Day 1 - Shanghai, China
This fabled port on the Huangpu River has played a pivotal role in the history of modern China. One of seven treaty ports inflicted by the West on Imperial China, the city was famed for the Bund, an elegant section of riverbank lined with European mercantile houses and elegant mansions. Shanghai was also the cradle of the Chinese Communist Party, and it is here that the People's Republic created its vast commercial and industrial bastion. Shanghai is also one of the most fascinating cities on the face of the earth. Its streets are packed with individuals, cars and bicycles, weaving an extraordinary tapestry of humanity. Yet serenity and beauty are always present, be it a class practicing early morning tai chi or the serene repose of the city's jade Buddha.
Shanghai's attractions are legendary, from exquisite temples and superb museums to the Bund's elegant 19th-century European architecture. The city is also your gateway to the Grand Canal and the legendary city of Suzhou.
Day 2-3 - At Sea
Enjoy cruise at Sea.
Day 4 - Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan
Yokohama and Edo began life as sleepy fishing villages. That changed in the early 17th century after Tokugawa Ieyasu became Shogun. Edo became the center of political power in Japan, a position the city retained even after the restoration of Imperial rule in 1866.
Contemporary Tokyo may be the most astonishing city on earth. It's a paradoxical mix of ancient tradition and postmodern culture. The Ginza - an international shopping mecca - stands near the serene grounds of the Imperial Palace, and the hyper-speed of 21st century consumerism is mysteriously reconciled with the elegance and serenity of traditional culture. Tokyo provides the traveler with a dizzying experience.
With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Edo was renamed Tokyo, the "Eastern Capital," to distinguish it from the old imperial capital at Kyoto, the "Western Capital."
Day 5 - Shimizu (for Mt. Fuji), Japan
A mesmerizing landscape, a revered cultural history, and Japan's most sacred volcano are just a few of the many delights beckoning you to come and explore this ancient city. While Shimizu may have the reputation as being bustling and modern, its cultural and spiritual side is on display in the form of ancient and enthralling shrines. Of course, it may be the sacred and snow-capped Mount Fuji that garners the most attention. Towering over the region at approximately 12,388 feet above sea level, the active volcano, designated a "place and source of artistic inspiration" by UNESCO is just one of the many unforgettable adventures Shimizu inspires.
Day 6 - Osaka (for Kyoto), Japan
For centuries, Osaka was Japan's cultural and commercial gateway to Asia - the point of entry both for trade goods and, most importantly, cultural influences that shaped Japanese society. From tea to Zen, from art to science and philosophy, Osaka was Japan's contact with the great East Asian cultures that flourished in China and Korea. The city reached its zenith in the late 16th century, when the great feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi made Osaka his capital. Toyotomi was master of Japan, and an immense administrative and commercial center rapidly developed around Osaka Castle. After Toyotomi's death, the nation's seat of power shifted from Osaka to a sleepy little fishing village called Edo - modern Tokyo. While overshadowed by Tokyo, Osaka remains Japan's second largest city and a vital commercial center.
Modern Osaka is home to monuments from Japan's past including Toyotomi's immense castle and the Sumiyoshi Shrine. The city is also your gateway to Kyoto, Japan's ancient imperial capital and the nation's cultural and spiritual center.
Day 7 - 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 8 - At Sea
Enjoy cruise at Sea.
Day 9 - Shanghai, China
Port arrival and departure times are approximate and subject to change without notice.