Great Torii Gate, Miyajima
A boy walks out into the waters of Hiroshima Bay towards the Great Torii Gate which marks the entrance to the 12th-century Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here in the serene island of Miyajima, the gate creates the spectacular illusion that it's floating when the tide is high.
Bikan Historical Quarter, Kurakishi
Small boats drift along the picturesque canal that runs through the Bikan Historical Quarter of Kurashiki. The district is known for its white-walled kominka (traditional houses), eateries, tiny craft shops, and the Ohashi house, an 18th-century merchant's home that sheds light on the architectural design and lifestyles of the era.
The Storied Landscape Gardens of Japan
Gardens like Ritsurin in Takamatsu (left and bottom right) and Kokoen in Hemiji (top right) are a reflection of Japan’s deep appreciation for landscape art. Each one distinctly combines the history of the nation’s different ruling periods, unique artistic expression, and respect for endemic flora and fauna.
A guest paused to photograph the lush scenery on Yakushima Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the inspiration for several iconic anime films from Studio Ghibli. Yakushima is also known for its ancient cedar trees, including one estimated to be 2,000-7,200 years old.
Himeji Castle, Himeji
The stunning 17th-century Himeji Castle, another UNESCO World Heritage site, was built as a defense mechanism during Japan's Shogunate era. It’s also known as the “White Heron Castle,” a nod to its eye-catching white plastered exterior which covers its famed wooden frame.
Omicho Market, Kanazawa
Chefs from the National Geographic Resolution selected local produce at Omicho Market in Kanazawa, the city’s largest fresh food market which dates back to the mid-1700s. Back aboard the ship, they incorporated these ingredients to create a unique culinary experience for the night’s dinner.
Kenroku-en Garden, Kanazawa
Photo ops abound on this voyage and certified photo instructor David Cothran was at the ready to offer expert tips and advice. Here, he helped a guest capture the celebrated beauty of the Kenroku-en garden in Kanazawa, Ishikawa.
Ukicho-za Kabuki Theater, Ukicho
Built in 1916 during the Taisho era in the center of Ukicho, Uwajima, Uchiko-za is a multi-story kabuki theater that today continues to hold performances. It features an elaborate system of trap doors and hidden passageways, including the basement where performers are lifted up on stage by four strong men.
Traditional Pottery in Hagi
The town of Hagi, Yamaguchi is known for Hagiyaki, a distinct style of pottery with earthy textures and colors introduced to Japan from Korea 400 years ago. At a local pottery factory and museum, guests had the chance to watch a pottery artist at work during a demonstration and learn more about this special craft.
Exploring Japan Aboard National Geographic Resolution
Many evenings, after a spirited day of exploration, we were treated with equally exceptional sunsets. With expansive decks, wings and balconies, the National Geographic Resolution provided ideal viewing opportunities to take in these incredible moments.
Main image: A guest stands among stone lanterns at the Buddhist temple of Kohoji in Hagi.