Japanese Subtropical Islands with Ponant

Japanese Subtropical Islands with Ponant

From AUD $8,560


PONANT is the first cruise company to take you to the heart of the sublime landscapes of the tropical islands in southern Japan during an expedition cruise. On this all-new 8-day itinerary aboard Le Soléal, from Osaka to Taiwan, you will discover the rich natural heritage of the Okinawa archipelago and the Ryukyu Islands.

You will board your ship in Osaka, before setting sail south to reach this string of idyllic islands.

Le Soléal will first set sail for the coral island of Kikaijima. You will be fascinated by this enchanting island with beautiful beaches and turquoise waters. Its lush seabed and biodiversity will allow you to enjoy a captivating exploration.

Your next port of call will be Zamami, in the Kerama Islands. You will enjoy the unspoiled beauty of this pristine island, known the world over for the distinctive blue of the surrounding sea, called “Kerama blue”. The sea life in the area is also exceptionally rich and sea turtles can often be spotted swimming among the coral.

Le Soléal will then sail towards the magnificent Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park. Here wild beaches mix with traditional villages and lush, protected and intact, tropical forest: jungle, mangroves, rivers, waterfalls. This unique biodiversity is made up of many endemic species.

The landscapes on the remote island of Yonagunijima, the easternmost of the Ryukyu Islands, offer a striking contrast: cliffs, windswept meadows, wild horses. The beauty of its sea-beds and their mysterious rocky formations will delight the most experienced divers.

You will end your cruise in Keelung, the port of the Taiwanese capital Taipei.

Trip Name
Japanese Subtropical Islands with Ponant
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 142 metres Passenger Capacity: 264 Built: 2013 Sailing under the French flag, this magnificent yacht of only 132 staterooms and suites, with balconies, joined in 2013. You will be enchanted by the contemporary decor inspired by the luxury yachting world, with fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white. A refined ambience is enhanced by the quality of the workmanship and materials: white Corian counters in the lobby contrast with the warmth of leather to recall a boat's hull, while the central scuplture of enamelled pieces takes its inspiration from the sea.  In the loungebar, the carpet picks up a tennis stripe theme symbolising a certain idea of cruising, one synonomous with French elegance and a chic seaside spirit.


Day 1 - Day 1 OSAKA
Like its big sister Tokyo, Osaka is the product of ancestral traditions and amazing technological innovations. And despite its size, its location on the Pacific Ocean give it a sense of serenity. The main historic landmark is the 16th-century Osaka Castle, which stands proud in the midst of majestic skyscrapers. The lively streets of Dotomburi and the bizarre Shinsekai district attract thousands of locals and visitors. A multitude of restaurants offer menus full of regional specialities: takoyaki, made with octopus, and other succulent dishes such as kushikatsu kebabs.
Day 2 - Day 2 AT SEA
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Day 3 - Day 3 KIKAIJIMA
Located between continental Japan and the main island of Okinawa, Kikaijima is a small preserved coral island where nature unfurls in all its splendour. Amidst this abundance of plants, you will be enchanted by century-old trees, majestic banyan trees and sugar cane plantations, which produce a delicious brown sugar. This island, inhabited since the 10th century and located on the trade route between China and Japan, has a turbulent history. During your exploration, perhaps you will notice some ancient coral stone walls, like an echo of the ever-present ocean. Between the white sandy beaches and the limestone coastlines, you’ll also be able to enjoy a snorkelling trip and delightful possibilities for swimming.
Day 4 - Day 4 ZAMAMI
Zamami is an island in the Kerama archipelago, 40 km (25 miles) west of Okinawa Island in the China Sea. Visitors to this 16 km2 (6 mi2) quasi-uninhabited isle are enchanted by the many untouched natural treasures they find here. You will discover a tranquil island with lush vegetation, lined with stunning white-sand bays bathing in the glimmering ‘Kerama blue’ waters around the archipelago. Zamami is also renowned for the beauty of its coral reefs, where multicoloured fish engage in an endless mesmerising ballet. The observation deck on Mount Takatsuki reveals stunning views of the Kerama Islands, granted national park status in 2014. With subtle shifting shades of azure above and all around, this island truly is paradise.
Day 5 - Day 5 KUMEJIMA
Located 90 km (56 miles) to the south-west of Okinawa Honto, Kumejima is a multifaceted island home to natural treasures. Hatenohama, a stunning 7 km-long (4.3 miles) fine-sand beach, promises wonderful carefree moments discovering the exceptional underwater worlds off the coast of Kumejima. Mifuga, a rock formation on the north coast of the island with a hole right through its middle, is a great example of the erosion along the coast. The eastern peninsula offers another geological feature, visible at low tide: 1,000 flat rocks each around one metre (3.2 feet) in diameter, formed by the contraction of lava from a nearby eruption a million years ago. They create a rocky plateau resembling a traditional Japanese tatami, hence the name Tatami-ishi.
Situated in the Yaeyama Islands, in the far south-west of Japan in the Okinawa Prefecture, Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park was established in 1972 and covers 125 km2 (48 square miles). The park includes the islands of Iriomote and Ishigaki, the Sekisei lagoon which connects the two islands, as well as Hatoma and Hateruma, two islands in the lagoon. Iriomote is a heaven for explorers, with rivers running through it and 90% of the island covered in subtropical forest. You may get to glimpse an Iriomote cat or a crested serpent eagle, two endemic species. Visitors particularly appreciate Ishigaki for its stunning beaches and its exceptional seabeds, which form Japan’s largest coral reef.
The geographic situation of the island of Yonagunijima, the most remote and western in the Japanese archipelago of Okinawa, makes it a wild and preserved territory. Between cliffs plunging into the sea and white sandy beaches, lush meadows and palettes of blue, we can admire the last sunset every day here in the Land of the Rising Sun. The island is also renowned for the Yonaguni horses, a small breed standing only a metre high, which graze freely here. If you dive, Yonagunijima will delight you with its sea beds which are as exceptional as they are mysterious.
On the north-east tip of Taiwan, the harbour city of Keelung stands on one of the most beautiful coasts on the island. Nearby is the spectacular natural park of Yehliu, famed for its striking rock formations. It's easy to tour the city's historical sites on trails that cross the lush green hills surrounding the harbour from Chung Cheng Park to Fort Ershawan, you can enjoy superb views of Keelung and the coastline. But the main attraction is the Miaokou night market, where you can taste some typically Taiwanese culinary delights.
Day 9 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
24-03-202331-03-2023AUD $8,560Superior Stateroom
24-03-202331-03-2023AUD $9,330DeLuxe Stateroom
24-03-202331-03-2023AUD $10,420Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
24-03-202331-03-2023AUD $10,980Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
24-03-202331-03-2023AUD $11,630Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
24-03-202331-03-2023AUD $16,460Deluxe Suite
24-03-202331-03-2023AUD $22,510Prestige Suite - Deck 5
24-03-202331-03-2023AUD $23,710Prestige Suite - Deck 6
24-03-202331-03-2023AUD $27,340Owner’s Suite


    • First expedition cruise in the world that goes to the heart of the sublime landscapes of southern Japan's tropical islands.
    • Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist-guides.
    • Varied landscapes: white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, coral reefs, tropical forest, mangroves, rivers, cliffs, caves, waterfalls.
    • Explore the culture of Okinawa: visit to a traditional village in the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, local distillery visit and opportunity to taste the local cuisine, discover traditional musical instruments.
    • Discover beautiful beaches on the islands of Kikaijima, Zamami and Kumejima
    • Opportunity to snorkelling around the renowned coral reefs of Zamami Island.
    • Sailing in the mangrove of Iriomote Island
    • Gain an insight into the history, culture, and incredible diversity of life from your expert expedition team.
    • Possibility of diving (PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent) with an experienced instructor on board and of snorkelling with your expedition team.