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Japan may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of a cruise vacation, but this diversely beautiful country located on the eastern edge of Asia has a lot to offer cruisers, and as an island nation there are possible ports of call on every side of the country. Japan cruise itineraries usually embark from Tokyo and cruise around Japan to more than fifteen different ports of call.
A Japan cruise takes passengers to bustling cities with vibrant energy and a cosmopolitan vibe, natural wonders like volcanoes and national park, and historic sites amidst cherry blossom trees and other gorgeous scenery. You’ll also be able to try a host of the country’s delectable food scene during a cruise to Japan. You can eat some of the best sushi and ramen in the world, and also have opportunities to try some of Japan’s world-famous Kobe beef and perfectly fermented sake.
Japan is a country rich in history and nature. Japan’s past and natural scenery seem to blend effortlessly with its frenetic cities, creating an interesting dichotomy that provides a mix of relaxation and action for travelers on a Japan cruise.
Mt. Fuji towers up over the southeast coast of Japan with a snow-capped rim atop it that is a chilly juxtaposition to the simmering heat found within. Mount Fuji is an active volcano that hasn’t erupted since 1707 and is the tallest peak in Japan, making for an epic photo opportunity for visitors.
Kyoto is often considered the cultural capital of Japan. Kyoto was the Imperial Capital for over 1,000 years and has an abundance of historical structures. The city is home to many temples, castles, shrines, and tea houses while the most popular attractions would have to be the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Fushimi Inari Taisha, the famous shinto shrine with thousands of vermilion torii gates.
Located an hour away from Hiroshima, Miyajima Island is easily accessible via ferry and is known for its Itsukushima Shrine and torii gate. Both of these landmarks are built over water and seem to float on the water during high tide. The island is also home to many scenic walking trails (and deer!).
Japan is famous for its cherry blossom trees (called sakura in Japan) that bloom in lovely shades of pink and white during spring. You can see cherry blossom trees throughout Japan, but some of the most famous spots to see them are Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo and Himeji Castle near Osaka.
A Japan cruise will take you to a diverse mix of ports. Some of these ports, like the famous capital city of Tokyo, offer a city experience full of skyscrapers, fine dining, and a chance to witness the day-to-day life of many who live in Japan. Other ports you’ll visit during a cruise around Japan provide a more tranquil setting with opportunities to get out into nature and visit ancient temples and shrines. In addition, many of our Japan cruise itineraries offer overnight ports of call to experience the nightlife of Japan; these may take place in Kagoshima, Kobe, Kyoto, and Tokyo.
Whether you’re looking for history, city life, or natural wonders during your cruise around Japan, you’ll be able to find your ideal activity to do in port on Japan shore excursions.
Beautiful temples are located all around Japan; many of which have historical and still present-day significance. Visiting these temples on a shore excursion with a knowledgeable guide will provide you with an in-depth look at Japanese culture while admiring the temple’s intricate designs.
One of the quintessential things to do in Japan is to visit a Japanese garden and tea house. Japanese gardens pull in natural aesthetics like water and rocks to create a Zen setting among the foliage. After you get your fill of flowers, enjoy a traditional tea ceremony in one of Japan’s tea houses.
A shore excursion to one of Japan’s national parks will have you quickly realizing Japan is much more than skyscrapers and temples; it’s a nature lover’s paradise, too. Popular national parks to visit during a Japan cruise include Onuma National Park in Hakodate and Nikko National Park near Tokyo.
When you cruise around Japan, you’ll find ports of call on every side of the nation. The southeast side of Japan is home to Tokyo, from where your Japan cruise will likely embark. Tokyo is a great place for a City Stay before or after your cruise so you can experience more of its cosmopolitan wonders.
Along the southern coastline of Japan is where most of the ports of call for Japan cruises lie. As you cruise around Japan’s southern coast, your cruise may take you to popular cruise destinations like Kyoto, Kobe, Kochi, Hiroshima, and the famous Mt Fuji.
As your ship sails around the southwest corner of Japan, you also may stop in Kagoshima, Nagasaki, or Fukuoka. After that, your Japan cruise will travel up to the northern tip of Japan, where you’ll come to Hakodate and Aomori.
If your cruise itinerary includes ports of call in Taiwan and Vietnam, you also may stop in Okinawa, a small Japanese island located south of Kagoshima within the East China Sea.
Japan cruises typically sail in spring or fall. The spring dates may get you to Japan during prime cherry blossom season, but the autumn months will be after the peak seasons of sakura and summer vacation. The weather in spring and fall is usually warm and mild, but may get cooler in certain ports, particularly in the early mornings and evenings. Due to this, packing layers is wise as is sticking in a light jacket to your day pack in ports where you might encounter rain or cold breezes.