Wonders of Japan Cruise with Nadia Eckhardt
May 16 – 29, 2018

Experience scenic, compelling Japan, visiting unique ports and rarely seen wilderness areas in luxury on board exclusively chartered ‘L’Austral.’ Gain fascinating insights from an award-winning expedition team and choose from a variety of enriching experiences en route. Absorb incomparable insight as you travel in the company of award-winning Expedition Team, lecturers and guides. Discover Japan in a way only possible by small ship, visiting unique ports and off-the-beaten-path wilderness areas, visit Gyeongju, South Korea, ancient dynastic capital and UNESCOWorld Heritage Site, enjoy exclusive and private openings of the Chichu Art and Ohara museums for guests and more. Aboard exclusively chartered, L’Austral with Expedition Easy Founder, Nadia Eckhardt.

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Osaka, Japan
Day 2: Kyoto / Cultural Epicenter
Day 3: Osaka / The Adventure Begins
Day 4: Takamatsu / Explore your way
Day 5: Hiroshima / Miyajima / Hiroshima & Iconic Torii Gate
Day 6: Karatsu / Ancient Trading Post
Day 7: Gyeongju, South Korea / Ancient Korean Capital
Day 8: Matsue, Japan / Verdant Gardens
Day 9-10: Kanazawa / Epicenter for the Arts
Day 11: Sado-ga-shima / Kodo Drummers
Day 12: Noshiro/Aomori / Ancient Caldera Lake
Day 13: Otaru / Historic Canal
Day 14: Depart Sapporo

Interested in more information? Please contact Expedition Easy by telephone at 1-800-617-2319 or e-mail info@expeditioneasy.com.

Wonders of Japan Cruise with Nadia Eckhardt
May 16 – 29, 2018

Day-By-Day Itinerary:

Day 1 – Wednesday, May 16, 2018 – Arrive Osaka, Japan

Cross the International Dateline and arrive at Osaka’s Kansai International Airport. After clearing customs and immigration, meet your representative and transfer to your tranquil Kyoto hotel, situated in a historic area of Higashiyama Shichijo. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure. Alternately, with guidance from our experts, set out to explore Kyoto at your own pace. This culturally rich former capital features over 2,000 temples and shrines, 17 of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Because the city largely avoided bombing during WWII, its historic aura remains intac

Day 2 – Thursday, May 17, 2018 – Kyoto / Cultural Epicenter

Set out on an enlightening tour of Kyoto, paying visits to Nijo Castle, the Golden Pavilion and Tenryuji Temple, where you attend a talk about Zen Buddhism. Pause for lunch at a local restaurant. Then, continue to the Heian Shrine before returning to your hotel. Gather this evening for a welcome reception and dinner with fellow guests, your Expedition team and local guides who will be accompanying you and enriching your voyage.

Day 3 – Friday, May 18, 2018 – Osaka The Adventure Begins

After breakfast at the hotel, embark on a guided walking tour of the temples in the surrounding Higashiyama Shichijo district. After lunch, transfer from Kyoto to Osaka, where you board luxurious ‘L’Austral,’ your luxurious floating home for the next 11 nights.

Day 4 – Saturday, May 19, 2018 – Takamatsu / Explore your way

Arrive this morning in Takamatsu, gateway to Shikoku Island. Choose from a wide array of excursions, revolving around nature, gastronomy, arts or culture. You may, for example, opt to travel to Naoshima Island by ferry for a full-day excursion, celebrating its architecture and art museums. Visit the breathtaking, hillside Chichu Art Museum and stop at Benesse House, a complex featuring unique work by Japanese and international artists. Alternately, board a high-speed boat to Shodoshima, or Shodo Island, the heart of Japan’s olive-growing industry for a full-day tour. Otherwise, you may remain on Shikoku Island, experiencing Takamatsu’s most acclaimed features. Begin with a visit to Ritsurin Park, one of Japan’s finest gardens. After taking in the pond, bridge and hill-stippled setting, attend a hands-on udon noodle-making demonstration to gain insight into this local culinary art. Spend the rest of the day at your own pace in the lovely port of Takamatsu, with time to explore the shops and enjoy the lively atmosphere. Return to the ship at leisure.

Day 5 – Sunday, May 20, 2018 – Hiroshima/Miyajima / Hiroshima & The Iconic Torii Gate

Arrive in the port of Hiroshima, where you may opt to visit the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum, its cenotaph containing names of the known victims of the atomic bomb. Then, take a speedboat ride to Miyajima Island to witness the scarlet Torii gate at the entrance to the sacred Shinto Shrine. Or take a full-day excursion through Hiroshima, visiting the Hiroshima Castle and Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum, where you attend a private talk with an atomic bomb survivor. Alternately, spend a full day on the tranquil island of Miyajima, including the Itsukushima-Jinja, the shrine complex listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Treasure. Ascend Mount Misen by cable car for a hike. Then, admire the Shinto Shrine and Torii Gate. Return to your vessel and continue sailing through the Kamnon Strait en route to the Korea Strait.

Day 6 – Monday, May 21, 2018 – Karatsu / Ancient Trading Post

This afternoon, ‘L’Austral’ makes her inaugural visit to the port of Karatsu. Once an early trading post between Japan and mainland Asia, Karatsu still maintains its medieval heritage. Visit Karatsu Castle, known as the “flying crane castle.” Pay a visit to the Hikiyama Exhibition Hall, which houses the floats and artifacts used in the annual Karatsu Kunchi autumn festival, recently inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. You may also visit Ningyo Joruri (puppet theater) and the Nakazato Taroemon Kiln, a ceramic studio that has been active since the late 16th century. Alternatively, visit the Kitahata Shige region to meet green tea farmers and to pick your own tea leaves.

Day 7 – Tuesday, May 22, 2018 – Gyeongju, South Korea / Ancient Korean Capital

Disembark and spend a full day exploring Gyeongju, South Korea, ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gyeongju’s cultural heritage dates back to the first millennium, when it began a 1,000-year rule of Korea. Witness its excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, gaining insight from your cultural historian. Then, unearth the treasures of the National Museum, which houses an exceptional collection of gold jewelry, metal weapons and distinctive pottery. Sit down to a lunch of Korean delicacies, and witness a traditional dance performance.

Day 8 – Wednesday, May 23, 2018 – Matsue, Japan / Verdant Gardens

Return to Japan and disembark at Sakaiminato to visit Matsue, the “town of water,” nestled between a scenic lake and a large lagoon. Choose to explore the countryside, pausing at the Peonies Village to wander through its picturesque Yuushien Garden. Pause for lunch at a local restaurant before visiting historic Matsue Castle, one of Japan’s few remaining medieval castles, built in original wooden form. Alternately, visit the garden-frocked Adachi Museum of Art, which melds the founders’ passions for art and garden design. Following a traditional lunch at a ryokan (inn), visit Yakumo-mura village to learn about the art of Japanese paper-making.

Day 9 – 10 – Thursday – Friday, May 24-25, 2018 – Kanazawa / Epicenter for the Arts

Spend the next two days exploring the thriving art center of Kanazawa, known for its Kutani-style pottery and gold-leaf workmanship. Choose from various experiences that allow you to traverse its winding cobblestone streets. Perhaps see traditional houses, museums and galleries, and view a geisha performance at Higashi Chaia geisha district. At your leisure, wander through its Omicho Market, which features everything from fresh flowers to fish and local handicrafts. Later, partake in a tea ceremony and discover the sophisticated Kenroku-en Garden, known for its contemplative botanical designs. Or, choose a more active excursion that includes a hike in Kakusenkei Gorge; lunch at a local restaurant; and an onsen (spa) experience in the Yamanaka Onsen district, or a visit to scenic Shirakawa-go and the Shogawa River Valley.

Day 11 – Saturday, May 26, 2018 – Sado-ga-shima / Kodo Drummers

Travel off the beaten path and arrive at pastoral Sado Island, replete with rice paddies, bamboo groves and dramatic, surf-pounded seacoasts. Political exiles, deposed emperors and intellectuals were once “banished” to live in this beautiful setting. Today, enjoy an exclusive, private performance by the fabled Kodo Taiko drummers, an exhilarating experience followed by a rare opportunity to meet the world-famous troupe. Return to your ship and set sail for the west coast of Japan’s mainland.

Day 12 – Sunday, May 27, 2018 – Noshiro/Aomori / Ancient Caldera Lake

Disembark in Noshiro and head to Towada-Hachimantai National Park, passing en route through the panoramic mountain plateau region of Hachimantai, part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Pause at the Great Drum House to witness the drums used in the Tsuzureko Shrine Festival. Then, hike or take a boat ride at the ancient caldera of Lake Towada, formed by the eruption of a volcano. For a more in-depth nature experience, you may choose a trekking excursion to Juniko Lake alongside an A&K naturalist and a national park nature guide. Later this afternoon, re-board your vessel in Aomori.

Day 13 – Monday, May 28, 2018 – Otaru / Historic Canal

Arrive in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. Shortly after lunch, disembark in Otaru, a picturesque city known for its canal, well-preserved architecture, handicrafts, sake distilleries and stunning views of Mount Tengu. You may opt to take a historical and cultural tour of the city, once a prosperous fishing village. At the impressively crafted “Herring Mansion,” learn the history of the prominent Aoyama family, local fishing industry and artwork on display. Afterward, discover Otaru’s storied glass-making and visit a sake distillery, where you may sample its rice wine. End with a visit to the city’s historic canal; once filled with fishing barges, it is now lined with museums and shops, which are situated in converted warehouses. Or, choose to visit Mount Tengu by gondola, taking in panoramic views of Otaru Port and Ishikari Bay. During a nature walk, you may see the 100-year-old cherry tree. Then, visit the Tengu House, where nearly 700 goblin masks from throughout Japan are exhibited. After your descent back to the city, partake in a hands-on glass-making workshop and head to see the famous canal. Spend the evening in port in Otaru.

Day 14 – Tuesday, May 29, 2018 – Depart Sapporo

After breakfast on board ‘L’Austral,’ transfer to the airport. Board your homebound flight, join the post-cruise group extension to Tokyo, or continue onward with your independent travels.
*Please note: This itinerary is subject to change due to ice, weather, wildlife and other conditions beyond control. The final itinerary will be determined at the sole discretion of the Captain and Expedition Leader.


Wonders of Japan Cruise with Nadia Eckhardt
May 16 – 29, 2018

Category 1: $18,495
Category 2: $19,495
Category 3: $20,495
Category 4: $22,995
Category 5: $25,995
Category 6: $28,995
Category 7: $29,995
Category 8: $35,995
Above rates are per person, based on double occupancy.

**Book By August 31, 2017 & Save up to $6,000 per cabin

Single Supplement: Contact Expedition Easy for single rates.

Rates are approximate until the time of booking. Please note rates are subject to change without prior notice due to circumstances beyond our control; i.e. fuel increases, currency fluctuations, etc.


– Accommodations as noted in the itinerary; meals as specified; arrival transfers from the airport to the starting hotel regardless of the day of arrival and departure; transfers on the day of debarkation to the airport; fully guided sightseeing as noted in the itinerary (including park and entrance fees); local bottled water during sightseeing; selected beverages with group meals; complimentary standard bar drinks, beer, house wines, soft drinks, coffee drinks, juices and bottled waters (excluding premium wines and Champagnes) while on board ; all shore excursions and full lecture program while on board; services of an Expedition staff and local guides; handling of two pieces of baggage per person for international flights (other conditions/restrictions may apply for internal routes); hotel taxes; all gratuities throughout; a complimentary expedition parka and backpack provided on board ‘Le Boreal’; and a post-cruise expedition logbook.

Not Included:

– Guest Protection Program; international and internal airfares, unless otherwise noted; costs associated with obtaining passports or entry visas; airport departure taxes, unless otherwise noted; excess baggage charges; meals other than specified in the itinerary; beverages other than noted in pre-tour documentation; sightseeing not included in the itinerary; and personal expenses such as laundry, communication charges and optional activities (which are subject to availability).

Deposit & Payments

This itinerary is subject to the availability of all services at the time of making a reservation. No space is being held at this time. Please contact Expedition Easy for the full terms and conditions that apply. We are happy to answer questions and discuss your trip.


To reserve space on a trip on the Expedition Easy website, please contact Expedition Easy by telephone at 1-800-617-2319 or e-mail info@expeditioneasy.com.

May 16 - 29, 2018