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Japan by Sea Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour

Ancient Traditions & the Sea of Japan

From $9,298 - $12,899 pp dbl. occ. | 9 days / 8 nights

(+$1,400 to $15,000 for sgl. occ.)

Intricate and graceful. Handcrafted and incredibly unique. Like a beautiful origami design. Follow trails through peaceful forests of maple, pine and beech. Fold in sacred shrines, ancient temples and elegant pagodas. Vibrant pigments appear—the blues of the Sea of Japan, the red-orange hues of persimmon orchards and the pink blossoms of cosmos flowers. Timeless traditions somehow make you feel brand-new. Come as you are but let the journey shape you.

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Japan

Start Kyoto / End Osaka

Japan Ocean Cruise map

Highlights

  • Sail along Japan's spectacular coastline, where culture and history come alive with Backroads' exclusive experiences and local encounters
  • Hike in stunning landscapes to centuries-old Buddhist temples and World Heritage sites—we've uncovered the most incredible routes
  • Walk the paths of Hiroshima's sacred Miyajima Island, home to misty maple forests, graceful shrines and the iconic floating torii gate
  • Partake in private excursions where you get to sample market-fresh seafood, taste local sake and don a kimono for a traditional tea ceremony
Japan

Start Kyoto / End Osaka

Japan Ocean Cruise map

Itinerary

Day 1 Accompanied by your knowledgeable Backroads leaders, hike outside of bustling Kyoto to the peaceful mountain village of Takao | Behold the hidden Kuya-no-taki waterfall, surrounded by Buddhist images | Follow paths along the crystal-clear Kiyotaki-gawa River, weaving past temples under the shade of maple and azalea trees.

Days 2-3 Venture from the beech forests of Mount Daisen toward the blue Sea of Japan | Explore a region full of artisans and handcraft schools | Get a taste of South Korea with lunch at the impressive Jagalchi Fish Market | Climb high above Busan on a cable car to Geumjeongsanseong Fortress and walk along the ancient walls dominating the ridgeline.

Days 4-5 Back in Japan, kayak amid the hidden coves and high cliffs of island-dotted Saikai National Park in Nagasaki | Sample sake and learn about its production | Zip on a bullet train to the Izumi-fumoto Samurai Residences, where medieval warriors lived | Don a Japanese kimono for a traditional tea ceremony.

Days 6-7 Follow the Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail on foot and visit some of the path's 88 temples | On Hiroshima's sacred island of Miyajima, trek through a misty maple forest to the top of Mount Misen | Visit Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site known for its dazzling torii gate | Discover Miyajima's winding alleys, charming shops and traditional architecture during a stroll.

Days 8-9 Art lovers rejoice! On foot, explore Naoshima, an island brimming with art studios and museums | Disembark in Osaka's vibrant metropolis, where 16th-century Osaka Castle beckons for a visit.

Please note: Due to the multiple stateroom options available on this trip, reservations can only be made by contacting one of our Trip Consultants at 800-462-2848 or via email.

PORTS OF CALL Maizuru | Sakaiminato | Busan | Nagasaki | Kagoshima | Uwajima | Hiroshima | Tamano | Osaka

The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. View cancellation policy.

Please click on a date below for specific pricing and possible itinerary variations.

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C Classic Dates

2021 May
2021 October
2021 November

Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities. Call or email us to reserve your date.

Don't see your ideal travel date? Make a Date

View Scheduled Dates

The sky’s the limit! Tell us what your dream trip would be and we'll make it happen! Whether you're looking for a honeymoon trip for 2, a 30-person family reunion or a 100-person corporate trip, we can do it all. A dedicated Custom Trip Consultant will work closely with you to bring your dreams to reality. Call us at 800-462-2848 to speak with your Custom Trip Consultant or click on the button below.

REQUEST YOUR CUSTOM TRIP NOW

Dates

C Couples, Friends & Solos Tours

Prices

From $9,298 - $12,899 pp dbl. occ.
9 days / 8 nights

(+$1,400 to $15,000 for sgl. occ.)

Premiere Ship

Ponant Le Laperouse
Ponant Ship

Le Lapérouse or Le Soléal (8 nights)

Activity Level

This trip is rated Levels 1-2

What's Included

Services and equipment are included.

Why Backroads

Why Travel with Backroads in Japan

Reviews by Power Reviews ®

Load Less

Premiere Ship

Accommodations may vary based on departure date. Any difference from what is listed below can be found by clicking on your desired date on the View Scheduled Dates or Private Dates tabs.

Ponant Le Laperouse

Ponant Ship

Le Lapérouse or Le Soléal (8 nights)

This luxurious and sleek vessel has an intimate atmosphere and boasts an open-air bar, lounges and a team of master chefs crafting gourmet dishes. (pool, spa)

View the deck plans. See Dates & Prices for specific ship, stateroom category availability and embarkation/disembarkation details.

This Trip Is Rated Levels 1-2

Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next—and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.

Daily Route Options (drag to see full )

Daily Route Options
Day EASYGOING ACTIVE AVID
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain
1 Mount Takao Hike & Temple Visits (6 Hours)
2 Mount Daisen Hike (3 Hours)
3 Geumjeongsanseong Fortress & Seokbulsa Temple Hike (3 Hours)
4 Kayaking in Saikai National Park (2 Hours)
Coastal Walk (1.5 Hours)
5 Izumi Walk & Samurai Residence Visit (3 Hours)
6 Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail Hike (3 Hours)
7 Mount Misen Hike (3 - 5 Hours)
Miyajima Walk & Itsukushima Shrine Visit (2 Hours)
8 Naoshima Art Island Walk (3 Hours)
9 Disembarkation
 

Note: The terrain on this trip ranges from relatively level to rolling, with some steeper inclines. We walk primarily on dirt trails and cobblestone footpaths, as well as some paved routes through more urban areas.

Learn more about how we determine our activity level and fully support a range of abilities and interests.

Please note that our distance and elevation figures come from Ride with GPS. Other sources may give differing elevation figures due to different GPS and mapping technologies and other external factors.

Meals

All breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners

Also Included

  • Expert Backroads Trip Leaders, on ship and on shore
  • Off-the-beaten path exploration
  • Access to all ship amenities
  • Impeccable and personalized service from ship staff and Backroads Leaders
  • Exclusive activities that amplify your appreciation and understanding of the local culture
  • Exclusive hiking routes with multiple options at varied paces
  • Gratuities on ship and on shore handled by your Backroads Leaders
  • Exploring lesser known routes away from busy ports
  • Dedicated support vans
  • Easy-to-use route directions so you're free to explore independently
  • Access to all ship activities and excursions
  • Wine included with all onboard meals

Get the Straight Talk about This Trip

We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.

Ships

The ships we sail on are like floating luxury hotels, so you can visit a new destination each day without touching your suitcase once you've settled in. Our ships are custom‐designed with a variety of inviting spaces that offer plenty of room for both relaxing and socializing. These ships are vastly smaller than most cruise ships, with up to just 150 passengers on our river trips and up to only 250 on our ocean trips.

Backroads Support On Board and On Shore

We sail with up to 40 Backroads guests. Occasionally there may be more than one Backroads group on board and you may cross paths with the other group on some routes or at restaurants. For instance, we may have a group of 20 hikers and another group of 20 bikers. When this occurs, each group will have their own dedicated onboard Backroads leaders. On shore, you'll have up to three additional land-based leaders to support your group, offering the same high ratio of Backroads Trip Leaders to guests as you'll find on our hotel trips. 

Backroads Cruising Life

If you're new to Backroads active cruise trips, there are a few things you need to know. Our cruises are smaller, and much more intimate than a typical cruise. They are also quite lively, social experiences, shaped by both our Backroads group and the larger ship community. Additionally, even with an itinerary subject to fixed nautical schedules that may occasionally limit our time on shore, we get out and explore far beyond the cruise norm. If you love meeting new people, enjoy the ease of unpacking once, and don't mind a set schedule of port departure times, you'll love our approach to active river and ocean cruising. Nobody does it like we do. 

Meals

On our active cruises, we seek out diversity by including regionally authentic and inventive meals for onshore lunches, picnics and the occasional onshore dinner. On-ship meals, though delightful, are meant to appeal to a wide cross section of passengers and may at times feel more conventional for some, and less reflective of the region than on Backroads hotel trips.

Stateroom Categories

In contrast to our usual land-based trips, which have similar room categories, the Ponant ships offer a wide range of stateroom categories. The top-tier staterooms often fill fast so book as early as possible if this is important to you.

Why Travel with Backroads in Japan

The Best Leaders in Japan

Backroads has the best-qualified people to lead your trip in Japan, and our guests back that up, rating our Trip Leaders an average of 9.75 out of 10 for all-around quality of performance. Get the facts (and no fluff) on how we recruit and develop the very best people for your trip.

A Variety of Routes Each Day

In Japan you head off each morning after choosing among several expertly designed routes—all with detailed directions, mileage and shuttle options. Unlike trips with one fixed daily route (or worse, one guide that everyone's obliged to follow), you're free to enjoy the best of the region at your pace, stopping wherever you want to explore further.

Everyone at Their Own Pace

We design and support our Japan trips to suit mixed abilities and varied interests—so you can set your own pace, then change things up as the day unfolds. And all guests are free to do the same, traveling together or apart, with no one cramping anyone else's style. Which sounds easy in theory, but it's hard to pull off. Here's more on how we do it.

We've Set the Standard

For nearly four decades we've worked to earn and maintain our right to call Backroads the world's #1 active travel company. In pursuing that vision on behalf of our guests, we believe we've set the standard for our industry—captured in the Backroads Quality Guide, which clearly sets out the benchmarks of excellence, choice and support that we live by

Quality You Can Measure

Since 1979, Backroads Founder and President Tom Hale has shown that staying #1 means constantly evaluating our performance using the best possible source of information: our guests. As we systematically analyze your feedback on our trip consultants, leaders, hotels, meals and on-trip activities, we never stop working to make a great company even better.

The Right Local Pairings

Our Trip Leaders combine deep local expertise with a firm grasp of North American expectations around quality of service. By the same token, we pair experienced Backroads leaders with local guides who know how to cater to your needs while cracking open the culture or natural history in ways that are meaningful, memorable and often magical.

Backroads Photo Gallery

Miyjima - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Geisha - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Japanese Gardens - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Ponant Cruise Ship - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Japanese Food - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Lanterns - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Pagoda - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Bar onboard Ponant Ship - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Alley - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Buddha - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Bar - Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour
Japan Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour

Guest Photo Gallery

Videos

Featured Blog Story

Japan Travel Guide

Straight Talk

We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.

Ships

The ships we sail on are like floating luxury hotels, so you can visit a new destination each day without touching your suitcase once you've settled in. Our ships are custom‐designed with a variety of inviting spaces that offer plenty of room for both relaxing and socializing. These ships are vastly smaller than most cruise ships, with up to just 150 passengers on our river trips and up to only 250 on our ocean trips.

Backroads Support On Board and On Shore

We sail with up to 40 Backroads guests. Occasionally there may be more than one Backroads group on board and you may cross paths with the other group on some routes or at restaurants. For instance, we may have a group of 20 hikers and another group of 20 bikers. When this occurs, each group will have their own dedicated onboard Backroads leaders. On shore, you'll have up to three additional land-based leaders to support your group, offering the same high ratio of Backroads Trip Leaders to guests as you'll find on our hotel trips. 

Backroads Cruising Life

If you're new to Backroads active cruise trips, there are a few things you need to know. Our cruises are smaller, and much more intimate than a typical cruise. They are also quite lively, social experiences, shaped by both our Backroads group and the larger ship community. Additionally, even with an itinerary subject to fixed nautical schedules that may occasionally limit our time on shore, we get out and explore far beyond the cruise norm. If you love meeting new people, enjoy the ease of unpacking once, and don't mind a set schedule of port departure times, you'll love our approach to active river and ocean cruising. Nobody does it like we do. 

Meals

On our active cruises, we seek out diversity by including regionally authentic and inventive meals for onshore lunches, picnics and the occasional onshore dinner. On-ship meals, though delightful, are meant to appeal to a wide cross section of passengers and may at times feel more conventional for some, and less reflective of the region than on Backroads hotel trips.

Stateroom Categories

In contrast to our usual land-based trips, which have similar room categories, the Ponant ships offer a wide range of stateroom categories. The top-tier staterooms often fill fast so book as early as possible if this is important to you.
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