Cruise only (Please call for flight options)
Setting sail from Yokohama (Tokyo)
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, but an efficient public transport system means it's easy to explore. Asakusa is an atmospheric district where you'll find Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple, Akihibara spills over with shops selling electronic gadgets, and Harajuku is the place to marvel at the latest colourful Japanese fashions. It's also easy to escape the crowds and find a spot of peace and quiet, with tranquil parks, shrines and lotus ponds dotted around the city.
Brave the metro subway system. It’s efficient, fun and easy to use. The staff are unfailingly polite if you get confused or lost. Live like the locals but avoid rush hours!
Situated at the southern tip of Hokkaido, Hakodate was one of the first Japanese ports to open up to international trade in the 19th century, and a scattering of European-style buildings remain. Take a ride on the historic streetcar, tuck into delicious seafood or enjoy a revitalising dip in an onsen (hot spring).
Tyuleniy is the Russian word for ‘seal’, and this tiny island, located off the south east coast of Sakhalin in the Sea of Okhotsk, is an important breeding ground for both northern fur seals and Steller sea lions.
Russia: Yankicha Island
Yankicha Island is one of two islets that make up Ushishir Island, and is formed from an extinct volcano. At its centre is a stunning caldera that floods at high tide, along with hot springs and fumaroles, and the island is home to wildlife including Arctic foxes, harbour seals and the rare whiskered auklet.
Russia: Atlasova Island
Atlasova Island is dominated by the Alaid volcano, the tallest in the Kuril Islands, and fringed by black lava beaches where you may spot birds including peregrine falcons, buzzards and tufted ducks. The island was a women’s gulag during the Soviet era, but these days it is uninhabited.
The uninhabited island of Matua is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Islands, Sarychev, which last erupted in 2009. Matua was home to a Japanese military base during the Second World War, and the island’s rich bird life includes Siberian rubythroats, peregrine falcons and eye-browed thrushes.
Russia: Natalii Bay
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.
Here’s a weird thing – there is a thriving Venetian glass industry here, dating back to the need for glass fishing floats.
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.
Your home from home
SH Minerva & SH Vega are stylish and contemporary expedition vessels that reinvent the Swan Hellenic of old.
What we love
SH Minerva & SH Vega carry just 152 guests to destinations including Antarctica, the Arctic, the Russian Far East, Europe, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. The Scandi chic interiors are flooded with natural light, while thoughtfully designed public areas are geared towards wildlife viewing and enjoying spectacular polar scenery. The main Swan Restaurant hosts breakfast, lunch and dinner, complemented by the Club Lounge for casual dining and drinks, while other facilities include a photography lab, sauna and base camp-style mudroom.
|Style||Relaxed and refined|
Tailor-make your trip
Extend your stay in Tokyo
The Park Hotel at Shimbashi in the Shiodome Media Tower offers premium rooms with great views from the 25th floor up!
Get on your bike
The 25km Tokyo Great Cycling Tour is one of the city’s greatest trips. See both secret back streets and landmark attractions on this full day extravaganza.
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.