Day 1 - Kobe, Japan
Kobe is the fifth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyogo Prefecture on the southern side of the main island of Honshu. Its name comes from "kanbe", an archaic title for supporters of the city's Ikuta Shrine. With a population of about 1.5 million, the city is part of the Keihanshin (Keihanshin) metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto.
Day 2 - At Sea
Enjoy cruise at Sea.
Day 3 - Hakodate, Japan
It took Commodore Perry and American gunboat diplomacy to open Japan to the outside world after two centuries of self-imposed isolation. In 1859, the port of Hakodate became the first Japanese city fully opened to Westerners under the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Foreigners soon flocked to Hakodate, and today visitors wandering the cobblestone streets of the city's Motomachi District can view their Western-style frame houses. Hakodate, once a fishing port famed for its high quality fish and shellfish, quickly became Hokkaido's largest city and one of Japan's most important ports. The Great Hakodate Fire of 1934 dealt the city a near fatal blow - a blow from which Hakodate was slow to recover. Today the city is Hokkaido's third largest - surpassed by Sapporo and Asahikawa - but retains its foremost position as the finest Japanese producer of sushi's raw product: the high quality seafood caught in Hokkaido's cold waters.
Day 4 - Sakata, Japan
Sakatais a medium-sized city in Yamagata Prefecture. Sakata is located in the fertile Shonai Plain that is known for its high-quality rice. The city grew as an important stop along the coastal shipping route that connected Hokkaido with Osaka via ports along the Sea of Japan and Seto Inland Sea during the Edo Period.
A local merchant family, the Honma clan, came to dominate trade in the city and accrued a vast fortune that made them wealthier than some of the country's feudal lords. Due to their power and influence, the clan developed close ties with the local lords and had a number of lavish buildings built. Some of these buildings still stand today along with museums and other attractions.
Day 5 - Kanazawa, Japan
Kanazawa, which means "marsh of gold," draws its name from an old legend in which a Japanese peasant, digging for potatoes, found flakes of gold in the ground. Today, gold leaf is a major art form synonymous with the city, and even has a designated museum. A City of Crafts and Folk Art, Kanazawa is also known for its intricate kaga-nui embroidery and delicate kutani porcelain, among other handicrafts, making it a shopper's paradise! There's also no shortage of history in this coastal city. Once boasting geisha houses and a labyrinthine samurai village, the city was built around Kanazawa Castle. Fire destroyed all but a few small 16th-century castle structures - namely the elegant Ishikawa Gate and some watchtowers that have become a focus of many a photograph today. Just outside the castle park blooms the enchanting Kenroku-en Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, and the home of the country's oldest fountain.
Day 6 - Sakaiminato, Japan
Wedged between sea, sky and mountains, this small fishing port has been esteemed for centuries for its superb seafood. Here, the Sea of Japan yields up both crab and hon-maguro, the prized Bluefin tuna esteemed by gourmets around the world. Sakaiminato is also your gateway to a very ancient region of Honshu. West of the city lies Izumo-taisha, one of the oldest and holiest shrines in Shinto. This area is dotted with burial mounds from Japan's Bronze Age. The town of Matsue boasts the celebrated "Black Castle," a six-story, black-walled castle that home to a clan of the mighty Tokugawa dynasty that ruled Japan for over 250 years. And to the east rises the great snow-capped summit of Mt. Daisen, considered one of the four most scenic mountains in all Japan.
Day 7 - Busan, 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.
Day 8 - At Sea.
Enjoy cruise at Sea.
Day 9 - Kobe, Japan