Treasures of Japan by Sea – with Smithsonian Journeys

Treasures of Japan by Sea – with Smithsonian Journeys

From AUD $9,950


In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.

This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.

Set sail with PONANT aboard Le Soléal for an 8-day cruise to discover the many traditions and emblematic sites of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Your voyage begins in endearing Kobe, one of the first Japanese ports to open to international trade in the 19th century and home to its famous eponymous marbled beef.

Arrive in the port of Takamatsu, the largest city on the island of Shikoku. You will find the splendid Ritsurin Garden here, a masterpiece constructed during the early Edo period as an escape from the bustle of daily life. Takamatsu is also renowned for its most famous dish – udon noodles.

Continue to Hiroshima, whose UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hiroshima Peace Memorial bears witness to the horrific aftermath of the world’s first atomic bomb explosion on August 6, 1945.

You will then call at Miyajima, the gateway to the majestic Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, whose magnificent vermillion torii gate appears to float on water.

Le Soléal sails on to Hagi, whose contributions to Japan’s industrialization and modernization have been honored by UNESCO. At Hagi Castle Town, walk in the steps of the samurai as you stroll its beautifully-preserved streets.

You continue to South Korea to discover Busan. A place of great contrasts, Busan offers a spectacular view over its port, as well as over the ancient district of Jalgachi and its emblematic fish market.

Back in Japan, call in Moji, which enjoyed its heyday in the early 20th century as the center for Japanese trade with China. Nearby is Kozan-ji Temple, founded in the Kamakura period and the oldest Zen style temple in Japan.

End your voyage in the small Japanese city of Tamano, a former feudal domain with a unique cultural heritage. Here you will be able to admire its famous Korakuen Garden, one of the country’s must-see landscaped gardens.

You will disembark in Osaka, a modern city in the heart of the Japanese archipelago.

Trip Name
Treasures of Japan by Sea – with Smithsonian Journeys
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 KOBE
Day 2 - Day 2 TAKAMATSU
A former fortified city, ruled over by the Matsudaira clan from the Tamamo castle with its seawater moats, the city is home to one of the most beautiful classic gardens in Japan, the Ritsurin. It was created by the barons of the city at the start of the Edo period, during which time gardening became a profession in its own right. Its landscape incorporates Mount Shiun in the background, an example of what is known as the shakkei technique, which uses the surrounding landscapes to increase the beauty of the gardens.
Visiting Hiroshima is a moving experience. The town spreads along Honshu Island, along the inside coasts of Seto. While firmly focused on the future, Hiroshima doesn't forget its past, and a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Genbaku Dome is a must. You'll enjoy the city's modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere and effervescent nightlife just as much as the peaceful stillness of its natural parkland areas such as splendid Shukkei-en, the town's historic garden.At the heart of the Inland Sea, Miyajima, the “island sanctuary” will reveal its treasures. In the background you will see the Shinto Grand Sanctuary, whose entrance is guarded by a magnificent vermillion “Torii“. Considered to be one of the most beautiful sites in the Japanese islands, you will be transported by the unique character and the serenity of this sacred site.
Day 4 - Day 4 HAGI
In the south of Honshu island, surrounded by mountains, Hagi is a city of water. For good reason; it was built on the delta of the Abu-gawa river. Its castle was built in the 12th-century and its outer walls remain in the lovely Shizuki Park. The old town was one of the cradles of the Meiji revolution. Youメll discover its rich past in streets lined with old houses and samurai manors, or within the walls of the many museums and Hagi-yaki ceramics workshops.
Day 5 - Day 5 BUSAN
With around four million inhabitants, Busan is the second largest metropolis on South Korea, after Seoul. This dynamic harbour city, located in the south-east, surrounded by the warm waters of the Sea of Japan, benefits from a mild, pleasant climate. You’ll find delightful simply to stroll around the lively streets and explore the city’s outstanding cultural heritage of art galleries, museums, and Buddhist sites, such as the Haedong Yonggungsa temple, which elegantly sits on the waterfront. Rich too in magnificent beaches and superlative natural landscapes, Busan’s peaceful atmosphere will win you over, as will its inhabitants, whom you’ll have the pleasure of meeting.
At the mouth of the Kanmon Straits lies Mojiko, the northernmost port of Kyushu, one of Japan’s four main islands. For many years, Mojiko was the gateway to the island. Today, the old boats are gone, but as you stroll around the picturesque streets you will discover a well-preserved architectural heritage that evokes traditional Japan from the first Meiji era of the late 19th century. From the heights of the Mojiko Retro Observation Room, you can enjoy the amazing views that take in the Shinto shrine and coastal landscape like a postcard of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Day 7 - Day 7 TAMANO
Located on the island of Honshu, hugging the banks of the Sento Inland Sea, Tamano is a popular destination thanks to its sun-drenched climate. Upon arrival, marvel at the way in which the city has been built along the coast at the foot of a deep, dark forest. In the area surrounding Tamano, stroll down the streets of Kurashiki, known as the 'white-walled city' in a nod to the pretty façades of the houses that line the streets of this ancient Edo-period trading town. Another major regional attraction is the Seto Ohashi bridge. Its 12.5 kilometres make it the world's longest double-decker bridge.
Day 8 - Day 8 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 9 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
15-04-202222-04-2022AUD $9,950Superior Stateroom
15-04-202222-04-2022AUD $10,710DeLuxe Stateroom
15-04-202222-04-2022AUD $11,780Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
15-04-202222-04-2022AUD $12,320Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
15-04-202222-04-2022AUD $12,970Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
15-04-202222-04-2022AUD $17,690Deluxe Suite
15-04-202222-04-2022AUD $23,610Prestige Suite - Deck 5
15-04-202222-04-2022AUD $24,810Prestige Suite - Deck 6
15-04-202222-04-2022AUD $28,350Owner’s Suite


    • A voyage specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers including discussions with experts, transfers before and after your cruise, and an included excursion in each port of call.
    • Engaging discussions onboard with Smithsonian Journeys Experts including Japanese Film, Culture, Literature, and History expert Jonathan Hall and Japanese art historian Timon Screech.
    • A discovery of the beautiful cultural and rich historical traditions and landscapes of Japan.
    • UNESCO World Heritage sites en route: Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution, Gyeongju Historic Areas, Bulguksa Temple, and Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (optional pre-cruise program).
    • Visits to two remarkable, traditional Japanese gardens – Korakuen and Ritsurin.
    • A remembrance of those who perished during the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.
    • An opportunity to make – and eat – traditional Japanese udon noodles, and a chance to sample sake in a traditional sake-making village.