- Japan, South Korea
- 13 Days including a 10 night exclusive small ship cruise with a Botanical Guide. Venture along the historic shores of Japan and South Korea, exploring ancient castles, peaceful Japanese gardens and opulent temples. In the first flourish of spring, you will enjoy bursts of colour from magnificent cherry blossom trees in full bloom.
Cherry Blossoms in Japan and South Korea Cruise
Day 1. Arrive Osaka
Arrive into Osaka Airport and be met and transferred to your hotel. This evening at 6.30pm, enjoy a Welcome Dinner where you’ll have the opportunity to meet your fellow Botanica travellers.
Stay: Osaka, Imperial Hotel or similar (D)
Day 2. Kyoto and Embark Ship
This morning depart Osaka to Kyoto where we will visit the rock garden masterpiece
of Ryoanji and Kinkakuji, a fine example of Muromachi period garden design. 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.
Ten Nights: MS Caledonian Sky (BLD)
Day 3. Okayama, Koraku-en Garden and 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 teahouse, and experience a traditional tea ceremony. 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. (BLD)
Day 4. Takamatsu and 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 Ritsurin Park, a 350-year-old garden, famous for its magnificent spring colours. See the Chrysanthemum-Moon Pavilion, then visit Kinashi Bonsai Town. (BLD)
Day 5. Hiroshima and 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. (BLD)
Day 6. Uwajima
Arrive in Uwajima, situated deep inside the saw-toothed coast of Uwajima Bay. The city of Uwajima is emerging as the nation’s largest pearl cultivation centre. Learn the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. We will continue to Sakiiya Square or choose to visit Dairakuji Temple. (BLD)
Day 7. Nagasaki and 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. (BLD)
Day 8. Pusan, South Korea
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, with its exceptional collection of finely worked gold jewellery, metal weapons and distinctive pottery. At lunch, sample Korean delicacies and enjoy the spectacle of traditional dancers during a cultural performance. (BLD)
Day 9. 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 and all of the even-numbered daimyo. 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. (BLD)
Day 10. Matsue and 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. (BLD)
Day 11. Kanazawa and Kenroku-en Garden
Kanazawa is a thriving centre of the arts, long known for its lacquer-ware, outstanding collectible pottery of the Kutani style, gold-leaf workmanship and delicate hand-painting of silk for 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 handicrafts. Next we visit the Kanazawa Castle ruins, which is one of Japan’s premier highlights, and the famed Kenroku-en Garden, is ranked among the country’s top gardens. (BLD)
Day 12. Kanazawa and Tokyo
Disembark the ship this morning and take the Bullet Train to Tokyo. On arrival, enjoy an afternoon sightseeing tour of Tokyo. We then transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay and Farewell Dinner.
Stay: Tokyo, New Otani Hotel or similar (BLD)
Day 13. Depart Tokyo.
After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport by shuttle bus for your flight home. (B)
Japanese Cherry Blossoms
Embark on a stylish voyage of horticultural discovery and explore this fascinating region, aboard this Botanica cruise. In the heart of cherry blossom season, Botanica guests will be enchanted by the sight of the beautiful and richly symbolic sakura flower in full bloom. Venture along the historic shores of Japan and South Korea on this incredible botanical journey. The cherry blossom heralds the start of spring and the delicate blossom only stays on the trees for two weeks. This time of year is highly revered by the Japanese, who celebrate with festivals and events.
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“A wonderful way to learn about Japan’s and South Korea’s history and culture. Especially appreciated quality of our local tour guides. We would not consider anything other than small group touring.”
Dr John Sherwood
“This was a well designed itinerary catering to many different interests; I enjoyed it all immensely and am already thinking about future Botanica holidays.”
Miss Kay Britcliffe
“This has been a wonderful cruise, staff and tour directors have been enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly. We have seen some amazing gardens as well as wonderful palaces, temples, etc. It was a great way to visit Japan and the tour experienced most important aspects of Japanese culture.”
Mrs Sylvia Anderson
Price from: $13,495AUD twin share per person; $ 16,745AUD solo traveller
(prices based on Standard Suite Castle Deck)
· Services of a Cruise Director, Expedition Team and Botanical Guide
· Airport transfers on first and last day, tipping and port taxes
· 35 Meals – 12 Breakfasts (B), 11 Lunches (L) and 12 Dinners (D)
· Wine, beer and soft drink included with lunch and dinner on board the ship
· 10 nights on the small ship, the MS Caledonian Sky, which holds a maximum of 100 passengers
· 1 night each in Osaka and Tokyo
· Enjoy coastal views from your suite
· Onboard lectures by the Expedition Team and Botanical Guide