed 12 knots, Tonnage: 4,200, Crew: 75, Guest Capacity: 114, Total Refurbishment: 2012

See ship plans for the MS Caledonian Sky here

Suite Floor Plans


The standard suite aboard the Caledonian Sky.Standard Suite
224 square ft / 22.7 square metres featuring four portholes

 

 

The Premium Balcony Suite aboard the Caledonian Sky.Premium Balcony Suite
260 square ft / 20 square metres featuring a 45 square ft / 4.2 square metres private balcony

 

Included Experiences

  • All sightseeing as mentioned
  • Services of a Cruise Director & Botanical Guide
  • Airport transfers on first & last day, tipping & port taxes
  • 32 Meals – 11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches & 10 Dinners
  • Wine, beer & soft drink included with lunch & dinner on board the ship
  • 10 nights on the small ship, the MS Caledonian Sky, which holds a maximum of 100 guests
  • Spend 1 night in Tokyo
  • Enjoy coastal views from your suite
  • Onboard lectures by the Botanical Guide

Additional Information

The MS Caledonian Sky

  • Botanica has elevated adventure travel to a new standard. With 57 suites and just 100 guests, the MS Caledonian Sky is designed for intimate small groups with the décor of a grand English country hotel, while our crew of 75 will assure personalised attention 

 

Botanical Guide/Celebrity Gardener – Simon Rickard

  • On this trip Simon will share his love of Japanese culture, food and gardens, to bring this amazing destination alive for you

 

Fitness Level

  • This tour requires a medium level of fitness – Involves walking on uneven surfaces for more than one hour, multiple two night stay in one location with potential for unexpected changes to itineraries

Trip Notes

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • Shuttle transfers are provided in Osaka and Tokyo
  • Cherry Blossom viewing is subject to nature
  • Prices are for land/cruise only. Flights not included

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