Cruising the Land of the Rising Sun - 14 Days

Cruising the Land of the Rising Sun


Your explorations begin during your stay in Osaka and include nearby Nara and Kyoto – city of two thousand temples and shrines – and end in Tokyo; on your cruise, sightseeing excursions include Uno Ko, Uwajima, Kagoshima, Nagasaki… Uncover layers of Japanese culture – past and present; explore historic sights and trend-setting neighborhoods… attend a taiko drumming performance, a geisha performance, a sumo wrestling demonstration… and more.

You’ll explore the volcano Sakurajima, visit a pearl farm, tour modern and historic museums, and see how the Japanese produce one of their most popular beverages – Kirin beer. Travel in style aboard Le Soléal – with outside staterooms; a choice of chic or casual dining; and all-day complimentary beverages, including wine and spirits. And that’s just the beginning of the amenities and services onboard.


Special Tauck Experiences include local cultural entertainment, a sumo wrestling demonstration, geisha and taiko performances and more.

Cruise prices are per person. All hotel and cruise ship accommodations, motor coach transportation, port charges, land excursions, admissions, entertainment, sightseeing, special dinners, porterage, and the services of the Tauck Directors, hotel and ship staff, and local guides and drivers are included. Bar & restaurant beverages are included throughout the day aboard ship, including house wine & spirits. Transportation from Kansai International Airport to the St. Regis, Osaka, The Ritz-Carlton Osaka or The Conrad Hotel Osaka according to your booking, is included, regardless of the time you check in to the hotel, provided you have furnished us with accurate flight arrival information at least three weeks before the start of your tour. Transportation from the The Shangri-La Hotel Toyko, The Palace Hotel Tokyo or The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo to Tokyo’s Narita Airport according to your booking, is also included at the end of your cruise. Transportation to and from the airport may be shared with other Tauck guests.

Rates and schedules are not guaranteed until booked and will vary based on departure date.

Day 1
Arrive Osaka

Tour begins: The St. Regis Osaka, The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka or The Conrad Osaka. A transfer is included from Osaka’s Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport to The St. Regis Osaka, The Ritz- Carlton, Osaka or The Conrad Osaka. After settling in to your hotel, depart for a Tauck Exclusive evening in Osaka that includes a welcome reception, a Geiko / Geisha cultural lecture and performance, and a welcome dinner.

MEALS – Dinner

LODGING The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

LODGING The Conrad Osaka

LODGING The St. Regis Osaka

Day 2
Temples and traditions in Kyoto

Temples and traditions in Kyoto

Immerse yourself today in the loveliness of classic Kyoto, city of 2,000 temples and shrines. Like a divine dream the Zen Golden Pavilion, bathed in gold leaf and capped by a golden phoenix, sits in a landscape design meticulously preserved since the 1400s, with a strategically placed pond that hauntingly reflects the shimmering golden temple. Next visit the Sanjusagen-do, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama District – officially called “Rengeo-in” (“Hall of the Lotus King”). After lunch at a local restaurant, attend a traditional Japanese Taiko drumming experience and explore more of Kyoto before returning to your hotel in Osaka (note that sightseeing days 2 and 3 may alternate.)

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3
Exploring historic Nara

Head to the city of Nara this morning to visit Todai-ji (Eastern Great Temple), a Buddhist temple complex that was once one of the city’s powerful Seven Great Temples. Its Great Buddha Hall houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese as Daibutsu. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site officially called the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara,” Todai-ji temple also serves as headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism in Japan. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Nara Park at the foot of Mount Wakakusa; established in the 14th century, it is one of the oldest public parks in Japan and is a national treasure – as are the more than 1,200 free-roaming wild sika deer that call the park home. Return to your Osaka hotel for an evening spent as you please.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4
Osaka discoveries & embark Le Soléal

Begin the day with morning sightseeing in Osaka by motor coach, walking tour and visits to local markets. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a walking tour of Osaka’s Dotumburi district followed by some free time to explore as you wish. Then drive to the port of Osaka, where your yacht, Le Soléal, awaits. Begin your cruise along the southwestern coast of Honshu, the largest island in the Japanese archipelago, bound for Uno Ko and Naoshima.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

LODGING – Le Soléal

Day 5
Art, bicycling & beer in Uno Ko & environs

Anchor in Tamano (Uno Ko) and travel to the old merchant town of Kurashiki for a walking tour of its historic quarter, where warehouses, shops, and mills remain virtually unchanged by time. Another Kurashiki treasure, the Ohara Museum of Art, reveals a great collection of Western art. Enjoy a choice of three activities this afternoon. On one, you’ll ferry to the unique little island of Naoshima, exclusively devoted to art installations and the work of the world-class architect Tadao Ando. Another choice is a bicycle ride through Uno Ko. Beer is considered by many to be the most popular alcoholic drink in Japan and your third choice today is a visit to Kirin Yokohama Beer Village, one of nine factories of the Japan Kirin Group. Your tour winds its way around parts of the factory, offering views from above through observation windows of various parts of the manufacturing process – and includes the tasting bar, where you can sample Kirin beers. Back onboard ship, enjoy your captain’s farewell dinner tonight.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

LODGING – Le Soléal

EXCURSION CHOICES – Cycling Excursion in Uno K

Day 6
Today’s Hiroshima & a visit to a shrine or the Mazda factory

In your next port of call, Hiroshima, you’ll set off on a morning sightseeing tour and visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and sites associated with the WWII atomic bomb blast of August 1945. After lunch at a local restaurant serving regional fare, you can choose to visit the iconic Miyajima-Itsukushima Shrine that seems to float on water (a photographer’s dream); or take a tour of the local Mazda factory. Sail on to Uwajima tonight.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

LODGING – Le Soléal

Day 7
Choices galore in Uwajima

Spend a morning in a rural area around the port city of Uwajima on Shikoku, with a choice of three excursions. One takes you into the countryside to visit a pearl farm – where you’ll view a hatchery and see farmers working on bamboo rafts from which baskets of pearl oysters are suspended in the water for culturing – and the 16th-century Dairakuji temple, known as Musasabi-dera (“Flying Squirrel Temple”) for the wild flying squirrels that live there, for an eclectic tour led by a Buddhist monk. Another explores Nanrakuen Garden, the largest traditional garden on Shikoku, presenting a series of beautiful gardens based on themes of “mountain, village, city, and sea;” your guided visit includes a walk through the exquisitely maintained gardens, a calligraphy demonstration and a tea ceremony. A third choice includes a visit to a series of danbata (terraced fields) that form a “staircase” on a steep mountain slope, appearing to roll right down the hillside and into the sea; and a walk through the forest to a beautiful waterfall in Yakushidani Canyon outside Uwajima. Return to your ship for lunch, and sail on to Kagoshima.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

LODGING – Le Soléal

EXCURSION CHOICES – Danbata Terraces & Waterfall Walk

Day 8
From a volcano to a peace museum in Kagoshima

Kagoshima lies on the southwestern tip of Japan’s southernmost main island, Kyushu. Excursion choices include a short ferry ride across the bay to see Sakurajima (“Cherry Blossom Island”), an active volcano; take a guided scenic drive and stop at its visitor information center to learn about Sakurajima’s volcanic history… and immerse your feet in a volcanic hot spring. Or visit Sengan-en Garden, a traditional Japanese garden and stately home in Kagoshima, passed down in the Shimadzu family for over 350 years. The charming garden boasts spectacular views of Sakurajima across the bay, while the house provides a glimpse into the lifestyle of a powerful feudal lord. Third choice, in Chiran, is a visit to this well-preserved samurai district’s Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots, on the site of a former airstrip used by Kamikaze pilots during World War II. Return to the ship late afternoon.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

LODGING – Le Soléal

EXCURSION CHOICES – Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze

Day 9
A day in Nagasaki

Arrive in Nagasaki for another day of historic sights: the Nagasaki Peace Park, filled with notable monuments and memorials; and the Atomic Bomb Museum. After lunch aboard the ship you have a choice of a visit to the Glover Gardens, an al fresco museum memorializing the Europeans who settled in Nagasaki in the late 19th century, and the Dejima Museum; or the Nagasaki Ropeway up Mount Inasa. Set sail this evening for South Korea.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

LODGING – Le Soléal

EXCURSION CHOICES – The Nagasaki Ropeway on Mt. Inasa

Day 10
Sail on to Busan in South Korea

Your crossing of the Strait of Korea to Busan, South Korea, today is a perfect time to enjoy some of the amenities aboard ship. After docking in Busan, city sightseeing includes the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, honoring troops from many nations who fell during the Korean War; and a tour of the renowned Jagalchi Fish Market, a traditional seafood market on Busan’s waterfront, and the largest in the country. In Korea as in Japan, seafood has been a mainstay of local cuisine for millennia, and your visit to this vast cooperative market offers an in-depth look at this longstanding cultural tradition. Return to the ship this afternoon and set sail for Sakaiminato.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

LODGING – Le Soléal

Day 11
Sakaiminato and Matsue’s Black Castle

Your yacht arrives in Western Japan’s fishing industry center, Sakaiminato, for a visit to the Adachi Museum. Following lunch, you can take an excursion to Matsue, known as “the water city” for its river, canals, and setting on two lakes and the Sea of Japan (weather permitting, take in a great view of the city and beyond from its feudal fortress; visit the Black Castle, which presides over the city in solemn majesty); or enjoy free time in Sakaiminato to pursue your own interests. Tonight say goodbye to captain and crew of your Tauck small ship at the captain’s farewell dinner.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

LODGING – Le Soléal

EXCURSION CHOICES – Exploring Sakaiminato at Leisure

Day 12
Bullet Train to Tokyo – and Ginza

After disembarking your small ship in Maizuru, take a scenic drive to Kyoto to board the Bullet Train for a quick trip to Japan’s capital city, Tokyo. Walking from your premier Tokyo hotel, your guide introduces the luxury shopping district of Ginza. Enjoy dinner and time to check out this remarkable city on your own.

MEALS – Breakfast, Lunch

LODGING Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

LODGING Palace Hotel Tokyo

LODGING Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo

Day 13
From shrines to sumo in Tokyo

Plunge into an eclectic day in cosmopolitan Tokyo with a visit to the Meiji Shrine – honoring the deified spirits of Japan’s Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken, who died in 1912 and 1914, respectively – plus a guided tour of the Edo-Tokyo Museum. Lunch is at a local restaurant before an afternoon spent poking around on your own. Finish the day in style with our farewell reception and dinner at Happo-en with traditional music and what’s sure to be a highlight of your cruise adventure in Japan, an unforgettable sumo wrestling demonstration that has to be seen to be believed.

MEALS Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

LODGING Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

LODGING Palace Hotel Tokyo

LODGING Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo

Day 14
Journey home

Tour ends: Tokyo. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, Shangri La Hotel, Tokyo or Palace Hotel, Tokyo to Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport. Allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in.

MEALS Breakfast

What's Included

  • All gratuities to Tauck Director, ship staff, local guides and drivers
  • Private Tauck Shore Excursions – $4,250 Value 8-night cruise aboard the superb Le Soléal
  • 3 nights in Osaka and 2 nights in Tokyo at premier hotels
  • Your cruise may be a shared ship experience with non-Tauck guests onboard as well; all Tauck guests will be accompanied by one Tauck Director for approximately every 40 Tauck guests, and your itinerary will always be highlighted by exclusive, private Tauck shore excursions
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available throughout the day aboard ship including house wines and spirits; premium spirits and wines are available at extra cost.
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 36 meals on land and at sea; service charges, applicable fuel surcharges, taxes, and porterage


The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

One of the premier hotels in Osaka, The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka is located in the prestigious district of Nishi-Umeda, within walking distance to ancient city sights, business and shopping districts, and close to its treasured cultural heart. Pass through the Gateway of Western Japan and marvel at ancient traditions that punctuate the ultra-modern landscape that includes one of the city’s most elegant five star hotels. Evoking an 18th century English manor house, the hotel features a 450-piece art and antique collection, fitness center, spa, and fabulous guest rooms. A wide range of amenities and services contribute to a memorable experience; guest room amenities include Egyptian cotton linens, down comforters, goose down and non-allergenic foam pillows, marble bathroom, lighted makeup mirror and hair dryer, plush terry robes, computer, Internet, audio/visual and digital audio player plug-ins, DVD player, in-room safe, fully stocked refreshment cabinet, Nespresso machine and more. The fine dining restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka include an impressive global culinary repertoire that ranges from the French restaurant, La Baie, to the Lobby Lounge that serves traditional afternoon tea. Enjoy authentic Cantonese cuisine in Xiang Tao, Japanese specialties in Hanagatami and Italian favorites in Splendido. And The Bar invites you to indulge in signature cocktails and a selection of more than 150 malt whiskies.

The Conrad Osaka

Conrad Osaka is your “address in the sky” in Japan’s second-largest city. With a commanding presence on Nakanoshima between the Dojima and Tosabori rivers, this sleek luxury hotel offers incredible views of the water and Osaka from all guest rooms and public areas. The hotel resides on the highest floors of Nakanoshima Festival West Tower, home to shops, restaurants and an art museum. Festival Hall is next door, easily reached via underground link. Conrad Osaka’s spacious, stylish guest rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows and a digital control panel for your lighting, curtain and temperature preferences. More luxuries for your stay include four restaurants and lounges, including all-day dining and a Sky Bar; the chic and tranquil Conrad Spa and salon overlooking the city; a wedding chapel and pillar-free event space with stunning views of Osaka and environs; and a heated indoor 20-meter pool and state-of-the-art fitness center.

The St. Regis Osaka

Enjoying Osaka’s most coveted address on Midosuji Avenue, the Champs Élysées of Osaka, The St. Regis Osaka opened its doors in 2010 and is the first international luxury hotel to open in the city in 13 years. Guest rooms welcome with a flat-screen HD TV with satellite and cable channels, Pioneer Blu-ray DVD/CD player, down comforter, 300-thread-count sheets and a pillow menu, expresso machine, fully stocked minibar, complimentary bottled water, in-room safe, individual climate control, a rainforest shower and separate soaking bathtub, bathrobes and slippers and a hairdryer. The Exercise Room is equipped with everything required for a satisfying workout, including TechnoGym, treadmills, bikes, weight training and free weights. If relaxation is more appealing, you’ll find out it at IRIDIUM offering spa treatments and views of the Osaka skyline. Enjoy light fare at The St. Regis Terrace, northern Italian cuisine at La Veduta, distinctive French flavors in the bistro atmosphere of Rue d’Or or try a specialty cocktail like a “Shogun Mary” at The St. Regis Bar.

Le Soléal