Japan is a study in contrasts: tranquil retreats of profound beauty lay just outside cities where skyscrapers soar over stunning temples and shrines. Neon-bright architecture and pink cherry blossoms vie for attention amid the colorful Harajuku district and traditional kimonos. As the No. 1 North American cruise line in Japan with the “Best Asia Itineraries,”† you can be assured that Princess® will be your guide to the colors, cultures and flavors that define this exciting country.
Experience Japanese culture with an adventure in Tokyo that celebrates tea, the art of calligraphy, and the essence of the Japanese spirit. Get off the beaten path and discover Taketomi Island, the site of a beautifully preserved, traditional Ryukyu village just off the shore of Ishigaki. In Kochi, don a helmet and headlamp and explore the cavernous natural wonder known as the Ryugado Cave, a National Natural Monument. Stroll through a 17th-century garden and survey 700 years of history at a museum devoted to Satsuma’s Shimazu clan in Kagoshima.
Embark on a magical tour of the Shiretoko Peninsula with Princess that leads you through the wilds of Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido, where a variety of whales make their home and the verdant coastline is nothing short of spectacular that it was named a Cruise Wonder of the World by Condé Nast Traveler.
Delight in a traditional Bunraku puppet show, recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, in Osaka. Grab a wicker basket and head to the fields for a hands-on tea-picking adventure in the countryside of Shimizu. Discover the health benefits and social atmosphere of an “onsen” hot spring bath in Aomori. Tour Kagoshima’s shochu factory and learn how grains and vegetables create one of Japan’s spirited elixirs.
Photo: Ashiyu Foot Bath at Japanese Hot Springs in Tokyo
Natural wonders & landscapes
Be dazzled by the panoramic views of Japan's iconic Mount Fuji, an active volcano and the most popular tourist site in the country. Admire the spectacular views of Akita’s Oga peninsula, home of Godzilla Rock and mythical creatures called “Namahage.” Take in the sheer magnificence of Shiretoko Peninsula, an acclaimed Condé Nast Traveler 7 Cruise Wonders of the World – it may just leave you breathless.
Photo: Mount Fuji
Learn the ways of samurai warriors with a visit to Nagoya’s medieval castle. Enjoy an authentic “yakiniku” lunch in Sakaiminato. Observe as skilled artisans use native Tochigi bark, iron-rich mud and their own unique vision to create delicate pieces of pongee silk in Amami Oshima. Japan is a land of festivals, and on select sailings you can experience the mesmerizing spectacle known as the Awa Odori Dance Festival in Tokushima or get an up-close look at the exquisite parade floats used in Aomori’s annual Nebuta festival.
Photo: Nebuta Festival in Aomori
The journey is as extraordinary as the destination when you travel to Japan with Princess® – awarded "Best Cruise Line in Asia." From the time you step on board, you’ll be surrounded by a wide variety of Japanese sights, sounds and flavors. Delight in the 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling known as “rakugo.” Join in an evening of karaoke and watch folkloric dancers bring Japanese culture to life. Watch Japanese-inspired films with Movies Under the Stars®. Indulge in delicious regional dishes from the Noodle Bar or freshly prepared sushi. Sample spirited drinks such as fine Japanese whiskeys, sake and shochu.†
Photo: Japanese singers entertain on board
†Available on select itineraries.
LANDMARKS & CULTURAL MASTERPIECES
Explore Kochi Castle, a designated Japanese National Treasure, and the only castle in the country with its original wooded interior, castle tower, and impressive entrance still intact. Step into Japan’s ancient past with a tour of Aomori’s Sannai-Maruyama ruins, which date back 5,500 years and are designated a Special National Historical Site. Get a bird’s-eye view of Tokyo and Mount Fuji from the special observatory atop Tokyo Tower. Wander through the narrow, winding streets of Kanazawa’s samurai district known as Nagamachi Samurai House Row, which sits at the foot of Kanazawa Castle.
Photo: Otori Gate in Hiroshima
Art & Museums
Admire the delicate work of 19th century “ukiyo-e,” traditional woodblock prints, with a tour of Shimizu’s Tokaido Hiroshige Art Museum. Continue your artistic journey as modern bronze statues depicting the spirit monsters known as “yokai,” greet you along the streets of Sakaiminato. Chill and thrill at the sight of sea ice with a visit to Abashiri’s Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum (Ice Flow Museum).
Photo: Traditional Japanese ‘ukiyo-e’ woodblock painting
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Take a scenic cruise into the remote wilderness of Abashiri’s Shiretoko Coast. Explore the historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama outside Toyama, well known for an intriguing architectural style called “gasso-zukuri” or “prayer-hand” construction. Behold the stunning beauty of Kyoto, home of 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 400 shrines and over 1,600 Buddhist temples, including the Golden Pavilion, which boasts two floors completely covered in gold leaf.
Photo: The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan
Extend your adventure and pair your voyage with a tour in the land of the Rising Sun. Cruise to Honshu, the main island of Japan, for a captivating “Highlights of Japan” tour that features the historic buildings of Kyoto and Tokyo, and the world-famous Mount Fuji. Or explore the unique spirituality of Buddhism with the “Temples & Traditions” tour in the UNESCO cities of Kyoto and Kanazawa.
CONVENIENT TRANSFER OPTIONS FROM YOUR AIRPLANE TO THE SHIP
We want to make your cruise as smooth as possible so you can relax, and explore the world. That's why we offer Princess airport-to-ship transfers, a secure and worry-free way to start and end your vacation with reliable and courteous Princess staff transporting you and your luggage via comfortable motorcoach.