Day 1: Australia – – Osaka
Head to the airport and board your flight towards Osaka, ready to begin your incredible tour of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Please note that some flights may depart one day later.
Day 2: Osaka
Welcome to Osaka! You are met at the airport upon clearing customs and immigration, and the transfer takes you to the hotel for check in. The rest of the day is free time, and you can use this opportunity to rest after your flight or get out into the city and soak up its incredible atmosphere and culture.
Day 3: Osaka – Nara – Kyoto (B)
The group makes the drive from Osaka to Nara this morning. Here you will visit Todaiji Temple. This temple is one of the most well-known in Japan and is famous for housing mammoth bronze statues of Buddha. After your visit you have the chance to stroll back through Nara Park and meet some of its legendary four-legged residents – free-roaming deer! Shinto belief consider these free-roaming deer to be messengers of the gods, and this almost 1200-strong herd have become emblematic of the city. The group continues to Kyoto afterwards and sees its UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Kiyomizu-dera Temple. While here visitors also have the chance to drink from one of the streams at Otowa Waterfall; each stream represents a different fortune – success, love, or longevity.
Day 4: Kyoto – – Hamamatsu (B)
Travel to Nijo Castle on a morning excursion. The castle is the former Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate and is just one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites to be found in the city. The tour’s next stop is Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavilion. Your sightseeing around Kyoto concludes at Togetsukyo Bridge, one of the most prominent landmarks of the Arashiyama District.
It is then time to board a Shinkansen train for the high-speed journey from Kyoto to Hamamatsu. This train travels at speeds of up to 280 kilometres per hour and is an experience that embodies Japan’s marvellous technological innovations. Look out the window as the Japanese countryside passes by, and arrive in Hamamatsu to find a hotel transfer waiting.
Day 5: Shizuoka – Mt Fuji – Tokyo (B)
Travel out to see one of Japan’s most recognisable natural landmarks today: Mt. Fuji. The area surrounding this famed snow-capped peak is glorious, and a trip to Mt. Fuji Fifth Station is the best way to take in the beauty of the region from a lofty vantage point. The group continues to Oishi Park to see Lake Kawaguchiko. Plus, the park also provides an alternative angle of the mountain. The tour makes for Tokyo in the afternoon.
Day 6: Tokyo (B)
One of the first stops of your time in the Japanese capital is Hama-Rikyu, a marvellous landscaped garden located in the centre of the city. The park is known for its ponds – fed by the sea’s changing tide levels – and a teahouse located on a manmade island. Take to the water with the Sumida River cruise that follows your time in the park. Visit Asakusa Kannon Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street afterwards. The latter is particularly good for souvenir shopping and browsing for quirky knick-knacks. There is a visit to Meiji Shrine in the afternoon to learn about the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Cap off the day by heading up to the viewing deck at Shinjuku Municipal Observation Building to admire the sweeping views of the city. Return to the hotel and have free time for the remainder of the evening.
Day 7: Tokyo – Yokohama (B)
You have some extra time to explore Tokyo however you like this morning. Get caught up in the organised frenzy of the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, check out the eccentric fashions and styles in Harajuku, wake up early to see the tuna auction at Toyosu Market (tip: book your tickets well in advance for this experience!), or pop into any one of Japan’s one-of-a-kind eateries – cat cafes, robot restaurants and other themed diners.
In the afternoon, take a transfer to the Yokohama cruise terminal in anticipation of embarking on your deluxe cruise. The ship is scheduled to depart at 8pm.
Please note that departure times are subject to change throughout the cruising itinerary.
Day 8: Mt. Fuji (Shimizu) (B, L, D)
The cruise sees you return to the Mt. Fuji area as the boat docks in Shimizu. This is a great opportunity to explore more of the area, or snap some additional photos of the mountain. Some things to do in the area include Oshino Hakkai Springs and Arakurayama Sengen Park. The cruise departs at 4pm.
Day 9: Kyoto (B, L, D)
Arrive into Kyoto at around 12pm and have the afternoon and evening as complete leisure time. Wander through the picturesque bamboo groves at Arashiyama, see the Shinto shrine and its famous gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha, look out for geisha in Gion, and step inside Yasaka Pagoda. Those keen to get a taste of Kyoto’s culinary offering can seek out plates of tofu (a specialty of the city), nishin soba (dried herring with noodles), obanzai (a style of preparing seafood and vegetables specific to Kyoto), and desserts and sweets made from green tea.
Day 10: Kobe (B, L, D)
The ship departs Kyoto in the wee hours of this morning (about 4.20am) and is scheduled to arrive in Kobe at about 7am. The day is then yours to see Kobe however you like. Foodies may want to make a beeline for a grill house or restaurant to try the city’s famous eponymous beef, or you can head to the Nada district to sample locally produced sake. Relax at the Arima Onsen, or stroll the grounds of Sorakuen Garden. The viewing platforms at Mount Rokko are a must for those wishing to admire gorgeous panoramas of Kobe and neighbouring Osaka. Return to the boat for a 6pm departure.
Day 11: Kochi City (B)
Use today to get to know Kochi City, the capital of the same-name prefecture on Shikoku Island. History buffs can see Kochi Castle, the former seat of the Yamauchi lords in power during the Edo Period. Sample one of the city’s signature dishes by tracking down a serving of katsuo no tataki – lightly grilled skipjack tuna (or bonito) that is plated up alongside ginger, garlic, spring onions and soya. Take in the temple and garden at Mount Godaisan, or slip off your shoes to walk along the sand at Katsurahama Beach. Be sure to be back on-board the cruise for a 3pm departure.
Day 12: Kagoshima (B, L, D)
Welcome to Kagoshima, the southernmost city on Kyushu. One of the main draws of the city is Sakurajima, an active volcano that sits within the bay off Kagoshima. There are great perspectives to be had of the volcano – the most active in Japan – from Senganen Garden or Shiroyama Park. The cruise departs Kagoshima at 3pm.
Day 13: Busan, South Korea (B, L, D)
The cruise leaves Japanese waters to dock in Busan, South Korea, for the day. This large port city has much to offer its visitors, with beautiful beaches, seaside temples and steaming hot springs. Set your sights on marvelling at the catches on display at Jagalchi Market, the largest seafood market in Korea; uncover the galleries and cafes of the brightly-coloured Gamcheon Culture Village; take in the city views from Busan Tower; or sit down to a feast of Korean barbecue. The cruise has a scheduled departure time of 5pm.
Day 14: At Sea (B, L, D)
Today is spent sailing. Use this down time to relax on-board or take advantage of the excellent facilities offered by the Celebrity Millennium. This luxury cruising vessel is decked out with both casual and fine dining restaurants, plus a juice bar and relaxed café. Book in for a treatment at the day spa, pick up some new threads at the boutiques, take a dip in the swimming pool, or take a turn or two on the jogging track.
Day 15: Aomori (B, L, D)
See the city of Aomori today. Visitors can create their own seafood donburi (rice bowls) at Furukawa Fish market, and there is much to learn about the area’s history at the Sannai-Maruyama Archaeological Site. Duck into the Museum of Art to explore its galleries, stay for a cider tasting at A-Factory, or head slightly away from the city to admire the natural beauty of Shirakami Sanchi. Departure is set for 8pm tonight.
Day 16: At Sea (B, L, D)
Another day sailing the high seas and making use of the Celebrity Millennium’s amenities.
Day 17: Tokyo (Yokohama) (B, L, D)
The cruise arrives back in Yokohama at approximately 8am. You then have the whole day to get to known Japan’s second-largest city. Admire the landscapes and design of Sankeien Garden; meander through the Chinatown precinct, the largest of the three Chinatown districts in Japan; have a noodle history lesson at either the Cup Noodles or Ramen Museums; or enjoy the sea air with a waterfront walk through Yamashita Park. Tonight is spent aboard the ship. This is your last night in Japan.
Day 18: Tokyo – – Australia (B)
You will be taken to the airport at the appropriate time via transfer. Board your return flight and begin your journey back to Australia.
Day 19: Australia
Arrive back in Australia today.