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Botanica

Cherry Blossoms and Celebrated Gardens of Japan & South Korea by Small Ship

Osaka to Tokyo

Trip Code: BTJP16
16 Days
4 April 2025

Trip Highlights

Heritage Adventurer

Cruise Aboard Heritage Adventurer

Enjoy an 11-night small ship cruise from Osaka to Kanazawa. Reach the island of Miyajima aboard our ship’s onboard Zodiacs.

Admire Japan’s Strolling Gardens

See two of Japan’s top gardens - Kenroku-en and Koraku-en. See the beautiful ponds and pavilions of Ritsurin Park.

Travel in Cherry Blossom Season

Visit Japan during cherry blossom season, a revered time of year that is highly significant to the people of Japan.

  • Trip Inclusions
  • Map & Itinerary
  • Similar Trips

Trip Inclusions

  • Escorted by an expert Botanical Guide and Cruise Director
  • 11-night cruise aboard the Heritage Adventurer for up to 80 Botanica guests and four nights’ accommodation in centrally located four- to five-star hotels
  • Return private transfers from door to door, tipping and porterage, port taxes, plus 43 meals and select beverages
  • All sightseeing, shore excursions and entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • See Japan during Cherry Blossom season and explore the exquisite Ryoan-ji rock garden
  • Enjoy a maiko (apprentice geisha) performance and dinner
  • Visit Miyajima Island, where you will see one of Japan’s top scenic wonders, the scarlet Torii Gate, which appears to float
  • Discover the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove; as well as Kenroku-en Garden, located next to Kanazawa Castle and classified as one of the ‘Three Great Gardens of Japan’

Map & Itinerary

Trip Notes

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • Fitness rating: Medium
  • Shared charter for up to 80 Botanica guests aboard the Heritage Adventurer, which has a capacity of 140 guests. Cruise is in partnership with Heritage Expeditions. To view deck plans, visit www.botanica.travel/cruise-fleet
  • Our experience of gardens, their flora, and other aspects of nature, is subject to weather conditions and seasonality, which may vary
Map
Osaka to Tokyo

You will be met at Osaka airport and transferred to your hotel in Kyoto. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner this evening where you will meet your Botanical Guide and fellow travellers.

Stay: Two Nights: Kyoto, Hotel Okura Kyoto or similar

Daily :
  • Dinner

Admire the exquisite rock garden at the Zen temple of Ryoan-ji. Continue to Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. The grounds here are a fine example of Muromachi-period garden design. After lunch, visit the gardens of Ginkaku-ji, one of Kyoto’s most celebrated Zen temples. Tonight, enjoy a private dinner and maiko (apprentice geisha) performance. Gain insight into the life of maiko and geisha during this unique experience.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast, we visit the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, then enjoy free time in Kyoto to shop and explore before travelling from Kyoto to Osaka. This afternoon, we board our ship, the Heritage Adventurer, our home for the next eleven nights.

Stay: Eleven Nights: Heritage Adventurer

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Tour the stunning city of Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four main Japanese islands. Journey over the Seto Ohashi Bridge and visit Kinashi Bonsai Village. Afterwards, explore Ritsurin Park, a 350-year-old garden famous for its magnificent cherry blossoms. Admire the stunning scenery in this historic garden and see the Chrysanthemum Moon Pavilion. Return to the ship for dinner this evening.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast this morning, we visit Koraku-en Garden, one of Japan's most significant gardens, whose name means 'Garden of Pleasure After'. Visit a classic Japanese teahouse where Botanica guests will experience a traditional tea ceremony. After 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 framed by weeping willows.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Arrive in Hiroshima and visit the compelling Peace Memorial Park. The park is dotted with memorials, including the cenotaph containing the names of all the known victims of the atomic bomb that was dropped on the city in 1945. Return to the ship for a delicious lunch, then continue to Miyajima. Considered one of Japan's top scenic wonders, Miyajima provides postcard-perfect vistas of its scarlet Torii gate, which stands before the Itsukushima Shrine. We go ashore by Zodiac to explore the shrine, founded in the sixth century AD and dedicated to three goddesses. The shrine is a designated World Heritage site.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Situated along the saw-toothed coast of Uwajima Bay is the city of Uwajima. Today you will have the option of choosing between two activities. You may like to visit Tensha-en Garden, which was built during the Samurai era. From here, continue to the Date Museum, which is home to a collection of samurai weapons and other artefacts that belonged to the Date Clan, who once governed this area. Alternatively, you may like to visit Uwajima Castle, whose strategic position atop a hill in the middle of the town provided for defence against the threat of an approaching enemy. From the castle, you can enjoy panoramic views of this small town.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today we arrive on the island of Yakushima, which became Japan’s first World Heritage-listed site in 1993. Yakushima is famous in botanical circles for its many great garden plants, including dwarf plants that have evolved to grow smaller than their mainland cousins. We spend our time here enjoying nature walks. At Yakusugi Land, we discover a nature park populated by many ancient cedar trees, including the Buddhasugi, Futagosugi and Sennensugi.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Arrive in Nagasaki, the second Japanese city destroyed by an atomic bomb during World War II. Tour the Nagasaki Peace 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 for 200 years during the period of isolation known as Sakoku. Japan’s fear of outside influence kept the country secluded from the rest of the world during this time. It remained that way until, at the behest of US Navy Commodore Matthew Perry, Japan signed the 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa, which permitted American ships to dock in two of its ports.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today, we explore the former castle town of Hagi. Wander well-preserved streets to see the Hagi Castle ruins at Shizuki Park. Visit a traditional, well-preserved samurai house and learn how its residents lived. This house displays the typical interior of a Japanese residence from this time. Afterwards, enjoy free time to wander this charming district on your own. We then stop in at Toko-ji temple before returning to the ship.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Our ship arrives in South Korea, and the city of Ulsan. While here, you have the option of heading out on a full-day tour, which takes in the Gyeongju National Museum, Bulguksa Temple and Taehwagang National Garden, featuring the Hoes-Oudolf Ulsan Garden, the first Piet Oudolf garden in Asia. Alternatively, visit Jagalchi Fish Market and Gwangan Grand Bridge.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Having cruised back to Japan, we visit the city of Matsue this afternoon. From here, choose to delve into Japan’s modern art and culture at the highly regarded Adachi Museum of Art. The museum’s adjoining garden is a masterpiece of modern design which has won many awards and accolades. This work of ‘natural art’ has been designed not to be entered, however, but to be admired only from select vantage points. Alternatively, visit Yushi-en Garden, a real flower garden, full of colour and blossom, and famous for its ginseng and peonies.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

This morning, we visit Kanazawa’s renowned Omicho Market. The market sells everything from flowers to fish and local handicrafts. Afterwards, take in one of Japan’s premier highlights at the famed Kenroku-en Garden, which is ranked as one of the country’s top three gardens. This afternoon, immerse yourself in Kanazawa’s culture with a visit to the Higashi Chaya-gai Geisha District. The town retains its traditional housing and layout, which reaches back to the Samurai era. While in Kanazawa, keep a lookout for some of the handcrafted items the region is famous for, including the kimono and gold leaf. This evening, we enjoy a Farewell Dinner aboard our ship.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Disembark the ship this morning and travel by bullet train from Kanazawa to Tokyo.

Stay: Two nights: Tokyo, Grand Prince Hotel Shin Takanawa or similar

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Explore the sites of Tokyo today with a morning spent at the Imperial Palace East Gardens, followed by a visit to Ueno Park and the Tokyo National Museum. Finish the day with a visit to the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower for panoramic views of Tokyo. This evening, enjoy a Farewell Dinner.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

After breakfast today you will be transferred to the airport as our journey concludes.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
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Everything was wonderful. There were great sightseeing trips and the guides were very knowledgeable.

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