Picture yourself enjoying a sushi dinner, the flavors melding in your mouth as you take your first bite. Imagine the total relaxation of a traditional Japanese bath, the steam rejuvenating your mind and body alike. Tempted yet? Then a cruise to Japan is just the thing for you. Whether it's your first trip to Japan or you're a repeat visitor, these cruises are a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the Asian culture before you arrive.
Embrace the Culture
Your opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture starts on day one with a Kagami Wari ceremony, during which the captain of your ship will break open a cask of sake (a rice wine) to welcome you aboard. You'll be invited to sample the sake that's inside and participate in a toast to bless the journey ahead.
Throughout your cruise to Asia you'll have the chance to embrace Japanese culture. You can attend daily seminars, led by expert lecturers from universities in Japan. The library and the displays in the ship's atrium also offer plenty of educational opportunities, or you can try your hand at quilling, paper flower making, or other crafts in one of the ship's many classes.
Savor the Cuisine
Japanese cuisine will be available throughout your cruise vacation. Each morning aboard your cruise ship, you'll be offered the chance to enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast of miso soup, grilled fish, and steamed rice, which is a staple of every Japanese meal. Hakumai, also known as sticky rice, is a white, short-grain rice; genmai is brown rice.
Your Japan cruise will also offer an Ã la carte sushi bar and sake tastings. A "Tea of the Day" program will allow you to sample teas from Japan and debate which is the most delicious.
Engage in the Customs
Japanese culture is rich with customs that, while influenced by China and other countries of the west, is undeniably unique. Sample some of Japan's most time-tested traditions while you wait to visit the country itself. The Japanese bath experience, also known as onsen, is part of a stress relief ritual in Japan.
You can experience authentic onsen on a cruise to Japan aboard the Diamond Princess. This cruise ship has the world's largest open-air Japanese bath, offering indoor and outdoor bathing areas. It is built to replicate a classic Japanese spa.
Indulge in Entertainment
While you're cruising, you'll also find no shortage of Japanese entertainment, such as the traditional Japanese storytelling technique rakugo. Rakugo is a one-person play that's all about humor, and the story continues the way a vaudeville act would. If you're seeking more interactive entertainment, take the stage and try karaoke — or, if you prefer a more laid-back approach, take in a Japanese movie under the stars.
On a Japan cruises, you'll be immersed in the culture even before the ship docks. And by the time you arrive, you will be ready to seek out more of the country's unique cultural experiences. Enjoy beauty you've never seen before, and come back new.