Discover The Islands Of Japan: A 12-day Voyage of Japan Between Tokyo & Osaka, Incl. South Korea

Discover The Islands Of Japan: A 12-day Voyage of Japan Between Tokyo & Osaka, Incl. South Korea

From NZD $14,150


Made up of 6,852 islands, the perfect way to explore Japan’s seldom visited destinations is by sea and Heritage Adventurer is the ideal vessel for such a voyage. Combining a thrilling mix of culture, history and the natural world our authentic expedition cruise will see us exploring ancient castles, serenely beautiful gardens and opulent temples and shrines combined with witnessing some of Japan’s stunning natural landscapes.
Experience all-inclusive luxury cruise travel as we venture to destinations such as the historic and serene castle town of Matsue, the ancient anachronistic town of Hagi, and experience the tranquillity of Yakushima Island, a world away from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s mega cities with its towering mountains and ancient forest. We’ll also moor at Uwajima, one of Japan’s premier pearl producers with the opportunity to visit one of the city’s traditional pearl farms.
Among the many highlights of our itinerary will be the iconic garden of Kenroku-en and one of Japan’s most famed gardens the 28-acre formal 17th Century Koraku-en garden. At Yuushien Garden experience the iconic annual Yuushien Peony Festival, while we also hope to visit private garden wonder Kawachi Wisteria Garden at Fukuoka.
During our exploration of Nagasaki we will gain further insight into its World War II history as well as its role in international trade during the isolation period, while a visit to Northern Kyushu and the vibrant city of Fukuoka will have options to visit its many highlights including Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine which dates back to the 16th Century. We will also spend a day in South Korea’s Ulsan exploring UNESCO World Heritage Site Gyeongju – the ‘museum without walls’ and visiting the Haeinsa Temple, considered one of the three great temples in South Korea.
Helping us understand all we will see and experience, and travelling with us throughout the voyage, will be our expert Guest Speakers and Japanese guides who will add immeasurably to your enjoyment and understanding of this captivating country. Note: Voyage HA240425 operates in reverse, embarking in Osaka and disembarking in Kanazawa with a transfer to Tokyo.

Trip Name
Discover The Islands Of Japan: A 12-day Voyage of Japan Between Tokyo & Osaka, Incl. South Korea
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 124 metres Passenger Capacity: 140 Built: 1991 Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship. Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold.  The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port. Dining Room  – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Bistro  – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area. The Bar and Lounge  – The social hub of  Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team. The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby. Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.


Day 1 - Day 1: Tokyo
 Arrive at Japan’s famed neon-lit capital Tokyo, where tradition meets ultramodern and towering skyscrapers sit alongside ancient temples, and make your way to the hotel where our group will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening meet your fellow voyagers and expedition guides over dinner at the hotel.
Day 2 - Day 2: Tokyo/Kanazawa
 Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and travel by Shinkansen, ‘bullet train’, to Kanazawa. This afternoon we will board Heritage Adventurer and settle into life on board. We will also take the opportunity to introduce you to your expedition team and our voyage plans as we moor overnight with your evening free to explore.
Day 3 - Day 3: Kanazawa
 Options today include exploring the historic mountain settlement and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, high in the remote mountains of the Shogawa River Valley in Hakusan National Park. Take in the sights on mountain walks and experience the unique cultural traditions including the region’s iconic Gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old, designed to withstand the heavy snow in winter and provide a large attic space for cultivating silkworms. Alternatively explore the rich art centre of Kanazawa discovering some of the unique styles of Japanese art. Kanazawa is rightly famous for its Kutani-style pottery, exquisite lacquerware, gold-leaf workmanship, hand painted silk, and classical Noh dance-drama performed since the 14th Century. Wander winding cobblestone streets, elegant restaurants, craft galleries and visit the impressive Edo-period Kenrokuen Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, and explore the Omicho Market boasting everything from flowers, to crafts and food. This evening, join the expedition team in the Bridge, Observation Lounge or up on the Observation Deck as we set sail for Matsue.
Day 4 - Day 4: Matsue
 This morning we arrive at the port of Sakaiminato, entry point to Matsue, known as ‘the town of water’ due to being situated between Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi. We plan to visit Matsue Castle, a national treasure and one of Japan’s few largely intact 17th Century castles. Other options today may include exploring Daisen-Oki National Park, steeped in beauty and history it’s also the home of rare flora and fauna including the giant salamander, visiting the picturesque Yuushien Garden which coincides with the iconic annual Yuushien Peony Festival, the Adachi Museum of Art, learning about the art of Japanese paper making at the Yakumo-mura village, or perhaps you may wish to spend some time exploring the picturesque streets and local canals.
Day 5 - Day 5: Hagi
 Hagi was a minor fishing port until Mori Terumoto fortified it in 1604 and it was Mori Samurai that helped spark off the anti-Tokugawa revolt in the mid-19th century. Today it is better known for its traditional pottery making. This morning we will explore the Teramachi District with its temples and shrines, the Jokamachi District, where we find the old Samurai houses and also take time to explore Hagi Castle, Shizuki Park and Tokoji Temple. This afternoon travel to the outskirts of the city and the Yoshika Taibi Memorial Museum which is dedicated to a large collection of Hagiyaki pottery which was highly prized in the Edo period as wares for tea ceremonies. Alternatively, discover the natural wonders of 300 million year old limestone Akiyoshido Cave.
Day 6 - Day 6: Ulsan, South Korea
 Today we cross the Sea of Japan to Ulsan in South Korea where we plan to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gyeongju. The capital of the Silla Dynasty and dating back to the first millennium, Gyeongju is known as ‘the museum without walls’ and is full of ancient Korean history and Buddhist culture. Enjoy strolling through hundreds of excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, and experience Korean delicacies, cultural performances, and visit the National Museum with its gold jewellery, metal weapons, and distinctive pottery. Today provides a perfect taste of the best South Korea has to offer.
Day 7 - Day 7: Fukuoka, Japan
 The largest city on the island of Kyushu, Fukuoka is the union of the castle town of Fukuoka on the west bank of the Naka River and the merchant town of Hakata on the east bank. This buzzy metropolis combines an effortless blend of trendy yatai food stalls (which made Lonely Planet and The New York Times 2023 travel lists) with vibrant art installations, historic ruins and colourful coastal parks. During our time here there may be opportunities to explore the northern city of Kitakyushu and famed Kokura Castle, TOTO Museum and Kawachi Wisteria Garden or Nanzoin Temple with its reclining bronze Buddha (thought to be the world’s largest bronze statue) and the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, which is built on the gravesite of poet and scholar Sugawara no Michizane and surrounded by beautiful gardens, ponds and bridges with more than 6,000 plum trees.
Day 8 - Day 8: Nagasaki
 Arrive this morning in Nagasaki, the second city destroyed by an A-bomb in World War II. We will tour the Peace Memorial Park, Atomic Bomb Museum and Dejima Island which was built during the Edo period to accommodate Portuguese Christian missionaries and prevent the propagation of their religion. It was also the residential quarters of the Dutch, the only foreigners allowed to trade in Japan during the Sakoku (isolation) period. For 200 years, until Japan reopened the country in the 19th Century, Dejima was its only window to the world. With the reopening of the port to Westerners in the latter half of the 19th Century, Nagasaki blossomed as a prosperous and sophisticated international city. Suitable housing was required for the sudden influx of foreigners who made their homes here and many of the stone and clapboard residences that were built during this period survive today and are preserved in Glover Garden which we will visit this afternoon. The best known European-style residence here is Glover House, built in 1863, was the setting for Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly.
Day 9 - Day 9: Yakushima
 During our morning at sea we sail to the very south of Kyushu and the island of Yakushima which became Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 and has a particularly diverse flora. We will spend the afternoon on a choice of nature walks in Yakusugi Land in Yakushima National Park, home of the endemic Yakushima Macaque, and populated by a number of the island’s ancient cedar trees, such as the Buddha Sugi, Futago Sugi and Sennen Sugi, which are over 3,000 years old.
Day 10 - Day 10: Uwajima
 This morning we explore Shikoku Island and the port of Uwajima situated deep inside the sawtoothed coast of Uwajima Bay. The city of Uwajima is emerging as the nation’s largest pearl cultivation centre and we will learn the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. We will also see Uwajima Castle which is built on top of the hill with panoramic views over the town and harbour and the Tenshaen Garden, built in the Samurai era. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
Day 11 - Day 11: Koraku-en & Kurashiki
 From the port of Uno-Ko we will visit one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en, which translates as ‘garden of pleasure after’. This 17th Century formal garden has 28 acres of walking trails, ponds, plum and cherry trees. This afternoon we will continue to Kurashiki where we explore the old merchant quarter and its 17th Century wooden warehouses painted white with traditional black tiles, along a canal framed with weeping willows and filled with koi. There is also a chance to visit the Ohara Museum of Art which includes rare works by Matisse, Picasso and Renoir as well as collections from Japan’s famous Mingei movement including ceramics by Hamada Shoji.
Day 12 - Day 12: Osaka
 This morning we sail into Honshu’s largest port city Osaka where modern architecture and a vibrant dining scene are nestled alongside the 16th Century shogunate Osaka Castle. After breakfast there will be a complimentary coach to a central hotel or to the Osaka airport. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from Osaka, we do not recommend booking flights departing before 1300 hours. Note: Voyage HA240425 operates in reverse, embarking in Osaka and disembarking in Kanazawa with a transfer to Tokyo.
Day 13 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
24-04-202505-05-2025NZD $14,150MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
24-04-202505-05-2025NZD $14,445SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
24-04-202505-05-2025NZD $15,995SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
24-04-202505-05-2025NZD $17,130SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
24-04-202505-05-2025NZD $19,495MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
24-04-202505-05-2025NZD $20,975SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
24-04-202505-05-2025NZD $22,255WORSLEY SUITES
24-04-202505-05-2025NZD $26,000HERITAGE SUITES
04-05-202515-05-2025NZD $15,995SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
04-05-202515-05-2025NZD $17,130SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
04-05-202515-05-2025NZD $19,495MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
04-05-202515-05-2025NZD $20,975SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
04-05-202515-05-2025NZD $22,255WORSLEY SUITES
04-05-202515-05-2025NZD $26,000HERITAGE SUITES
04-05-202515-05-2025NZD $14,150MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
04-05-202515-05-2025NZD $14,445SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS


    • Iconic garden of Kenroku-en and one of Japan’s most famed gardens the 28-acre formal 17th Century Koraku-en garden
    • Annual Yuushien Peony Festival
    • Private garden wonder Kawachi Wisteria Garden at Fukuoka