In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.
This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.
Set sail with PONANT aboard Le Soléal for an 8-day cruise to discover the many traditions and emblematic sites of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Your voyage begins in endearing Kobe, one of the first Japanese ports to open to international trade in the 19th century and home to its famous eponymous marbled beef.
Arrive in the port of Takamatsu, the largest city on the island of Shikoku. You will find the splendid Ritsurin Garden here, a masterpiece constructed during the early Edo period as an escape from the bustle of daily life. Takamatsu is also renowned for its most famous dish – udon noodles.
Continue to Hiroshima, whose UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hiroshima Peace Memorial bears witness to the horrific aftermath of the world's first atomic bomb explosion on August 6, 1945.
You will then call at Miyajima, the gateway to the majestic Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, whose magnificent vermillion torii gate appears to float on water.
Le Soléal sails on to Hagi, whose contributions to Japan's industrialization and modernization have been honored by UNESCO. At Hagi Castle Town, walk in the steps of the samurai as you stroll its beautifully-preserved streets.
You continue to South Korea to discover Busan. A place of great contrasts, Busan offers a spectacular view over its port, as well as over the ancient district of Jalgachi and its emblematic fish market.
Back in Japan, call in Moji, which enjoyed its heyday in the early 20th century as the center for Japanese trade with China. Nearby is Kozan-ji Temple, founded in the Kamakura period and the oldest Zen style temple in Japan.
End your voyage in the small Japanese city of Tamano, a former feudal domain with a unique cultural heritage. Here you will be able to admire its famous Korakuen Garden, one of the country's must-see landscaped gardens.
You will disembark in Osaka, a modern city in the heart of the Japanese archipelago.