I am so excited to FINALLY be sailing on the Diamond Princess for this itinerary! This cruise was canceled a few times by Princess because of Covid-19, and with the recent news from Japan about tourism, it looks like we’ll finally get to sail and visit The Land of the Rising Sun!

These are the excursions that I plan to do. There are many others available. Princess Cruises rate their shore excursions as: “Easy”, “Moderate” or “Strenuous” activity. When you log in to your Princess Cruises online account, and go to “Booked Guests”, then to “Access Cruise Personalizer” you can see all of the shore excursions that are available for you to reserve ahead of time. I would recommend reserving your shore excursions as soon as you can, to avoid the disappointment of the excursions selling out.

Also, I’m doing a Japan CruiseTour with Princess that actually begins on Monday Oct. 9, 2023…I’ll have five days touring Osako & Tokyo before embarking on the beautiful Diamond Princess. For more information about this CruiseTour, please visit the event that I’ve created on Facebook. Please click “interested” or “going” in the Facebook Event, if you would like to be notified when I post something new in the event.

This particular sailing can be booked with or without the land portion. The cruise begins on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023 and ends on Monday Oct. 23, 2023 — when I plan to visit Tokyo Disneyland for my first time! This blog entry is going to just talk about the excursions that I plan to do whilst I’m on the Diamond Princess.


Aomori, Japan

Monday – October 16, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 5:00PM

Highlights Of Aomori 9:00AM-12:15PM Tour #:AOJ-200 (Moderate Activity)


Seiryu-ji Temple
This temple is home to Japan’s largest seated image of Buddha, the Showa Daibutsu. The stunning, lush landscape and peaceful serenity of this modern temple, founded in 1982, perfectly set off the stunning 70-foot-tall, 220-ton bronze statue.
Nebuta Warasse Museum
Dedicated to the city’s famous 300-year-old Nebuta Matsuri festival, the museum, located on the Aomori’s waterfront, captures the vibrant atmosphere of the celebration in its dramatic displays and exhibits of photographs. Step inside, where signature lanterns shaped like red goldfish hang along the hallways and the sounds of traditional music play. The undisputed highlight is the opportunity to view five actual floats, meticulously crafted for the previous festival from hand-painted washi paper applied over manually bent wire frames.

Nestled on the northern tip of Japan’s mainland on Mutsu Bay, Aomori Prefecture is known for its spectacular natural scenery throughout the seasons and its beloved Nebuta Matsuri Festival. Reminders of ancient times abound, elegantly coinciding with modern structures in the downtown core. Japan’s iconic apple orchards and countryside along Oirase River and Lake Towada display beautiful scenery in any season, and the Shirakami Mountains have been awarded a World Heritage Site designation. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a camera to capture all the sights.

Special Notes:

The Great Buddha is located at the top of an uphill walk. This tour is not recommended for passengers with walking difficulties.
Shoes must be removed when visiting the main hall at Seiryuji Temple.
A minimum of 20 passengers is required for this tour to operate.
The tour order may vary. Japanese yen are required for additional purchases.

Niigata, Japan

Tuesday – October 17, 2023 Arrive 9:00AM – Depart 6:00PM

Geisha Show & Japanese Lunch 10:15AM-2:45PM Tour#: KIJ-250 (Moderate Activity)


Furumachi District
During the Edo Period, when Niigata was already a flourishing port town, the Furumachi District was a center for geisha entertainment. Known as “geigi” in Furumachi, this important cultural legacy continues today. Once you arrive, you’ll walk to the renowned Niigata Saito Villa for a refreshing cup of tea. Set atop a sand hill near the sea, the grounds were designed to suggest a mountain ambiance, complete with artificial waterfalls and natural pine groves. Then, you’ll be entertained by women wearing beautiful kimonos and elaborate hair ornaments performing graceful dances accompanied by songs and a three-string guitar called a “shamisen.” After the performance, you’re invited to play a fun game called “taruken” that dates back over 300 years.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take commemorative photos with the geigi after the performance.

Enjoy an authentic Japanese lunch at a local restaurant.

From the pier, it’s just a brief ride over the Shinano River to Nabechaya street in the Furumachi district where you’ll see old geigi houses where they once entertained.

Special Notes:

*At lunch restaurant and Niigata Saito Villa, shoes need to be taken off.
*The tour has limited spaces available.

Tsuruga, Japan

Wednesday – October 18, 2023 Arrive 9:00AM – Depart 6:00PM

Lake Mikatagoko Rainbow Drive & Chopsticks Making Experience 10:00AM-3:00PM Tour #: TR4-210 (Moderate Activity)


What you will visit:
Lake Mikatagoko Cable Car
Mt. Baijodake rises above Mikata-goko, an area of five small lakes interconnected by narrow channels within Wakasa quasi-national park. A cable car affords magnificent views of a Japanese certified scenic spot. At the summit, in addition to panoramic vistas, visitors can throw a clay pot with a wish written on it, “Kawarakenage,” or hang a padlock called “The Key of Vows” for a loving relationship. There is also a pretty rose garden with 80 different varieties.

Chopstick Shop
Wakasa lacquerware has a 400-year history and is known throughout the country. Production here accounts for over 90% of lacquered chopsticks in Japan. Wakasa-nuri chopsticks are prized for their beautiful, shiny, sea-shell lacquer and the flamboyant use of materials such as gold and silver foil. The chopsticks are finished with a special polishing technique unique to Wakasa-nuri chopstick making. The history of chopstick making in Wakasa dates back to the Edo Period. Today, an artisan workshop offers guests the opportunity to polish a set of chopsticks of their own using time-honored methods.

What you will see along the way:
The Rainbow Line is an 11.2-kilometer-long scenic toll road that ribbons its way along the beautiful vistas of the Mikatagoko Lakes, across to the Japan Sea and past surrounding mountain ranges as it reaches Mt. Baijodake.

Wakasa Fisherman’s Wharf
Facing Obama Bay, Wakasa fisherman’s wharf offers a small pier, restaurant and souvenir shop where you can purchase such locally produced Wakasa products as dried and salted snacks, sake, and handicrafts.

Special Notes:

“Kawarakenage” is not included in the tour fare.

Please wear comfortable shoes and wear.

Please bring local currency for any purchase.

Sakaiminato, Japan

Thursday – October 19, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 5:00PM

Highlights Of Sakaiminato 8:30AM-4:00PM Tour#: YGJ-120 (Moderate Activity)


What you will visit:
Adachi Museum of Art
Housing an impressive collection dating from 1912 to the present, including works by Yokoyama Taikan, one of the major figures in Japanese modern art, the Adachi Museum of Art, founded in 1980, is known not only for its galleries of pottery, wood carvings and artwork but also for its extraordinary gardens. Considered to be the most beautiful gardens in Japan, it is home to a moss garden, a pond garden, a tea garden and a pine tree garden set off by stark white gravel.

Matsue Castle
Within a city of canals located on an isthmus between Lakes Shinji and Nakaumi, Matsue Castle stands proudly surrounded by stone walls and moats. Dating back to 1611, it is one of the oldest castles in Japan. This onyx-black castle with a six-story donjon sits atop a stone foundation and features black wooden walls beneath its gables. The castle dates to the early years of the Edo Period. The fief was ruled for 20 generations by a clan of the Tokugawa family, Japan’s shoguns from 1603 to 1868. One of only 12 remaining original castles nationwide.

Mizuki Shigeru Road and Memorial Hall
The popular manga artist and cartoonist Shigeru Mizuki is immortalized on his own street and memorial hall. His work is vastly popular and populated with countless ‘yokai’, supernatural ghosts, goblins and monsters. You’ll find bronze statues of more than 150 different characters lining this shopping street, and in the memorial hall and museum, you’ll find displays dedicated to his work. Keep an eye out for fans strolling the area in yokai costumes.

What you will see along the way:
Nestled between the sea and the sky, Sakaiminato is surrounded by water, with the Sea of Japan to the west, Lake Nakaumi to the west and Sakai Channel to the north. A drive through this town reveals a curious mix of traditional Japanese touches combined with the eye-popping drawings and sculptures of Shigeru Mizuki, creator of the manga comic series GeGeGe no Kitaro.

The gift shops along Mizuki Shigeru Road sell just about any imaginable product with yokai designs.

Savor a traditional lunch of local delicacies.

Busan, South Korea

Friday – October 20, 2023 Arrive 8:00AM – Depart 6:00PM (Strenuous Activity)

Best of Busan 8:30AM-4:20PM Tour #: PUS-105


Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
One of the most beautiful temples in Busan, its unusual location by the sea adds to the peaceful atmosphere. Expect to climb 108 steps to get a closer look at this amazing landmark, which boasts a three-story pagoda decorated with lions. Once inside, your guide will explain the legend of the Great Goddess Buddha, who lives in the sea and is said to appear on the back of a dragon.

Nurimaru APEC House
Built for the 2005 APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting, the Nurimaru APEC House is nestled in a unique and picturesque location, surrounded by beautiful woods of camellia and pine trees. It regularly hosts international conferences, and along with the many delegates who come here, you will also be able to view the Mermaid Statue, which stands on a rock formation on the shore.

Yongdusan Park
Busan’s most popular park (“yongdu” means “dragon’s head” and “san” means “mountain”), this mountain location resembles a dragon emerging from the sea. The park is home to over 70 different types of trees and the Busan Tower, 400 feet high, with a high-speed elevator that whisks visitors to the pagoda-like top.

Busan Local Markets
Korea is rich with traditional markets packed with the ingredients to delight chefs and foodies alike. Jagalchi is Korea’s largest fish market and features a stunning array of the ocean’s bounty. Many varieties of both fresh and dried seafood can be purchased and cooked on site for on-the-spot enjoyment. Nearby Gukje is an international market made up of a delightful labyrinth of stall-packed streets selling everything from the freshest food to local souvenirs.

Lively Busan City is Korea’s second most populated city, a bustling metropolis of some 3.5 million people. It is home to Korea’s busiest port and is considered the economic, cultural and sporting center of South Korea as well as the city of festivals and film. Located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula, the Nakdong River flows through the city, which is bordered by low mountains to the north and west and the sea lying to the south and east.

Haeundae Beach
Considered to be Korea’s most popular beach, Haeundae attracts many holiday-makers and takes its name from the 9th century Silla-period scholar and poet Choi Chi-won, who wrote from a nearby pavilion.

Refresh during the day with lunch at a Korean buffet restaurant.

Special Notes:

On first Monday of each month nurimaru APEC house will be closed. It will be replaced with a walk at the Dongbaekseom Island.
This tour is not recommended to the guests with limited mobility. Guests must negotiate 108 steps each way at Headong Yonggungsa Temple. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Nagasaki, Japan

Saturday – October 21, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 4:00PM

Highlights Of Nagasaki 8:30AM-11:30AM Tour#: NGS-200 (Moderate Activity)


Board your motor coach at the pier for a scenic city drive through Nagasaki en route to the moving Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum. In 1945, an estimated 75,000 people perished 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 and serve as both a reminder of the tragedy and a memorial to all those who lost their lives.

On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki became the second city to suffer a nuclear attack. Peace Memorial Park is located near Ground Zero, the center of the blast. It was created to represent the vow that such a tragedy would not happen again and offers hope for world peace. A Nagasaki native created the statue that is the focal point of the park. The 30-foot-high “Statue of Peace” is a symbol of world peace.

After your visit, your city drive continues through to the Urakami Catholic Church. The original structure was built in 1879 after a long ban on Christianity was lifted. When the atomic bomb was dropped it completely destroyed the church. In 1959 this stately Romanesque building was built on the original site. It was remodeled in 1980 and stands as a symbol of persecution. Displayed on the church grounds are statues and artifacts damaged during the bombing.

Peruse the adjacent Atomic Bomb Museum and view the permanent exhibit of photographs taken in the city immediately after the atomic blast. You will also see video displays and artifacts that survived the explosion.

Located near the Atomic Bomb Museum is a monument that marks the center of the atomic blast that leveled the city. A black, square, stone column marks the exact point where the bomb exploded.

Your driving route also passes the famed one-legged Torii Gate. The ancient stone gate stands on only one pillar since the other was blown away by the atomic blast. The gate has been preserved in its post-explosion state as a reminder of the destructive force of the bomb.

At the completion of the tour, a scenic drive brings you back to port.

Special Notes:

This tour may not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties. Wear low-heeled, comfortable walking shoes. Passengers should bring local currency for any purchases.

This tour includes sensitive material including graphic pictures and displays on the atrocities of war.

Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan

Monday – October 23, 2023 Arrive 6:30AM

Today, I’ll be disembarking the Diamond Princess and traveling to Tokyo Disneyland where they should be all decorated for Halloween!


If you would like to see what other shore excursions are offered, and would like to book outside of Princess Cruises, I recommend Project Expeditions. I’ve used them several times and have had wonderful tours. You can see which shore excursions they offer by clicking on this link.

Are you reading this and think, this sounds like amazing excursions, but I’m not booked…well, contact me and let’s get that fixed. This is going to be an amazing cruise! Also, we can check for you to see if there are any spots left for the land portion. I am so excited to be going to Asia for the first time!!