Day 1 - 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 centre 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 traveller with a dizzying experience.
Day 2 - Wakayama (Shinotsu), Japan
Deep in the forests of Wakayama's Kii Mountain Range, lies Japan’s spiritual heartland and the UNESCO-designated "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes". This is one of only two UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage routes globally.
Day 3 - Kumano, Japan
The Kumano area (熊野) is located around the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula, about 100 kilometers south of Osaka. It spans Wakayama and Mie Prefectures, though most of the attractions and religious sites are in Wakayama.
Kumano is centered around three shrines, Hongu Taisha, Nachi Taisha and Hayatama Taisha, collectively known as the Kumano Sanzan. Pilgrims have traveled to the Kumano Sanzan via walking trails, called Kumano Kodo, for over 1000 years. The shrines are even older, with mention in Japan's founding mythology.
Day 4 - 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.
Day 5 - Kanmon Straits, Japan
The Kanmon Straits Summer Fireworks Festival is held in August every year.
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 - Nagasaki, Japan
For most travelers, Nagasaki is a symbol of the horror and the inhumanity of war. An estimated 75,000 people perished in 1945 when the city became the second target of a nuclear attack. Today, Nagasaki's Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum draw visitors from around the world.
But this beautiful city on Kyushu offers other sights. Often described as the San Francisco of Japan, the city occupies verdant hills surrounded by a deep-water bay. For three centuries, Nagasaki was Japan's sole window on the world. The city is also celebrated as the setting for Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly."
Day 6 - Gunkanjima (Hashima Island Scenic Cruising), Japan
Hashima is also known by its nickname “Gunkanjima” (Battleship Island) due to its unique silhouette.
This island has been added to the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its historical value based on its industrial heritage in 2015, as a component of "Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining (Japan)." It has also been getting world-wide attention as it was the model for the “Dead City” in the James Bond movie “Skyfall” (2013). "Attack on Titan" (2015) was also filmed on this island.
Gunkanjima flourished as a coal mining community since 1890. In 1974 when the coal mine closed, the island became completely deserted.
Day 7 - Miyazaki (Aburatsu), Japan
Boasting the second warmest temperatures in Japan, Miyazaki offers a playground of outdoor activities that take full advantage of its balmy breezes and aquamarine waters. A resort atmosphere permeates Miyazaki, fragranced by blooms from local botanical gardens. Emerald green golf courses, some of the best surfing in Japan, and a zoo with the largest number of flamingos in captivity in all of Japan add to the festive atmosphere. A Peace Tower, built with stones from throughout Asia anchors the city and Heiwadai Park and is one of the most noted landmarks. Visit Haniwa Gardens where over 400 replica haniwa (burial statues) make for wonderful photo opportunities, and see Miyazaki's history and culture on display at The Miyazaki Prefectural Museum of Nature and History, located on the same grounds as the picturesque Miyazaki Shrine. For a change of pace, stop into the Miyazaki Science Center where an animatronics "Dr. Cosmo" welcomes you to this hands-on museum. Looking for a little adventure? Try a side trip to Aoshima, a small island just off the coast of Miyazaki City, and enjoy the charming Aoshima Shrine and over 400 species of subtropical plants. The options are endless in Miyazaki to soak up local colour…or just soak up the sun!
Day 8 - At Sea
Enjoy cruise at Sea.
Day 9 - Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan
Port arrival and departure times are approximate and subject to change without notice.