Tokyo is a revelation for travelers heading on an Asia cruise from Japan. Before boarding in nearby Yokohama, take a day or two to enjoy this dynamic international hub. Don’t miss skyline views from the top of the famous Tokyo Tower, modeled after the Eiffel Tower and painted orange among a sea of silver skyscrapers. Tour the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Sensō-ji, which contains a sprawling market of souvenirs. The whole family will love Tokyo Disneyland, the first Disney property built outside of the United States.
From Tokyo, you can sail to dreamlike destinations such as Ishigaki Island, Kyoto, Kobe, Mt. Fuji, Busan, Hong Kong, Taipei, and even a transpacific cruise to Vancouver via Russia. These cruises from Tokyo offer the perfect blend of Japanese and East Asian cultural experiences with world-class amenities and exhilarating activities for all types of tastes at each port.
Immerse yourself in the imperial and cultural city of Kyoto, Japan, where you’ll spend the night to get some extra time to see this incredible city. This city is famous for its architecture, art, fine sake, and museums. Kyoto is home to about 20 percent of Japan’s entire collection of National Treasures, with some artifacts dating back to the 8th century AD. Make sure to go for a premium sake tasting, and stroll through the impeccably manicured Kyoto Botanical Garden.
Kobe is a central Japanese port city full of charm, modern urban excitement, and great access to nearby nature. Kobe is world famous for its beef, considered the most decadent and delicious on the planet. Take in unprecedented views of the skyline and bay from the top of the Kobe Port Tower observation deck. Then, find your inner bliss at the Ikuta Shrine, a Shinto temple that is one of the oldest of its kind in Japan. End your stay with some shopping on the vibrant Motomachi Street, before heading back on board.
This majestic mountain and now-dormant volcano is Japan’s most iconic and symbolic natural attraction, almost perfectly conical in shape and sporting a cap of snow for much of the year. You can take private transportation or a quick train to the base of the Yoshida Trail to shop, dine, and start a hike. You can also relax at the mountain’s base at tranquil Lake Kawaguchi, or get some thrills at the Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park.
In Okinawa, Japan’s rich history, layered culture, and modern future meet. This string of islands off Japan’s southern coast is the country’s most popular summer beach destination, boasting a sub-tropical climate and plenty to do. Walk through living history at the renovated Shuri Castle, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, originally built in the 15th century. Then stimulate your mind and curiosity at the Churaumi Aquarium, which showcases marine life from the deep oceans and coral reefs around Japan.
On Jeju Island, explore the tallest peak in South Korea at the Hallasan Volcano. Then go deep underground to venture through preserved lava tubes at the Manjang cave, a UNESCO-protected Geopark. Treat yourself to a gourmet meal of Jeju’s famous black pig pork, or whole grilled mackerel in sea salt. Close out your day with a bit of water therapy massage treatments at one of Jeju’s well-known wellness spas before heading back to your ship.
It’s hard to find another city on earth that has transformed so dramatically and positively over the past century than Hiroshima, Japan. See the city with 360-degree panoramic views from the open-air observatory at the breathtaking Orizuru Tower. Explore the trails, small waterfalls, statues, and temples in the forests of Mitaki. Then calm the mind and soul as you surround yourself with sakura flowers at the Shukkei-en Garden.
With so much to offer as both a destination city and a port to start your Asian cruise adventure, Tokyo (and Yokohama) have it all. Tokyo is both the cultural and economic center of Japan with world-class dining, museums, parks, and shopping. Visit the opulent Shinto temple of Senso-Ji, then marvel at the meticulous and curated symphony of commerce happening at the world’s largest fish market of Tsukiji. Lose yourself in the narrow bar-lined streets of Shinjuku, and try a local sake or rice beer.
Your voyage promises an unforgettable journey in a luxurious setting with plenty to do on board. Relax at The Lawn Club, half an acre of grass on the upper deck, perfect for reading, picnicking or enjoying a game of croquet. Book the ultimate luxury vacation experience at The Retreat, where you will dine in an exclusive restaurant serving dishes designed by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud.
The port of Yokohama is centrally located near many of the city’s biggest and most eclectic attractions, like the Silk Museum and the Yokohama Doll Museum. Within the terminal, you’ll find currency exchange facilities, as well as a few shops and a restaurant.
The Tokyo tower is an architectural example and modern marvel of Tokyo’s impressive skyline. From here, you can gaze over the forest of gleaming skyscrapers and patchwork of lush parks below. There’s an easy drop-off to/from Haneda Airport too, making it a perfect place to start or end your journey.
Take a thrilling ride on the scenic Komagatake Ropeway, a cable car that ascends one of Hakone’s highest peaks and takes you all the way to Lake Ashi. On your ropeway ride, you’ll see dazzling views of Mount Fuji from the sky in the comfort and safety of these fabulous aerial trams. Once at Lake Ashi, you will board a Viking-inspired wooden boat for an unforgettable trip around this pristine high-elevation lake. This is a wonderful trip for nature lovers.
The Emperor of Japan calls the Tokyo Imperial Palace home, so many parts of this stunning property do not accommodate tourists. However, you can spend hours exploring the palace’s beautiful gardens and in season, cherry blossoms, or discover the history of the palace on a guided tour. Kitanomaru Park is famous, where cherry blossoms cover the area in the spring and couples rent boats to paddle the palace moat. You’ll feel transported to another time here.
No trip to Tokyo is complete without a trip to the top of Tokyo Sky Tree, which is now the tallest building in Japan. You’ll get a 360-degree view of Tokyo from the observation deck, plus there are restaurants and an aquarium in “Sky Tree Town” for you to enjoy an entire afternoon of exploring. Stay for sunset to watch the city come alive with lights.
For those looking for a little thrill and adventure, take a trip to Yomiuriland and bring the kids. This amusement park is one of Japan’s best, with rollercoasters, water flumes, educational attractions and in spring, exquisite cherry blossom displays.
The ancient Samurai warrior is an iconic figure in Japanese cultural heritage and this museum pays homage to them. See and discover authentic Samurai relics and learn about their rich history throughout time as the warrior class of Japan. The museum has a convenient location in Kabukicho district of Shinjuku, and offers multi-language tours of the space and its treasures.
Tokyo is home to some of Japan’s best bars, restaurants, and street food. When it comes to choices and quality, it’s hard to find something that matches Tokyo at scale. Start your culinary adventure walking through the bustling streets and stalls of the Tsukiji Market, the world’s largest fish market that offers other fresh fare as well. No trip to Tokyo is complete without trying some of the hundreds of varieties of sushi or sashimi, either.
Next, treat your taste buds to one of Tokyo’s most popular street foods, monja. So popular, in fact, that it has its own street named after it. The dish is made with pan-fried batter and can be mixed with veggies, seafood, and lots of different local flavors that invoke ultimate Umami feelings with every bite. After you eat, enjoy a carafe of the world’s finest sake in Shinjuku, or join traditional Japanese beer culture celebrations at one of Shibuya’s many small, atmospheric bars.
Tokyo is the current cultural, government, and economic capital of Japan, and one of the world’s top travel destinations for nearly half a century now. Its origins date back some 400 years to when it was called “Edo”, and was the crown jewel of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Tokyo wasn’t really opened to westerners until the late 19th century, when it changed its name and modernized its infrastructure. After a brutal period during World War II, Tokyo reimagined itself in an astounding fashion.
Today, Tokyo is truly a mega city, and one that ecompasses cultural elements from all over Japan. It’s a city that moves at a fast, yet orderly pace, where tranquil gardens and elaborate temples abut modern skyscrapers and glossy shopping malls. English is spoken sporadically, more so in the main tourist areas of Shibuya, Shinjuku, and the city’s center. Make sure to visit some of the city’s parks for a breath of fresh air and to soak in some culture during your stay, too.
Near the cruise port, you’ll find souvenir stands and a couple of restaurants. You’ll have better luck shopping in Yokohama or in the center of Tokyo, though. The Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is a set of gigantic warehouses on the Yokohama Bay, perfect for strolling the waterfront and shopping. There are hundreds of stores inside filled with locally-made items, coffee shops, and conventional department stores for anything you might need during your time in Japan.
If you’re traveling from Tokyo on the way to board a Yokohama cruise, there’s a train from Tokyo Station to Yokohama that only takes 30 to 40 minutes. At the Yokohama cruise terminal, there’s also a subway station called Nihon-Odori with links to various places. In Yokohama, many tourist destinations are just a short walk away from one another. Of course, taxis are popular in both Tokyo and Yokohama as a primary method to get around the city.
Tipping is uncommon in Japan. It’s not widely accepted at hotels or restaurants, and cab drivers do not expect a gratuity. If you have a particularly exceptional guide on a tour or excursion, you can ask before tipping to ensure maximum politeness. Be sure to carry a bit of cash with you in Japan. You’ll find US dollars aren’t accepted in most parts of Japan. Though credit cards have gained popularity, it’s good to have enough yen to cover a minor expense like a cab ride or train ticket.