This 19 night trip begins April 4, 2025: Authentic Japan: 5 days in-depth Kyoto with 15 days of cozy port visits + Tokyo and Busan. Join our small group adventure as we circumnavigate this island nation during the best time you can possibly visit – Cherry Blossom Season.
Our member requested 2025 Outlander Society exclusive departure is limited to 18 guests plus Michael & Kelly, your hosts.
Set your imagination alight on this circumnavigation of the Land of the Rising Sun. Starting with a night at the historical Imperial Hotel Tokyo and then to amazing Kyoto by super hi-speed train. After spending two nights with immersive tours with a Welcome Dinner in one of the best cities in Japan, get to know the best of Tokyo, and then board the ship. Embarking from the neon jungle of Tokyo, first enjoy some Silver Nova onboard comfort as you sail to Osaka and beyond in a circumnavigation of Japan.
April 3rd depart from the USA for Tokyo, arriving the next day
April 4th Welcome to Japan! On arrival today proceed through arrival formalities including immigration, baggage claim and customs.
Upon exiting customs into the arrival hall meet your private, English-speaking guide who will escort you to meet your bus at curbside and then transfer into Tokyo and your centrally located, luxury hotel for check-in.
After getting settled, the remainder of the afternoon and evening are at your leisure.
Overnight at The Imperial (Superior Rooms) – Tokyo
This legendary Tokyo landmark has welcomed royalty, heads of state, celebrities and international business leaders for over 120 years. It offers discreet, highly personalized services, restrained elegance, award-winning cuisine and refined, impeccable Japanese hospitality.
Lunch / Dinner on own (our hotel has several restaurants on-site)
April 5th Early this morning bring your large luggage (checked-size baggage) to the front desk by 07:30 as it will be shipped ahead to Kyoto and delivered to the Kyoto hotel late this afternoon). Enjoy breakfast and then reconvene with your private, English-speaking guide at 08:30 and walk the short distance (11-12 minutes / 1000 yards) to Tokyo Central Station and travel by shinkansen (bullet) train to Kyoto.
09:00 — Depart Tokyo Central Station on Shinkansen Nozomi #213*
11:16 — Arrive Kyoto Station
*First class / Reserved seats (Green Car)
Upon arrival at Kyoto Station immediately depart on an afternoon tour of Kyoto with your private, English-speaking guide and by private bus.
Begin your sightseeing with a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, made internationally famous in the critically acclaimed movie Memoirs of a Geisha. Nestled against the mountains Fushimi-Inari Taisha is one of Japan’s most atmospheric temples and features a fascinating complex of shrines scattered across a wooded hilltop. Here there is a pathway lined by more than 3,000 red painted torii gates stretching nearly two miles up the hillside to the main shrine.
Following lunch at Kani Doraku continue with a walk along Ninenzaka and Sanenzaka, two of the most traditional streets of Kyoto that ultimately lead to Kiyomizudera, ‘The Temple of Pure Water.’ While there are many other well known temples in Japan that serve specific sects and people, Kiyomizudera seems to belong to everyone. For over 1,000 years pilgrims have climbed the slope to pray to the temple’s 11-headed Kannon image and drink from its sacred spring. The main hall’s verandah, a nail-less miracle of Japanese joinery, offers wonderful views of Kyoto. In 1994, is was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Finish up the day as you wander Gion, Kyoto’s traditional entertainment district with theaters, restaurants and teahouses. It is best known as the geisha quarter, with its many ancient wooden facades and flickering lanterns. Gion is one of the last places to glimpse geisha and maiko (apprentices) with their white faces and shimmering kimono on their way to appointments.
Outlander Welcome Dinner: Early this evening enjoy a truly unique and authentic Japanese dinner experience at Mouriya Gion, Mouriya’s 5th teppanyaki style restaurant for the Outlander Society Welcome Dinner. For the first time, Mouriya has left Kobe to open another signature restaurant in Kyoto. Everything from the interior to the tableware has been carefully selected to create the best possible space for diners along with sourcing the finest ingredients that Japan has to offer.
Following dinner transfer to the hotel located on the outskirts of Kyoto for a much deserved night’s rest.
Overnight at Suriyan (Superior Rooms) – Kyoto
Included (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
April 6th Following breakfast at your hotel reconvene with your English-speaking guide at 09:00 and depart on a full day exploration of Kyoto by private bus.
Begin with a visit to Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion), one of the most visited temples in Kyoto, with its authentic and exquisite Japanese-style garden. Its three-storied pavilion is entirely covered in gold foil with a golden phoenix perched on the roof. The original temple dating from 1397 was built by the shogun Yoshimitsu as a retirement villa. In 1950, Kinkakuji was deliberately burnt to the ground by one of its young priests who was obsessed with it. An exact replica was erected. The grounds and gardens here are a perfect place to stroll and visit.
A short walk from the Golden Pavilion is the Zen temple of Ryoanji ‘Temple of the Peaceful Dragon) which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the most famous Zen, rock gardens in all of Japan.
Early this afternoon transfer to Kyoto’s Arashiyama district and enjoy a traditional ‘shojin ryori’ (Zen temple vegetarian cuisine) surrounded by the natural beauty of Tenryuji’s gardens. Arashiyama is home to a fine collection of temples, including one of Kyoto’s finest Zen temples and the single most beautiful villa in the country. The highlight of the area is the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, an incredibly atmospheric grove of bamboo.
End your day with a walk through the Bamboo Forest. This area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons. Here you will visit Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama’s most iconic landmark. It was originally built during the Heian Period (794-1185) and most recently reconstructed in the 1930s. It is one of Kyoto’s most beautiful locations especially in the spring and fall.
Late this afternoon return to your hotel arriving at 16:30 where you will have a chance to relax and freshen-up. Depart the hotel at 18:00 for dinner at Sodoh Higashiyama, a beautiful restaurant featuring inspired Italian cuisine with a sophisticated Japanese spin.
Return to the hotel this evening at 21:00 for a much deserved night’s rest.
Early this morning bring your large luggage (checked-size baggage) to the front desk by 07:30 as it will be shipped back to Tokyo and delivered to the Tokyo hotel late this afternoon). Enjoy breakfast and then reconvene with your private, English-speaking guide at 10:00 and continue exploring Kyoto by private bus.
Begin the day with a visit to Nijo Castle. The castle was built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). His grandson Iemitsu completed the castle’s palace buildings 23 years later and further expanded the castle by adding a five story castle keep. A historic drama of Shakespearean proportions surrounds the samurai and his ascent to power. Within the castle grounds is the Ninomaru Palace, famous for its “nightingale floors” that squeak when walked upon so as to warn residents of invaders. Surrounding the castle and palace are the Ninomaru Gardens designed by garden master Kobori Enshu. The gardens are home to numerous cherry and plum trees which bloom between March and April, but are worth visiting year round. The garden has a large pond with three islands that symbolize Horai-San, the crane and turtle mountains of the Taoist mythology.
Early this afternoon continue to Nishiki market, a narrow shopping street lined with more than 100 shops where various kinds of food, including many Kyoto specialties, are sold. Here you will have 90-minutes or so to explore and have lunch on own. This market has a history of several centuries, and many stores have been operated by the same families for generations. Continue on a walking tour of Teramachi, a pedestrian-friendly street lined with interesting galleries and shops selling traditional goods. Venture to the next street east and stroll the antique and craft shops.
Then transfer directly to the Kyoto Station to board the shinkansen (bullet) train back to Tokyo.
14:00 — Depart Kyoto Station on Shinkansen Nozomi #231*
16:16 — Arrive Kyoto Station
On arrival back in Tokyo this afternoon, walk the short distance (11-12 minutes / 1000 yards) back to your nearby hotel for check-in. You will then have some time to relax, get settled and freshen up.Depart the hotel at 18:00 and transfer by bus to Ginza Inakaya, a wonderful robatayaki restaurant where you will enjoy a delicious dinner. Often shortened to robata, it refers to a method of cooking, similar to barbecue in which items of food are cooked at varying speeds over hot, hardwood charcoal. The results are mouthwatering and something you are not likely to forget.
Afterwards, transfer back to the hotel arriving at approximately 21:00 with the remainder of the evening at your leisure.
Included (Breakfast, Dinner)
Enjoy an early breakfast and then reconvene with your English-speaking guide at 10:00 and explore Tokyo by private bus.
Begin the day with Tsukiji Fish Market where you will walk through and explore its outer market where you will find a fascinating variety of vegetables, ceramics, kitchen supplies and the freshest seafood imaginable. While the famed inner market closed in October 2018, the outer market is as interesting as ever.
Enjoy lunch at nearby Imayoshi, established in 1957 it is one of the city’s longest-established sushi restaurant that inherited the taste of its predecessors and has famously brought traditional taste and technique to the present.
After lunch, visit the lovely wooded grounds of Meiji Shrine, a perfect example of pure Shinto architecture with its huge torii gates at the entrance. Tragically, like so many other cultural monuments, the shrine was destroyed in WWII bombing raids. However, unlike many other shrines, the reconstruction of Meiji Shrine, completed in 1958, is authentic. Here you will tour the shrine and learn about Japan’s ancient indigenous Shinto religion. Here you will partake in a private Shinto prayer ceremony performed by a Shinto priest.
Afterwards, venture into Harajuku with its trendy shops geared toward the pop culture of Japan. Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets are the focal point of Harajuku’s teenage culture, which are lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands and fast food outlets geared towards the fashion and trend conscious teens. There will then be some free time to nearby, trendy Omotesando Avenue, Tokyo’s top fashion street, with its wonderful upscale shops and coffee houses.
Return to the hotel at approximately 17:15 with time to relax and freshen up before enjoying what will no doubt be one of your favorite meals ever. This evening depart the hotel at 18:30 for an amazing kaiseki dinner at Tsukiji Jisaku. Founded in 1931 by Jisaku Honda, the restaurant is located in a beautiful old house that was originally built in 1899 as a second house for the Iwasaki family, founders of the Mitsubishi conglomerate. Since then it has become one of Tokyo and Japan’s most beloved dining experiences.
After dinner, return to the hotel arriving at approximately 21:00 with the remainder of the evening at your leisure.
April 9th Enjoy one last breakfast at the hotel before checking out of the hotel and reconvening with your English-speaking guide at 10:00 and continue exploring Tokyo by private bus. (Please note that your luggage will be transferred with you today in the vehicle).
Begin the day with historic Asakusa, one of the city’s most important districts where an atmosphere the of past survives. Asakusa’s main attraction, Sensoji is a very popular Buddhist temple that was built in the 7th century. The temple is approached via the Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for many centuries.
Late this morning enjoy a private Sumo demonstration including a traditional chankonabe lunch, a Japanese stew commonly eaten in vast quantity by sumo wrestlers as part of a weight-gain diet. Arriving in Ryogoku, you will meet a rikishi (professional sumo wrestler) to learn about their secrets and watch a demonstration of their techniques during a practice fight.
Then continue with a visit to the district of Ginza, Japan’s most glamorous and celebrated area. The gin of Ginza means silver and at one time a mint was located here, but vast sums of money still change hands in this area. Walk along the main street, Chuo-dori (commonly known as Ginza-dori). The Ginza area delights the eye with sophisticated architecture befitting this home of traditional culture and classic fashion. As one of Tokyo’s most upscale areas, it’s no surprise that Ginza is home to some impressive architecture. Be sure to visit the one of the food halls located in the basements of the department stores in the area. An incredible variety of fresh, local foods and prepared meals are for sale and there are also plenty of samples available as well! There will be time to shop and explore Ginza.
Then transfer to the Harumi Pier arriving at approximately 15:00 and board your cruise ship and depart on your Silversea cruise around Japan.
Once on board: Each port of call will have several included shore excursions to choose from, or you may opt for a Select excursion for a cost. A few from each port are shown below. Dining, including most specialty dining, is included. Most drinks on board are included! Tips are included!
April 10 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 going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
April 11 Osaka
Japan’s third-biggest city has thrown off its shackles and stepped out of the shadows to light up the sky with glaring neon signs and a larger than life outlook. Giant octopuses cling to buildings and bustling restaurants pack in the crowds in this great and garish place, which is Japan at its most friendly, extroverted and flavourful. So dive in headfirst to experience an all-out sensory assault of delicious food, shopping cathedrals and glittering temples. Dotombori Bridge bathes in the multicoloured, jewel-like lights of signage-plastered buildings, and the neon lights dance on the canal’s waters below. Osaka is known as the nation’s kitchen, and the Kuromon Ichiba Market has served as the city’s spot to tuck in for almost 200 years. Full of street food stalls – try pufferfish, savoury Okonomiyaki pancakes, or ginger and onion flavoured octopus, among the endless feast of exotic flavours. Osaka Castle is another of the city’s landmarks, built in the 16th century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. A modern museum now waits inside, where you can learn about the country’s history, and why this castle is a symbol of Japanese unity. Be sure to take the elevator up to the observation deck for a panoramic view of Osaka’s spread. A colourful park encloses the castle and blooms with an ocean of pale pink cherry blossom during the season – the elegant black tiers rising from the pink haze below is one of Osaka’s most alluring visions.
April 12 Day at Sea
April 13 Hiroshima
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. There are many other inspiring messages of hope around the city too; the Children’s’ Peace Monument just north of the park is a homage to little Sadako Sasaki, who was just two in 1945. When she developed leukemia in 1956, she believed that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes – a symbol of longevity and happiness in Japan – she would recover. Sadly she died before she finished her task but her classmates finished the rest. If you are lucky enough to visit during the unpredictable and short-lived Sakura (cherry blossom) season, then the extraordinary sight of the delicate pink blossom floating across the water to the red gate, means you can consider yourself one of the luckiest people on the planet.
April 14 Fukuoka (Kyushu Island)
Boasting Japan’s heady cocktail of hot springs, gourmet food, abundant nature and spiritual history, Kyushu Island has all the advantages of the mainland, while enjoying its own identity. The island is the third largest of Japan’s five island provinces and prides itself on having everything you could expect from the Land of the Rising Sun. The capital of the island, Fukuoka, is Japan in a bite sized morsel. As one of the country’s most strategic ports – it is closer to Seoul than Tokyo – the city has enjoyed a somewhat prestigious status over the years, including two unsuccessful Mongol invasion attempts in the 13th century. Some scholars suggest that the city is also the first place the Imperial Family set foot, although actual proof of this is scarce. What is certain however is that it was once the home of the samurai, with many samurai related spots found all over the city. A trip to the Kyushu National Museum will allow budding actors to try on traditional costumes and channel their inner feudal lord, while local shrines, tranquil Zen gardens and castle ruins all offer a chance to relive the city’s glory days. The city itself is made up of two smaller towns (Fukuoka and Hakata), and despite unification in 1889, Hakata is still considered the centre. A 2018 survey ranked the city number 22 on “the world’s most liveable cities” list, due to its excellent shopping, outstanding food, excellent transport links, good museums, “feeling of openeness”, green spaces and friendly, safe, environment.
Excursions TBA for this island
April 15 Busan (South Korea)
A tapestry of kaleidoscopic colours, intense seafood flavours, and urban beach bliss, Busan rolls across a glorious natural setting on the Korean Peninsula’s south-east. One of the largest and busiest ports in the world, 3.5 million people call South Korea’s second city home, and the amiable locals help to lend the city its quirky, offbeat outlook. A spacious, playful and cosmopolitan place, Busan is a lively, liveable city, cradled by lush mountains and endless ocean scenery. Haedong Yonggung Temple nestles on a dramatic cliffside, just above the crumbling rocks and crashing waves of the East Sea. Dating back to 1376, the temple’s multi-storey pagoda is adorned with lions – each representing a different emotion. Elsewhere, lanterns glitter in the night sky around Mount Geumjeongsan, freshly released from the beautiful Beomeosa Temple, which was established in AD 678. The hillside shantytown of Gamcheon Culture Village has completed an improbable transformation, blossoming from a sea of makeshift homes for Korean war refugees, into a colourful explosion of creativity and curiosity. Local artists have been let loose to create interactive installations, and the entire area is now an expansive canvas for expression. Lose yourself among vibrant alleyways of flamingo-pink, lemon-yellow and baby-blue painted facades in this unique area. Sample bibimbap, fiery-hot beef and rice, from street food vendors, before relaxing on one of South Korea’s best beaches – Haeundae’s banana bend of sand. Metallic skyscrapers offer an unusual backdrop to this pristine expanse of golden powder and are mirrored by elaborate sandcastles and sculptures during the annual sand festival – when spontaneous water fights and firework displays also take place. Gwangalli beach is another urban option, laying out spectacular views of the reaching Gwangan Bridge – the country’s second largest bridge. At night, 16,000 bulbs bathe this engineering marvel in colour.
April 16 Day at Sea
April 17 Kanazawa [overnight]
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. Close by is the Higashi Chaya Gai Geisha District, designated a National Cultural Asset and the biggest of the Geisha districts of Kanazawa. Some of the houses not only retain the original structure, but still are used as Geisha houses. Some of the streets have traditional shops creating a nostalgic atmosphere. Kanazawa is also known for its lacquer ware, Kutani-style pottery, gold-leaf workmanship and delicately painted silk kimonos.
April 18 Kanazawa
April 19 Day at Sea
April 20 Aomori
From fiery festivals to spectacular mountain scenery, soaring temples to castles surrounded by cherry blossom blooms, Aomori is one of Japan’s most enchanting destinations. Framed by dark peaks clad with dense forestry, the city enjoys a picturesque location on Japan’s main island Honshu. While there are gorgeous pink tinted parks, tiered castles and towering Buddha statues to explore, the Aomori Prefecture’s capital is perhaps best known for the summer festival of fire that lights it up each year. Lavish illuminated floats fill the streets during Nebuta Matsuri festival, as dancing locals wave flickering lanterns through the night sky – and drummers pound out pulsating rhythms. Nebuta Matsuri has a euphoric and energetic atmosphere which makes it stand out as an unmissable experience compared with some of Japan’s more restrained festivals. At other times of the year, places like the stunning Hirosaki Castle bloom with rose-pink cherry blossom, as spring’s sunshine clears away winter’s plentiful snowfall. The castle’s moat, glowing with the pale hue of fallen blossom, is a truly mesmerising sight to behold. Don’t worry if you’re too late though, you might be able to catch the pink-flush of the apple blossom – which comes slightly later. Extraordinary prehistoric Jomon period history is waiting to be unearthed at the living archaeological site, Sannai-Maruyama Ruins. Or, the untouched wilderness of UNESCO World Heritage Site Shirakami Sanchi is within reach. This sprawling mass of beech trees covers a third of the Shirakami mountain range, and the dense forestry once blanketed the majority of northern Japan’s land. Visit to scratch the surface of this untamed landscape’s beauty and see sprawling waterfalls cascading down mountainsides, in a beautiful off-bounds landscape, where black bears roam freely.
April 21 Hakodate (Hokkaido)
Gaze down over Hakodate, from the heights of its namesake peak – Mount Hakodate – to see the city stretching out spectacularly, with back-to-back twin bays splitting the ocean. Hakodate port was one of the first to open Japan up to the world, and to international trade in 1859 – a fact reflected in the architecture, with its influences from the West and beyond. The port area is a redbrick wash of warehouses turned shopping malls, all observed by the onion domes of the city’s Russian Orthodox church. Elsewhere, the star-shaped Goryokaku fortress glows with natural colours and a beautiful haze of cherry blossom during the season. Goryokaku Tower, which rises up beside it, offers a sweeping bird’s eye view of the green fortress and mountain backdrop. Buses trundle up the 335-metre incline to the top of Mount Hakodate, but the best way to reach the views is to jump on the ropeway, which swings high above downtown’s buildings, over a carpet of pine trees. Head up to the mountain’s heights as sunset approaches. With darkness sweeping in, and the lights flickering to life, the panorama is one of Japan’s most spectacular. Soak it all in, and look out to the horizon, dotted with the shimmering lights of ships hauling in harvests of the city’s renowned squid. The plankton-rich waters attract a delicious variety of feasting sea life to Hakodate’s coast, which is then plated up in the city’s numerous, skilled restaurants. For an eye-opening, whirring morning, see the freshest produce being doled out at Hakodate Morning Market – amid a cacophony of noise and activity.
April 22 Day at Sea and included Outlanders Farewell Dinner
Group Dinner Specialty Dining on board, anticipated at La Dame
April 23 Disembark in Tokyo for your flight home, transfer to airport included
While the price is chosen starts with your suite selection, the price includes the land portion at well, staying at some amazing properties in Kyoto and Tokyo.
Silversea’s oceanview suites are some of the most spacious in luxury cruising. All include the services of a butler thanks to the highest service ratio at sea and almost all have a private teak veranda so that you can breathe in the fresh sea air by merely stepping outside your door. Select your suite – guests who book early are rewarded with the best fares and ability to select their desired suite.
ALL PRICES ARE PER GUEST, BASED ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY AND AVAILABILITY AND INCLUDE LAND PORTION AS WELL AS CRUISE. MAX 17 GUESTS PLUS YOUR HOSTS.
ALL PRICES ARE PER GUEST, BASED ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY AND AVAILABILITY AND INCLUDE LAND PORTION AS WELL AS CRUISE
Fares shown are per Guest
To sign up you can fill out our Secure Payment Form and authorize your deposit with the trip description of “Cherry Blossoms 25” and indicate which suite type above you would like to request. If you have questions please contact us at 843.279.0310 or email@example.com. See Pricing & Availability above. Cruise and land itineraries are subject to change at any time. This itinerary is not finalized and pricing may be adjusted for fuel or inflation.
IMPORTANT: Please note that this is an Outlander Society trip and The Outlander Society Travel Club requires invitation but you may request to apply with Michael Graham or ask another member to stand for you.
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