Silversea Cruise, Aisa Expedition
Nagasaki to Niigata
Fares from €10,600 per guest
The land of the rising sun holds many off the beaten track treasures. Full of ancient traditions, sacred temples and famous gardens and castles, it is also the land of underground caves, delicate craftsmanship and solemn history. From the peaceful cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima to the Tori Forest Park with its Crested Ibises, experience Japan at its vibrant best.
Silversea’s loyal following of adventure travellers can now explore the remote archipelagos of the vast Pacific aboard the sleek, 120-guest Silver Discoverer cruise ship. She’s the perfect platform for viewing these untamed landscapes, with all ocean-view suites and plenty of deck space so that a breaching whale or a pod of dolphins is always within sight. Silver Discoverer’s shallow draft allows her to navigate closer to shore, and with a fleet of 12 Zodiacs, guests can land on isolated shores and explore wetlands and submerged ecosystems, up-close and in-depth
Sunday 25 March
Nagasaki city has developed into one of the most important port cities in Japan. During Japan’s period of isolation in the 17th century, Nagasaki played a prominent role in foreign trade relation and only a very few ports were open to restricted numbers of foreign traders. Even though Holland was a major country who conducted trading during this period, Dutch people were only allowed to stay in Dejima Island and were not allowed to have contact with the Japanese people. Today, you will still find the strong influence of Dutch and Chinese culture in the city which is very different from all other cities in Japan.
Monday 26 March
Arrive: 11:30, Depart: 18:00
Time moves at a much slower clip here on Jeju-do. Blessed with tangerine groves, swaying palm trees, white sand beaches, and a verdant landscape, Korea’s southernmost volcanic island has long been a favored holiday and honeymoon retreat for natives and neighbors. Still relatively unknown to Western travelers, Jeju’s recent title as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature is bound to bring Jeju up on quite a few radars.
Tuesday 27 March
Arrive: 09:30, Depart: 19:00
White-sand city beaches and hot-spring resorts may not be everyone’s first image of Korea, but these are what Koreans flock to Busan for all year. And there are plenty of opportunities for rest, relaxation, retail therapy, and even a touch of glamour every October with the Busan International Film Festival. Busan’s beaches are the big summertime draw but there is plenty to be seen year round. Quintessential experiences include taking some rest and relaxation at a local spa and exploring the Beomeosa temple complex.
Wednesday 28 March
Arrive: 08:00, Depart: 17:00
Moji used to be an important international trading port with a number of well-preserved Western buildings. Several of these historic buildings can be seen along the attractive waterfront. Southwest of Moji , and part of the same city, is Kokura, the financial and business capital of the area. Kokura’s landmark is its castle, which has been beautifully restored. The remarkable garden located next to the main castle is not too far from the Manga Museum. South of Moji is the Hiraodai Limestone Plateau, Japan’s most representative karst plateau. The pure white limestone scattered throughout the landscape is often mistaken for sheep grazing in the grass.
Thursday 29 March
Arrive: 08:00, Depart: 11:00
The small island of Miyajima (“The Shrine Island”) is known for the Floating Torii Gate, which is one of “The Three Most Beautiful Views” of Japan. Built in the water, the Torii Gate leads to the Itsukushima Shrine and at high tide it seems to float. The Torii Gate is one of the most photographed sites in all of Japan. There are many more shrines and paths on Miyajima that are inviting to walk. Mount Misen has a cable car leading partly up to the top with nice views and wild monkeys and deer roaming the trails.
Thursday 29 March
Arrive: 14:00, Depart: 19:00
On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 am, a massive chunk of metal known as Little Boy fell from an American plane, and the sky ignited and glowed for an instant. In that brief moment, however, it became as hot as the surface of the sun in Hiroshima, until then a rather ordinary workaday city in wartime Japan. Half the city was leveled by the resulting blast, and the rest was set ablaze. Rain impregnated with radioactive fallout then fell, killing many that the fire and 1,000-mph shock wave had not. By the end of this mind-boggling disaster, more than 140,000 people died.
Friday 30 March
Arrive: 12:30, Depart: 17:00
Hagi is a former castle town located in the middle of Yamaguchi prefecture along the coast of the Sea of Japan. It is surrounded by the ocean, mountain and Abugawa River. Early in the 17th century, Terumoto Mori built Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki-yama, and the area served as the seat of the Yamaguchi prefecture government until the middle of 19th century. Around then, Hagi produced many capable men who played a leading role in the construction of modern day Japan, including Hirobumi Ito who became the first prime minister in Japan. You will still see a castle town itself which was built 400 years ago and you can get the feel of how it was like during the Samurai period.
Saturday 31 March
Arrive: 08:00, Depart: 23:00
Sakaiminato is a small city almost totally surrounded by water: the Sea of Japan to the east, the Sakai Channel to the north and Lake Nakaumi to the west. Across the lake the towns of Matsue and Yasugi offer interesting experiences. Matsue is known as the “Town of Water” next to scenic Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi. It has one of the very few wooden castles that still remain in Japan. Touring the castle and boat rides on the Horikawa River and the castle’s moat are popular. Yasugi has the Adachi Museum of Art, a private museum that houses one of the finest collections of contemporary Japanese paintings, but also has a 165,000 square metres garden –with plants and rocks collected by the museum’s founder.
Sunday 01 April
Arrive: 07:00, Depart: 18:00
The Oki Islands is an archipelago in the Sea of Japan, and is made up of four populated islands and more than 180 uninhabited islands situated in the Sea of Japan. 30,000 years ago, people were already living here, and during the Stone Age the volcanic rock obsidian was excavated and traded around Japan. A landscape that provides glimpses of how the Sea of Japan formed, and an ecosystem that is full of mysteries, the Oki Islands are invaluable, even from a global perspective. People are only living in four islands such as Nishimoshima, Nakanoshima, Chiburijima and Dogo Island. You will enjoy the dynamic landscape created by a former volcano both on land and your cruise ship.
Monday 02 April
Arrive: 07:00, Depart: 20:00
Maizuru port is considered as the gateway to the Japanese most popular historic city, Kyoto. Why don’t you relax on the coach to save your energy for your exciting day in Kyoto? Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan in the 8th century, and it was the centre for politics, economy and culture for more than 1,000 years. After capital functions were transferred to Tokyo in the middle of 19th century, luckily Kyoto did not lose its lustre. As soon as you step into the city, you will see how hard the local people tried to keep the atmosphere of the heyday. Nowadays, Kyoto is not the centre of attention within Japan anymore; nonetheless it is indeed the centre of tourism industry.
Tuesday 03 March
Arrive: 08:00, Depart: 19:00
The capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa once rivalled Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo) as a town rich in cultural achievements. Kanazawa escaped destruction during World War II and accordingly has been able to preserve many of the old districts in good shape. The city is famous because of Kenrokuen. Located next to Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen is classified as “One of the Three Gardens of Japan”. The garden has an artificial pond, and hills and houses are dotted within the 11.4 hectares. It has Japan’s oldest fountain using natural water pressure and a tea-house dating back to 1774.
Wednesday 04 April
Arrive: 12:00, Depart: 23:00
Sado is Japan’s sixth-largest island and depends mainly on fishing and agriculture. The island’s Tori Forest Park had been selected for the successful reintroduction of Crested Ibises into Japan –a bird that was down to what was believed to be a total world population of 12 birds in 1981. At that time the last five wild ibises found in Japan were taken into captivity on Sado and both Japan and China cooperated in a breeding programme for these birds. Fortunately the work has paid off and released Crested Ibises successfully nested in the wild again in 2012. Another attraction is the Sado Gold Mine.
Thursday 05 April
Niigata city is the capital of Niigata prefecture and faces the Japan Sea on the island of Honshu, the largest of the four islands that comprise Japan. With a population of 810,000, Niigata is the largest Honshu city along the Japan Sea coast. The city is located at 300 km northwest of Tokyo and the bullet train would take you there in only two hours. Niigata offers four distinct seasons throughout the year, and people may find the winter season to be the best time to visit as many people would come for winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding. However, you will find the place abundantly beautiful throughout the year as well. Niigata is famous for growing rice as well as fresh seafood.
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