Enjoy a 14 night cruise on-board Holland America’s MS Westerdam and enjoy a mini-stay in Tokyo.
Enjoy a 14 night cruise on-board Holland America’s MS Westerdam and enjoy a mini-stay in Tokyo.
Visit Japan in the famous Cherry Blossoms season and enjoy a 14 night cruise on-board Holland America’s MS Westerdam. Before the cruise you will see beautiful Lake Kawaguchiko, and wander through Oshino Hakkai, exploring the small local village. You’ll continue to majestic Mount Fuji and visit the famous 5th Station. On the cruise you will visit Japan’s iconic temples, dynamic cities and cultural gems, with a stop in Osaka. After the cruise you will spend three nights in Tokyo where you will see the sights and also have a day at leisure to explore on your own.
A deposit of $400 pp is due to secure your booking. Part of this deposit will be sent to Holland America to secure your cabin.
Home pick-up and return is included based on a set radius – surcharges will apply outside these areas. Other special conditions may apply to each individual tour, please contact the office for further details.
Please use these prices as a guide as cruise prices often change. Please contact the office for up to date pricing and special offers, such as the Have It All Promotion.
**Cherry Blossoms are not guaranteed as they are a natural occurrence**
Your holiday begins when you are picked up from home by private vehicle and transferred to the airport. Meet your fellow passengers and Kings Tour Manager and fly overnight to Tokyo. Upon arrival at Tokyo Airport we are met and transferred to see beautiful Lake Kawaguchiko, and wander through Oshino Hakkai, exploring the small local village. After lunch, continue to majestic Mount Fuji and visit the famous 5th Station (weather permitting). Later check in to hotel in Hakone and enjoy a Welcome Dinner.
Hotel: The Prince Hakone Hotel for 1 night
After breakfast, we start with a cruise on Lake Ashi, then take the Hakone Ropeway to the mountain top where we enjoy the Owakudani Boiling Valley. After the tour, you will be transferred to Yokohama Port. Embark your cruise.
Cruise: MS Westerdam for 14 nights
Until the mid-19th century, Japan lived in isolation, closed off from the rest of the world, and Yokohama was a mere fishing village. But in 1853, American naval officer Matthew Perry demanded the country open to foreign trade, and Yokohama was changed forever. The city quickly emerged as an international trading center, and while today it is often overshadowed by nearby Tokyo, it continues to be one of Japan’s liveliest, and most international, destinations. With its microbreweries and international restaurants, Yokohama has a decidedly different feel from many other Japanese cities.
Widely regarded as one of Japan’s most beautiful ports, Shimizu affords peerless views of Mount Fuji on a clear day and claims the scenic Miho-no-Matsubara pine forest as a backdrop (both are UNESCO World Heritage sites). The port’s temperate climate and rich culture—heavily connected to the surrounding Shizuoka region—have made it one of the country’s prime sightseeing destinations. A few of the main attractions include Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, designated a National Treasure by the Japanese government, Sumpu Castle (built in 1586) and Shizuoka Sengen Shrine, where warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu, who ushered in the Edo period, held his coming-of-age ceremony. Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan for 250 years, until 1867. The broader region offers plenty in the way of picturesque coastal landscapes, tea plantations and a wealth of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, while the port itself—famed in the 1900s for its tea exports—is today best known for its prodigious tuna haul, the biggest in Japan, samples of which can be enjoyed in many of the port’s fantastic restaurants along with other local delicacies such as sakura shrimp and shirasu (whitebait).
Situated in the northwest of Kyushu, the third-largest island in Japan, Nagasaki is one of the country’s most cosmopolitan port cities, with a decent tourism infrastructure, a fascinating past that stretches back to the early 7th century and a picturesque harbor that’s been an active port since the 16th century. Home to around 500,000 residents, the city is a buzzy yet relaxed place with abundant services, shops and restaurants as well as several cultural and historic attractions that are easily explored on foot and via public transportation. Check out the Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, which outline the horrific bombing of the city during World War II while making a poignant pledge for world peace. Foodies will enjoy the wide variety of tastes to be found in Chinatown and the Shianbashi Gourmet Street. If you are visiting with children, the Huis Ten Bosch theme park—modeled on a medieval Dutch town—makes for a fun diversion.
Signs of Okinawan culture can be subtle but are easier to pick out in more remote islands of the chain, like Ishigaki. Traditional buildings are a mixture of Chinese and Japanese influences. In the markets, you’ll find fu chanpuru (an Okinawan stir fry dish) and whole-wheat soba, which the Japanese won’t touch. The ryuso robe holds on despite crowded kimono stores. The few people left who speak Uchinaguchi are praying for a movement like the Hawaiian renaissance to bring the culture back. The tipping point is close. A trip to Ishigaki now is to witness either the beginning or the end.
Most of the population of Taiwan is concentrated on the island’s west coast, where Taipei, Kaohsiung and the country’s other large cities are located. The east coast, however, is an entirely different world. Even with a population of only around 110,000, Hualien is the largest city in eastern Taiwan. Here, rugged, verdant mountains meet the deep-blue Pacific Ocean and you’ll find the most spectacular scenery on the island. Pebble and black-sand beaches sit next to cerulean seas, and there are big waves ideal for surfing. Numerous biking trails make it easy to explore the coastline as well as Hualien itself, which is home to many Tao and Buddhist temples and shrines. There’s also a rich aboriginal culture thanks to several ethnic tribes that reside here, including the Ami. Watch them perform traditional dances and songs at the Ami Cultural Village, then peruse the handicrafts for sale. The city has several busy markets—perfect for tasting local specialties like coffin bread (a kind of potpie encased in toast) and the local variation of mochi, the famous rice flour sweet. But what most visitors come to see is the lush Taroko Gorge and its dramatic cliffs, waterfalls and marble canyons.
Keelung City’s sheltered harbor and its location on Taiwan’s north coast have meant that, over the centuries, it has been ruled by the Spanish, Dutch and Chinese. While there are plenty of good coffee shops, markets and museums in the compact downtown and you can enjoy delicious seafood dishes at the Night Market, the city is today principally a gateway to Taipei for many travelers. Taiwan’s capital is just a half hour away by car or around 45 minutes by train. Long a small outpost of the Chinese empire, the city began to grow in the 19th century, when settlement from the mainland was encouraged. Then, from 1895 to 1945, the city (and all of Taiwan) was occupied by the Japanese. At the end of World War II, Taipei was handed over to the Republic of China, led by Chiang Kai-shek. In the decades since, it has seen an explosion of growth, but traditional temples and world-class museums still sit amid the skyscrapers. The modern metropolis also has top restaurants, food markets and upscale shopping. The Taipei Metro makes it easy to explore the city, or you can take an excursion to the countryside: A national park and a protected forest make for excellent day trips from both Taipei and Keelung.
Naha, the capital of Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture and its biggest city, also serves as the region’s key political, economic and transportation hub. With a fascinating past as the capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom and a working port that dates back to the 15th century, this city of 300,000 residents manages to be both a compelling city and a laid-back one.
Because it was largely destroyed during World War II, there aren’t many old buildings here; however, a few restored remains from the Ryukyu Kingdom era provide historic interest, including Shuri Castle, the royal residence, and its extraordinary gardens—both of which are included in a local group designated together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
High atop a hill in Kochi sits 17th-century Kochi Castle, once the seat of the Yamauchi lords. Explore this historic site and enjoy panoramic views of the city, then dine on sushi at Hirome Market.
Stay overnight in Port in Osaka! Think of Osaka, Japan (accent on the O), as a combination of Los Angeles and Chicago. It very definitely has L.A.’s second-city complex, but its attitude is pure Chicago. The only business that matters is business, and so what if the Hanshin Tigers, the local baseball team, are frequently the worst professional athletes in the world? They’re the home team. People in Osaka laugh louder, play harder and drink more than Tokyo’s most decadent dreams. Osaka even has its own dialect, one the rest of the country calls “dirty Japanese,” one entirely different than even Kobe’s—and Kobe is an Osaka suburb.
Nothing is old in Osaka. The place was flattened during the war (and then again in 1962 and 1989, by Godzilla). During the reconstruction, they forgot to include much in the way of parks or green space, and the sheer amount of concrete and steel sights can get overwhelming.
Disembark the Cruise, you will be met by our tour guide then transferred to Yokohama Cup Noodle Workshop and make your own Cup Noodle. Then continue visiting Yokohama China town, and Ramen Museum. After lunch, transfer to Tokyo Hotel with city tour on the way and check in to your hotel for the next three nights.
Hotel: Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro Hotel for 3 nights
Today you will enjoy a day tour of Tokyo. Highlights will include Tokyo Sky Tree (up to 350m Observatory), Sensoji Temple and relax on a Sumida River Cruise. Then continue to Odaiba and travel to Shibuya to see the famous crossing.
Enjoy a free day to explore Tokyo at your own pace.
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight home to Perth. Upon arrival in Perth, your driver will be waiting to take you home.