Kyoto to Tokyo - 16 Days on a botanical journey, including an 11-night cruise. In the heart of cherry blossom season, you 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 journey.

Kyoto to Tokyo – 16 Days on a botanical journey, including an 11-night cruise. In the heart of cherry blossom season, you 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 journey.


  • Learn about the history of Japan and Korea from local guides

  • Explore the majestic Western Kyoto Gardens including Daisen-in, Kinkakuji and Ryoanji

  • See Koraku-en Garden, the famous landscape garden of Okayama

  • Travel to Yakushima, Japan’s first World Heritage-listed site

  • Visit Ritsurin Park, a 350-year-old garden famous for its spring colours

  • Discover Kyongju, a World Heritage-listed site in South Korea

  • See Yuushien Garden, famous for growing ginseng and peonies

  • Visit a traditional Samurai’s home

  • Explore Kenroku-en Garden, ranked among the country’s top gardens

  • Travel by Bullet Train to Tokyo

  • Tour the Imperial Palace Gardens and Meiji Shrine in Tokyo

  • Try tantalising local Japanese and South Korean cuisine

  • Marvel at the exquisitely beautiful Cherry Blossoms

  • Travel aboard a luxurious small ship that holds a maximum of 100 guests


  • Services of a Cruise Manager, Expedition Team and Botanical Guide

  • Transfers on the first and last day, tipping, port taxes and porterage

  • Stay in 4.5-star hotels in Kyoto and Tokyo

  • Wine, beer and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner on the ship

  • On board lectures by the Expedition Team and Botanical Guide

  • 40 Meals – 15 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches and 14 Dinners

Day 1. Arrive Kyoto

Arrive this morning into Osaka, be met and transferred to your hotel in Kyoto. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner where you’ll get to know your fellow Botanica travellers.

Three Nights: Kyoto, Granvia Hotel (D)

Day 2. Kyoto Sightseeing

Kyoto was the former Imperial Capital of Japan and is now ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities. Soak up the tranquil natural beauty of this peaceful place. Your guided tour today includes a visit to the Nanzenji Temple, with its stunning rock gardens and an enthralling tour of the Gion District – where the

world-famous Geisha reside. (BD)

Day 3. Western Kyoto Gardens

Visit the beautiful Western Kyoto gardens, including Daisen-in Temple, with its famous rock garden; Kinkakuji, a fine example of Muromachi period garden design; and the rock garden masterpiece, Ryoanji. (BLD)

Day 4. Kyoto to Kobe and Embark Ship

Enjoy some free time in Kyoto before your transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky in Kobe. Enjoy a special dinner with the ship’s crew this evening, as you set sail for Okayama.

Eleven Nights: MS Caledonian Sky (BD)

Day 5. 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, where we will 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 framed with weeping willows. (BLD)

Day 6. Takamatsu and Ritsurin Park

Tour the stunning city of Takamatsu on Shikoku, the smallest of the four main Japanese Islands. 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 7. 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 8. 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 and Dairakuji Temple. (BLD)

Day 9. Yakushima Island

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 many great garden plants, including dwarf plants that have evolved to grow smaller than their mainland cousins. We will spend time here on nature walks, including Yakusugi Land, a nature park populated by a number of the island’s ancient cedar trees, such as the Buddhasugi, Futagosugi and Sennensugi. (BLD)

Day 10. 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 11. Pusan and South Korea

Embark on a full-day excursion to Kyongju, 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 a cultural performance of traditional dance. (BLD)

Day 12. 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; the Hagi Castle ruins; Shizuki Park; and Tokoji Temple. (BLD)

Day 13. Matsue and Yuushien Garden

Matsue, known as the ‘Town of Water’, nestles 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 real flower garden full of colour and blossom, famous for growing ginseng and peonies. (BLD)

Day 14. 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 narrow and winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm. Around each bend is a traditional house, museum, art gallery, craft shop, historic 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 to the Kanazawa Castle ruins is one of Japan’s premier highlights, the famed Kenroku-en Garden, ranked among the country’s top gardens. (BLD)

Day 15. Niigata and Tokyo

Disembark this morning and take the Bullet Train to Tokyo. On arrival, we will enjoy a tour of the Imperial Palace East Gardens, along with the Meiji Shrine and grounds. You then have a chance to visit the Asakusa Kaminarimon shopping strip for some last minute souvenir shopping. We then transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay.

Stay: Tokyo, New Otani Hotel. (B)

Day 16. Depart Tokyo

After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport by shuttle bus for your flight home. (B)

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Trip Code: BTJP16

Departure: 30 March 2015
Twin Share: $14,995 per person
Solo Traveller: $18,795

Cabin Upgrades
Prices shown are based on a Standard Suite (Castle Deck). See deck plans for more information.

To upgrade, add per person:
Category Deck Twin Share Solo Trav.
Superior Caled. $1,295 $1,595
Premium Prom. $1,945 $2,945
Deluxe Balc. Bridge $2,995 $3,995
Premium Balc. Prom. $3,295 $6,590
Owner’s Corner Prom. $3,495 $6,990