From Modern Tokyo to Cultural Kanazawa, Experience the Essence of Japan on a Small Ship Cruise

No words can adequately sum up Japan. A dizzying fusion of modernity and an almost sacred appreciation of heritage, Japan is an eloquent expression of past and future. Neon city jungles are commonplace; Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama and Kobe all tip the scales in terms of population but scratch the surface and you’ll find peace and tranquillity on every street corner. Nature too is placed at the forefront of culture; without mentioning the famous Sakura season, the country’s snow-capped soaring peaks and sun-drenched beaches are startling in their diversity, stunning in their beauty. 

Highlights of a small ship cruise to Japan usually include:

• Tokyo. Dense and delightful, there’s nowhere else like Japan’s kinetic capital - a city where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with a relentless pursuit for the future’s sharpest edge. See the city from above, as elevators rocket you up to towering viewing platforms, from which you can survey a vast urban ocean, interspersed with sky-scraping needles. Look out as far as the distant loom of Mount Fuji’s cone on clear days.

• Osaka. Japan’s third-biggest city has thrown off its shackles and stepped out of the shadows to light up the sky with glaring neon signs and a larger than life outlook. Giant octopuses cling to buildings and bustling restaurants pack in the crowds in this great and garish place, which is Japan at its most friendly, extroverted and flavourful. So dive in headfirst to experience an all-out sensory assault of delicious food, shopping cathedrals and glittering temples. 

• Hiroshima. History buffs will want to write home Hiroshima. Despite being devastated in 1945, this Japanese city is known to all for its commitment peace – its ruin on the 6th August 1945 led to the end of the war and today, the Peace Memorial (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) , is a constant reminder of the destruction that war brings. A walk in the leafy boulevards of Peace Memorial Park brings quiet contemplation. 

• Hokkaido. Gaze down over Hakodate, from the heights of its namesake peak - Mount Hakodate - to see the city stretching out spectacularly, with back-to-back twin bays splitting the ocean. Hakodate port was one of the first to open Japan up to the world, and to international trade in 1859 - a fact reflected in the architecture, with its influences from the West and beyond. The port area is a redbrick wash of warehouses turned shopping malls, all observed by the onion domes of the city's Russian Orthodox church. 

• Kobe. Located on the calm waters of the Inland Sea, Kobe has served as an important port town for hundreds of years. It was one of the first harbours to accept foreign traders in 1868 when Japan was just emerging from its centuries of isolation. What followed was a surge of Western trade and exports. Today, Kobe is quite multicultural, with expatriates from 98 different nations in residence, providing a cultural diversity most easily visible in restaurants serving every kind of cuisine, including the now world famous Kobe beef. 

• Shimizu. Feel your heart thumping, at your first sight of Japan’s most heavenly vision - Mount Fuji’s cone emerging through the haze. With its summit dipped in pure white snow, the iconic volcano’s cone is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the world - and a picturesque backdrop for Shimizu. 

If you’re after a small ship cruise or an expedition ship cruise to Japan Wild Earth Travel can help you find a trip of a lifetime. We are ready to guide you through our range of different options with impartial advice so you can experience the very best of this unique destination. Our team are all passionate expedition & small cruise ship travellers and our knowledge and stories come from our own personal experiences.

Our Associates Include

Adventure Canada
Heritage Expeditions New Zealand
UnCruise Adventures