Located in southwestern Hokkaido, about 130km south of Sapporo, Muroran runs along the coast and takes up most of the peninsula area. The southwest coast of the peninsula is formed of huge 100 m cliffs and faces Uchiura Bay, while southeastern coast of the peninsula meets the Pacific Ocean. The large, deep, water port dates from 1872 made the city an industrial hub and the town’s nickname “the city of steel”, gives you more or less a feel for what one can expect. View more
On this tour, explore Shikotsu-Toya National Park, a region of active volcanoes and enjoy a boat ride on the scenic Lake Toya. Ride a gondola up the slopes of Mt. Usu for panoramic views of the Hokkaido coast. Lunch is included.
Lake Toya, Boat Ride
After tendering ashore, board your motor coach for a 45-minute transfer through the scenic, Japanese countryside to Lake Toya in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. The lake is a large caldera, 43 km in diameter. It was formed more than 100,0000 years ago when a volcanic eruption diverted a stream, creating a massive pool of lava. Lake Toya is ice-free year round due to geothermal heating and fishing is plentiful.
The surrounding scenery is spectacular and best appreciated from the water. Board a boat and circle around this tranquil, picture-perfect lake. Weather permitting, disembark on an island in the center of the lake for a brief walk in the forest.
Mt. Usu, Cable Car Ride, Japanese-style Lunch
After your boat tour, sit back and enjoy a scenic 15-minute drive to Mt. Usu. Towering 2,404 feet above sea level, it's one of the most active volcanoes in Japan. Mt. Usu has erupted four times within the past 100 years, the most recent being in the year 2000. Pause to enjoy a Japanese-style lunch at a local restaurant before boarding a gondola ride that travels up a ropeway, bringing you closer to the volcano's summit. The upper station observation deck offers panoramic views of Lake Toya and neighboring Shlowa Shinzan, Japan's youngest volcano - "born" in 1945. An optional climb of approximately 150 steps leads to a second observation deck for views of Mt. Usu's largest crater, which was formed in a 1977 eruption, and the picturesque Hokkaido coastline.
Some time is allotted for photographing these majestic vistas before re-boarding your motor coach to enjoy a scenic 50-minute ride back to the pier.
Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido and Japan's fifth largest city. It is also one of Japan's youngest major cities. In 1857, the city's population stood at just seven people. On this tour, you'll visit the Historical Village of Hokkaido, an open air museum that exhibits about 60 traditional buildings from all over Hokkaido and Odori Park. Enjoy an authentic, folkloric show arranged exclusively for Silversea guests.
Historical Village of Hokkaido, Exclusive Folkloric Show
After tendering ashore, board your motor coach for a scenic 2-hour drive, passing dense forests, rolling countryside and the city of Tomakomai, famed for paper production. The buildings in the Historical Village of Hokkaido date back to the Meiji and Taisho eras (1868-1926), when Hokkaido's development was carried out on a large scale. There are four different sections: a town, fishing village, farm village and mountain village. Your tour includes a private folkloric performance exclusive to Silversea guests called "Nankin Tamasudare," which is a traditional type of street performance born in Japan. Handed down from the Edo era (1603-1867), the performer holds a special screen made from bamboo sticks 20-30 cm long, loosely wrapped in twine. This object is rapidly twisted, folded and extended into various shapes while the performer chants a poem.
Odori Park, Japanese-style Lunch
After enjoying a Japanese-style lunch at a local restaurant, transfer 15 minutes by motor coach to Odori Park, the city's "central park" which divides the North from the South. Originally designated as the main street, it eventually became a park, spanning 13 blocks. Peruse its underground shopping town, elaborate gardens, promenades and pushcart vendors. The Sapporo TV Tower anchors one end of the park and the ski jump from the 1972 Winter Olympics is visible from the grounds. Throughout the year, many events and ceremonies are held here, such as the Sapporo Lilac Festival and the Sapporo Snow Festival, which attracts millions of visitors each year.
After an hour of free time to explore your surrounds, re-board your motor coach for your 2 hour transfer back to the pier.
On this tour, experience Japan's colorful and dynamic past. First, you'll visit Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura, a history-themed park highlighting city life in the Edo Period. You'll mingle with Ninjas and beautiful Oiran courtesans. Then, you'll travel to "Hell Valley," brimming with volcanic activity, including the famous, natural hot springs.
Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura History-themed Park, Ninja Show
After tendering ashore, board your motor coach for a 45-minute scenic journey through rolling, forested countryside to the famed Noboribetsu area. Be prepared to step back in time and experience living history.
Once you arrive at Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura, it will feel like you've been transported back to the Edo Period, circa 1603 - 1867, when the warrior class broke away from the imperial court and the merchant class played a vital role. You'll have free time to explore the recreations of traditional Japanese structures, including Ninja houses and a theater. Enjoy traditional games and activities and watch enchanting street and theatre performances. You'll be among Ninjas - the mysterious figures whose basic function was to carry out covert operations for their feudal lords. Meet the beautiful Oiran courtesans who excelled at various arts including poetry, calligraphy, tea ceremonies and music.
Noboribetsu Hell Valley
Return to your motor coach for the short 20-minute transfer to Noboribetsu Hell Valley. Lying along the fabled "Rim of Fire," it's one of several areas of intense volcanic activity. A 20-minute guided walk will bring you to the 1,476-foot crater and its surrounding fumaroles and mineral springs. The hot springs are famous, supplying the nearby Noboribetsu Resort.
Your adventure ends as you re-board your motor coach for the relaxing and scenic 40-minute drive back to present-day Muroran and your ship.
Experience an "onsen," - a traditional Japanese hot spring bath. Visit Noboribetsu, one of the region's best known spa resorts. Relax and rejuvenate your body and soul in the warm, therapeutic waters -- a time-honored tradition in Japan.
After tendering ashore, depart the pier for a scenic, 45-minute ride to Noborbetsu, famous for its wide variety of hot springs. It is known as one of the most popular spa towns in Japan. Often referred to as the "department store of onsen," Noboribetsu offers eleven different thermal waters, including those infused with sulfur, alum and radium - each with specific therapeutic properties believed to address a variety of ailments such as hypertension, arthritis, poor circulation, rheumatism and indigestion.
Traditional Hot Spring Bath
Next, visit the sulfur springs. Milky-white in color, they feature a distinct smell which is slightly pungent, although most people acclimate to it quite quickly. Sulfur spring waters enhance general well-being and are known to help ease chronic bronchitis or skin irritation and hardening of the arteries. Partaking in the traditional customs of the onsen will enhance this authentic experience and demonstrate respect for other bathers. Sitting on a small stool, it's customary to scrub yourself with water and soap to ensure your body is very clean. Clothes are not permitted at the onsen, but a small towel can be used for modesty.
Traditionally, the towel is placed on your head once you're in the hot spring, although it's also acceptable to set it on a nearby rock. Never submerge your towel in the hot spring or wring it out, as this is considered rude. An onsen is a quiet place for relaxation and contemplation, so it is important to enter the hot spring slowly, without splashing and refraining from conversation. As you soak in this serene environment, you'll feel a sense of calm and your cares will simply float away.
At the completion of your soak, return to the motor coach for a scenic 45-minute drive back to the pier.
Japanese hot springs are enjoyed naked. Swimming suits are not allowed. It's permitted to bring a small towel into the bathing area, with which you can enhance your privacy while outside of the water. Once entered the bath, the towel must be kept out of the water. The hot springs are not privately reserved for Silversea Guests only.
Discover the beauty of Japan's volcanic origins. Take in the splendor of Lake Toya, created by flowing lava. Then, explore Mount Usu, an active volcano that last erupted in 2001. Ride a gondola up its slopes for breathtaking views of the Hokkaido coast.
After tendering ashore, depart Muroran port for an approximately 45-minute drive to Lake Toya. During the panoramic drive, you'll pass through rolling, forested countryside on your way to the Shikotsu-Toya National Park and the "Rim of Fire." Hokkaido brims with volcanic activity, resulting in crystalline lakes, towering peaks and bubbling natural springs. Lake Toya is a large caldera that was formed when a volcanic eruption of about 100,000 years ago diverted a stream of lava to create this vast pool. You won't want to miss the chance to see this spectacular scenery. After spending roughly 30 minutes at the lake, re-board your coach for a 25-minute transfer to Mt. Usu.
Mt. Usu, Cable Car Ride
This is one of the most active volcanoes in Japan, erupting four times within the last 100 years (1920, 1944, 1977 and 2000). It stands a towering 2,404 feet above sea level. A cable car will bring you up close to the volcano's summit. The upper station's observation deck offers panoramic views of Lake Yoya and neighboring Showa Shinzan, Japan's youngest volcano. "born" in 1945. An optional walk of approximately 150 stairs leads to a second observation deck with views of the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Usu's largest crater.
After roughly an hour and a half to explore, re-board your coach for a scenic 50-minute transfer back to the pier.