What It's Like/What You'll Do

How you’ll spend your time & reward your curiosity

Our very first foray into Japan promises a wealth of exceptional experiences. This iconic island nation holds fast to age-old traditions while embracing today’s cutting-edge technologies. As we sail through 400+ years of history—from the influential Edo period and the Meiji era to WWII and beyond—you’ll forge a deeper understanding of how these two worlds thrive in harmony.


Contrast the brightly lit metropolis of Tokyo with the narrow, winding streets of Kanazawa’s well-preserved samurai districts. Discover fascinating tales of feudal lords while visiting their castles, shrines, and gardens. Soak up an astounding range of art from celebrated Hagi yaki pottery to unique ukiyo-e woodblock prints to Yayoi Kusama’s polka-dotted pumpkins. And see firsthand how the Japanese have elevated everyday rituals—tea, sake, kimonos, sushi, floral arranging—into spectacular art forms. Plus, on a detour to South Korea explore the ancient ruins of Gyeongiu, a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Only 400 of Japan’s nearly 7,000 islands are inhabited. Our explorations also take us beyond the populous borders of Honshu into wilder realms. Step ashore on an island of ancient cedar trees, some more than 1,000 years old. Spot birds, deer, and macaques in lush forests that conjure up the otherworldly anime of Hayao Miyazaki. Or paddleboard and snorkel through crystal waters that are home to sea turtles, manta rays, and the elusive Okinawa dugong. In Taiwan’s Yehliu Geopark, witness incredible hoodoo spires.


With the state-of-the-art National Geographic Orion as your base, plus the company of cultural specialists, historians, and the best expedition team in the business, this is an incomparable way to discover a truly inspiring part of the planet.

  • Go with a team of top naturalists, historians, and local guides who illuminate all you see
  • Zodiac cruise, kayak, hike, and actively explore: there’s nothing passive about our expedition style
  • Capture epic photos that tell the story of your voyage with help from a National Geographic photographer
  • Explore Japan’s undersea through an ROV and an undersea specialist who dives to capture video of this seldom-seen world
  • Savor time aboard the ship: gather for nightly Recap; relax with a spa treatment or a book in the lounge; visit the Bridge; or stand on deck watching scenic landscapes roll by

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