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New! Japan, Hong Kong & the Ryukyu Islands Cruise: A Special President's Journey (2017)

Luxury Expedition Cruises: Expert-led expeditions to exotic locales, with shore excursions

Limited to 199 guests
Days: 16  |  From: $15,495 (was $19,995)


Itinerary

Japan, Hong Kong & the Ryukyu Islands Cruise: A Special President's Journey

Day 1: Arrive Osaka, Japan

Upon arrival at Osaka’s Kansai or Itami International Airport, you are met by an A&K representative and transferred to the Imperial Hotel Osaka, spending the remainder of the day at your leisure. Rest up from your travels, or explore on your own with guidance from the A&K hospitality desk.

Imperial Hotel Osaka

Day 2: Kyoto | Cultural Epicenter

Set out on an enlightening tour of Kyoto, paying visits to Nijo Castle and The Golden Pavilion. Pause for a fascinating discussion about Zen Buddhism at Tenryuji Temple. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Kiyomizu Temple and Heian Shrine. Gather for a welcome reception, dining with your fellow guests, local guides and A&K staff.

Imperial Hotel Osaka   |   Meals: B L D

Day 3: Osaka | The Adventure Begins

After breakfast, enjoy a morning at leisure to relax or explore on your own. After lunch, set out on a driving tour of Osaka, visiting Osaka Castle and Shitennoji Temple, one of the oldest in Japan. Next, step aboard the luxury cruiser ‘L’Austral,’ your home for the next 12 nights. This evening, join your captain, crew and Expedition Team for a welcome briefing.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 4: Okayama (Uno-Ko)/Honshu | Explore Your Way

This morning, ‘L’Austral’ arrives at Uno-Ko near Okayama. Choose from a wide range of available art, culture, architecture, horticulture and active hiking experiences. You may, for example, choose a full-day excursion to Naoshima Island. Set in the Seto Inland Sea, it is known for its modern art museums, architecture and sculptures. Visit the Benesse museums, designed by Japanese architect Ando Tadao, including the Chichu Art Museum. Next, enjoy lunch at the Benesse House. Garden enthusiasts may embark on a full-day excursion to the beautifully landscaped Korakuen Gardens, followed by a visit to Kurashiki — an important rice distribution center — to explore converted storehouses, boutiques and an exclusive opening of the Ohara Museum for A&K guests, featuring a large collection of work from Western and Asian artists. Meanwhile, active guests may opt to visit the Edo-era village of Takahashi, seeing the Kibitsu Shrine, trekking to Matsuyama Castle in Takahashi and witnessing its preserved old town, once home to samurai residences and merchant houses. Back on board, gather with fellow guests — as well as your captain, officers and A&K team — for a captain’s reception and dinner.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 5: Hiroshima/Miyajima | Hiroshima & the Torii Gate

Disembark in the port of Hiroshima, where you may choose to visit Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum, its cenotaph containing names of the known victims of the atomic bomb, followed by a speedboat ride to Miyajima Island to witness the scarlet Torii Gate at the entrance to the sacred Shinto Shrine. Or, set out on a full-day excursion through Hiroshima, visiting Hiroshima Castle and Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum and attending a private meeting and lecture conducted by an atomic bomb survivor. Alternately, you may spend a full day on the tranquil island of Miyajima, where you visit the Itsukushima-jinja Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; take a cable car and hike to the top of Mount Misen; and visit the Shinto Shrine and Torii Gate. Return to ‘L’Austral’ and continue sailing through the Kamnon Strait en route to the Korea Strait.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 6: Uwajima | The Pearl of Japan

This morning, disembark for the excursion of your choosing in Uwajima, a scenic port town nestled among Shikoku Island’s western mountains. You may opt to visit a working pearl farm, learning the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting and sorting these little treasures. Afterward, explore Sakiiya Square and the historic Daikakuji Temple. Alternatively, visit Uwajima Castle, one of only 12 such original structures surviving from the Edo period. Cap off your excursion at Tenshaen Garden, a manicured masterpiece bursting with wisteria and bamboo. You may also opt to explore Uchiko’s Old Town, stopping at Koshojim Temple, the Uchikoza Kabuki Theater and Michinoeki Kisaiya Hiroba. Early this afternoon, re-board ‘L’Austral’ and depart mainland Japan, heading south toward Yakushima and the Ryukyu Islands.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 7: Yakushima | A Canopy of Cedar

Set out for a day of discovery in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Yakushima Island, a lush natural treasure spanning every climate zone of Japan. Sprawling with mountain peaks and cedar forests, this sub-tropical island is home to some of Japan’s oldest trees — many older than 7,000 years. Choose from a number of hikes exploring the cedars, waterfalls and boardwalk trails of Yakusugi Land Nature Park. Next, delve into the ecology, history and industry of these forests at the Yakusugi Nature Museum. Under the guidance of one of the island’s expert craftsmen, carve your own personal set of chopsticks from 1,000-year-old Yakusugi Cedar. You may also opt for an active trek and onsen (hot springs) experience at Iwasako Yakushima. Throughout your excursions, be on the lookout for the distinctive Yakushima macaque monkey and Yakushima deer. Re-board ‘L’Austral’ and depart Yakushima in the evening. Conditions and time permitting, embark on a Zodiac excursion to Toro-ki, a scenic waterfall cascading directly into the sea.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 8: Amami-oshima | The Galápagos of the East

Disembark to explore Amami-oshima, a wild island paradise of mangrove forests, stunning deep blue waters and vibrant coral reefs. Often compared to the Galápagos, Amami-oshima Island boasts incredible biodiversity. Learn how Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy is helping to preserve the endangered Amami rabbit, a distinctive native to the island for some 100 million years. Continue on to visit the Amami Cultural Center and take in a collection of masterworks by renowned artist Isson Tanaka. Following lunch, pay a visit to Amami-oshima Tsumugi, a charming village known for crafting some of the world’s finest kimonos for more than 1,300 years. Adventurous guests may also opt for a guided trek through the virgin forest canopy and a behind-the-scenes look at the Amami Conservation Center. Alternatively, you may enjoy a morning at the Ohama Seaside Park Aquarium, with free time for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking through the deltas of the mangrove forest.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 9: Okinawa | Japan’s Southern Gateway

This morning, set foot on the largest island in the Ryuku chain for a full-day tour of Okinawa. Begin with a visit to the Chineseinfluenced architecture of Shuri-jo Castle and a stroll through the whimsical Kokusai street market. After lunch at a local restaurant, learn about the centuries-old Okinawan Bingata dyeing process, a traditional stenciling technique yielding vivid images of fish, water and flowers. Alternatively, tour the vast Churaumi Aquarium, home to one of the largest display tanks in the world. Cap off your excursion by taking in the ruins of Nakijin Castle, an inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site. Active guests may choose instead to enjoy a full-day excursion trekking northern Okinawa’s Yamburu National Park.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 10: Miyako-Jima | Volcanic Island Hideaway

Today, dip your toes in the sands of Miyako-jima, a small volcanic island of crystal waters, bio-diverse reefs and pristine beaches. If you wish, snorkel the coral reefs, swimming among sea turtles and other exotic marine life. Alternatively, enjoy a glass-bottom boat ride in Hagashi Henna Zaki Cape and a visit to the Makiyama Observatory. Conclude your excursion with a traditional Ai-zome indigo dyeing demonstration.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 11: Ishigaki-shima | Exploring the Ryukyu Ridge

This morning, set foot on the island of Ishigaki-jima, a tropical paradise bridging the cultures of Japan and Taiwan. Disembark to explore Ishigaki-jima, strolling Kabira Bay and taking in the tropical flowers and Pacific breezes of the Tamatorizaki Observatory. Next, visit the Yaeama palm groves for a refreshing swim at Yonehara beach. After lunch aboard ‘L’Austral,’ set out to spelunk a limestone cave and discover the ornate beauty of the Chinese-influenced Toujin Tomb. Alternatively, visit the small island of Taketomi, combing the beautiful Hoshinosuna beach and visiting a traditional Ryukyu village adorned with thatched and tile-roofed houses. Or, take a ferry for a jungle cruise on the island of Iromote-jima, home of the endemic and endangered Iromote cat. This evening, ‘L’Austral’ departs the Ryukyu Islands en route to Taiwan.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 12: Taipei, Taiwan | Celebrating a Proud History

Disembark in the port of Keelung, Taiwan, for today’s excursions. Begin with a visit to Taipei, the cultural capital of Taiwan. Browse artifacts spanning over 10,000 years of Chinese history at the National Palace Museum. Next, visit the compelling National Martyrs Shrine, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. Continue on to the Confucius Temple, the Pao An Temple and Dihua Street, a centuries-old marketplace for tea, medicinal herbs, fabrics and incense. You may also choose to take in the dizzying heights of Taipei 101 and the grandiose façade of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Alternatively, tour Taiwan’s northern coast, stopping in the former gold rush town of Cheifun. Following lunch at a local restaurant, explore the distinct limestone outcroppings of Yehliu Geopark.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 13: Penghu | Strong Ties to the Sea

Set out for an inspiring day of discovery on Taiwan’s Penghu Island. Begin with a visit to the Penghu National Scenic Area and Zhongtung Wind Power Park, learning how this uniquely beautiful corner of the world is working for a cleaner tomorrow. Next, take in the iconic Penghu Bridge, Southeast Asia’s first deep-sea bridge. Next, visit Dayi Temple, an undersea shrine of coral, precious whalebone, fish specimens, seashells and a pond of resident sea turtles. Following lunch, learn about the local lifestyle, culture, history and ecosystems at Penghu Living Museum. Next, plumb the depths of Fenggui Cave, explore the Shai-kan-tang Temple and stroll the white sand beach of Shanshuei. This evening aboard ‘L’Austral,’ join your captain and Expedition Team for the captain’s farewell gala.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 14: At Sea | Recapping the Adventure of a Lifetime

Sail to Hong Kong, recapping your adventures in Japan, Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands by sharing stories and photos with your fellow guests.

'L'Austral'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 15: Hong Kong, China | Iconic Intersection of East & West

Bid farewell to ‘L’Austral’ in the iconic port city of Hong Kong. Begin your tour by strolling stalls of dried food and herbal medicine in a Western District market, stopping to explore the striking interior of Man Mo Temple. Next, ascend Victoria Peak for a panoramic view from the observation deck. Afterward, step aboard a traditional sampan for a cruise through the local floating villages of Aberdeen, disembarking to enjoy a Dim Sum lunch at the Aberdeen Marina Club’s private ballroom. Later in the evening, transfer to the Hotel Langham Hong Kong for a farewell dinner.

Hotel Langham Hong Kong   |   Meals: B L D

Day 16: Depart Hong Kong

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and board your homebound flight, or continue on to extend your stay in Beijing.

Meals: B





Extend Your Journey | Enhance your journey with a post-tour extension to Beijing (3 days, from $1,495).



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