Day-By-Day

Our itinerary is crafted to offer a balanced & in-depth experience


The Coastal Japan itinerary offers an in-depth exploration of historic sites and a look into Japanese cultures and traditions. Flexibility is a hallmark of Lindblad-National Geographic expeditions, so our day-to-day itinerary may change as we choose to take advantage of a unique opportunity or photographers decide to linger in a village through the golden hour of light.

Current

  • DAY 1-2: U.S./Tokyo, Japan

    Depart on an overnight flight to Tokyo and transfer to our hotel, located steps from the lively Ginza district. (D)

  • DAY 3: Tokyo

    Enjoy a full day to get to know this vibrant city, the capital of Japan since the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Visit Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji, who brought an end to Japan’s long feudal period. Visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum, then meander through the historic Asakusa neighborhood around Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji. Gather tonight for a welcome dinner. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 4: Tokyo/Niigata

    Zip north on Japan’s famous bullet train to Niigata, a port city on Honshu’s northwestern coast where the National Geographic Orion awaits. Settle into your cabin as we take to the Sea of Japan. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 5: Kanazawa

    Step into Old Japan in Kanazawa, once a powerful city ruled by the Maeda clan. Stroll past the lovely wooden homes of the samurai in the Naga-machi district, where the streets are intentionally narrow and winding to confuse enemies. Then explore the geisha and teahouse district of Higashi Chaya Machi. Next, wander the pathways of Kenroku-en, one of Japan’s designated “three best landscape gardens,” established in 1676 by the Maeda family and developed over 150 years. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 6: Matsue

    Follow the coast west to Matsue, situated between a lake, a lagoon, and the sea. Tour the 17th-century Matsue Castle built as a defensive fortress, and discover its clever design elements intended to foil the enemy. Continue to the Adachi Museum of Art, which blends an impressive collection of 20th-century Japanese art with a gem-like traditional garden. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 7: Hagi

    In the castle town of Hagi, known for its fine ceramic arts, tour the historic district, once home to wealthy merchants and samurai. Stroll past serene rows of stone lanterns at the town’s two Zen Buddhist temples, where the feudal lords of the powerful Mori clan were laid to rest. This afternoon, we chart our course for the Korean Peninsula. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 8: Ulsan, South Korea/Gyeongju

    Dock in Ulsan, and travel to Gyeongju, the ancient capital of the Silla kingdom and the crown jewel of Korea’s cultural heritage. Packed with the ruins of temples, pagodas, and palaces dating back more than a thousand years, the historic areas of the city have been collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit Bulguksa Temple, a masterpiece of Silla architecture originally built in 528 A.D. At the Gyeongju National Museum, examine jewelry, weapons, and other Silla artifacts. See Cheomseongdae, a seventh-century observatory, and wander among towering royal burial mounds. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 9: Nagasaki, Japan

    Long before World War II, Nagasaki was a cosmopolitan trading center, drawing merchants from Europe and China to its picturesque harbor as early as the 1500s. Visit Oura Cathedral, the oldest Christian church in Japan, and venture into Sofukuji, a 400-year-old Ming-style Zen Buddhist temple. Visit Nagasaki Peace Park, where a poignant exhibition illustrates the aftermath of the atomic bomb drop on the city, and see the somber monument erected at ground zero. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 10: Kagoshima

    At the southern end of Kyushu, the city of Kagoshima sits just across the bay from the active volcano Sakurajima. Take a walk in Sengan-en Garden, designed by the city’s ruling Shimadzu clan in 1658 to incorporate the bay and its simmering volcano. After lunch, travel along the Satsuma Peninsula to the village of Chiran, where the samurai designed gardens inspired by their travels. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 11: Yakushima Island

    The diverse ecology of Yakushima Island, including a subtropical coast and temperate rainforest in the interior, has earned this island World Heritage status. On a hike, discover the island’s ancient yakusugi cedar trees, many of which date back more than a thousand years. Our ship turns north toward the island of Shikoku this evening. (B,L,D)

Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

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