The best of Japan

9 days / 8 nights
    Roundtrip flight included
    The best of Japan
    All inclusive package: flights from/to Paris + cruise + pre and post-cruise programmes + transfers

    Cruise Asia

    from 9 May 2019 to 17 May 2019
    9 days / 8 nights

    Departure Port : Osaka
    Arrival Port : Maizuru

    Ship : LE SOLEAL

    • Ref : OM1645 - S090519

    Other departure dates

    Through this exceptional itinerary, PONANT invites you to discover the Land of the Rising Sun, where the history of the samurai and the daintiness of the geishas exist side by side.  

    In Osaka, you will board the Le Soléal for a 9-day cruise to the heart of Japan.

    At the start of your trip, you will discover the small Japanese city of Tamano, a former feudal domain with a unique cultural heritage. Among its sites, you will be able to admire its famous Korakuen Garden, one of the country’s three must-see landscaped gardens.

    We will call at Hiroshima, the gateway to Miyajima, home to the majestic Shinto shrine whose entrance is guarded by a magnificent vermillion Torii listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    The Le Soléal will then take you to Busan, a warm and welcoming city where you will enjoy a spectacular view of the port. This ancient city full of contrasts presents numerous vestiges that speak of its prestigious past.

    When your ship calls at Sakaiminato, you will set off to discover medieval Japan and the ancient dwellings of the samurai, who had lavish homes and castles built.


    • Discovering the ‘Empire of the Rising Sun’, its culture, its ancestral traditions and iconic sites;
    • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Miyajima Sanctuary and its vermillion Torii, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
    • Sakaiminato and Matsue or medieval Japan and the former homes of the Samurais.
    • Discovering Tamano, a former feudal domain with a surprising cultural heritage, and its famous “black castle”.
    • Osaka, and its famous castle (port of disembarkation).

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    Staterooms & Suites


      There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.


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      Designed in 2013 and loyal to the PONANT spirit, Le Soléal like her sisterships embodies the subtle alliance between luxury, intimacy and wellbeing which is Ponant’s signature. The elegance of her exterior and interior lines and her intimate size (only 132 staterooms and suites)make this a rare and innovative yacht on the cruise market. 

      Interior Design

      With her fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white, Le Soléal presents references to a nautical theme.

      Port of call & excursions

      9 May 2019 – Tamano


      Embarkation 09/05/2019 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 09/05/2019 at 22H00 .

      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.

      10 May 2019 – Tamano

      10 May 2019 – Tamano

      Arrival 10/05/2019 early morning. Departure 10/05/2019 evening.

      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.

      11 May 2019 – Hiroshima

      11 May 2019 – Hiroshima

      Arrival 11/05/2019 early morning. Departure 11/05/2019 early evening.

      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.

      12 May 2019 – Uwajima

      12 May 2019 – Uwajima

      Arrival 12/05/2019 early morning. Departure 12/05/2019 midday.

      Located on the west coast of Shikoku island, Uwajima will delight lovers of history and traditional customs. The magnificent Uwajima Castle was built in the 17th-century by the powerful Date clan and has a beautiful ornamental garden and bridge. The much-visited Taga Shrine is dedicated to fertility and is full of phalluses. As for eating, you must taste jakoten, a local delicacy based on fried fish.

      13 May 2019 – Kagoshima

      13 May 2019 – Kagoshima

      Arrival 13/05/2019 early morning. Departure 13/05/2019 late afternoon.

      The seaside city of Kagoshima, at the south of Kyushu Island, ᅠis best known for Sakurajima, an active volcano that faces Kinko Bay. A visit to this busy metropolis will remind you just how much the volcano is part of the inhabitants' everyday life: in the wake of the almost daily eruptions, a delicate layer of ash settles on everything. The top of a buried torii (traditional Japanese gate) measuring three metres that was 'swallowed up' by a giant lava flow in 1914 can still be seen. The power of nature will send a shiver down your spine.

      14 May 2019 – Nagasaki

      14 May 2019 – Nagasaki

      Arrival 14/05/2019 early morning. Departure 14/05/2019 early evening.

      Located on the north-west coast of Kyushu, Nagasaki will impress you by its rich heritage. Despite the destruction in 1945, you can visit several ancient sites, including the beautiful 19th-century Catholic Church of Oura and its garden, the sanctuary of Suwa Shrine or several Buddhist temples. A visit to the Atomic Bomb Museum gives you insight into the extent of the damage caused by the nuclear attack. Close by, a walk in the Memorial Peace Park leads you to a collection of objets d'art offered as a gift from Japan to the world.

      15 May 2019 – Busan

      15 May 2019 – Busan

      Arrival 15/05/2019 early morning. Departure 15/05/2019 early afternoon.

      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.

      16 May 2019 – Sakaiminato

      16 May 2019 – Sakaiminato

      Arrival 16/05/2019 early morning. Departure 16/05/2019 early evening.

      Located on the south-west coast of Honshu Island, the busy fishing port of Sakaiminato celebrates the comic writer and artist Shigeru Mizuki, who was born here. As well as a museum a dedicated tourist route leads through streets and squares that feature 134 bronze statues representing his beloved characters. This isn't the only thing Sakaiminato has to offer; try some local seafood specialities and enjoy the stunning views of Mt Daisen and the Yumigahama peninsula.

      17 May 2019▸16 May 2019 – Maizuru


      Disembarkation 17/05/2019 at 07H00 .

      Located on the western coast of Honshu island, in the province of Kyoto, the charming town of Maizuru boasts one of Japan’s most exquisite closed bays. A climb to the observatory allows to appreciate the splendour of this inlet scattered with tiny wild islands. Visitors can also admire the treasures of traditional architecture by visiting the temple of Enryu-ji or the Tanabe-jo castle. The town also bears traces of a rich military past, which you can see in the old arsenals of the navy, red brick buildings that today house a museum.


      • The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.

      • Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.

      • Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.

      All inclusive package: flights from/to Paris + cruise + pre and post-cruise programmes + transfers

      For your serenity, PONANT selects a flight for your trip and provides transfers and visits. This package is included in your cruise fare.

      The day before embarkation - Paris/Osaka

      Flight Paris/Osaka selected by PONANT. Arrival the day after in Osaka.


      Meet at Kansai International airport – Arrival Hall (look for PONANT sign).

      You will be greeted by our local English-speaking representative off the flight selected by PONANT.

      You will board the coach for a full day sightseeing tour of Osaka, the second largest city in Japan and the biggest merchant city in Western Japan.

      You will start your exploration with a visit of the Osaka Castle. Osaka Castle was a monumental fortification constructed, upon the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, to be the strongest and enclosed by stone walls 7, 5 miles in length. The castle took three and a half years to complete. It played a major role in the unification of Japan during the 16th century. It was completely destroyed in 1615. Rebuilt, the castle was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in 1665. Today Osaka Castle’s five-story donjon, constructed of ferroconcrete after the original in 1931, towers 131 ft and affords an extensive view. The donjon displays items relating to the Toyotomi family.

      Enjoy a Japanese style lunch in a local restaurant. Following lunch, you will appreciate a stroll in the Dotonbori area, one of the symbols of Osaka used for making movies.

      You will then proceed to Sumiyoshi Taisha shrine. The entire Sumiyoshi Taisha, dating from the third century and rebuilt from the nineteenth century, classified “National Treasure” is dedicated to the four kami gods, of the sea, sea voyage, agriculture, diplomacy and waka poetry. The Empress Jingu (169-269), known for her conquest of Korea, is also worshiped. In the past, sea merchants would stop in Osaka to pray to Sumiyoshi Taisha, before returning to their ships.

      You will be then transferred to the port to embark aboard your ship.


      – Cruise on board Le Soléal –


      Disembarkation Day - Maizuru/Paris

      Day 1 – Maizuru/Kyoto

      Disembarkation. Meet and greet your local representative.

      You will depart the pier for a 2-hour drive to Kyoto which was Japan’s Imperial Capital City for more than 10 centuries.

      First you will proceed to Arashiyama region, located on the Western outskirts of Kyoto, and the Tenryuji Temple. The temple was founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339. As a temple related to both the Ashikaga family and Emperor Godaigo, the temple is held in high esteem. It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the « Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto ». The garden created by Muso Soseki, features a circular promenade around Sogen Pond. Enjoy a stroll along a bamboo path admiring the beauty of the area.

      Lunch included.

      The tour will then take you to Kinkakuji Temple, or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. It is a temple dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third of the Ashikaga Shoguns, built a retirement estate there in 1398. After his death in 1419, the grounds were turned into a Buddhist temple for the Rinzai sect. The only building to remain standing of Yoshimitsu’s estate was the Golden Pavilion. The upper stories are covered in gold leaf and the roof is topped by a bronze phoenix. It was listed on UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. Then, you will visit Ryoanji Temple, a temple famous for its rock garden, perhaps the best dry Japanese garden and certainly a masterpiece by the Zen-inspired artist Soami. Enjoy time at leisure in Gion known as Kyoto's most famous geisha district.

      You will then be transferred to your hotel.

      Dinner is on your own.

      Day 2 – Kyoto/Osaka

      Morning hotel check-out.

      You will then be transferred to Kansai International Airport (a 2-hour drive) in time for check-in of the PONANT selected flight.

      Your hotel:

      Benefiting from its central location the Kyoto Okura proposes elegant, sophisticated rooms offering modern decor. You can take advantage of the hotel’s many services including a beauty institute, 5 restaurants and 24h/24h reception.

      Your programme includes:

      • PONANT flight Paris/Osaka/Paris in economy class.
      • 1-night accommodation in Standard room at Nikko Princess Kyoto Hotel 4* Sup (or similar) including early breakfast.
      • Lunch (Japanese style) with beverage package (mineral water + 1 soft drink or 1 local beer or 1 glass of red or white wine + 1 Japanese tea).
      • Transfers and visits as mentioned in the programme.
      • Services of a local English-speaking guide.

      Your programme does not include:

      • Dinner on Day 1 in disembarkation day.
      • Tips for the driver and local guide.
      • Personal expenses and other services not mentioned in the programme.

      Please note:

      Additional customised services can be offered (flights, private transfers, pre and/or post-cruise programmes detailed above). For further information, please call our travel agents.

      • There will be long walk on unpaved and bumpy roads with some stairs. This tour is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. For more information, please contact our travel agents.
      • Because of the early departure of the second day, 6.45am (timing subject to change, the guide will advise the night before), the breakfast will be to take away.
      • The local currency is the yen. We recommend that you bring the amount of money you will need for the trip, or you can use your credit card to withdraw yen from the cash machines (note that only Japan Post Bank & Seven Eleven machines accept foreign credit cards).
      • You will have to take off your shoes before entering any of the temples. To visit temples, it is advisable to respect dress codes (covering the upper body and legs below the knees).
      • Please be aware that a double room with a king size bed is not common in Japan. Almost of the hotels do offer double rooms with twin beds. The double room king size bed is not guaranteed at the hotel.

      Contact of your hotel:

      Nikko Princess Kyoto

      Nikko Princess Kyoto

      Shimogyo-ku Karasuma Takatsuji

      600 8096 Kyoto

      Telephone: +81 (0) 75 342 2111


      Duration of the visits are given as a guide only. The order of the visits may be reversed. To know your PONANT flight schedule, please contact your travel agent; it is also indicated on your electronic ticket included in your travel documents. Passengers must check in at least two hours before flight departure time.

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