Japan, Hong Kong and the Ryukyu Islands Cruise

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Best time to go: May to June

15 Nights | from £15,431pp

Book this holiday and earn approximately

2 9 K

Holiday type: Group departure

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Special offer

Early Booking Discount: Prices from £11,969pp saving £3,462pp for 12 nights
Book our 16 night Japan, Hong Kong and the Ryukyu Islands Cruise trip, departing 28th May 2017, and save £3,462pp. Prices from £11,969pp based on two sharing a Classic Balcony Stateroom. Bookings must be made by 28th May 2017. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.


This journey departs on the 28th May 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Travel in the company of A&K's team of expedition leaders and cultural experts, who lend their inimitable perspective to every site you visit
  • Cruise aboard all-balcony, exclusively chartered 'L'Austral,' with no more than 199 guests
  • Reflect on Japan's turbulent history and witness its miraculous resurgence at Hiroshima and Okinawa
  • Learn the process of precious pearl harvesting in Uwajima, craft chopsticks out of 1,000-year-old Yakusugi cedar and witness the 1,300-year-old tradition of fine kimono dyeing
  • Experience the distinctive culture, history and natural beauty of Taiwan and its Penghu Islands

Day 1 Arrive Osaka, Japan
Having touched down in Osaka, rest up from your travels or set out to explore the city at your own pace.
Imperial Palace Hotel Osaka

Day 2 Kyoto
Be enlightened with a tour of Kyoto, paying visits to Nijo Castle and The Golden Pavilion. Discuss Zen Buddhism at Tenryuji Temple before continuing to Kiyomizu Temple and Heian Shrine. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner where you will meet your A&K Expedition Team and fellow guests.
Imperial Palace Hotel Osaka | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Osaka
Visit Osaka Castle and Shitennoji Temple, one of the oldest in Japan and step aboard the luxury cruiser ‘L’Austral,’ your home for the next 12 nights where your captain, crew and Expedition Team will be on board for a welcome briefing.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Okayama (Uno-Ko)/Honshu
Arrive at Uno-Ko near Okayama where you can choose from a wide range of available art, culture, architecture, horticulture and active hiking experiences. Visit Naoshima Island, set in the Seto Inland Sea which is renowned for its modern art museums, architecture and sculptures. 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 centre —explore converted storehouses, boutiques and an exclusive opening of the Ohara Museum for A&K guests. Enjoy the Edo-era village of Takahashi visiting the Kibitsu Shrine, trekking to Matsuyama Castle in Takahashi and witnessing its preserved old town, once home to samurai residences and merchant houses. Finish the day with a captains reception and dinner.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Hiroshima/Miyajima
Discover Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum 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 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.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Uwajima
Explore Uwajima, a scenic port town nestled among Shikoku Island’s western mountains. Visit a working pearl farm and explore Sakiiya Square and the historic Daikakuji Temple. Visit Uwajima Castle one of only 12 such original structures surviving from the Edo period and finish at Tenshaen Garden a manicured masterpiece bursting with wisteria and bamboo. Explore Uchiko’s Old Town, stopping at Koshojim Temple, the Uchikoza Kabuki Theatre 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: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Yakushima
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. Delve into the ecology, history and industry of these forests at the Yakusugi Nature Museum. Carve your own personal set of chopsticks from 1,000-year-old Yakusugi Cedar and enjoy an active trek and onsen (hot springs) experience at Iwasako Yakushima. Be on the lookout for the distinctive Yakushima macaque monkey and Yakushima deer and depending on conditions and weather permitting take a trip to Toro-ki, a scenic waterfall cascading directly into the sea.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Amami-oshima
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. Visit the Amami Cultural Centre and take in a collection of masterworks by renowned artist Isson Tanaka. Amami-oshima Tsumugi, a charming village known for crafting some of the world’s finest kimonos for more than 1,300 years which is yours to explore. Enjoy a guided trek through the virgin forest canopy and a behind-the-scenes look at the Amami Conservation Centre. If that doesn’t take your fancy then enjoy a morning at the Ohama Seaside Park Aquarium, with free time for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking through the deltas of the mangrove forest.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 Naha, Okinawa
Set foot on the largest island in the Ryuku chain for a full-day tour of Okinawa. Visit the Chinese influenced architecture of Shuri-jo Castle and stroll through the whimsical Kokusai street market. Tour the vast Churaumi Aquarium, home to one of the largest display tanks in the world and end your day by taking in the ruins of Nakijin Castle, an inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site. Instead, enjoy a full-day excursion trekking northern Okinawa’s Yamburu National Park.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Miyako-Jima
Dip your toes in the sands of Miyako-jima, a small volcanic island of crystal waters, bio-diverse reefs and pristine beaches. 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. End your day with a traditional Ai-zome indigo dyeing demonstration.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 Ishigaki-shima
Set foot on the island of Ishigaki-jima, a tropical paradise bridging the cultures of Japan and Taiwan. Explore Ishigaki-jima, strolling Kabira Bay and taking in the tropical flowers and Pacific breezes of the Tamatorizaki Observatory. Visit the Yaeama palm groves for a refreshing swim at Yonehara beach and after lunch aboard ‘L’Austral,’ set out to spelunk a limestone cave and discover the ornate beauty of the Chinese-influenced Toujin Tomb. Or, visit the small island of Taketomi, combing the beautiful Hoshinosuna beach and visiting a traditional Ryukyu village adorned with thatched and tile-roofed houses. Take a ferry for a jungle cruise on the island of Iromote-jima, home of the endemic and endangered Iromote cat before departing Ryukyu Islands en route to Taiwan.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei, the cultural capital of Taiwan. Browse artefacts spanning over 10,000 years of Chinese history at the National Palace Museum and visit the compelling National Martyrs Shrine, Confucius Temple, the Pao An Temple and Dihua Street. Take in the dizzying heights of Taipei 101 and the grandiose façade of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Tour Taiwan’s northern coast, stopping in the former gold rush town of Cheifun. Following lunch explore the distinct limestone out croppings of Yehliu Geopark.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13 Penghu, Taiwan
Discover Taiwan’s Penghu Island where you will visit Penghu National Scenic Area and Zhongtung Wind Power Park, learning how this uniquely beautiful corner of the world is working for a cleaner tomorrow. Take in the iconic Penghu Bridge, Southeast Asia’s first deep-sea bridge and visit Dayi Temple, an undersea shrine of coral, precious whalebone, fish specimens, seashells and a pond of resident sea turtles. Learn about the local lifestyle, culture, history and ecosystems at Penghu Living Museum. Plumb the depths of Fenggui Cave, explore the Shai-kan-tang Temple and stroll the white sand beach of Shanshuei not before enjoying the captain’s farewell gala.
L’Austral | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14 At Sea
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: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15 Hong Kong
Bid farewell to ‘L’Austral’ in the iconic port city of Hong Kong. Stroll 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. Step aboard a traditional sampan for a cruise through the local floating villages of Aberdeen and 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.
The Langham | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16 Depart Hong Kong
Leave Hong Kong, thrilled by its highlights – and no doubt planning to come back.
Meals: Breakfast

Pricing
At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. As a guide, this 16 day suggested holiday will cost from £15,431 per person, based on two sharing, including international flights.

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Meet the Orient & Indian Subcontinent Team

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Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Smith, Lynne and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget.

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Useful info

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Best time to be there

Spring (late March to April) for cherry blossom, early summer (May to early June) for warm sunshine, autumn (October to November) for sunny weather and spectacular colours.

Fly to

Osaka/ Tokyo Narita and Haneda (Japan Airlines, British Airways)

flying time

12 hours 30 minutes from London

time difference

GMT +9 hours

Visas

Not required for UK passport holders

Health Requirements

No vaccinations required

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