Heritage Expeditions, pioneers in authentic small ship expedition cruising, invite you to join them on the ultimate exploration of Japan’s wilderness, beyond its national parks and last frontier – Hokkaido. Translating in English to ‘Northern Sea Circuit’, Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost and least developed island, and a world away from the country’s more traditional and contemporary cities.

Bordered by the Sea of Japan, Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean, Hokkaido’s rugged landscape features a mountainous centre, complete with volcanic plateau, and is rightly famous for its volcanoes and hot springs. Among its multiple plains is Kushiro, the largest wetland in Japan and home of the Red-crowned Crane, one of the world’s largest and rarest cranes and iconic symbol of Japan where it is also known as the ‘bird of happiness’.

During our semi circumnavigation of this remarkable island we plan to explore to the outlying Rebun and Rishiri Islands, venture into national parklands, observe wildlife and experience traditional cultures and the swathes of colourful flowers Hokkaido is renowned for. Our voyage also includes a day in South Korea’s Ulsan visiting the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site Gyeongju – the ‘museum without walls’ among other highlights. We’ll also visit the incredible UNESCO registered Global Geopark Dogojima Island, world famous gardens, the serene lakes and forest of Juniko (12 Lakes) park, observe wildlife and discover the fascinating art of Japanese paper making on our visit to the historic town of Matsue with its impressive 17th Century castle.

We hope you can join us for this rare opportunity to join this voyage including Japan’s most enchanting isle as we explore the unspoiled nature, primeval wilderness, astounding rare wildlife, limpid lakes and alpine flowers during this unforgettable adventure.
Arrive at Japan’s famed neon-lit capital Tokyo, where traditionmeets ultramodern and towering skyscrapers sit alongside ancient temples, and transfer to your hotel where our group will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening meet your fellow voyagers and expedition guides over dinner at the hotel.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before travelling by Shinkansen, ‘bullet train’, to Kanazawa. This afternoon you will board your ship, settle into your cabin and familiarise yourself with Heritage Adventurer. We will also take the opportunity to introduce you to your expedition team and our voyage plans as we moor overnight.
Options today include exploring the historic mountain settlement and UNESECO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, high in the remote mountains of the Shogawa River Valley in Hakusan National Park. Take in the sights on mountain walks and experience the unique cultural traditions including the region’s iconic Gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old, designed to withstand the heavy snow in winter and provide a large attic space for cultivating silkworms. Alternatively explore the rich art centre of Kanazawa discovering some of the unique styles of Japanese art. Kanazawa is rightly famous for its Kutani-style pottery, exquisite lacquerware, gold-leaf workmanship, hand painted silk, and classical Noh dance-drama performed since the 14th Century. Wander winding cobblestone streets, elegant restaurants, craft galleries and visit the impressive Edo-period Kenrokuen Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, and explore the Omicho Market boasting everything from flowers, to crafts and food.
We set sail towards the port of Sakaiminato and the entry point to Matsue, known as ‘the town of water’ due to being situated between Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi. A highlight of our visit will be the Matsue Castle, a national treasure and one of Japan’s few largely intact 17th Century castles. Other options today may include exploring Daisen-Oki National Park, steeped in beauty and history it’s also the home of rare flora and fauna including the giant salamander, visiting the picturesque Yuushien Garden, the Adachi Museum of Art, learning about the art of Japanese paper making at the Yakumo-mura village, or perhaps you may wish to spend some time exploring the picturesque streets and local canals.
Relax on board as we sail south to Hagi, originally a minor fishing port but now famously known for its traditional pottery making, which you will have a chance to learn about. We will also have the opportunity to discover the Teramachi District with its temples and shrines, including the famed ‘Ninja Temple’, the Jokomachi District with its old Samurai houses, Hagi Castle ruins at Shizuki Park, and beautiful Zen Tokoji Temple.
Today we cross the Sea of Japan to Ulsan in South Korea where we plan to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gyeongju. The capital of the Shilla Dynasty and dating back to the first millennium, Gyeongju is known as ’the museum without walls’ and is full of ancient Korean history and Buddhist culture. Enjoy strolling through hundreds of excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, and experience Korean delicacies, cultural performances, and visit the National Museum with its gold jewellery, metal weapons, and distinctive pottery. Today provides a perfect taste of the best South Korea has to offer.
Picturesque and otherworldly, Dogojima Island is the largest of the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan and part of the Daisen-Oki National Park and a UNESCO registered Global Geopark. Accordingly it is home to some outstanding coastal and interior scenery to explore and experience. With its clear water beaches, bays, inlets and coves, impressive towering cliffs and rock formations eroded by the elements to the dense forests and steep mountains, including Mt Daimanji which rises more than 600-metres, and ancient sacred sites of its interior, today we discover a rarely visited corner of Japan.
At sea en route to Niigata, there is time to unwind after the adventures of Dogojima Island. Look for cetaceans and sea birds, join a lecture or catch up on your photos or journaling.
Today sees us visiting the bustling port town of Niigata, famous for snow, rice, sake, hot springs and the six-arched, granite-sided stone Bandai Bridge, designated as an Important Cultural Property in 2004, and one of the most scenic spots in the city. Highlights here include BandaiAsahi National Park, Japan’s second largest national park, combining stunning volcanic scenery and hot springs with lush forests, verdant highlands crisscrossed with walking trails and home to Asiatic black bears, squirrels, foxes, and migratory birds. Elsewhere Takada Castle Site Park, with it 3-storey castle from the Edo Period, offers panoramic views of the Takada Plain, while the 193 hectares of Fukushimagata Wetlands is home to endangered flora and fauna, including the rarely seen gigantic lotus Euryale Ferox, and listed on Japan’s 100 greatest natural environments.
Famous for its local beef, pork and chicken and rice soup known as Kiritanpo, tranquil Noshiro is a modern city flanked by nature with the Yoneshiro River winding through its heart. Gateway to the iconic Juniko (12 Lakes) park, this national treasure is actually a collection of 33 crystal clear ponds and lakes formed by an earthquake in 1704 and surrounded by ancient beech forest. Here we will have the option to explore the forested walks that lead to these serene blue holes including 10-metredeep Aoike (Blue Pond). Other options may include visiting stunning Lake Towada, a 2,000 year old double caldera 400 metres above sea level, and its surrounding forest in TowadaHachimantai National Park and Japan’s largest pine forest, Kaze no Matsubara, where more than 7 million trees were planted to prevent coastal erosion. Known as the ‘Wind of Matsubara’, in 1996 it was designated as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan.
Adventures abound at ShikotsuToya National Park, named after its famous twin caldera lakes. Another picturesque natural hot spot, the park’s spectacular scenery including its impressive lakes, hot springs and volcanic wonderland, are all easily accessible and offer multiple hiking and walking options. Activities here could include riding the cable car to the top of Mount Usu to take in the grand scale views over Lake Toya or visiting the geothermal spectacle of steaming vents and sulphurous streams at Jigokudani aka ‘Hell Valley’. This afternoon enjoy free time to explore Muroran at your leisure, visit the scenic cape and lighthouse or take in the city from above after a walk up Mount Sokuryo.
Major fishing port city Kushiro is rightly famous for Kushiro Shitsugen, Japan’s largest marshland and national park home to Japan’s sacred Redcrowned Cranes (tancho). Once thought to be extinct, a flock of 20 birds were discovered here in 1926; despite numbers now reaching almost 2,000 individuals, the cranes’ status remains endangered due to the shrinking of its wetland habitat. Exploring the marshland’s walking trails we hope to see the cranes in their natural habitat before visiting the Kushiro Crane Reserve to learn about its breeding programme and rehabilitation for sick and injured birds. This afternoon explore the architecturally striking Kushiro City Museum. Equally fascinating inside, discover Kushiro’s natural history and beauty of the indigenous Ainu culture.
This morning position yourself on the Observation Deck or in the Observation Lounge to enjoy views of the coastline and look for wildlife as we sail through the Nemuro Channel and around the Shiretoko Peninsula to Abashiri. This afternoon we plan to visit Lake Kussharo, a stunning tree-lined caldera lake, the largest in Akan Mashu National Park with a circumference of 57 kilometres. During our time here we also plan to visit Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park and its 10 hectares of flowering fields which turn vivid pink from May to early June during the park’s annual Shibazakura Festival.
Also known as Japan’s ‘island of flowers’, we plan to explore Rebun Island, a scenic isle off the northwest tip of Hokkaido and treasure trove of natural beauty. This tiny island is famous for its rich flora, including many alpine flowers not found anywhere else in the world which carpet the island from late April to mid-September. We plan to take advantage of several opportunities to explore the floral splendour along the coastline which also offers excellent views over the surrounding crystal clear waters, of Rishiri Volcano and the rugged beauty of Cape Gorota. This afternoon we will explore neighbouring Rishiri Island where the skyline is dominated by the dormant volcano of Mount Rishiri climbing to 1,721 metres. Our tour of the island may include walking around man-made Himenuma Pond listening to the birdlife and taking in majestic Mount Rishiri and surrounding flora reflected in the pond’s surface, and Kutsugata Cape Park where we hope to see Japan’s famed Black Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit exploring the forest walks. There will also be free time to venture into the town or visit the hot springs.
This morning we arrive in Otaru, a port city in Hokkaido known for glassworks, music boxes, sake distilleries and the picturesque Otaru Canal flanked with shops and cafes built within repurposed 1920s warehouses. After breakfast there will be a complimentary coach to a central hotel or to New Chitose/Sapporo Airport. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from Otaru, we do not recommend booking flights departing before 1300 hours. During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Please note: Voyages are planned and scheduled pending final regulatory approval.
Itineraries are subject to change.

MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS

$10,950 USD pp
MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
DECK 3 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Main Deck Triple Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, lounge area, writing desk, private en-suite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS

$11,250 USD pp
SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
DECK 5 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Superior Triple Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, lounge area, writing desk, private en-suite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4

$12,475 USD pp
SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Superior Cabins are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, lounge area, writing desk, private ensuite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5

$12,975 USD pp
SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Superior Cabins are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, lounge area, writing desk, private ensuite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS

$15,295 USD pp
MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
DECK 3 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Main Deck Single Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 in size and feature two porthole windows, king bed, lounge area, writing desk, private ensuite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS

$16,475 USD pp
SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
DECK 5 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Superior Single Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king bed, lounge area, writing desk, private en-suite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

WORSLEY SUITES

$17,495 USD pp
WORSLEY SUITES
DECK 6 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Located on Deck 6, Worsley Suites are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable chaisestyle lounge suite, writing desk, private en-suite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.

HERITAGE SUITES

$20,500 USD pp
HERITAGE SUITES
DECK 6 | SIZE: 44m2 (475.SqFt) Located on Deck 6, Heritage Suites are an expansive 44m2 and feature large double panoramic windows, king bed, large living area with a sofa, coffee table and chairs, large writing desk and grand marble bathroom with a double basin, bathtub and shower, floor to ceiling storage and a flat screen entertainment system

Additional charges:

Landing Fees: 500 USD pp

Heritage Adventurer

Vessel Type: Expedition Ship

Length: 124 metres

Passenger Capacity: 140

Built: 1991

Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship.

Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book.

Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold. 

The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port.

Dining Room  – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining.

Bistro  – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area.

The Bar and Lounge  – The social hub of  Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team.

The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby.

Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels.

Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring.

Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.

Cabin layout for Heritage Adventurer

Inclusions


• Voyage on board in selected cabin cateogy
• Pre/Post cruise transfers
• Experienced expedition leader and team
• All meals while on board
• All expedition shore excusions

Exclusions


• International and Domestic flights, both commercial and charter
• Travel insurance
• Passport and visa costs if applicable
• Beverages on board
• Gratuities
• Any items of a personal nature including laundry
16 Days from
$10,950 USD pp

Highlights

• Tokyo & Kanazawa

• Matsue

• Ulsan, South Korea

• Dogojima Island

• Noshiro & Muroran

• Kushiro & Abashiri

or call us on

NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

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