Join us for this unusual voyage which combines some of Japan’s best known highlights with visits to some of the lesser known islands and ports of southern Japan and a day spent in South Korea’s World Heritage Site of Gyeongju. So many of Japan’s treasures are accessible from the coast and our eleven night cruise will take us to some of the most magnificent.

Sailing south from Kobe we visit some intriguing places including Shikoku Island where a slower pace of life is enjoyed and Yakushima Island which is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s mega cities with its towering mountains and ancient forest. Here we can enjoy nature at its best with walks to appreciate the diverse fauna including the impressive old cedars. Amongst the many cultural highlights will be the iconic gardens of Ritsurin and Koraku-en, the shrines and pagodas at Miyajima and our visits to the serene castle town of Matsue and the ancient feudal town of Hagi.

For those who favour a historical perspective, we will see the Peace Memorial at Hiroshima, the abundant archaeological sites of Gyeongju revealing ancient Korean history and visit Nagasaki where we will gain further insight into its World War II history as well as its role in international trade during the isolation period.

Our comprehensive itinerary is a wonderful mix of culture, history and the natural world which will be achieved with ease from aboard the Heritage Explorer. We will discover the many facets of Japan in the company of a small group of fellow like-minded passengers, and our Guest Speaker and Japanese guides who will travel with us will bring to life all that we see and experience.
Fly by scheduled indirect flight.
Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the Heritage Adventurer. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail tonight.
This morning we arrive in Takamatsu, located on Shikoku Island on the northern shores of the Seto Inland Sea. From here we will visit the small town of Kinashi which has a rich history of producing bonsai for 250 years. We will explore the town, visit a Bonsai nursery and make our way to Ritsurin Garden, recognised as one of the most beautiful in Japan and built by feudal lords in the early Edo period. With a backdrop against the wooded Mount Shiun, we will wander along the paths of this historic landscape garden dotted with ponds, historic trees and pavilions. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure exploring Takamatsu town.
From the port of Uno-Ko we will visit one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en, which translates as ‘Garden of pleasure after’. This 17th century formal garden has 28 acres of walking trails, ponds, plum and cherry trees. After a Japanese lunch in a local restaurant we will continue to Kurashiki where we explore the old merchant quarter and its fine 17th century wooden warehouses painted white with traditional black tiles, along a canal framed with weeping willows and filled with koi. There is also a chance to visit the Ohara Museum of Art which includes rare works by Matisse, Picasso and Renoir as well as collections from Japan’s mingei movement including ceramics by Hamada Shoji.
Arrive this morning in Hiroshima for our visit to the compelling Peace Memorial Park. The park is dotted with memorials, including the Cenotaph which contains the names of all the known victims of the A-bomb and the permanently lit “Flame of Peace”. Just outside the park, the A-Bomb Dome is a haunting reminder of the destructive forces that were unleashed on the city being one of the few original buildings to survive. In the museum we will see photos, videos and victims’ personal effects relating to the bomb. Over lunch we sail to Miyajima which is considered one of Japan’s top scenic wonders and provides a picture postcard vista of the scarlet Torii gate, the giant camphor wood gates at the entrance to the Shinto Shrine. We will use our Zodiacs to go ashore this afternoon and explore the Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, founded in the 6th century and dedicated to three sea goddesses.
This morning we land on Shikoku Island and the port of Uwajima situated deep inside the saw-toothed coast of Uwajima Bay. The city of Uwajima is emerging as the nation’s largest pearl cultivation centre and we will learn about the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. We will also see Uwajima Castle which is built on top of the hill with panoramic views over the town and harbour and the Tensha-en Garden, built in the Samurai era. The afternoon is free to explore at your own pace. Maybe make your way to the Date Museum which exhibits items dedicated to the Date family, who ruled Uwajima from the castle for 250 years during the Tokugawa period.
During our morning at sea we sail to the very south of Kyushu and the island of Yakushima which became Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 and has a particularly diverse flora. We will spend the afternoon on a choice of nature walks in Yakusugi Land, a nature park populated by a number of the island’s ancient cedar trees, such as the Buddha Sugi, Futago Sugi and Sennen Sugi, which are over 3000 years old.
Arrive this morning in Nagasaki, the second city destroyed by an A-bomb in World War II. We will tour the Peace Memorial Park, Atomic Bomb Museum and Dejima Island which was built during the Edo period to accommodate Portuguese Christian missionaries and prevent the propagation of their religion. It was also the residential quarters of the Dutch, the only foreigners allowed to trade in Japan during the Sakoku (isolation) period. For 200 years, until Japan reopened the country in the 19th century, Dejima was its only window to the world. With the reopening of the port to Westerners in the latter half of the 19th century, Nagasaki flowered as a prosperous and sophisticated international city. Suitable housing was required for the sudden influx of foreigners who made their homes here and many of the stone and clapboard residences that were built during this period survive today and are preserved in Glover Garden which we will visit this afternoon. The best known European-style residence here is Glover House, which built in 1863, was the setting for Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly.
Spend a relaxing morning at sea as we sail to Hagi which was a minor fishing port until Mori Terumoto fortified it in 1604 and it was Mori Samurai that helped spark off the anti- Tokugawa revolt in the mid-19th century. Today it is better known for its traditional pottery making. This afternoon we will explore the Teramachi District with its temples and shrines, the Jokamachi District, where we find the old samurai houses and also take time to explore Hagi Castle, Shizuki Park and Tokoji Temple.
Crossing over to South Korea we embark on a full day excursion to magnificent Gyeongju, a World Heritage Site, which is often described as the world’s finest open-air museum embracing ancient Korean history and Buddhist culture. As the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty, Gyeongju’s cultural heritage dates back to the first millennium. Today, as we stroll through some of the hundreds of excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, there will be time to explore the National Museum with its exceptional collection of finely worked gold jewellery, metal weapons and distinctive pottery. At lunch time, we will sample Korean delicacies and enjoy a cultural performance of traditional dance.
Spend a leisurely morning at sea as we return to Japan and the port of Sakaiminato. This afternoon there will be a choice of excursions. You may choose to visit Matsue, the ‘town of water,’ which nestles between a scenic lake and a large lagoon. We will visit the cultural attractions of the town including the 17th century Matsue Castle before enjoying a boat ride along the local canals. Alternatively visit the Adachi Museum of Art which is set in a beautiful natural environment and well known for both its superb Japanese gardens and its collection of contemporary Japanese paintings, comprising approximately 1500 of the country’s most highly regarded paintings produced after the Meiji period.
Kanazawa is a thriving centre of the arts, long known for its lacquerware, outstanding collectable pottery of the Kutani style, gold-leaf workmanship, delicate hand painting of silk for kimonos and Noh theatre dramas. The narrow and winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm with old fashioned streetlamps and wooden lattice windows hiding elegant restaurants and craft galleries. Around each bend is a traditional house, museum, art gallery, craft shop, historic samurai residence and even a geisha house to explore. The fascinating open-air market displays a vast variety of items from flowers to fish and local handicrafts. Next to the Kanazawa Castle ruins is one of Japan’s premier highlights, the famed Kenroku-en Garden, ranked among the country’s top three gardens.
Disembark this morning and take the bullet train to Tokyo. On arrival we enjoy an afternoon city tour including the Meiji Shrine and Sensoji Temple before we transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. The evening is free to relax or explore further independently.
Check out after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Itineraries are subject to change.

Category 6

£8,995 GBP pp
Deluxe Twin/Double Cabin with Portholes for sole occupancy

Category 1

£8,995 GBP pp
Deluxe Twin/Double Cabin with Portholes

Category 2

£9,295 GBP pp
Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Windows

Category 3

£9,595 GBP pp
Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Windows

Category 7

£10,295 GBP pp
Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Window for sole occupancy

Category 4

£10,595 GBP pp
Worsley Suite with Panoramic Windows

Category 8

£10,595 GBP pp
Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Window for sole occupancy

Category 5

£10,995 GBP pp
Heritage Suites with Double Panoramic Windows

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


• Voyage on board in selected cabin category
• House wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board
• Expedition team
• Shore excursions as per the itinerary (Note: Some itineraries have optional excursions as per the specific exclusions)
• Gratuities
• Port Charges/ Taxes
• Transfers as per the itinerary (Note: Transfers are offered in conjunction with group flights only when booked together, both can be taken off if included in the itinerary and credited)


• Passport and Visa costs where applicable
• Travel insurance
• Beverages other than those listed in inclusions
• Meals when not on board the ship unless otherwise stated
• Pre and post voyage accommodation unless otherwise stated
• Optional excursions as per specific itinerary
• Any items of a personal nature
14 Days from
£8,995 GBP pp


• Takamatsu

• Koraku-en & Kurashiki

• Hiroshima & Miyajima

• Nagasaki & Dejima

• Ulsan, South Korea

• Kanazawa

or call us on

NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

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