Starting in Kobe, Silver Explorer will sail around the southern tip of Japan’s main island to cross the Sea of Japan to Busan, South Korea, and to continue on to Hokkaido. Experience the ways that modern societies of Japan and South Korea are influenced by their past and learn how tradition still plays an important part in daily life. On the semi-circumnavigation of Japan we will visit some of the most outstanding natural and man-made sites Japan has to offer including National Parks and three of Japan’s highest-ranked gardens. Along the way you will see traditional buildings such as castles, homes and warehouses and feel serenity in outstanding shrines, temples and memorials. In South Korea, we intend to see Gyeongju, once the Silla royal capital, and its historic area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Throughout the voyage, learn about the geology, wildlife, history and botany of these locations from lecture presentations offered by your knowledgeable onboard Expedition Team.
Okayama, Japan –
Okayama is home to the renowned Koraku-en Garden. Although severely damaged by bombs in WWII, the descriptions and paintings from the Edo period permitted an exact reconstruction to its original, elegant state. This rebuild has earned the site the designation of “Special Scenic Location.” Okayama is also home to the Ohara Museum, the first Japanese museum to permanently exhibit western art.
Takamatsu, Japan –
Takamatsu is located on Shikoku, the smallest of the four main Japanese islands. Here the 75-hectare Ritsurin Garden features six ponds, thirteen hills, a waterfall, plum, cherry, and pine trees, a bamboo forest, a tea house, and a garden that is recognized one of the most beautiful strolling gardens in Japan. It was awarded three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan.
Miyajima and Hiroshima, Japan –
Pay your respects at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in central Hiroshima. This was Ground Zero for the Atomic Bomb dropped on August 6, 1945. The Peace Memorial Museum surveys the history of Hiroshima and the advent of the nuclear bomb. The nearby small island of Miyajima (“The Shrine Island”) is home to the floating torii gate. Built in the water, the torii gate leads to the Itsukushima Shrine and at high tide it seems to float.
Hagi, Japan –
Hagi’s “Old Town,” includes Shizukiyama Park and Hagi Castle ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the heart of Hagi lies the Samurai Quarter, which preserves the traditional style Japanese houses and old-fashioned streets. Hagi is also home to Tokoji Temple, of the Obaku-shu school of Zen Buddhism, the resting place of the two first Mori daimyo, a family of powerful and territorial pre-modern Japanese lords.
Kanazawa, Japan –
Kanazawa is known for its many artistic offerings, including its lacquerware, Kutani-style pottery, gold leaf workmanship and delicately painted silk kimonos. It also houses Kenroku-en, one of the famous “Three Gardens of Japan.” Kenroku-en’s 11.4 hectare grounds include Japan’s oldest fountain using natural water pressure and a tea house dating back to 1774.
Busan (for Geongju), South Korea –
Going north from Busan, two UNESCO World Heritage sites are visited: the historical center of Gyeongju, often called “the museum without walls”, and the Bulguksa Temple, a religious architectural complex of exceptional significance considered a masterpiece of Far Eastern Buddhist Art.
- Stand at Hiroshima Ground Zero and experience the sombre history of this crucial World War II site.
- Visit the Samurai Quarter in Hagi, Japan, which preserves the traditional style Japanese houses and old-fashioned streets to see how the Japanese lived in traditional ways.
Please Note: Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
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