Day 1 - Tokyo, Japan
Reach Haneda Airport. Free at own leisure.
Day 2 - Kobe, Japan
Kobe was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city. While the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake diminished much of Kobe's prominence as a port city, it remains Japan's fourth busiest container port. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen. Kobe is also your gateway to Kyoto, Japan's ancient imperial capital and the nation's cultural and spiritual center.
Day 3 - Kochi, Japan
Kochi sits on the broad alluvial plain facing Urado Bay. This city in Shikoku takes its name from the great feudal castle that sits at its very heart. Completed in 1611, Kochi Castle was the seat of Yamauchi Kazutoyo, a noted warrior who supported Tokugawa Ieyasu in his successful quest to become Shogun. Tosa Province and Kochi Castle were Yamauchi's reward for faithful service. There is an historical irony here: 250 years later, a Kochi native son - a former low-ranked samurai and now ronin named Sakamoto Ryoma - played a pivotal role in bringing the Tokugawa Shogunate to an end and restoring the Emperor of Japan to political prominence. The prize once awarded for faithful service had become a hotbed of support for the Meiji Restoration.
Kochi is one of the wettest places in Japan - and a frequent target for cyclonic storms or typhoons. Southeast of the city, warm oceans currents washing against the Aki Mountains create a subtropical landscape of hibiscus, palm and ficus at Muroto-Anan Quasi-National Park.
Day 4 - Kagoshima, Japan
From the 12th century to the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Kagoshima was the chief stronghold of the mighty Shimazu clan. The city lies at the top of the Satsuma Peninsula, a mountainous, geothermal wonderland of hot springs and geysers. The area is also rich in modern Japanese history: Saigo Takamori and the Satsuma samurai were leaders of the Meiji Restoration that toppled the shogun and restored the Emperor to power in 1868. In 1877, dissatisfied with the direction of the new government, Saigo led the Satsuma Rebellion, which ended in his death and the final defeat of the samurai.
The symbol of Kagoshima is Sakura Jima - the volcanic island that sits just offshore. The volcano has erupted over 30 times in recorded history.
Day 5 - Busan, South Korea
The second largest city in South Korea, Busan is your gateway to a fascinating land whose culture is a unique amalgam of old and new. Modern high-rise towers dwarf ancient Buddhist temples. The city's bustling business district offers a stark contrast to the serene grounds of Yongdusan Park. In short, Busan is a microcosm of South Korea, a nation whose startling economic success often obscures one of Asia's most sophisticated and venerable cultures.
Busan was the scene of bitter fighting during the Korean War. The United Nations Memorial Cemetery marks the final resting place for the troops from 16 nations who gave their lives during the conflict.
Day 6 - Kanmon Straits, Japan (Scenic Cruising)
The Kanmon Straits, aka the straits of Shimonoseki, separates Yamaguchi prefecture on the western edge of Honshu and Fukuoka prefecture on Kyushu island. About 6,000 years ago a crustal change divided Honshu in two, and the straits and Kyushu island were born. To some tourists it may just look like ordinary straits, but in fact this is the place where some great historical sea battles were fought, which makes it significantly dramatic and not just an ordinary expanse of sea water.
Day 7-8 - Kobe, Japan
Disembarkation, transfer to Airport.
Port arrival and departure times are approximate and subject to change without notice.