Sailing from Japan
Setting sail from Osaka
Osaka, Japan's third largest city, is a pulsating commercial hub, famous for its food and its fiercely independent spirit. This is where the conveyor-belt sushi restaurant was first invented, and the cityscape rivals Tokyo for neon-lit futurism. If you need respite from the urban sprawl seek out Osaka Castle and the surrounding Nishinomaru Garden, a particularly pretty spot during the cherry blossom season.
The small coastal town of Shingu is home to the Kumano Hayatama Taisha, one of three Shinto shrines connected by a network of ancient pilgrimage routes. The surrounding countryside is home to waterfalls, fast-flowing rivers and the dramatic Dorokyo Gorge, and is a popular area for hiking, rafting and scenic boat trips.
Shimizu is one of the most spectacular ports in Japan, a sweeping bay in the shadow of the iconic Mount Fuji. You can spend some time admiring the views and wandering through peaceful pine groves, or visit the unique Shimizu Sushi Museum at the S-Pulse Dream Plaza shopping mall.
In a state of constant renewal and forever looking to the future, densely populated Tokyo is a dazzling introduction to Japan and its utterly unique culture. With more neon than Las Vegas and more Michelin stars than Paris, it’s a real assault on the senses.
Sendai is the largest city in the Tohoku region, founded in the 16th century by the powerful samurai lord Date Masamune. His legacy lives on in the ruins of Sendai Castle, heavily damaged by Allied bombing during the Second World War. The city also plays host to the colourful Tanabata Matsuri festival every summer.
Arriving in Otaru
The charming port town of Otaru, on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, is a common start and end point for cruises visiting both Japan and the Russian Far East. The town has a notable history, playing an important role in the herring trade during the 19th century, and this is reflected in the stone warehouses alongside the picturesque canal. It's only a small place, so if you run out of things to do then the city of Sapporo is just a half-hour train ride away, or you can explore the wild and beautiful landscapes of rural Hokkaido.
Get out of the city to see the breathtaking mountain scenery in the region, not to mention the great beaches.
For once-in-a-lifetime tailor-made itineraries, Mundy Adventures specialises in expedition cruises to some of the most wonderful places on earth; places often only accessible by water.
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Where to stay in Otaru
If you’ve always wanted to stay at a ryokan, Ginrinso could be a great choice – expensive, but pretty special.
Take a tour of Otaru
A local tour by ebisuya (rickshaw) is easy paced with a great guide thrown in.