Highlights of Japan

I would like to invite you on a very special trip that I’ll be taking next year.  Please join me on one of my dream vacations as I tour the fascinating country of Japan in September of 2022.  I’ll be touring in three different segments, a land tour, then a cruise, followed by several additional days in Tokyo! The land portion begins in Kyoto on September 5, with embarkation of the Diamond Princess on September 10, 2022 for a nine-night cruise roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan. After the cruise, come along with me as I’ll be fulfilling a dream destination on my Bucket List — I will be visiting the Tokyo Disneyland Resort!

The CruiseTour “Highlights of Japan” led by Princess Cruises will lead you to the most important sites of Honshu, the main island of Japan.  You will see the historic buildings of Kyoto, traditional and modern attractions of Tokyo, and the world-famous Mount Fuji.

Day 1 Osaka / Kyoto
Arrive in Osaka and head to magical Kyoto, where you’ll enjoy an evening at leisure. Overnight at the Kyoto Hotel Okura.

Day 2 Kyoto
Full day Kyoto Sightseeing will highlight stunning Nijo Castle and Kinkauji Temple (Golden Pavillion). The majestic 410-year old Nijo Castle is the site of two lavish palaces, several beautiful gardens, and a pond with three islands. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant followed by Sanju Sangendo shrine and Arashiyama strolling. Dinner in a traditional Japanese restaurant with Maiko show will surely be a highlight.

Day 3 Kyoto / Tokyo
Sightseeing of Nara includes Todaiji Temple (Great Buddha) and Kasuga Taisha Shrine prior to boarding the bullet train to Tokyo. Arrive at your hotel and enjoy dinner at a restaurant inside the hotel.

Day 4 Tokyo
Familiarize yourself with the bustling city of Tokyo with an introductory sightseeing tour including sights such as Meiji Shrine, Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street. Complete the highlights tour with a drive through Ginza. The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy, so take the opportunity to relax or explore some of Tokyo’s attractions.

Day 5 Tokyo
Today will take you outside the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and into pristine Lake Ashi, Mt. Fuji and Togendai. Visit 5th station of Mt. Fuji with a scenic drive to follow. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before you transfer to Hakone National Park, where you will ride a ropeway from Sounzan Station to Owakudani Station, then visit Owakudani Valley. A drive to Togendai and complete this breathtaking day with a Lake Ashi Cruise. Evening at leisure. *Itinerary will be modified if above spots are closed due to safety restrictions according to volcanic activity of Mt. Fuji.

Day 6 Tokyo / Yokohama / Embark ship
After breakfast, visit Tokyo Skytree Tembo Deck at 350 meters, for a remarkable city skyline view before joining Diamond Princess. Breakfast included.

After the land portion of Princess Cruises’ “Highlights of Japan”, it’s on to the port city of Yokohama, which is the second largest city in Japan by population, and is a major commercical hub of the Greater Tokyo area.  There, we will board the beautiful Diamond Princess for a spectacular Nine Night “Japan Explorer” cruise that will visit:

Nagasaki, Japan
For most travelers, Nagasaki is a symbol of the horror and the inhumanity of war. An estimated 75,000 people perished in 1945 when the city became the second target of a nuclear attack. Today, Nagasaki’s Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum draw visitors from around the world.

But this beautiful city on Kyushu offers other sights. Often described as the San Francisco of Japan, the city occupies verdant hills surrounded by a deep-water bay. For three centuries, Nagasaki was Japan’s sole window on the world. The city is also celebrated as the setting for Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly.”

Peace Statue, Nagasaki,Japan

Jeju, South Korea
Jeju Island, also knows as the “Island of the Gods”, is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and many Japanese.  It remains one of the top honeymoon destinations for Korean newlyweds.  The island’s mixture of volcanic rock, frequent rains, and temperate climate, make it very similar to the Hawaiian Islands in the U.S.  The Island offers visitors a wide range of activities, hiking on Halla-san (South Korea’s highest peak), catching sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, viewing majestic waterfalls, riding horses, or just lying around on the sandy beaches.

Hiroshima, Japan 
On August 6, 1945, human history was irrevacably altered when the American bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  The bomb was code-named “Little Boy”, but its detonation left half the city in ruins and aflame.  Today, Hiroshima is a monument not only to the destructive forces harnessed by men but also to the indomitable will of the human spirit to overcome tragedy.  At the heart of the city lies Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb dome.  The gutted walls of the city’s old Industry Promotion Hall and the skeletal frame that supported its copper dome, vaporized in the blast, are instantly recognizable symbols of Hiroshima.

Kochi, Japan  
Kochi sits on the broad alluvial plain facing Urado Bay. This city in Shikoku takes its name from the great feudal castle that sits at its very heart. Completed in 1611, Kochi Castle was the seat of Yamauchi Kazutoyo, a noted warrior who supported Tokugawa Ieyasu in his successful quest to become Shogun. Tosa Province and Kochi Castle were Yamauchi’s reward for faithful service. There is an historical irony here: 250 years later, a Kochi native son – a former low-ranked samurai and now ronin named Sakamoto Ryoma – played a pivotal role in bringing the Tokugawa Shogunate to an end and restoring the Emperor of Japan to political prominence. The prize once awarded for faithful service had become a hotbed of support for the Meiji Restoration.

Osaka, Japan
For centuries, Osaka was Japan’s cultural and commercial gateway to Asia – the point of entry both for trade goods and, most importantly, cultural influences that shaped Japanese society. From tea to Zen, from art to science and philosophy, Osaka was Japan’s contact with the great East Asian cultures that flourished in China and Korea. The city reached its zenith in the late 16th century, when the great feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi made Osaka his capital. Toyotomi was master of Japan, and an immense administrative and commercial center rapidly developed around Osaka Castle. After Toyotomi’s death, the nation’s seat of power shifted from Osaka to a sleepy little fishing village called Edo – modern Tokyo. While overshadowed by Tokyo, Osaka remains Japan’s second largest city and a vital commercial center.

Shimizu, Japan 
A mesmerizing landscape, a revered cultural history, and Japan’s most sacred volcano are just a few of the many delights beckoning you to come and explore this ancient city. While Shimizu may have the reputation as being bustling and modern, its cultural and spiritual side is on display in the form of ancient and enthralling shrines. Of course, it may be the sacred and snow-capped Mount Fuji that garners the most attention. Towering over the region at approximately 12,388 feet above sea level, the active volcano, designated a “place and source of artistic inspiration” by UNESCO is just one of the many unforgettable adventures Shimizu inspires.

After disembarking the Diamond Princess, I will then transfer over to Disney!  You honestly didn’t think that I was going all the way to Japan, and not say “kon’nichiwa” to my favorite Mouse, did you?  The Tokyo Disney Resort is located just east of Tokyo.  The resort is fully owned & operated by The Oriental Land Company under a license from The Walt Disney Co., who constructed & designed the resort and its various attractions.  The resort opened on April 15, 1983 as a single theme park (Tokyo Disneyland), but later developed into a resort with a second theme park (Tokyo DisneySea), four Disney hotels, six non-Disney hotels and a shopping complex (Ikspiari).  Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney theme park to open outside the United States, and I’ve wanted to visit for decades.  I’m excited that I finally have the chance to see all that is Tokyo Disney!

Contact me today to hear more about this fascinating opportunity to explore the “Land of the Rising Sun”, or to discuss your very own dream vacation.

If you would like to follow along virtually on my adventure in Japan, just click “interested” in my Facebook Event.  I’ll be updating the event with information before the trip, and what is sure to be beautiful pictures during my vacation!  But, I would love it if you could come along with me.  We are sure to have an amazing time.