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From sailing through the Three Gorges in China aboard a luxury cruiser to soaring above the gilded pagodas and stupas of Myanmar, grand temples of Angkor and volcanic moonscape of Cappadocia, Asia’s diversity is boundless. Covering 8.7% of the Earth’s total surface area, Asia varies even within its regions in cultural ethnicity, environment, history, economics and political systems. From the expansive grasslands of Mongolia and Silk Road cities of central Asia to Malaysia’s melting pot of cultures, Indochina’s colonial heritage and Indonesia’s iridescent islands, experience authentic travel moments across the world’s largest continent while luxuriating in world-class accommodations. Wherever your journey takes you, we’ll be with you every step of the way, making sure your experience is utterly unforgettable and that you return home with a treasure of memories from the land of tea and silk.

A Many-Splendored Japan

aboard Le Soleal - May 28 - June 12, 2017

Visit Japan's scenic ports and rarely seen wilderness areas - all while sailing aboard the beautiful Le Soleal - sister ship to Le Boreal and exclusively chartered for this unique expedition. This one-of-a-kind journey navigates Japan's less-frequented interior and coastal areas in style and in the company of an award-winning expedition team. 

  • Take in one-of-a-kind insights as you travel in the company of an award-winning expedition team, keynote lecturers and guides.
  • Cruise aboard luxurious, exclusively chartered Le Soleal with no more than 199 guests and all gratuities, shore excursions and bar drinks included.
  • Discover Japan in a way only possible by small ship, visiting unique ports and off-the-beaten-path wilderness areas.
  • Visit Gyeongju, South Korea, ancient dynastic capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Reflect on Japan's turbulent history and witness its miraculous resurgence at Hiroshima.
  • Enjoy fascinating onboard lectures about Japanese art and culture, history, geology, economy and horticulture.
  • Attend exclusive and private openings of the Chichu Art and Ohara Museum as well as exclusive welcome and farewell ceremonies in select ports of call.
  • Choose from a wide array of included shore excursions, including opportunities to experience Japan's culture, architecture, arts and natural history


Day 1:  Arrive Osaka, Japan 
Cross the International Dateline and arrive at Osaka’s Kansai International Airport. After clearing customs and immigration, meet your representative and transfer to your stylish, tranquil Kyoto hotel, situated in a historic area of Higashiyama Shichijo. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure, or set out to explore culturally rich Kyoto at your own pace. Featuring over 2,000 temples and shrines, 17 of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the nation’s former capital was the emperor’s residence from 794 to 1868. Because the city largely avoided bombing during WWII, its historic aura remains intact.  Hyatt Regency Kyoto

Day 2:  Kyoto | Cultural Epicenter
Set out on an enlightening tour of Kyoto, paying visits to Nijo Castle, The Golden Pavilion and Tenryuji Temple, for a talk about Zen Buddhism. Pause for lunch at a local restaurant. Then, continue to Kiyomizu Temple and Heian Shrine before returning to your hotel. Gather this evening for a welcome reception and dinner to meet your fellow travelers, your Expedition Team and local guides who will be accompanying you and adding enrichment throughout your voyage.  Hyatt Regency Kyoto | Meals: B L D

Day 3:  Osaka | The Adventure Begins
After breakfast, take a guided walking tour of the temples in the surrounding Higashiyama Shichijo district. After lunch, transfer from Kyoto to Osaka, where you will board the luxurious Le Soleal, your home for the next 10 nights.  Le Soleal | Meals: B L D

Day 4:  Okayama (Uno-Ko)/Honshu | Explore Your Way
This morning, Le Soleal arrives at Uno-Ko near Okayama. Choose between a wide range of available art, culture, architecture, horticulture and active hiking experiences. You may, for example, choose a full day excursion to Naoshima Island. Located in the Seto Inland Sea, it is known for its modern art museums, architecture and sculptures. Visit the Benesse museums, designed by Japanese architect Ando Tadao, which include the Chichu Art Museum (opened exclusively for our guests). Enjoy lunch at the Benesse House. Garden enthusiasts may embark on a full-day excursion to the beautifully landscaped Korakuen Gardens, followed by a visit to Kurashiki — an important rice distribution center — to explore converted storehouses, boutiques, and an exclusive opening of the Ohara Museum, featuring a large collection of work from western, Japanese and Asian artists. Meanwhile, active guests may opt to visit the Edo-era village of Takahashi, seeing the Kibitsu Shrine, trekking to Matsuyama Castle in Takahashi and witnessing its preserved old town, once home to samurai residences and merchant houses. Back on board, gather with fellow guests for a captain’s reception and dinner.  
Le Soleal
| Meals: B L D


Day 5:  Hiroshima/Miyajima | Hiroshima & the Torii Gate
This morning, Le Soleal arrives in the port of Hiroshima, where you may choose to visit Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum, its cenotaph containing names of the known victims of the atomic bomb, followed by a speedboat ride to Miyajima Island to witness the scarlet Torii Gate at the entrance to the sacred Shinto Shrine. Or, set out on a full-day excursion through Hiroshima, visiting Hiroshima Castle and Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum and attending a private meeting and lecture conducted by an atomic bomb survivor. Alternately, you may spend a full day on the tranquil island of Miyajima, where you visit the Itsukushima-Jinja Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; take a take a cable car and hike to the top of Mount Misen; and visit the Shinto Shrine and Torii Gate. Return to Le Soleal, and continue sailing through the Kamnon Strait en route to the Korea Strait.  
Le Soleal 
 | Meals: B L D

Day 6:  Hagi | Medieval Heritage
This morning, cruise along the southwest coast of Honshu. Following an onboard lunch, disembark in the small village of Hagi to explore Japan’s medieval heritage. Visit the Hagi Uragami Museum and Toko-ji Temple alongside your local guides. Stroll the streets containing old samurai and merchant residences, or browse local shops in search of fine Hagiyaki pottery. You may also choose a more active approach to the afternoon, setting out to the Akiyoshi-dai Plateau — a unique landscape dotted with limestone pinnacles — where you can explore the massive, limestone Akiyoshido Cave.  
Le Soleal 
 | Meals: B L D

Day 7:  Gyeongju, South Korea | Ancient Korean Capital
Disembark and spend a full day discovering Gyeongju, South Korea, the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Gyeongju’s cultural heritage dates back to the first millennium, when it began a thousand-year rule of Korea. Witness its excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, gaining insight from your vessel’s cultural historian. Then, unearth the treasures of the National Museum, which houses an exceptional collection of gold jewelry, metal weapons and distinctive pottery. Sit down to a lunch of Korean delicacies, and witness a traditional dance performance.  Le Soleal  | Meals: B L D

Day 8:  Matsue, Japan | Verdant Gardens
Today, disembark at Sakaiminato and visit Matsue — the “town of water” — nestled between a scenic lake and a large lagoon. Choose to explore the countryside, pausing at Peonies Village to wander through its picturesque Yuushien Gardens. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before visiting historic Matsue Castle, one of Japan’s few remaining medieval castles, built in its original wooden form. Alternately, visit the garden-frocked Adachi Museum of Art, which combines the founders’ passions for art and garden design and is recognized consistently as one of Japan’s top-rated gardens. Following a traditional lunch at a ryokan (inn) visit Yakumo-mura Village to learn the art of Japanese paper making.  Le Soleal  | Meals: B L D

Days 9-10:  Kanazawa | Epicenter for the Arts
Spend the next two days exploring the thriving art center of Kanazawa, known for its Kutani-style pottery and gold-leaf workmanship. Optional tours allow you to traverse its winding cobblestone streets, seeing traditional houses, museums, galleries and view a geisha performance at Higashi Chaia geisha district. At your leisure, wander through Omicho Market, which features everything from fresh flowers to fish and local handicrafts. Later, enjoy a tea ceremony and discover the sophisticated Kenrokuen Garden, renowned for its contemplative botanical designs. Alternatively, you may choose a more active excursion, including hiking in Kakusenkei Gorge, followed by lunch at a local restaurant and an onsen (hot spring) experience in the Yamanaka onsen district. Or, visit scenic Shirakawa-go and the Shogawa River Valley.  Le Soleal  | Meals: B L D

Day 11:  Sado-ga-shima | Kodo Drummers
Travel off the beaten path and arrive at Sado Island, a pastoral locale replete with verdant rice paddies, bamboo groves and dramatic, surf-pounded sea coasts. Political exiles, deposed emperors and intellectuals were once “banished” to live in this beautiful setting. Today, enjoy an exclusive and private performance by the world-renowned Kodo Taiko Drummers. This exhilarating performance will be followed by a rare opportunity to meet this world-famous troupe. Back on board Le Soleal set sail for the Japan’s mainland west coast.  Le Soleal  | Meals: B L D

Day 12:  Noshiro/Aomori | Ancient Caldera Lake
Disembark in Noshiro and head to Towada-Hachimantai National Park, passing en route through the panoramic mountain plateau region of Hachimantai, noted as a UNESCO World Heritage region. Pause at the Great Drum House to witness the drums used in the Tsuzureko Shrine Festival. Then, hike or take a boat ride at the ancient caldera of Lake Towada, formed by the eruption of a volcano. For the more in-depth nature seekers, you may choose a trekking excursion to Juniko Lake, accompanied by one of our naturalists and a National Park nature guide. Later this afternoon, re-board your vessel in Aomori.  Le Soleal  | Meals: B L D

Day 13:  Sapporo | Mountain Vistas
Upon arrival in Muroran, bid farewell to your captain and crew. En route to Sapporo, you may visit Lake Shikotsu, perhaps hiking amid Mount Mombetsudake, having lunch at a local restaurant and, time permitting, partaking in a foot or full onsen (hot springs) experience. Instead, you may choose to embark on a tour of Sapporo’s highlights, which include a symbolic Clock Tower, university and the charming, red-brick Old Prefectural Office. This evening, join fellow guests and team for a farewell dinner. Premier Hotel Tsubaki Sapporo | Meals: B L D

Day 14:  Depart Sapporo
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and board your homebound flight.  Meals: B

 Le Soleal

Tokyo Post-Tour Extension 

MAY 26: Arrive in Tokyo and transfer to your Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel, with time to unwind. Imperial Hotel Tokyo

MAY 27: Explore Tokyo, seeing the Meiji Shrine and its serene grounds. Drive past Omotesando and Imperial Palace Plaza, and visit Asakusa Kannon Temple, Japan’s largest Buddhist temple. Continue to the bustling Nakamise Shopping Arcade, and discover the Edo Tokyo Museum. Attend a farewell cocktail reception. Imperial Hotel Tokyo | Meals: B L

MAY 28: Transfer to the airport to depart Tokyo, or continue on to your next destination. Meals: B

14 Days from $15,495 per person (was $18,495)
Limited to 199 guests
May 16 - 29, 2018

in association/Abercrombie & Kent

Condé Nast Traveler Award
Resorts & Charted Courses

"World's Top Travel Specialists"
Four-Time Award Recipient - Condé Nast Traveler

Condé Nast Traveler Award