Highlights of Japan & Hokkaido Cruise 18 days (2018)

$4,499.00

Spend seven nights on land in Japan, travelling from Osaka northwards to Tokyo and enjoying a wide range of cultural and natural attractions. Then embark upon an eight-night cruise northwards, and around Japan's Hokkaido island. Enjoy incredible landscapes, abundant wildlife, and the freshest sushi in the world, with visits ashore to enjoy the architecture, museums, food, and views of some of Japan's less-visited cities.

Highlights:

  • Explore the modern city Osaka, with boisterous nightlife & hearty street food
  • Pray for your fortune at the beautiful Heian Jingu Shrine
  • Feed the gentle sika deer at Nara Park
  • Drink from clear springs at the foothills of Mount Fuji
  • Explore the bustling capital Tokyo and experience traditional Japanese culture and heritage
  • Discover the natural beauty of Hokkaido while cruising on the Diamond Princess

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2018 Guaranteed Departures

2018 Package Price Single Supplement
25 Jun* 19 Aug 17 Sep* From $4,499 $2,700

Package Inclusions:

  • Economy class international airfares, taxes and fuel surcharges departing Sydney or Melbourne flying with China Eastern Airline, China Southern Airlines or Air China
  • 7 nights 4 star hotel accommodation
  • 8 nights on board Diamond Princess
  • Meals as indicated
  • Bullet trains from Osaka to Kyoto
  • Coach transportation & transfers (days 2-10)
  • Admissions to scenic attractions (days 2-9)
  • English speaking tour guide/s (days 2-9)

Package Exclusions:

  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Tipping prepaid in Australia: AUD$140
  • Personal expenses
  • Cruise shore excursions, select onboard activities & speciality dining

Hotel Accommodation

Osaka Kansai Airport Washington Hotel or similar
Osaka Osaka Dai-ichi Hotel or similar
Nagoya Tokyu Rei Hotel or similar
Mount Fuji Yamanakako Sun Plaza Hotel or similar
Tokyo Tokyo Dome Plaza Hotel or similar
Cruise Diamond Princess

Japan Tour Optional Programs

Kobe & Sake Brewery Walking Day Tour

Kobe & Sake Brewery Walking Day Tour
$230

Kobe is one of the biggest cities in Japan, with a beautiful port tha first opened to foreign trade in 1868. This tour will take you to Kitano-Ijinkan district to see the elegant European-style mansions where traders once lived. Also visit Meriken Park and relax at the waterfront park beside Kobe Port. The last stop is Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum. Hakutsuru has a long history of brewing sake since 1743. Explore and get a feel of how sake is made and its importance to Japanese tradition and culture today. Lunch and return train tickets between Osaka Station and Sannomiya Station are included (your tour guide will meet you and send you off at Sannomiya Station, you will need to make your own way to/from Osaka station.) Note: Only available for 12 Aug, 28 Aug and 23 Sep departures.

Himeji Castle and Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
Walking Day Tour

Himeji Castle
$250

Himeji Castle is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is well-known for its elegant white decorations and magnificent appearance. Unlike many other Japanese castles, this early 17th century castle is an original; never damaged by war, earthquakes or fires. Its complex structure was designed as an advanced defence mechanism and continues to draw in many visitors today. After lunch, walk on the world’s longest suspension bridge – Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, which is almost 4 kilometres long. Walk along the Maiko Marine Promenade underneath the bridge, which is 50m above the water.*Lunch and return train tickets between Osaka Station and Sannomiya Station are included (your guide will meet you and send you off at Himeji Station, you will need to make your own way to/from Osaka station). Note: Only available for 9 May, 20 Jun, 18 Jul, 10 Sep and 8 Oct departures.
Nikko Day Tour with Japanese-style Lunch

Nikko Toshugu
$250

Nikko is a major centre for Buddhism and the Shinto religion. It is located in a valley and surrounded by beautiful deciduous forests and majestic waterfalls. This optional tour will take you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Nikko Toshogu. This area is well known for its distinctive architecture made up of a large number of wood carvings and gold leaf decorations on the buildings. This design is unique and not seen elsewhere in Japan. You will also visit Kegon Waterfall (around 100m high) which is the main natural attraction in Nikko. This is the best spot to view maple leaves during autumn.

Not available on the following Japan departure dates:
2017: 17 Oct
Tokyo Disneyland Day Ticket

Tokyo Disneyland
$120

Tokyo Disneyland is a 115-acre (47 ha) theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, near Tokyo. Its main gate is directly adjacent to both Maihama Station and Tokyo Disneyland Station. It was the first Disney park to be built outside the United States, and it opened on 15 April 1983. The park has seven themed areas: the World Bazaar; the four classic Disneylands: Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland; and two mini-lands: Critter Country and Mickey’s Toontown. Many of the games and rides in these areas mirror those in the original Disneyland as they are based on American Disney films and fantasies. Fantasyland includes Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and more based on classic Disney films and characters.
Tokyo DisneySea Day Ticket

Tokyo DisneySea
$120

Tokyo DisneySea is a 176-acre (71.22 ha) theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, just outside Tokyo. It opened on September 4, 2001. Tokyo DisneySea attracted an estimated 14 million visitors in 2013, making it the fourth-most-visited theme park in the world. In 2002 Tokyo DisneySea won a Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association for the concept, design, and construction of the theme park. Tokyo DisneySea also won the 2012-2015 Theme Park Insider Awards “Best theme park”. There are seven uniquely themed areas or “ports of call”. The entrance to the park is Mediterranean Harbour, which opens up to six additional nautically-themed ports: American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island.
Sumo Wrestling

Sumo Wrestling
$65*

Sumo is a traditional Japanese style of wrestling and Japan’s national sport. The rules of the game are simple. Two wrestlers compete to force one another outside of the circular ring or to touch the floor with any part of the body other than the soles of the feet. The art of sumo wrestling dates back to ancient times as form of entertainment for Shinto deities. Ceremonial rituals in accordance with Shinto beliefs are still practiced today before a match, such as purifying the ring with salt and extravagant stomps made by the sumo wrestlers to drive away evil spirits. There is no weight classifiation in sumo wrestling and the sheer size of many of the wrestlers is a sight to behold. *Only available on 9 May and 12 Sep. Please contact us for detailed information.
Robot Restaurant

Robot Restaurant Japan
$100

Not just any restaurant and bar, Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant is most famous for its late night robot-themed dancing and battle shows. Behold an outrageous and electrifying live spectacle featuring Japanese taiko drum performances as well as mock battles between bikini-clad dancing girls, giant robotic dinosaurs, cyborgs, ninjas and a host of other bizarre characters, staged in a theatrical LED-fitted room bursting with kaleidoscopic neon-lit laser beams, virtual fieworks, explosions and energetic techno music. This sensory overload is Japanese pop culture at its wackiest and is exclusive to Japan. Please choose from the times below: 17:55, 19:50 or 21:45~ $100/person for show tickets. Please enquire if you wish to add a meal package. (* Please be there at least 30 minutes before the show)
Tea Ceremony (30 minutes)

Tea Ceremony
$55

The Japanese tea ceremony is a traditional ritual influenced by the principles of Zen Buddhism, in which powdered green tea, or matcha, is prepared and served to a small group in a quiet setting. Traditional Japanese confectionary is often served to balance out the bitter taste of the green tea.
Highlights:

  • Learn the process of the Japanese tea ceremony from a qualified tea instructor
  • Learn which utensils to use to prepare green tea in a traditional Japanese room (tatami)
  • Discover the customs, culture and hospitality of the Japanese people

Physical considerations: The tea ceremony is performed in a kneeling position (seiza) on the floor. This puts pressure on your knees and ankles. Please be cautious of joining this optional program if you have a condition that prevents you from kneeling on the floor for a short period of time.

Optional: $130 – Wear traditional Japanese garment (kimono) and experience a tea ceremony
Pottery Making Experience (60 minutes)

Pottery Making
$99

Pottery is the oldest art form in Japan, and earthenware traditions in Japan are believed to have started around 12,000 years ago. Today, there are thousands of potters who make a living out of producing pottery-wares across the country. The pottery produced in each region varies in design because of the type of clay found there.

Highlights:

  • Try your hand at making your own cup or bowl by using a spinning wheel and clay.
  • Receive a pre-made sake cup made by the instructors as a souvenir.
Golden Joinery (60 minutes)

Golden Joinery
$109

Learn the art of golden joinery (kintsugi or kintsukuroi), a technique of repairing broken cups, bowls, or plates using lacquer resin laced with gold powder. As a philosophy the mended flaws become part of the object’s design. The result is that the object looks more beautiful than the original after being broken and repaired.

Highlights:

  • Mend broken cups, bowls or plates using powdered gold.
  • Take home the object you repaired as a unique souvenir.
Kimono Photo Shoot (60 minutes)

Kimono Photo Shoot
$120 per person

The kimono is the traditional dress of Japan and is representative of its culture and heritage. The dress consists of a long robe with wide sleeves and is usually made of various materials and patterns. Today the kimono is only worn sparingly, on formal occasions such as weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies or other special events. Take part in a memorable photo shoot at a studio where you can dress up in a kimono of your choice. You can take photos with your own camera or you may choose to purchase a photo package plan from the photographers.

Highlights:

  • Dress up in a kimono of your choice for the photo shoot.
  • Have your photos taken for free with your own camera or purchase the photos from the professional photographers.
Cooking Class (120-180 minutes)

Cooking Class
$129 Popular!

Japanese cuisine (washoku) is well known for its refined taste and elegant presentation. Take part in a Japanese cooking experience and learn from one of Tokyo’s most popular cooking instructors, whose book has been published in English. Bring home with you a set of new cooking skills and culinary techniques that will leave your friends and family impressed.

Highlights:

  • Learn to cook different types of Japanese food, such as sushi, soup, and various side dishes.
  • Learn the ingredients, culinary techniques and methods used in creating home-made Japanese dishes.
  • Enjoy your own cooked dish for lunch.

Note:

  • Transportation is not included. However, optional program venues are located in the easily accessible Tokyo CBD.
  • You may join up to 2 programs per day (exception: Nikko Day Tour).
  • Optional programs are subject to availability and must be booked more than 1 month before departure.
Take an international flight from Australia to Osaka via a connecting city.
Arrive in Osaka. Your friendly tour guide will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to the airport hotel.
Osaka City
This morning, travel to Nara and visit Todaiji (Great Eastern Temple), with its Great Buddha Hall – the world’s largest wooden building. This impressive building houses the world’s largest (15m) bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. Wander through Nara Park, where over 1,200 wild sika deer roam free, before travelling to Osaka. Visit Osaka Castle, which played a major role in the unification of Japan during the the Azuchi-Momoyama period in the sixteenth century, before being dropped off at Dōtonbori, which exemplifies Osaka’s vibrant food culture.
Nara Park
Spend today free at your own leisure. You may spend the day visiting one of the most spectacular Japanese aquariums, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan; or taking a day trip to Hyogo to visit Himeji Castle, a unique enormous Japanese castle decorated in white. An optional day tour is available for some departure dates. Please check the attached optional program information.
Himeji Castle
This morning, travel to Kyoto by bullet train to visit Heian Jingu Shrine. Next, visit Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, a Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold and detailed architecture incorporating three distinct styles of Shinden, Samurai, and Zen. Travel to Nagoya to visit Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Here you will learn about the history of Toyota as a textile machinery manufacturer, and how it became a successful mass exporter and manufacturer of automotive technology, including robots.
Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion
Today, visit Oshino Hakkai. Known as the springs of Mount Fuji, the eight ponds are fed by melting snow filtering down from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji, through porous layers of lava, resulting in very clear spring water that is revered by locals. Afterwards, visit Gotemba Peace Park to capture a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji, and Hakone Shrine. Standing at the foot of Mount Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi, the shrine buildings are hidden in dense forest.
Oshino Hakkai
Visit Meiji Shrine in the morning, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Later, stroll through the Asakusa Kannon Temple, one of Tokyo’s most colourful and popular temples, and browse for souvenirs at Nakamise Shopping Street. Your last stop today is Tokyo Tower, to enjoy a panoramic view of enormous Tokyo city.
Meiji Shrine
Spend today free at your leisure. You may spend a day in Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea (admission $120) or you can join the Nikko Day Tour ($250). Alternatively, you can join our wide range of optional programs (tea ceremony, pottery-making experience, ‘golden joinery’, kimono photo shoot, cooking class). Activities are not guided and transportation is self-arranged.
Disney Sea Tokyo
Spend this morning free until transferring to Yokohama Cruise Terminal. Embarkation of Diamond Princess is at 5pm.
Yokohama
Cruising to Kushiro on the Diamond Princess.
Diamond Princess
Cruise to Kushiro arriving at 7am. Explore ‘Fisherman Town’ and try the freshest seafood. Also, an optional tour is available to Kushiro Wetland, Japan’s largest marshland, to spot Japanese Cranes. Departs at 5pm (optional tours are available.)
Japanese Crane
Cruising aboard the Diamond Princess
Hokkaido Cruise
Cruise to Korsakov arriving at 6am. Korsakov is an administrative centre of Korsakovsky District of Russia, and was briefly colonised by Japan. Explore the museums and beautiful architecture with their mix of Russian and Japanese influences. Departs at 6pm. Tender required, wheelchair access limited at this port. (Optional tours are available.)
Korsakov Sakhalin
Cruise to Otaru, arriving at 8am. Discover one of the biggest cities in Hokkaido. Stroll along the Otaru Canal, tasting the sushi and discovering traditional Japanese architecture. Departs at 6pm. (Optional tours are available.)
Otaru Canal
Cruise to Hakodate, arriving at 8am. Hakodate offers you one of the most magnificent night views in Japan. Take a ropeway to reach the summit of Mt. Hakodate to enjoy the panoramic view. Departs at 11pm.
Hakodate
Cruising on the Diamond Princess.
Hokkaido Sunset
Arrive in Tokyo at 6 am. Make your own way to the airport for your flight(s) to Australia
Arrive home this morning.