May 14, 2024 - May 25, 2024
Trip Type
By Sea

Ship Size: Heritage Adventurer can accommodate up to 125 guests from all co-sponspors
Price: Starting from $9,990 per person double occupancy
Co-sponsored with: Commonwealth Club of California, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Tufts Alumni Travel, Yale Alumni Travel

Activity Level

Trip Overview

Experience dramatic coastlines, sacred temples, celebrated gardens, and cutting-edge art and architecture during an eight-night cruise through the Sea of Japan and the Inland Sea aboard the 140-passenger Heritage Adventurer. After two exciting days in Tokyo, venture beyond the bustle of Japan’s capital city to the tranquil historic and artistic quarters of Kanazawa and the idyllic island worlds of Miyajima, Sado, and Naoshima.

In Tokyo, customize your experience with excursion options: visit the famous Meiji Shrine complex, learn about the Japanese art of woodblock printing at the Ukiyo-e Ota Museum, and marvel at modern architecture in Tokyo’s Aoyama district, or enjoy a cruise on the Sumida River, stroll through the peaceful Central Tokyo public park, Hamarikyu Gardens, and learn about the ancient Japanese art of bonsai at Shunkaen Bonsai Gardens and open-air museum. The following day, choose to visit the Tsukiji fish market and the Kappabashi culinary district, or instead explore the Ginza district, including a classic Japanese department store and traditional shops.  On remote Sado Island, home of the world-famous Kodo drummers, enjoy a lecture and hands-on taiko drumming workshop with a short performance, and then visit a sake brewery for a tour and tasting. Experience a traditional tea ceremony in Kanazawa, view modern and contemporary Japanese paintings at Adachi Museum of Art and admire its spectacular gardens, and enjoy free time to explore the samurai quarter in Matsue. Enjoy a full day in South Korea, including a traditional Korean lunch with Korean music or a folkloric show. Choose to tour the massive Hyundai automobile plant in Ulsan (the largest in the world) or venture to nearby Gyeongyu to visit the breathtaking 8th century Bulgaksa Temple, representative of Buddhist culture from the Silla kingdom, and then tour the National Museum of Korea. In Hiroshima, visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, which documents the atomic explosion that ravaged the city. Enjoy cruising through the remarkable scenery of Japan’s Inland Sea, and finally, stop at Naoshima, an island that has become a mecca for cutting-edge art and contemporary architecture

Schedule by Day

  • May 14: Depart the U.S. / Cross the International Date Line
  • May 15: Arrive Tokyo, Japan
  • May 16: Tokyo
  • May 17: Tokyo / Niigata / Embark Heritage Adventurer
  • May 18: Sado Island
  • May 19: Kanazawa
  • May 20: Matsue
  • May 21: Ulsan, South Korea for Gyeongju
  • May 22: Hiroshima
  • May 23: Miyajima
  • May 24: Naoshima
  • May 25: Osaka / Disembark ship / Depart for the U.S. /Cross the International Date Line / Arrive home


Per person double occupancy:

  • Category B, Deck 4:              $ 9,990
  • Category D, Deck 5:              $10,990
  • Category E, Deck 6:              $12,990
  • Category F, Heritage Suite:   $16,990

Single ocupancy:

  • Category A, Deck 3:              $11,490
  • Category C, Deck 5:              $14,490


  • 2 nights at Hotel New Otani in Tokyo
  • 8 nights aboard Heritage Adventurer

Optional Extensions

Kamakura and Hakone Pre-Program (May 11-15, 2024)
With a Two-Night Stay at a Luxury Ryokan

Take an overnight flight to Tokyo, Japan, and transfer to the centrally located Hotel New Otani. On the morning of May 13, travel to the hot springs resort of Hakone for a two-night stay at a luxurious ryokan, (traditional Japanese inn), with a private open-air hot springs tub on your balcony overlooking the mountains or valley and 2 large communal onsen baths, offering mineral-rich waters and epic views. En route to Hakone, visit the historic center of Kamakura, home to Zen temples and a famous giant bronze statue of Buddha, Daibutsu. Explore the Hakone Open-Air Museum, including its Picasso Pavilion and over 120 world-class modern sculptures, and then enjoy a short pleasure cruise on picturesque Lake Ashinoko. Weather permitting, take a gondola to the summit of Mt. Komagatake for spectacular views of Mt. Fuji and to see the geothermal crater there with its active sulfur vents, bubbling pools, and hot springs. Return to Tokyo and admire panoramic views of the city from the observation decks of the Tokyo Skytree tower and enjoy free time to explore and shop in the vibrant and historic Asakusa district. Don’t miss the iconic Senso-ji Temple, one of Tokyo’s most colorful and popular temples (and its oldest).


Kyoto Post-Program (May 25-28, 2024)
With a Three-Night Stay in Kyoto and a Visit to the Ancient Capital of Nara

Spend three additional nights based out of Kyoto, a picturesque city renowned for its rich cultural heritage and historical significance. After disembarking, begin the post-tour extension with an exploration of Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, one of the largest aquariums in the world, featuring the vast array of marine life found in the Pacific Rim. It is organized into 15 zones, including a massive central tank that is home to several whale sharks! Continue to the ancient capital of Nara for a visit to the National Museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Todai-ji, one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples and home of Daibutsu (the Great Buddha). Spend the remainder of the extension in Kyoto. Explore the historic and charming alley called Pontocho, known for its lively nightlife. At the Zen Temple of Tenru-ji, stroll through the serene Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Marvel at the Shinto shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha, with its thousands of red torii gates, and visit the iconic UNESCO World Heritage-designated Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Pavilion. Tour the Miho Museum, known for its stunning architectural design by I.M. Pei and its exceptional collection of ancient and traditional art and artifacts. Finally, explore the vibrant and bustling Nishiki Market, with its diverse mix of food stalls and shops. This itinerary allows for ample free time to explore the city’s culture and history and to savor regional delicacies. The Farewell Dinner will be in Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district.

What to Expect

Activity Level 3

To make the most of what each locale has to offer, our daily program will be active, and passengers will often spend the entire day away from the hotel or ship. There will be some coach travel, mostly around 30 minutes at a time between sites, plus 30-75 minutes each way between the hotel or ship and the general areas visited each day. There will be considerable walking each day, and tours can last up to three hours, including periodic stops. Much of the walking will take place either in older quarters, where streets can be cobblestoned and uneven, or in historic temple and garden complexes, where paths are over somewhat uneven terrain.

Please note that many historic buildings and temples do not have elevators, and many monuments have several steps without handrails. The visit inside Matsue Castle involves climbing several steep staircases between floors; guides will give commentary outside the castle so it’s optional to explore the inside floors. There will be several occasions when guests will have to remove shoes to enter temples and othersites.

Meals on board the ship feature a variety of American and European dishes in the main dining room, and some menus with a regional flair in the smaller Bistro dining room. There will be a few meals ashore.

On board the ship, participants should be capable of navigating hallways and stairs on rolling seas. There is elevator service to all decks except for the Observation Deck. On some days, Zodiacs will be used to get from the anchored ship to shore, so participants need to be able to get in and out of Zodiacs (staff and crew members will be on hand to assist).

Anyone with a serious medical problem, whose medical situation might be adversely affected by active travel, or who might have difficulty walking, should not consider this program.

This promises to be a memorable journey, but as with all travel, a flexible attitude, a spirit of adventure, and a willingness to explore new areas will enhance your enjoyment of this program. You do not have to participate in all the scheduled activities, except when traveling to the next destination. We are sure you will be pleased with the exciting educational program provided, but we want you to be aware of the pace and activity level.

Study Leader(s)

Professor of History

For More Information

Please email or call our office at 800-422-1636 or 617-496-0806.