Ancient Traditions of the Inland Sea of Japan | May 22 - June 1, 2019

Experience the timeless splendor of Japan and South Korea on land and by sea from May 22 - June 1, 2019, on this special nine-night itinerary. Featuring enthralling ports steeped in the traditions of ancient Buddhist shoguns and Samurai warriors, landscapes dotted with Shinto shrines, imperial castles, and meticulous Japanese gardens, discover the historical and cultural richness of this beautiful region.

Begin your adventure with a two-night stay in the enchanting city of Kyoto. The imperial capital of Japan from A.D. 794 until the mid-19th century, it has been the cultural capital of this island nation for more than 1,000 years. See the historic monuments of ancient Kyoto, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the opulent temples of Ry ¯oan‑ji, Kinkaku‑ji and Kiyomizu and Nij ¯o Castle, an imperial gem. Stroll through the iconic, red-orange torii gates and temple grounds of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, dedicated to the deity of sake and rice, and walk through the Gion Dsitrict, the most famous geisha district in Japan.

Cruise aboard the five-star small ship Le Soleal, from Himeji, Japan, and along the coast of the tranquil Inland Sea and South Korea, with port calls featuring five UNESCO World Heritage sites. See the impressive 14th-century Himeji Castle, the oldest surviving feudal structure of medieval Japan; walk through the poignant Peace Memorial Park and museum in Hiroshima; and tour picturesque Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima with its awe-inspiring Great Torii Gate. Admire the extraordinary collection at the Adachi Museum of Art near Matsue, whose gardens are considered “living Japanese paintings.” In Gyeongju, South Korea, see the Buddhist Bulguksa Temple, which symbolizes the material expression of Buddhist utopia on Earth, and the ancient Silla Kingdom Royal Burial Mounds. Visit the Mekari Shrine, a legendary Shinto shrine juxtaposed with Moji’s contemporary architecture, and just outside the city, walk through the 12th-century Akama Shrine, dedicated to the child emperor Antoku. Nearby, observe the excitement of a Japanese fish market, known for its locally caught fugu (pufferfish), a delicacy of Japanese cuisine.