The modern and imperial capitals of Japan – Tokyo and Kyoto – will feature in a week's immersion in Japanese culture and history as part of a new, 17-night land and sea tour next June that also includes a circumnavigation of the northern island of Hokkaido.
Hosted by Cruise Express, this exclusive fly, tour and cruise package caters to the growing demand in Australia for holidays to Japan. The tour showcases the many faces of Japan from its ancient and glorious castles, temples and gardens to the frenetic, neon-lit streets of Tokyo and the 320km/h bullet trains that dash past the spiritual peak of Mt Fuji.
Departing Australia on June 17, 2016, the all-inclusive 'Jewels of Japan' itinerary begins with three nights in Tokyo - the world's most populous city, with 38 million people. Each day, guests will join tours of Tokyo's famous and ornate palaces, bustling markets and lush gardens. A trip to the base of Mt Fuji, a cruise on Lake Ashi at the foot of the iconic peak and a spectacular cable car ride on the Hakone Ropeway over the volcanic vents and hot springs of Owakudani Boiling Valley are also included.
A bullet train ride to Kyoto - Japan's traditional heart – follows, with a three-night stay in the old capital. Sightseeing from Kyoto includes exotic temples, shrines and rock gardens as well as a traditional Japanese tea ceremony experience and samples of Japanese cuisine at local restaurants.
Return to Tokyo by bullet train and transfer to the port of Yokohama to embark on Princess Cruises ship, Diamond Princess, which was built in Japan and underwent a $30 million refit last year. The 2670-passenger ship now boasts a large sushi bar and the biggest Japanese bathhouse at sea.
A nine-night, round-trip sailing from Tokyo will take passengers to three ports on the island of Hokkaido - Kushiro, Otaru and Hakodate. A scenic cruise along the fjords of the World Heritage-listed Shiretoko Peninsula will reveal an island of lush conifer forests, huge volcanoes, quaint fishing ports and wildlife which could include bears, deer and the graceful Japanese crane birds.
Diamond Princess will also visit Aomori on the northern tip of the main Japanese island of Honshu and the former military post of Korsakov in nearby Russia. A farewell lunch and more sightseeing complete the itinerary before the flight back to Australia.
Including return flights from Australia, six night land tour with 13 meals and the nine-night cruise, the 'Jewels of Japan' package is available from $6990 per person, twin-share, or $9690 for solo travellers.
Call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au.