Japan & Micronesia Discovery

M20OTAGUA10SEP22/14
Dates
10/09/22 to 24/09/22
Ship
SH Minerva
Duration
15 Days
Guests
2 Guest
Price From
$ 9,809
Per Person
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Trip Details

Set out on a sweeping 15-day cruise aboard a luxurious ship and explore Japan’s culture from Hakodate to Yokohama, its historic cities like Otaru and the beauty of its subtropical islands on Chichi Jima; before capping on your voyage by going off the beaten track and visiting several Pacific idylls including some of America’s oceanic territories such as Saipan and Guam. From neon-lit cities to white sands, forest- topped islands and sapphire waters, you’ll experience it all on this all-encompassing journey, which is led by our expert team.

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Trip Highlights
Immerse yourself in Japan’s traditions and customs, art, wildlife, history and nature.
Witness one of the world’s greatest natural wonders: Mount Fuji, the peak that represents Japan itself.
Birders will enjoy a fascinating cruise around Tori-shima, one of Japan’s most interesting bird sanctuaries.
Visit the thrillingly remote, mesmerically beautiful and unique Maug, part of America’s Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.
Celebrate the rich Chamorro culture and witness the island’s World War II history on gorgeous Guam.
Itinerary Map
Itinerary
Otaru Day 1

An important port on Hokkaido - Japan’s northernmost island - Otaru retains much of its original architecture. Restored warehouses along its picturesque canal, lined with Victorian street lamps, have been converted into restaurants and boutiques selling sake, music boxes and renowned Otaru glass. Built on the herring industry, its trading history is evident from the terminal station of Hokkaido’s first railway line to the Herring Mansion on the outskirts of town, once owned by rich herring fishermen.

At Sea Day 2

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Sado Island (Ogi) Day 3

Explore the rugged coastlines, hidden beaches and incredible history of Japan’s sixth-largest island. Disembark in the quaint port town of Ogi, known for its traditional wooden boats (tarai-bune) and begin your discovery of this fascinating island. For centuries, Sado Island was a place of political exile and a bleak prospect for those disagreeable figures sentenced to life on its harsh shores. Many of its exiled inhabitants were artists and academics, resulting in a unique blend of philosophy, art and architecture influences that can still be seen in today’s culture and traditions. These days the island is better known for its lush and varied terrain, outdoor activities and for its world-famous taiko drummers demonstration.

Kanazawa Day 4

Steeped in the rich legacy of the Maeda samurai clan, Kanazawa is one of Japan’s best-preserved historical cities. Spend time taking in the captivating geisha district, shopping for local crafts or exploring Kenrokuen Garden, ranked as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Despite its traditional heritage, Kanazawa has plenty of modern entertainment on offer. Home to lively bars and restaurants, a cutting-edge Museum of Modern Art and a bustling shopping district, Kanazawa is a surprising and exciting fusion of old and new.

Sakaiminato (for Matsue) Day 5

A haven for seafood lovers, manga fans and nature enthusiasts, Sakaiminto’s offerings are fairly eclectic for the seemingly slow-paced port town. Fish markets and world-class seafood restaurants line the streets, offering delights including local delicacy, Matsuba snow crab. You can also feast on Pacific bluefin tuna, Sakaiminto salmon, Natsuki rock oysters, swordtip squid and plenty more. The city was also once home to local hero, Shigeru Mizuki, a celebrated manga comic artist. Visit the Mizuki Shingeru museum for a fascinating insight into his life and the world of manga. Stretch your legs and enjoy a hike up the volcanic Mount Daisen, the highest mountain in the region (1730m). Or you may wish to take a gentler trek though the tranquil and restorative beech and cedar forests whilst connecting with nature and indulging in the Japanese pastime of ‘forest bathing’.

Hagi Day 6

Step back in time to Japan’s feudal age when Hagi was governed by the Mori Clan, one of the most powerful clans of the time, and you’ll find that very little has changed since. Architecturally speaking of course. Many of the oldest buildings are open to the public, allowing you to trace the steps of the samurai as they initiated Japan’s Meiji Restoration era. Hagi is abundant with shrines, temples and historical artefacts. Treasure seekers will be in their glory here.

Nagasaki Day 7

Follow the trail of Japan’s first Western traders as you enter Nagasaki’s ancient trading port. Famous as the site of the second atomic bomb, respect for this part of the city’s sombre history can be given at the Peace Park and museum. Today Nagasaki is a cosmopolitan, forward-looking place with much to see and explore. Take a look at Glover Garden, where you will find a collection of colonial-style mansions, not quite keeping in style with their surroundings. The homes once belonged to 19th-century Western settlers and the area is now a wonderful open-air museum. Or take an evening cable car trip to the top of Mount Inasa-Yama for an incredible view of the city below.

Yakushima Island (Miyanoura) Day 8

Explore the ancient, primaeval forests of Yakushima Island, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nature enthusiasts will be impressed by the incredible flora and fauna to be found here. The Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine forest is home to the famous yaku cedar trees, which can live for thousands of years. It is thought that the oldest tree on the island, named Jomon Sungi, could be as old as 7,000 years, which would make it the oldest tree in the world. The island’s fauna is as diverse as its flora, with some species endemic to the island. This includes the famous yahuzaru monkey and the yakushika deer. The forest trails are entrancing in themselves. Soak in beachside hot springs, take in the warm hospitality of the local inns and admire the thundering waterfalls as you stroll through this prehistoric paradise.

At Sea Day 9

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Chichi-jima Day 10

Disembark on Chichi Jima. This remote Pacific Island – the largest in the Ogasawara archipelago, once known as the Bonins – with its tiny port of typically Japanese low-slung buildings is a fascinating place with a complicated history. The island’s founding father was an American sailor named Nathaniel Savory, who set sail in 1830 with a band of Americans and Europeans and their Hawaiian wives looking for an ‘uninhabited paradise’. Some descendants of the original settlers – known as obeikei – still live in this UNESCO World Heritage site (the whole pristine island chain is listed). Though now inhabited and despite being passed back and forth between the U.S. and Japan and having a dark World War II past, it’s still a paradise. Covered in a subtropical forest, white sand beaches and dramatic cliffs, Chichi Jima is renowned for its beaches, diving, whale and dolphin watching.

At Sea Day 11

As you cruise across the Pacific, enjoy a full day indulging in the amenities of your ship. You might find your inner calm practising some yoga. Listen to an informative talk. Lounge on the deck and enjoy a cocktail from the bar. Tonight after a delicious dinner in the restaurant, settle in for some light entertainment and a nightcap before heading to your comfortable cabin.

Maug Islands Day 12

Part of America’s Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, Maug is unique to the Mariana Islands. Thrillingly remote as well as mesmerically beautiful, Maug is made up of three separate small islands that circle a two-kilometre-diameter submerged caldera. Now known as Higashi-shima, Kita-shima and Nishi-shima, these triplets were first sighted by a European on 22 August 1522 when spotted by Gonzalo Gómez de Espinosa, who named this place Las Monjas (The Nuns). Chamorros people lived here until the late 1600s when the inhabitants were forcibly removed, and since then Maug has been officially part of the German Empire, as well as leased to Japan. Today you can Island hop across these nearly-touching landmasses. They are green and rich in birdlife including petrels, shearwaters, egrets, frigatebirds, boobies, noddies, terns and kingfishers.

Pagan Day 13

Today, become immersed in Pagan island’s natural beauty. Even in a region renowned for its good looks, it’s difficult to find somewhere more idyllic than horseshoe-shaped Green Beach, where azure waves break onto dark volcanic sand. This 10-mile long speck in the Pacific Ocean is dominated by its two fearsome volcanos, one of which forced the island’s inhabitants to flee in 1981. Chamorro people first settled on this island some 1,300 years ago, and archaeologists have uncovered evidence of human habitation dating back more than two millennia. Now uninhabited, the island’s displaced people long to return, and you’ll soon see why. Keen photographers will love not only this photogenic place’s views but also its current inhabitants, which include a species of endangered fruit bat, endemic birds, lizards and a rare type of tree snail. It’s been described as a ‘biological treasure trove’.

Saipan Day 14

Saipan is the second-largest island in the Mariana archipelago after Guam. It fell under American administration after World War II and became a U.S. commonwealth in 1978. The most populated of the Northern Marianas with 50,000 inhabitants, Saipan also was controlled by Spain, Germany and then Japan. Known for its breath-taking beaches such as Obyan, Pau Pau, Laolao and on the tiny islet of Managaha, visitors enjoy sunbathing, windsurfing and scuba diving when on Saipan. There’s more to Saipan than its sand though; it’s brimming with historic sites and Second World War monuments, as well as enjoyable inland treks. If all that whets your appetite, be sure to tuck into some of the island’s traditional dishes like red rice, chicken kelaguen, or buñelos aga (banana doughnuts).

Guam Day 15

Arrive today in your final destination: Guam. It’s been exactly 500 years since the first European, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, spotted this island in the northwest Pacific Ocean on 6 March 1521 on his first circumnavigation. Since then, Guam changed hands several times, but nowadays it’s a ‘Territory of the United States’. Before becoming an American domain, Guam was Spanish for more than 300 years and Fort Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, located near Umatac on the southwest coast, is a fragment of that rule, as is the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in the capital. The island’s indigenous inhabitants are the Chamorro people, who are believed to have populated Guam since around 2,000 BCE. Known for its rich Chamorro culture, the island is also renowned for its World War II historical places of interest, romantic viewpoints like fabled Two Lovers Point, hotspots such as Tumon Bay, and of course, the diving – Apra Harbor is home to several shipwrecks.

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Rates Include
One night pre-cruise hotel accommodation with breakfast
Transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation
Transfer from the hotel to the port for embarkation
Transfer from the port to the airport on return
Onboard accommodation
All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
On shore transfer per port of call
Basic WIFI inclusion (Premium WIFI available)
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
*Itineraries & prices are subject to change*
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Itinerary Map

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
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Stateroom
Number of Guests
Oceanview
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
$ 9,809
Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 10,635
Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 11,200
Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 11,707
Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
Price From
$ 13,345
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
Price From
$ 15,042
Other Available Dates
If you really like this cruise but the date is not suitable for you, we are glad to offer other dates for the itinerary.
Please find below all our date offerings.
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09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
ARRANGE A CALLBACK