After over 200 years of isolation, Japan's ports are awe-inspiring today. Explore Tokyo's high-tech skyscrapers and browse digital billboards plastered with anime, or take a stroll through the serene Meiji forest in the city center. Get a glimpse of orange-yellow treetops at Mt. Rokko in Kobe in autumn, or experience Shimizu's wildlife in winter. If you end up in Osaka, check out the underground malls and marvel at the eclectic architecture.
Now it's easier than ever to explore Japan. A wide variety of itineraries allows you to experience Japan's culture and beauty. There are many must-sees and things to do in Japan on our shorter Highlights of Japan itineraries.
A UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Bunraku puppet show is an excellent experience in Osaka. Visit the fields of Shimizu and pick your tea with a wicker basket. Experience Aomori's "onsen" hot spring baths for their health benefits and social atmosphere. Discover how grains and vegetables are used to create one of Japan's spirited elixirs when you tour Kagoshima's shochu factory.
View the majestic Mount Fuji, a volcano active for centuries and one of Japan's most popular tourist destinations. Discover Godzilla Rock and the mythical Namahage creatures at Akita's Oga peninsula. Take in the immense beauty of the Shiretoko Peninsula, one of Condé Nast Traveler's 7 Cruise Wonders of the World.
Discover the life of a samurai warrior at Nagoya's medieval castle. In Sakaiminato, experience genuine "yakiniku" lunches. A skilled craftsman in Amami Oshima creates delicate pongee silk by using native Tochigi bark and iron-rich mud. Festivals are plentiful in Japan, so that you can experience the Awa Odori Dance Festival in Tokushima and the Nebuta Festival in Aomori.
You can experience this first-hand on cruises to Japan, home to one of the deepest and best-preserved cultures on earth. Visiting Tokyo, where skyscrapers stand alongside Shinto shrines, allows you to experience an intricate balance between old and new Japanese culture. Experience the timeless beauty of Kyoto through its more than 1,600 temples and shrines, including the famous Kinkaku-Ji, also known as the "Golden Pavilion." Take part in Japanese music, folkloric dance, and art in an adventure that enriches the senses at each stop.
You can explore ancient temples and big city lights in Tokyo. Kobe beef is a must in Japan. From Mount Fuji, you can enjoy breathtaking views. Discover more in the following ports.
It is one of Japan's most famous natural landmarks, with salt and pepper pillars jutting into the sky. The ship's deck will offer a great view of Mount Fuji when docking in Shimizu. Don't forget to grab your camera. Get a sense of this place before exploring Japan's other wonders before taking in the view.
It is a city of contradictions, endlessly fascinating, frenetic, and sprawling. There are pockets of calm in shrines and gardens among the crowded streets and tall office buildings. Western-style chain restaurants share space on the street with family-run noodle shops. You can find both folk art and electronic goods here. You can go karaoke, sip sake, or find techno clubs during the night. Whatever your tastes, Tokyo has it.
Kobe has been a port city for hundreds of years, located on the calm waters of the Inland Sea. In 1868, Japan emerged from centuries of isolation, and the harbor was one of the first to accept foreign traders. Exports and trade increased in the west. With 98 different nationalities living in Kobe today, the city reflects this diversity in the restaurants serving every kind of cuisine, including the world-renowned Kobe beef.
Hiroshima is a great place for history buffs. The City of Peace Memorial, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, remains a constant reminder of the destruction war brings, despite its destruction in the Second World War. It is a peaceful atmosphere that allows us to reflect on war's atrocities while strolling through Peace Memorial Park.
Hakodate is an elegant port city that faces two bays. It boasts clapboard buildings, a dockside tourist area, streetcars, and fresh fish. A mountain in the historic downtown quarter rises one hundred feet above the city. There are Americans, Russians, Chinese, and Europeans here. A Meiji government decree opened up three Japanese ports to international trade in 1859.
Osaka is pulsing with its rhythm at every turn - from Minami's neon-lit Dotombori to the high-rises and underground shopping labyrinths of Kita. You'll find great food, fabulous fashion and friendly people.