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14-Day Japan & Russia

 
 
14-Day Japan & Russia
Starting from $3,563*

Yokohama, Japan to Yokohama, Japan


Ship: ms Westerdam


Departure Date :

Apr 11 2020

Optional tours are available from most ports for an additional charge.

 

Itinerary

 
Day Yokohama, Japan
Departs 08:00 PM
"Until the mid-19th century, Japan lived in isolation, closed off from the rest of the world, and Yokohama was a mere fishing village. But in 1853, American naval officer Matthew Perry demanded the country open to foreign trade, and Yokohama was changed forever. The city quickly emerged as an international trading center, and while today it is often overshadowed by nearby Tokyo, it continues to be one of Japan’s liveliest, and most international, destinations. With its microbreweries and international restaurants, Yokohama has a decidedly different feel from many other Japanese cities.

From Yokohama, it’s a quick trip to peaceful Kamakura, home to Daibutsu, Japan’s second-largest bronze Buddha, and to the important Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Head to Hakone National Park on a clear day and you’ll be rewarded with picture-postcard views of majestic Mt. Fuji. "
Yokohama, Japan
 
 
Day Shimizu, Japan
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 02:00 PM
Shimizu’s rich cultural heritage is rooted in the surrounding Shizuoka area’s history as the home of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Edo shogunate, following his retirement from government. A collection of historic buildings in the vicinity, such as Kunozan Toshogu Shrine (designated a National Treasure by the Japanese government), Sumpu Castle Park, and Shizuoka Sengen Shrine, depict a fascinating portrait of the life and accomplishments of this major historical figure. The Shizuoka area’s ancient culture is available not only for observation but for hands-on experience as well. At Sumpu Takumi-shuku, visitors can try their hand at making traditional Suruga handicrafts characteristic of the Shizuoka region, such as bamboo works, dyes, and lacquerware.
Shimizu, Japan
 
 
Day Osaka, Japan
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 08:00 PM
"Think of Osaka, Japan (accent on the O), as a combination of Los Angeles and Chicago. It very definitely has L.A.’s second-city complex, but its attitude is pure Chicago. The only business that matters is business, and so what if the Hanshin Tigers, the local baseball team, are frequently the worst professional athletes in the world? They’re the home team. People in Osaka laugh louder, play harder and drink more than Tokyo’s most decadent dreams. Osaka even has its own dialect, one the rest of the country calls “dirty Japanese,” one entirely different than even Kobe’s—and Kobe is an Osaka suburb.

Nothing is old in Osaka. The place was flattened during the war (and then again in 1962 and 1989, by Godzilla). During the reconstruction, they forgot to include much in the way of parks or green space, and the sheer amount of concrete and steel sights can get overwhelming.

But Osaka has its attractions and interesting things to do. Sumo wrestlers wait for trains, reeking of chanko-nabe (traditional sumo food; pure energy and calories), just daring the official railway pushers to push them. Yakuza (Japanese gangsters) get train cars to themselves, but if you get on with them, it’s like you’re invisible. Busy markets, the visual noise of neon and nonstop action on shopping streets offer insight into the energy and ambition of Osaka.
Osaka, Japan
 
 
Day Kochi, Japan
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 05:00 PM
Kochi Prefecture is blessed with beautiful and abundant nature under a shining sun such as the coastline with the Kuroshio Current (Japan Current), clear rivers such as the Shimanto River and deep green forests. It has a history and environment which produced many pioneers and great men such as Sakamoto Ryoma. Kochi's free and daring characteristics have created generous yet deeply strong residents called "Igosso" or "Hachikin," and the wisdom and activity of the people of Kochi, who are full of ideas, gave birth to special gardening crops and industrial technologies. Also, the unique regional culture represented by "Yosakoi Festival" has been developed.
Kochi, Japan
 
 
Day Scenic Cruising Kanmon Strait / Fukuoka (Hakata), Japan
CRUISING ONLY / Arrives 10:00 AM Departs 11:00 PM
Scenic Cruising Kanmon Strait

Fukuoka (Hakata), Japan

"Located on the northern tip of Japan’s Kyushu Island, Hakata harbor’s location close to the Asian mainland made it an important port from very ancient times, serving the early administrative center at Dazaifu near by. In the 13th century, the Mongol Kublai Khan tried twice to subdue the city, but his attacks were both foiled by typhoons, which earned the last one the name Kamikaze, meaning “Divine Wind.” In the late 19th century, Hakata and the nearby samurai city of Fukuoka were merged. Today Fukuoka is a large, modern and eminently livable city that still benefits from its proximity to Korea and other “Asian Tiger” economies. Attractions for visitors include a park surrounding the ruins of the samurai Fukuoka Castle; the Shokufuji Temple, Japan’s first Zen temple; and the Japanese Garden and Gokoku Shrine in Ohori Park. The Genko Historical Museum holds displays of Japanese and Mongol armor from the period of the Mongol invasions. Modern highlights include the shopping and entertainment complex of Canal City and the waterfront Momochi Seaside Park development. Near by, the old 7th Century city of Dazaifu offers the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine with 6,000 flowering plum trees, the tranquil Komyozenji Temple with a lovely Zen garden, and the impressive, modern Kyushu National Museum."
Scenic Cruising Kanmon Strait / Fukuoka (Hakata), Japan
 
 
Day At Sea

 
 
Day Kanazawa, Japan
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 11:00 PM
One of Japan’s best-preserved cities, Kanazawa escaped war damage and natural disasters to reward visitors with a wealth of architecture as an important clan castle town from the mid-17th century until the middle of the 19th. The mighty Kanazawa Castle did not survive intact, but its famous Ishikawa Gate, the Sunjikken Longhouse and lavish Kenrokuen Garden hint at the grandeur. Of special note are the surviving Higashi Geisha District and Samurai District streets. The Temple area holds the Myoryuji Temple with its hidden passages and secret doors giving it the nickname the Ninja Temple. The Oyamajinja Shrine is a later addition, its three-story gate with impressive stained glass windows reveal a Dutch influence. Museums worth exploring include the Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum, with examples of the arts and crafts using the pure gold decoration for which the region is famous. Another museum celebrates the Buddhist philosopher D. T. Suzuki, credited with introducing Zen philosophy to the West, and a striking 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. Nearby Mt. Utatsu is renowned for its Three Shrines.
Kanazawa, Japan
 
 
Day At Sea

 
 
Day Vladivostok, Russia
Arrives 06:00 AM Departs 08:00 PM
Vladivostok was first built in 1860 when Russia expanded eastwards over and beyond the River Amur. At this time Russia made its claim to the Russian Far East. Vladivostok became Russia´s most important city in the East; the Russian Pacific fleet was based there as were large fishing fleets. Surrounded by Amursky Gulf from the west, Ussuriysky Gulf from the east and Golden Horn Bay along the south Vladivostok is the home of the Russian Pacific Fleet.
Vladivostok, Russia
 
 
Day At Sea

 
 
Day Otaru, Japan
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 05:00 PM
"An odd thing about Japan is that the people of this island country used to be horrified that there was a deep ocean all around them. (They have clearly gotten over it—today Japan’s navy is one of the five most powerful in the world.) Hundreds of years after the Polynesians had sailed to and settled impossibly distant islands, the Japanese were still mostly running rowboats not unlike the slave galleys from old Sinbad movies. A 1780s map from the voyages of French explorer La Pérouse shows the route his ship took to explore Japan: He’d get in close, map a few miles, the samurai would row out and he’d calmly sail back into deep water, popping in to map the shore again a few miles later.

This long-held fear makes Otaru all the more interesting: The city is where the Japanese began to venture further out to sea. Otaru grew and flourished on the cargo brought home by ships that had dipped below the horizon. The town was, for a while, Asia’s herring capital—herring on every plate for breakfast, tons of herring. Thus Otaru is where the foolhardy proved even the deep and scary ocean has its attractions. And just how snug you can make a home financed by fish. "
Otaru, Japan
 
 
Day Hakodate, Japan
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 11:00 PM
"If Japan ever had a wild west, it was Hokkaido. Oh, all the classic movie stuff of samurai bashing each other with swords never made it this far north, but the image of the West—open spaces, places to disappear, actual land horizons (which no other island in Japan has)—lingers.

Hokkaido's remoteness is so legendary that it figures into one of Japan’s most important historical tales: After losing a battle in 1189, good guy Minamoto Yoshitsune managed to escape capture and death by heading to Hokkaido (no one felt like chasing him that far). In one version of the story, he returned from Hokkaido to the mainland and, if you give alternate readings of the characters in his name, became Gin Ke Ka—Genghis Khan."
Hakodate, Japan
 
 
Day Aomori, Japan
Arrives 08:00 AM Departs 05:00 PM
"Most Japanese used to think of Aomori merely as the place you caught the ferry to when you were going to Hokkaido. By the time you’d gotten here, they figured, you were pretty much at the edge of the civilized world.

The small Tsugaru Strait that separates Honshu from Hokkaido isn’t big—only about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) at its narrowest point—but it’s ecologically important: Hokkaido has animals related to northern Asia, whereas Honshu’s are more closely related to southern Asia’s. The strait is also famous for sudden, very rough weather and for no shortage of shipwrecks.

The city was flattened in World War II, so there isn’t much history left to see. Still, it’s a lovely area, not much congestion or development, and because the town is still the major gateway to Hokkaido, the city has money to spend on architecture and parks. Its setting on the edge of Mutsu Bay means you will often be surprised by lovely water views through the buildings. "
Aomori, Japan
 
 
Day At Sea

 
 
Day Yokohama, Japan
Arrives 07:00 AM
"Until the mid-19th century, Japan lived in isolation, closed off from the rest of the world, and Yokohama was a mere fishing village. But in 1853, American naval officer Matthew Perry demanded the country open to foreign trade, and Yokohama was changed forever. The city quickly emerged as an international trading center, and while today it is often overshadowed by nearby Tokyo, it continues to be one of Japan’s liveliest, and most international, destinations. With its microbreweries and international restaurants, Yokohama has a decidedly different feel from many other Japanese cities.

From Yokohama, it’s a quick trip to peaceful Kamakura, home to Daibutsu, Japan’s second-largest bronze Buddha, and to the important Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Head to Hakone National Park on a clear day and you’ll be rewarded with picture-postcard views of majestic Mt. Fuji. "
Yokohama, Japan