Ponant invites you on a timeless journey around the fascinating and surprising Empire of the Rising Sun, where unbridled modernism and ancestral traditions form a delightful blend, where the history of the samurai rubs shoulders with the delicateness of the geisha, and where the aromas of the tea plantations intermingle with the fragrances of cherry blossom. From Maizuru, set sail aboard Le Soléal for a cruise with a thousand traditions, with the exceptional presence onboard of the Japanese chef Mitsuru Tsukada. For 9 days, during various ports of call, you will have the opportunity to explore an unrivalled cultural heritage as well as an incomparable gastronomic heritage. On the programme: culinary activities, sake tasting, dinners featuring traditional flavours, discussions with the chef…
Throughout your journey, you will benefit from an excursion included per person per port of call, to choose from a selection offered by PONANT. During this cruise, explore the picturesque city of Chiran and its ancestral history from Kagoshima, discover the cultural heritage of Nagasaki, or appreciate the natural jewels of Uwajima. The diversity of experiences on offer promises you intense and varied moments (to discover the full range of excursions, go to the itinerary tab).
At the whim of the trade winds in the Sea of Japan, Le Soléal will sail eastbound for the charming feudal city of Sakaiminato. Here you will get a real glimpse into medieval Japan and allow yourself to fall under the spell of the samurai residences edging the picturesque little streets of the old city.
Then you will sail to South Korea, a small peninsula that juts out into the Sea of Japan, and discover Busan, South Korea’s second city. A place of great contrasts, Busan offers a spectacular view over its port, as well as over the ancient district of Chalgachi.
Further south, Nagasaki remains in the world’s imagination as the symbol of nuclear horror. Fortunately, in the same way as Hiroshima, the city has become one the archipelago’s most peaceful towns as well as one of its most attractive. The warm and cosmopolitan city unveils its many riches throughout its narrow streets: the Oura Catholic Church and its gardens, the Suwa Shrine, the sumptuous Buddhist temples…
Hiroshima does not seek to elicit strong emotions. Opposite the Inland Sea, only the Hiroshima Peace Memorial bears witness to past events in the city known as a “City of Peace”. It is resolutely future looking and you will be able to appreciate its modern and cosmopolitan atmosphere, the hustle and bustle of its lively streets and the tranquillity of its natural settings, such as the splendid Shukkei-en, the city’s historic gardens.
The jagged coastlines of the captivating Miyajima Island, also known as Itsukushima, come into view, and the vermillion Torii of the emblematic Shinto Shrine of Itsukushima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, unfolds before you in a lush forest setting. Time here seems stuck in the feudal era: the frenetic energy and modernity of the large Japanese metropolises make way for striking serenity and tranquillity, and hundreds of deer wander between its spiritual and architectural treasures.
Following the currents, clinging to the shores of the Seto Inland Sea, Le Soléal will sail east. At the foot of a tropical forest burgeoning with life, Tamano stands proudly in the middle of this enchanting environment. Last port of call of your journey, it still bears the traces of traditional Japanese life in the 18th century, as the particular architecture of the town demonstrates.