8- or 14-Day Cruise Japan

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    8- or 14-Day Cruise Japan 2018-06-30T19:55:34+00:00

    Project Description

    Cruise Japan

    Enjoy the best of Japan, including beautiful sights along the way. Before departing, be sure to take time to visit the local areas. Stroll the amazing  Gardens, teeming with exotic flora and centuries-old, cool-temperature trees. And feel the cosmopolitan, artsy vibe mixed with magnificent historic architecture.

     

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    Cruise Japan either on an 8-Day or a 14-Day delightful journey around the Islands.  Visit beautiful gardens, taste the culture, experience the people. Let TravelKatz plan your 2019 Cruise Japan -Asian experience.   Start with:

    8-Days – Circle Japan – Round-trip from Kobe on the Diamond Princess

    5 Japanese Ports Including:  Kobe, Hakodate, Sakata, Kanazawa, Sakaiminato, and Busan, South Korea

    Departing on Thursday, Jun 20, 2019

    Interior Stateroom starting from:  $1,574.00 which includes taxes, fees, and port charges – per person

    Kobe is the fifth-largest city and is on the southern side of the main island of Honshu. Its name comes from an archaic title for supporters of the city’s Ikuta Shrine, which describes the founding by Empress Jingu in AD 201. With a population of about 1.5 million, the city is part of the metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto.  For most of its history the area was never a single political entity and did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889.  Kobe was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city; and remains Japan’s fourth busiest container port. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts. Kobe is also your gateway to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient imperial capital and the nation’s cultural and spiritual center.

    Hokadate: It took Commodore Perry and American gunboat diplomacy to open Japan to the outside world after two centuries of self-imposed isolation. In 1859, this port located to the north, became the first Japanese city fully opened to Westerners under the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Foreigners soon flocked to Hakodate, and today visitors wandering the cobblestone streets of the city can view their Western-style frame houses. Hakodate, once a fishing port famed for its high-quality fish and shellfish, quickly became one of Japan’s most important ports. Today the city is the third largest – but retains its foremost position as the finest Japanese producer of sushi’s raw product: the high-quality seafood caught in Hokkaido’s cold waters.  It may not compare to Tokyo’s Fish Market, but at its four-block-long Morning Market, vendors offer a stunning array of fresh fish and shellfish prized for sushi including salmon roe, sea urchin, scallops and crab. Restaurants and food stands prepare a wide arrange of dishes topped with fresh seafood.

    Sakata: This is a medium-sized city and is located in the fertile Shonai Plain that is known for its high-quality rice. The city grew as an important stop along the coastal shipping route that connected Osaka via ports along the Sea of Japan and Seto Inland Sea. A local merchant family came to dominate trade in the city and accrued a vast fortune that made them wealthier than some of the country’s feudal lords. Due to their power and influence, the clan developed close ties with the local lords and had a number of lavish buildings built. Some of these buildings still stand today along with museums and other attractions.

     Kanazawa:  Which means “marsh of gold,” draws its name from an old legend in which a Japanese peasant, digging for potatoes, found flakes of gold in the ground. Today, gold leaf is a major art form synonymous with the city, and even has a designated museum. A City of Crafts and Folk Art, it is also known for its intricate  embroidery and delicate porcelain, among other handicrafts, making it a shopper’s paradise! There’s also no shortage of history in this coastal city. Once boasting geisha houses and a samurai village, the city was built around Kanazawa Castle. Fire destroyed all but a few small 16th-century castle structures – and some watchtowers that have become a focus of many a photograph today. Just outside the castle park blooms an enchanting Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, and the home of the country’s oldest fountain. 

     Sakaiminato: Wedged between sea, sky and mountains, this small fishing port has been esteemed for centuries for its superb seafood. Here, the Sea of Japan yields up both crab and the prized Bluefin tuna esteemed by gourmets around the world. Sakaiminato is also your gateway to a very ancient region of Honshu. West of the city lies one of the oldest and holiest shrines in Shinto. This area is dotted with burial mounds from Japan’s Bronze Age. The town of Matsue boasts the celebrated “Black Castle,” a six-story, black-walled castle that was home to a clan dynasty that ruled Japan for over 250 years. And to the east rises the great snow-capped summit of Mt. Daisen, considered one of the four most scenic mountains in all Japan.  Also, a common sight ashore are the Yokai – approximately 100 bronze statues of supernatural characters. The Yokai have become synonymous with the town and delight visitors at every turn.

    Busan, S. Korea:  The second largest city in South Korea, Busan is your gateway to a fascinating land whose culture is a unique blend of old and new. Modern high-rise towers dwarf ancient Buddhist temples. The city’s bustling business district offers a stark contrast to the serene grounds of its Parks. In short, Busan is a microcosm of South Korea, a nation whose startling economic success often obscures one of Asia’s most sophisticated and venerable cultures.  Busan was the scene of bitter fighting during the Korean War. The United Nations Memorial Cemetery marks the final resting place for the troops from 16 nations who gave their lives during the conflict.

    Return to Kobe

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    14-days – Japan Explorer – round-trip from Yokohama on the Holland America Westerdam

    9 Ports – Including 6 Japanese, 2 Taiwan and 1 South Korean – They are:  Yokohama, Kobe, Naha, Ishigaki Island; Hualien, Taiwan; Taipei, Taiwan; Cheju City, South Korea; Nagasaki, Japan, Kagoshima, Japan

    Departing on Sunday, March 31, 2019

    Interior Stateroom starting from:  $2,514.00 which includes taxes, fees, and port charges – per person

    Yokohama:   The wonders of Tokyo are yours to discover on this full day of sightseeing. Travel by our luxury motor coach to the city center, passing famous landmarks en route.  You’ll head to the Imperial Palace Plaza in central Tokyo — home of Japan’s Emperor. There will be time to wander in the Plaza, which provides a view of the Fushimi-Yagura watchtower. This famous building is a remnant of the mighty Edo period. On a panoramic drive through central Tokyo, you will see the National Diet Building, the Guest House, Tokyo Tower, and several important facilities.  The next stop is – what was in ancient times – a notorious entertainment district, but now it is the location of the beautiful Kannon Temple. A golden image of the Buddhist goddess, Kannon, is enshrined here. Legend claims the statue was miraculously fished out of the river in AD 628.  The Ginza District is one of Tokyo’s best-known areas and is legendary — virtually unequalled for glitz, glamour and good deals. You will have short stop and free time at the Ginza.  Lunch is served at a local hotel restaurant.  Then, return to the ship.

    Kobe is the fifth-largest city and is on the southern side of the main island of Honshu. Its name comes from an archaic title for supporters of the city’s Ikuta Shrine, which describes the founding by Empress Jingu in AD 201. With a population of about 1.5 million, the city is part of the metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto.  For most of its history the area was never a single political entity and did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889.  Kobe was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city; and remains Japan’s fourth busiest container port. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts. Kobe is also your gateway to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient imperial capital and the nation’s cultural and spiritual center.

    Naha is the capital of Japan’s Okinawa Region and its biggest city, also serves as the region’s key political, economic and transportation hub. With a fascinating past 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 provide historic interest, including 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.  There are also a few contemporary hotspots, which offers almost 1.25 miles of shops, cafés and restaurants, and the nearby 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.

    Ishigaki Island:  Talk with the Japanese a while about the Japanese and you’re going to hear 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 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 Region. 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.  Signs of Okinawan culture can be subtle but are easier to pick out in more remote islands of the chain. Traditional buildings are a mixture of Chinese and Japanese influences. In the markets, you’ll find 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 their traditional language are praying for a movement like the Hawaiian renaissance to bring the culture back. The tipping point is close. A trip to there, you’ll likely be a witness either the beginning or the end.

    Hualien & Taipei, Taiwan:  Most of the population of Taiwan is concentrated on the island’s west coast, where Taipei, Hualien 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 sapphire seas, and there are big waves ideal for surfing. Numerous biking trails make it easy to explore the coastline as well as the city itself. There’s also a rich aboriginal culture thanks to several ethnic tribes that reside here. Watch them perform traditional dances and songs at their 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 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.

    Jeju City,  formerly Cheju, may not be familiar to most Americans, but for Korean travelers the country’s largest island and home to one of 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites is a popular destination. The island is roughly the size of Maui and has much in common with the Hawaiian islands. Like them, it is a volcanic island—it first emerged from the sea some two million years ago and the volcano is the tallest peak in South Korea. It also shares the mild subtropical climate of Hawaii—even in winter, temperatures rarely drop below freezing—and offers a similar broad range of activities whether in the warm ocean water or exploring the island’s interior on well-marked and maintained trails.  Jeju has long been known as the “Island of Gods” after a legendary lost race from whom the island’s inhabitants are said to have descended. Perhaps this history helps explain the super-human feats of the women divers who harvest abalone from the sea floor without the use of scuba gear. Remarkable giants can still be spotted here with humpback and orca whales common in this part of the East China Sea.

    Nagasaki: Situated in the northwest of 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 an emotional pledge for world peace. Foodies will enjoy the wide variety of tastes to be found in Chinatown and on the local Gourmet Streets. If you are visiting with children, there is a theme park—modeled on a medieval Dutch town—makes for a fun diversion. Look out, too, for popular annual events like October’s Festival and the wintertime Nagasaki Lantern Festival.

    Kagoshima:  Situated at the southern tip of Japan, this is the capital of the region of the same name and famous for its dramatic views of an active volcano that smolders across the bay. One of the most popular activities is taking a ferry over 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, Although the city was officially founded in 1889, it has an even longer history that is reflected in the 17th-century gardens. More recent events are covered at a museum dedicated to the kamikaze pilots. Other popular attractions include the City Aquarium, the Museum with its exhibits exploring local history and the City Museum of Art with its collection that covers both local contemporary and older art.

    Return to Yokohama (Tokyo)

     

     

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