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Busan to Kobe: Japan Expedition Cruise

Starting in Busan, South Korea, Silver Explorer will sail along the western coast of Japan to round the southern tip of Japan’s main island. Experience the ways that the modern society of Japan is influenced by the past and learn how tradition still plays an important part in daily life. On the semi-circumnavigation of Japan we will visit some of the most outstanding natural and man-made sites Japan has to offer -including National Parks and three of Japan’s highest-ranked gardens. Along the way you will see traditional buildings such as castles, homes and warehouses and feel serenity in outstanding shrines, temples and memorials. Throughout the voyage, learn about the geology, wildlife, history and botany of these locations from lecture presentations offered by your knowledgeable onboard Expedition Team.

Busan to Kobe: Japan Expedition Cruise itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
Day 1 BUSAN
White-sand city beaches and hot-spring resorts may not be everyone's first image of Korea, but these are what Koreans flock to Busan for all year. And there are plenty of opportunities for rest, relaxation, retail therapy, and even a touch of glamour every October with the Busan International Film Festival. Busan's beaches are the big summertime draw but there is plenty to be seen year round. Quintessential experiences include taking some rest and relaxation at a local spa and exploring the Beomeosa temple complex.
Day 2 DAY AT SEA
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 3 NIIGATA
Niigata city is the capital of Niigata prefecture and faces the Japan Sea on the island of Honshu, the largest of the four islands that comprise Japan. With a population of 810,000, Niigata is the largest Honshu city along the Japan Sea coast. The city is located at 300 km northwest of Tokyo and the bullet train would take you there in only two hours. Niigata offers four distinct seasons throughout the year, and people may find the winter season to be the best time to visit as many people would come for winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding.
Day 4 SADO ISLAND
Sado is Japan’s sixth-largest island and depends mainly on fishing and agriculture. The island’s Tori Forest Park had been selected for the successful reintroduction of Crested Ibises into Japan –a bird that was down to what was believed to be a total world population of 12 birds in 1981. At that time the last five wild ibises found in Japan were taken into captivity on Sado and both Japan and China cooperated in a breeding programme for these birds. Fortunately the work has paid off and released Crested Ibises successfully nested in the wild again in 2012.
Day 5 KANAZAWA
The capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa once rivalled Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo) as a town rich in cultural achievements. Kanazawa escaped destruction during World War II and accordingly has been able to preserve many of the old districts in good shape. The city is famous because of Kenrokuen. Located next to Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen is classified as “One of the Three Gardens of Japan”. The garden has an artificial pond, and hills and houses are dotted within the 11.4 hectares. It has Japan’s oldest fountain using natural water pressure and a tea-house dating back to 1774.
Day 6 SAKAIMINATO
Sakaiminato is a small city almost totally surrounded by water: the Sea of Japan to the east, the Sakai Channel to the north and Lake Nakaumi to the west. Across the lake the towns of Matsue and Yasugi offer interesting experiences. Matsue is known as the “Town of Water” next to scenic Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi. It has one of the very few wooden castles that still remain in Japan. Touring the castle and boat rides on the Horikawa River and the castle’s moat are popular.
Day 7 HAGI
Hagi is a former castle town located in the middle of Yamaguchi prefecture along the coast of the Sea of Japan. It is surrounded by the ocean, mountain and Abugawa River. Early in the 17th century, Terumoto Mori built Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki-yama, and the area served as the seat of the Yamaguchi prefecture government until the middle of 19th century. Around then, Hagi produced many capable men who played a leading role in the construction of modern day Japan, including Hirobumi Ito who became the first prime minister in Japan.
Day 8 KARATSU (KYUSHU ISLAND)
Day 9 MOJI
Moji used to be an important international trading port with a number of well-preserved Western buildings. Several of these historic buildings can be seen along the attractive waterfront. Southwest of Moji , and part of the same city, is Kokura, the financial and business capital of the area. Kokura’s landmark is its castle, which has been beautifully restored. The remarkable garden located next to the main castle is not too far from the Manga Museum. South of Moji is the Hiraodai Limestone Plateau, Japan’s most representative karst plateau.
Day 10 MIYAJIMA ISLAND & HIROSHIMA
The small island of Miyajima (“The Shrine Island”) is known for the Floating Torii Gate, which is one of “The Three Most Beautiful Views” of Japan. Built in the water, the Torii Gate leads to the Itsukushima Shrine and at high tide it seems to float. The Torii Gate is one of the most photographed sites in all of Japan. There are many more shrines and paths on Miyajima that are inviting to walk. Mount Misen has a cable car leading partly up to the top with nice views and wild monkeys and deer roaming the trails. History buffs will want to write home Hiroshima. Despite being devastated in 1945, this Japanese city is known to all for its commitment peace – its ruin on the 6th August 1945 led to the end of the war and today, the Peace Memorial (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) , is a constant reminder of the destruction that war brings. A walk in the leafy boulevards of Peace Memorial Park brings quiet contemplation. The Flames of Peace – set in the park’s central feature pond – burn brightly and will continue to do so until all the nuclear bombs I the world have been destroyed.
Day 11 OKAYAMA
Okayama is an important transportation hub and one of the largest cities of the Chugoku Region. It is famous because it has one of Japan’s most significant gardens. Although the “Korakuen” Garden was severely damaged by bombs in WWII, the descriptions and paintings from the Edo period permitted an exact reconstruction. It is one of the “Three Gardens of Japan” and has been designated a “Special Scenic Location”. Known formerly as the centre of rice-distribution in the Okayama area, many old warehouses next to the preserved canal have been converted into museums, boutiques and cafes.
Day 12 KOBE
Located on the calm waters of the Inland Sea, Kobe has served as an important port town for hundreds of years. It was one of the first harbours to accept foreign traders in 1868 when Japan was just emerging from its centuries of isolation. What followed was a surge of Western trade and exports. Today, Kobe is quite multicultural, with expatriates from 98 different nations in residence, providing a cultural diversity most easily visible in restaurants serving every kind of cuisine, including the now world famous Kobe beef.
Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Busan to Kobe: Japan Expedition Cruise reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
Itineraries are subject to change.
Located on the calm waters of the Inland Sea, Kobe has served as an important port town for hundreds of years. It was one of the first harbours to accept foreign traders in 1868 when Japan was just emerging from its centuries of isolation. What followed was a surge of Western trade and exports. Today, Kobe is quite multicultural, with expatriates from 98 different nations in residence, providing a cultural diversity most easily visible in restaurants serving every kind of cuisine, including the now world famous Kobe beef.
Okayama is an important transportation hub and one of the largest cities of the Chugoku Region. It is famous because it has one of Japan’s most significant gardens. Although the “Korakuen” Garden was severely damaged by bombs in WWII, the descriptions and paintings from the Edo period permitted an exact reconstruction. It is one of the “Three Gardens of Japan” and has been designated a “Special Scenic Location”. Known formerly as the centre of rice-distribution in the Okayama area, many old warehouses next to the preserved canal have been converted into museums, boutiques and cafes.
The small island of Miyajima (“The Shrine Island”) is known for the Floating Torii Gate, which is one of “The Three Most Beautiful Views” of Japan. Built in the water, the Torii Gate leads to the Itsukushima Shrine and at high tide it seems to float. The Torii Gate is one of the most photographed sites in all of Japan. There are many more shrines and paths on Miyajima that are inviting to walk. Mount Misen has a cable car leading partly up to the top with nice views and wild monkeys and deer roaming the trails. History buffs will want to write home Hiroshima. Despite being devastated in 1945, this Japanese city is known to all for its commitment peace – its ruin on the 6th August 1945 led to the end of the war and today, the Peace Memorial (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) , is a constant reminder of the destruction that war brings. A walk in the leafy boulevards of Peace Memorial Park brings quiet contemplation. The Flames of Peace – set in the park’s central feature pond – burn brightly and will continue to do so until all the nuclear bombs I the world have been destroyed.
Moji used to be an important international trading port with a number of well-preserved Western buildings. Several of these historic buildings can be seen along the attractive waterfront. Southwest of Moji , and part of the same city, is Kokura, the financial and business capital of the area. Kokura’s landmark is its castle, which has been beautifully restored. The remarkable garden located next to the main castle is not too far from the Manga Museum. South of Moji is the Hiraodai Limestone Plateau, Japan’s most representative karst plateau.
Hagi is a former castle town located in the middle of Yamaguchi prefecture along the coast of the Sea of Japan. It is surrounded by the ocean, mountain and Abugawa River. Early in the 17th century, Terumoto Mori built Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki-yama, and the area served as the seat of the Yamaguchi prefecture government until the middle of 19th century. Around then, Hagi produced many capable men who played a leading role in the construction of modern day Japan, including Hirobumi Ito who became the first prime minister in Japan.
Sakaiminato is a small city almost totally surrounded by water: the Sea of Japan to the east, the Sakai Channel to the north and Lake Nakaumi to the west. Across the lake the towns of Matsue and Yasugi offer interesting experiences. Matsue is known as the “Town of Water” next to scenic Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi. It has one of the very few wooden castles that still remain in Japan. Touring the castle and boat rides on the Horikawa River and the castle’s moat are popular.
The capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa once rivalled Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo) as a town rich in cultural achievements. Kanazawa escaped destruction during World War II and accordingly has been able to preserve many of the old districts in good shape. The city is famous because of Kenrokuen. Located next to Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen is classified as “One of the Three Gardens of Japan”. The garden has an artificial pond, and hills and houses are dotted within the 11.4 hectares. It has Japan’s oldest fountain using natural water pressure and a tea-house dating back to 1774.
Sado is Japan’s sixth-largest island and depends mainly on fishing and agriculture. The island’s Tori Forest Park had been selected for the successful reintroduction of Crested Ibises into Japan –a bird that was down to what was believed to be a total world population of 12 birds in 1981. At that time the last five wild ibises found in Japan were taken into captivity on Sado and both Japan and China cooperated in a breeding programme for these birds. Fortunately the work has paid off and released Crested Ibises successfully nested in the wild again in 2012.
Niigata city is the capital of Niigata prefecture and faces the Japan Sea on the island of Honshu, the largest of the four islands that comprise Japan. With a population of 810,000, Niigata is the largest Honshu city along the Japan Sea coast. The city is located at 300 km northwest of Tokyo and the bullet train would take you there in only two hours. Niigata offers four distinct seasons throughout the year, and people may find the winter season to be the best time to visit as many people would come for winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
White-sand city beaches and hot-spring resorts may not be everyone's first image of Korea, but these are what Koreans flock to Busan for all year. And there are plenty of opportunities for rest, relaxation, retail therapy, and even a touch of glamour every October with the Busan International Film Festival. Busan's beaches are the big summertime draw but there is plenty to be seen year round. Quintessential experiences include taking some rest and relaxation at a local spa and exploring the Beomeosa temple complex.
* = Indicative
Map for Busan to Kobe: Japan Expedition Cruise
Silver Explorer, the ship servicing Busan to Kobe: Japan Expedition Cruise

Silver Explorer

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition

Length: 108 metres

Passenger Capacity: 132

Built / refurbished: 1989 / 2008

The purpose-built Silver Explorer expedition ship (formerly the Prince Albert II) has been designed specifically for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations, including both of earth’s polar regions. A strengthened hull with a Lloyd’s Register ice-class notation (1A) for passenger vessels enables Silver Explorer to safely push through ice floes with ease.

A fleet of Zodiac boats allows guests to visit even the most off-the-beaten path locations and an expert Expedition Team provides insight and understanding to each unforgettable Silver Explorer cruise adventure.

Cabin layout for Silver Explorer
• Discover Kanazawa, Sakaiminato, Hagi, Moji, Miyajima and Hiroshima, Okayama

• Stand at Hiroshima Ground Zero and experience the sombre history of this crucial World War II site

• Get to see the various forms of Japanese gardens and understand the rules and aesthetic and poetic concepts behind the art of gardening

• See a Geisha performance in Kanazawa

• Visit the Samurai Quarter in Hagi, Japan, which preserves the traditional style Japanese houses and old-fashioned street, and enter an old house that shows the typical interior of a traditional Japanese residence
Enquire now about Busan to Kobe: Japan Expedition Cruise

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