Set sail from Tokyo for this comprehensive exploration of Japan which is a marvellous balance of ancient castles, serenely beautiful gardens, opulent temples and shrines combined with beautiful natural landscapes. Like all wellplanned itineraries we have included some of the best known highlights, but equally will also take you to some places where relatively few foreign tourists set foot. The Heritage Adventurer allows us to visit out of the way islands and remote stretches of coast which would not be practical on a regular land tour. It is in such places that we find timeless villages, rural landscapes and a rich cultural heritage.

Over the course of just eleven nights we will be able to see a variety of cultures, natural wonders and architectural styles. Amongst the many highlights will be our visit to Kyoto including the breathtaking Golden Pavilion, and the iconic gardens of Ritsurin and Koraku-en where we hope to see the cherry blossoms. We will also discover the shrines and pagodas of Miyajima and the 17th century Matsue Castle, one of only a dozen original castles in Japan. For the natural world enthusiasts we will visit the Mount Fuji National Park and see the ancient pilgrimage trails at Kumano and, for those who prefer a historical perspective, we will visit the Peace Memorial at Hiroshima and South Korea’s World Heritage Site of Gyeongju with its abundance of archaeological sites. All this will be achieved with great ease sailing aboard the Heritage Adventurer and we will be joined on board by our expert Guest Speaker and excellent local guides who will provide an insight into the fascinating culture and history along the way.
Fly by scheduled flight.
Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the Heritage Adventurer moored in Yokohama. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail this evening.
With a commanding view of Mount Fuji, the Port of Shimizu is considered one of the most beautiful harbours in Japan. Our day will be spent at the Mount Fuji World Heritage Centre where we will see exhibits revealing how the mountain formed and the way humans have interacted with it through the ages before enjoying the views from the observation deck. See the Fujisan Sengen shrine, originally built over 1,000 years ago to worship the spirits of Mount Fuji and to provide spiritual offerings to reduce the number of volcanic eruptions. We will also see the Shiraito Falls within the Mount Fuji National Park where a 150 metre wide cascade of the volcano’s spring water falls over a 20 metre cliff.
From our berth in Shingu we explore the southern part of the Kii Peninsula, known since ancient times as Kumano, which was famous as a hiding place for gods and spirits of the departed. Since then, people have come to worship at the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano and the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Today we will visit the Hongu Taisha, located in the centre of the pilgrimage routes it serves as the head shrine of over 3000 Kumana shrines across Japan. It is also home to the tallest torii gate in the world. Hayatama Taisha is believed to be the site where according to Shinto creation myth, three deities arrived in Japan. Those feeling active may wish to visit Nachi Taisha, which sits alongside the 6th century Buddhist temple Seigantoji, before ending at the Nachi no Taki waterfall which at 133 metres is the tallest single tiered waterfall in Japan. We also hope to walk some of the forested pilgrimage trails.
Arrive this morning in Takamatsu, located on Shikoku Island on the northern shores of the Seto Inland Sea. This morning we 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 to explore Takamatsu.
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 lunch in a local restaurant we will continue to Kurashiki where we explore the old merchant quarter and its fine 17th century wooden warehouses. There will also be the opportunity 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.
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 victim’s personal effects relating to the bomb. Over lunch we sail to Miyajima. Considered one of Japan’s top scenic wonders, Miyajima 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 here and explore the Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, founded in the 6th century and dedicated to three sea goddesses.
Spend a relaxing morning at sea as we sail to Hagi. Hagi 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 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 for our visit to 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.
From our berth in Maizuru we drive inland to Kyoto, Japan’s former historic capital and Emperor’s home for nearly 1000 years. Our visit will include the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was built as a retirement villa for the Shogun and converted to a Buddhist Temple after his death, and Ryoanji Temple, the site of one of Japan’s famous rock gardens.
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 and Noh theatre dramas. The narrow and winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm with 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 and 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 explore further at your own pace.
After breakfast in the hotel we transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Itineraries are subject to change.

Category 6

£8,395 GBP pp
Deluxe Twin/Double Cabin with Portholes for sole occupancy

Category 1

£8,395 GBP pp
Deluxe Twin/Double Cabin with Portholes

Category 2

£8,695 GBP pp
Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Windows

Category 3

£8,995 GBP pp
Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Windows

Category 7

£9,695 GBP pp
Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Window for sole occupancy

Category 8

£9,995 GBP pp
Superior Twin/Double Cabin with Panoramic Window for sole occupancy

Category 4

£9,995 GBP pp
Worsley Suite with Panoramic Windows

Category 5

£10,495 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
£8,395 GBP pp


• Mount Fuji

• Kumano & Takamatsu

• Hiroshima & Miyajima

• Ulsan, South Korea

• Maizuru & Kanazawa

or call us on

NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

Get Our Latest Brochure

Featuring the latest small ship cruises to a number of destinations, our Small Ship Cruising brochure is carefully curated to include small ship cruises from expeditions to luxury cruises to the world's most fascinating destinations including Alaska, Croatia, the Galapagos and the Antarctic and Arctic.

Our Associates Include

Adventure Canada
Heritage Expeditions New Zealand
Lindblad Expeditions
Noble Caledonia
UnCruise Adventures
Variety Cruises