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Home Cruises Southern Japan Westerdam 2024-03-16

Southern Japan - W419 MS Westerdam departing 16 Mar 2024

Call now 01246 819 819 to book

MS Westerdam
  • Carefully crafted journeys
  • Spacious-mid-sized ships
  • Exclusive onboard activities
  • Family friendly
Ship
Cruise Line
Embark
16 Mar 2024
Duration
14 Nights
From / To
Yokohama (Tokyo) / Yokohama (Tokyo)
Ports of call
Yokohama (Tokyo) - Okinawa - Ishigaki - Hualien - Taipei

Inside from £2,060pp

Outside from £1,734pp

Balcony from £2,722pp

Suite from £3,357pp

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Itinerary

Show sea days

Date Date
Location Location
 
In In
Out Out
Date 16/03/2024
Location Yokohama (Tokyo)
In
Out 18:00

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.

From Yokohama, it’s a quick trip to peaceful Kamakura, home to Daibutsu, Japan’s second-largest bronze Buddha, and to the important Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Head to Hakone National Park on a clear day and you’ll be rewarded with picture-postcard views of majestic Mt. Fuji.

Tokyo is the largest city on earth and packed with some of the world’s best shops, museums and restaurants, big and small. While the bright neon lights and the bustle of contemporary Tokyo may be what comes to mind when you think of the city, there is another side. Tokyo’s historic gardens and neighborhoods of traditional homes on narrow lanes speak to a timeless Japan that has survived into the 21st century.

Date 17/03/2024
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 18/03/2024
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 19/03/2024
Location Okinawa
In 08:00
Out 17:00

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. Other legendary sites include the Royal Mausoleum (burial tombs set inside caves) and the Shurei Gate, so magnificent that its image appears on the 2,000-yen note.

There are also a few contemporary hotspots, namely Kokusai Street, which offers almost two kilometers (1.25 miles) of shops, cafés and restaurants, and the nearby Makishi Public Market, which has dozens of food vendors hawking delicious treats. If you want to explore farther afield, Naha is the ideal jumping-off point for excursions to the rest of Okinawa.

Date 20/03/2024
Location Ishigaki
In 09:00
Out 19:00

Talk with the Japanese a while about the Japanese and you’re going to hear the word shimagunikonjo. The breakdown is simple: shima—island; guni—nation; konjo—consciousness. In one word, it’s the firm belief that people who live on islands are different from people who live on continents, and anyone who’s done both is likely to agree. American culture may be the strongest influence in Japan now, but the Japanese will understand the motivations of the Brits a whole lot better. Islands require a different mind-set than continents. Islands require manners.

But what if your island was never meant to be part of another bunch of islands? That’s what’s happened with today’s Okinawa Prefecture. The people who’ve always been there are Okinawan, one of the healthiest, longest-living people on earth. But now they’re part of Japan and seriously outnumbered by the Japanese. (And they’re not at all happy that the Japanese interlopers gave so much of their land over to U.S. military bases.)

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.

Date 21/03/2024
Location Hualien
In 08:00
Out 17:00

Hualien City is on the east coast of Taiwan. The central Pine Garden is a cultural center set inside a former Japanese military office. The Hualien County Stone Sculpture Museum showcases contemporary and traditional stone carvings. Tzu Chi Cultural Park is a tranquil green space, with statues and a meditation hall. On the Pacific Ocean coast, sprawling Nanbin Park features a popular night market.

Date 22/03/2024
Location Taipei
In 07:00
Out 17:00

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.

Date 23/03/2024
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 24/03/2024
Location Kagoshima
In 08:00
Out 17:00

Situated at the southern tip of Japan, Kagoshima is the capital of the prefecture of the same name and famous for its dramatic views of Sakurajima, an active volcano that smolders across the bay. One of the most popular activities is taking a ferry to Sakurajima and hiking on the 100-year-old lava flow that is now a grassy peninsula. Kagoshima, however, offers much more than the volcano’s almost overwhelming beauty. The food scene provides opportunities to experience the area’s rich culinary culture and features dishes using locally caught fish and regional specialties, like satsuma a’ge (deep-fried fish cake) and shōchū, a traditional beverage made at more than 100 distilleries in Kagoshima alone. Although the city was officially founded in 1889, it has an even longer history that is reflected in the 17th-century gardens of Sengan-en. More recent events are covered at a museum dedicated to the kamikaze pilots who flew out of Kagoshima. Other popular attractions include the City Aquarium, the Museum of the Meiji Restoration with its exhibits exploring local history and the City Museum of Art with its collection that covers both local contemporary and older art. With so much to do, visitors may want to consider the Cute transit card. Available at tourist information offices, one-day Cute cards cover city buses, trams and Sakurajima ferries and also provide discounted admission to several attractions.

Date 25/03/2024
Location Aburatsu
In 07:00
Out 17:00

Nestled in the southern corner of Japan, Aburatsu offers miles of sandy beaches and such gems, as the Udo Shrine, whose red-lacquered hall is located inside a cave on a cape overlooking the Pacific.

Date 26/03/2024
Location Kochi
In 09:00
Out 18:00

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.

Date 27/03/2024
Location Kobe
In 08:00
Out

This cosmopolitan port city is known for more than just its world-famous Kobe beef. Discover the boutiques and markets of the Motomashi and Kokashita districts, explore the Fashion Museum or venture out to the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge-the longest suspension bridge in the world. In the Kitano district, tour stately injikan, western-style Victorian and Gothic homes, or enjoy a glass of sake from one of Kobe’s famed wineries.

Date 28/03/2024
Location Kobe
In
Out 14:00

This cosmopolitan port city is known for more than just its world-famous Kobe beef. Discover the boutiques and markets of the Motomashi and Kokashita districts, explore the Fashion Museum or venture out to the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge-the longest suspension bridge in the world. In the Kitano district, tour stately injikan, western-style Victorian and Gothic homes, or enjoy a glass of sake from one of Kobe’s famed wineries.

Date 29/03/2024
Location Shimizu (Mount Fuji)
In 11:00
Out 20:00

A thriving harbor town for centuries, Shimizu is best known for its incredible scenic beauty. Take an excursion to Miho no Matsubara and enjoy stunning views of Mount Fuji and expansive black sand beaches; stroll through the graceful gardens and unique art installations of Tokachi Millennium Forest; and visit Kongofukuji Temple, first built by Kobo-daishi in 822 and rebuilt from 1662.

Date 30/03/2024
Location Yokohama (Tokyo)
In 06:30
Out

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.

From Yokohama, it’s a quick trip to peaceful Kamakura, home to Daibutsu, Japan’s second-largest bronze Buddha, and to the important Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Head to Hakone National Park on a clear day and you’ll be rewarded with picture-postcard views of majestic Mt. Fuji.

Tokyo is the largest city on earth and packed with some of the world’s best shops, museums and restaurants, big and small. While the bright neon lights and the bustle of contemporary Tokyo may be what comes to mind when you think of the city, there is another side. Tokyo’s historic gardens and neighborhoods of traditional homes on narrow lanes speak to a timeless Japan that has survived into the 21st century.

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