The best of Japan
* Subject to availability.
- 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).
Roundtrip flight included
Staterooms & Suites
There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.
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.
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
MaizuruEmbarkation 15/04/2019 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 15/04/2019 at 19H00 .
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.
16 April 2019 – SakaiminatoArrival 16/04/2019 early morning. Departure 16/04/2019 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 April 2019 – BusanArrival 17/04/2019 midday. Departure 17/04/2019 early evening.
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.
18 April 2019 – NagasakiArrival 18/04/2019 early morning. Departure 18/04/2019 late afternoon.
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.
19 April 2019 – KagoshimaArrival 19/04/2019 early morning. Departure 19/04/2019 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.
20 April 2019 – UwajimaArrival 20/04/2019 midday. Departure 20/04/2019 late afternoon.
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.
21 April 2019 – HiroshimaArrival 21/04/2019 early morning. Departure 21/04/2019 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.
22 April 2019 – TamanoArrival 22/04/2019 early morning. Departure 22/04/2019 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.
OsakaDisembarkation 23/04/2019 at 07H00 .
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.
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/Maizuru
Flight Paris/Oasaka selected by PONANT. Arrival the day after at Maizuru.
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. Transfer from the airport located in Osaka Bay to Kyoto, approximately a 2-hour drive.
First you will proceed Nijo Castle. Nijo Castle, a World Heritage Site, will be your next stop. Nijo Castle was built by leyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, in 1603. Leyasu built the castle as his Kyoto residence. Look at its Ninomaru Palace designated a National Treasure on account of its splendid architecture and magnificent interior decoration. The floorboards of corridors, called “bush warbler boards”, creak underfoot.
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.
After lunch, you will be transferred to Maizuru port (approximately a 2-hour drive) to embark aboard your ship.
– Cruise on board Le Soléal -
Disembarkation Day - Osaka/Paris
Day 1 – Osaka
Disembarkation. Meet and greet your local representative.
You will board the coach for a full day sightseeing tour of Osaka.
Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Osaka. You will start your exploration with an exterior 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.
You will then be taken to Umeda Sky Building, one of the higher buildings in Osaka. Two towers connected at the top by a platform, over 150 metres above the heart of Osaka. This platform, at the thirty fifth floor is the "floating garden"; a 360-degree view of the urban landscape and a walk in the open-air.
Enjoy a Japanese style lunch in the Dotonbori area, one of the symbols of Osaka used for making movies. After lunch, you will proceed to Sumiyoshi Taisha shrine. The entire Sumiyoshi Taisha, dating from the 3rd century and rebuilt from the 19th 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 end of the tour, you will visit Shitennoji Temple. Built in 593, Shitennoji Temple is believed to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan and though it has been rebuilt many times in its long history, excavations have shown the current layout to be very true to its original design. The temple's great southern gate (Nandaimon), central gate (Chumon), pagoda, main hall (Kondoh) and lecture hall (Kodo) are constructed in a straight line, a design layout called "Shitennoji Cathedral Style."
Check-in your room.
Dinner is on your own.
Day 2 – Osaka
Morning hotel check-out.
You will then be transferred to Kansai International Airport (a 1-hour transfer) in time for check-in of the PONANT selected flight
Located in Osaka (Kita), Imperial Osaka Hotel is located close to Kema Sakuranomiya Park and Osaka Castle. The guest rooms are comfortable and equipped with flat-screen TVs with cable channels and DVD players. The hotel features an indoor pool, a health club, and a sauna, as well as 4 restaurants.
Your programme includes:
- PONANT flight Paris/Osaka/Paris in economy class.
- 1-night accommodation in Standard room at Imperial Osaka Hotel 4* Sup (or similar) including 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 on disembarkation day.
- Tips for the driver and local guide.
- Personal expenses and other services not mentioned in the programme.
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. For more information, please contact our travel agents.
- This tour is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties and suffering of vertigo.
- The local currency is the yen. 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).
- 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.
- 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.)
Contact of your hotel:
Imperial Osaka Hotel
8-50, Temmabashi1-chome, Kita-ku,
Duration of the visits are given as a guide only. The order of the visits may be reversed. For the times of your PONANT flight, please contact your travel agent; they are also shown on your electronic ticket included in your travel documents.