Japan is a country pulled in two radically different directions. It deeply honors its past but rushes headlong into the future. Hyper-modernity exists side by side with the quiet serenity of ancient shrines and gardens. On this voyage we discover both of these aspects. The traditional aesthetic is evident everywhere in the architecture and adornments of the Buddhist and Shinto shrines we visit throughout our journey, in a traditional tea ceremony, and in our private audience with the Abbot of Kofukuji Temple in Nagasaki. The modernist impulse is evident in the architecture of the cities through which we travel and also represented in the arts on display in the Adachi Museum in Sakaiminato, in the Pusan Museum of Art, and in the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki. Sampling Japanese food and drink; experiencing traditions of music and dance; witnessing the practice of religion; viewing art both ancient and modern; walking through modern cities and admiring ancient shrines – these are the elements of our immersion in the culture of Japan.
May 30, 2020
You will be met at your airport in Osaka and transferred to the port to embark Le Soleal.
Embarkation from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure at 22H00 .
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
May 31, 2020 – TAMANO
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.
June 1, 2020 – HIROSHIMA
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.
At the heart of the Inland Sea, Miyajima, the “island sanctuary” will reveal its treasures. In the background you will see the Shinto Grand Sanctuary, whose entrance is guarded by a magnificent vermillion “Torii“. Considered to be one of the most beautiful sites in the Japanese islands, you will be transported by the unique character and the serenity of this sacred site.
June 2, 2020 – UWAJIMA
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.
June 3, 2020 – KAGOSHIMA
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ﾒ 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.
June 4, 2020 – NAGASAKI
Today we have the extraordinary privilege of being guests of the Abbot at Kofukuji Temple in the heart of Nagasaki. Kofukuji is the oldest and one of the most important Chinese-founded Temples in the city and the birthplace of the Obaku school of Zen Buddhism in Japan. We will be greeted by the Abbot and guided through the temple. The Abbot will perform a service and there will be music followed by a reception featuring Zen cooking. Please note that these arrangements are exclusive to our program and not available anywhere else.
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 as well as 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.
June 5, 2020 – BUSAN
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.
June 6, 2020 – SAKAIMINATO
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.
June 7, 2020 - MAIZURU
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 will allow you to appreciate the splendour of this inlet scattered with tiny wild islands. You 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.
After disembarkation, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home or continue on to your post departure tour.