25% Ponant Bonus
With this brand-new itinerary, PONANT is taking you on a cruise from Osaka to Fukuoka. This 8-day circuit will allow you to discover the jewels to be found in the picturesque towns and cities of the Seto Inland Sea. The oldest sea route in Japan, a strategic hub during Antiquity, it was also the theatre of many battles and historic events that shaped its myth and grandeur over time with the ebb and flow of the tides.
Le Soléal will set sail from Osaka, a forward-looking modern city, and make its way to the island of Inujima. A flourishing centre of the mining industry more than a century ago, particularly for copper extraction, this small 54-hectare island is now an essential destination for contemporary art enthusiasts. It is notably home to the Seirensho Art Museum, designed around the remaining blackened walls of a former copper refinery.
Aboard one of our zodiac inflatables, you will then head to Tomonoura, known for its gentle way of life and its craggy landscapes, which inspired the artist Hayao Miyazaki for the animated film Ponyo. Then, you will visit Onimichi, a charming coastal town surrounded by green hills and home to a large number of temples and emblematic shrines, including the Senkō-ji, Saikoku-ji, and Jōdo-ji temples.
After calling at Mitarai and Shimokamagari, two traditional fishing villages, Le Soléal will continue its crossing of the Seto Inland Sea to drop anchor on the island of Honshu, in Hagi. The home of the samurai and of Hagi ware will win you over with its narrow streets, traditional houses, and the former residences of the Japanese warriors from this feudal town, of which the mythical Shizuki Castle, erected in the 17th century, emerges as a symbol.
Then, you will sail towards Tsushima, the largest of the Nagasaki islands. Famous for its Aso Bay, offering exceptional panoramas of its ria coast, the island separates the Korean Peninsula from Japan. Eighty-nine percent of it is covered by natural vegetation and mountains. This green setting is the natural habitat of the Tsushima leopard cat, among others.
Your ship will then take you to Yeosu, in South Korea. Thrust into the international limelight for hosting the Marine Expo in 2012, the coastal city will captivate you with its traditional character, evident also in its fish market.
Your cruise will end in Fukuoka, your disembarkation port.
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Important trip details
The evolving COVID-19 health formalities are available in real time by clicking here.
Given the particularly changing international sanitary context, this itinerary as well as the land programmes and shore excursions may have to evolve according to port authorisations and governmental regulations in force at the time of your trip.
Therefore, for even greater peace of mind, we strongly recommend that you book your land programmes and flights before and after your cruise with PONANT.
Health formalities related to COVID-19 will be confirmed to you before your departure.
In this exceptional context, your safety remains our first priority. The effectiveness of our procedures, our cutting-edge medical equipment and the smaller scale of our ships means we can offer maximum safety so that you can relax and enjoy your cruise. The revised passenger circuit and our enhanced hygiene measures can be found on this page: https://en.ponant.com/sail-with-confidence.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Ideal clothes for life on board:
During the days spent on board, you are advised to wear comfortable clothes or casual outfits. The entire ship is air-conditioned, so a light sweater, a light jacket or a shawl may be necessary. When moving about in the public areas of the ship and the decks, light but comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the evening, you are advised to wear smart-casual attire, especially when dining in our restaurants where wearing shorts and tee-shirts is not allowed.
Depending on the itinerary and the program of your cruise, an Officer’s Evening with a white dress code may be organized. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a stylish white outfit for the occasion (otherwise black and white).
During the cruise, two gala evenings will be organised on board. Thus, we recommend that you bring one or two formal outfits.
A small shop is available on board offering a wide range of outfits, jewellery, leather goods and many accessories.
A laundry service (washing/ironing) is available on board, but unfortunately there are no dry cleaning services. For safety reasons, your cabin is not equipped with an iron.
EXPEDITION OUTFIT FOR YOUR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES:
OUTFITS ON BOARD:
In your hand luggage, remember to bring any medicines that you need, and possibly a small spare bag of toiletries (in case of delay in the delivery of your baggage by the airline). Remember to always have your travel documents with you in case you need them: hotel vouchers, cruise vouchers, return flight tickets... Never leave them in your hold luggage.
All our cabins have a safe. We recommend not to go ashore with valuable jewellery.
Embarkation 15/05/2023 from 16:00 to 17:00
Departure 15/05/2023 at 18:00
Like its big sister Tokyo, Osaka is the product of ancestral traditions and amazing technological innovations. And despite its size, its location on the Pacific Ocean give it a sense of serenity. The main historic landmark is the 16th century Osaka Castle, which stands proud in the midst of majestic skyscrapers. The lively streets of Dotomburi and the bizarre Shinsekai district attract thousands of locals and visitors. A multitude of restaurants offer menus full of regional specialities: takoyaki, made with octopus, and other succulent dishes such as kushikatsu kebabs.
A small verdant island in the Seto Inland Sea, Inujima charms lovers of rugged landscapes and art. A flourishing centre of the mining industry more than a century ago, particularly for copper extraction, the island is now a favourite destination of modern art enthusiasts, due to the activities developed since the 1980s. It is notably home to the Seirensho Art Museum, designed around the remaining blackened walls of a former copper refinery. Inujima offers an ideal mix of wild landscapes, industrial past, and contemporary art. The island will be the perfect port of call for relaxing, enjoying this exceptional panorama, and admiring singular and ambitious works of art.
Anchored to the south-eastern end of the Nunakama Peninsula, facing the calm and clear waters of the Seto Inland Sea, Tomonoura is a destination particularly appreciated for its authentic and old-fashioned atmosphere that gives it an incomparable charm. In the past used as a port where boats would moor while waiting for a favourable wind, the charming and picturesque village now serves to inspire many filmmakers and artists. With good reason, since its craggy landscapes, its cherry trees in blossom, its gentle way of life, its traditional wooden houses and its port, preserved since the Edo era, notably enabled the artist Hayao Miyazaki to make the animated film Ponyo.
Anchored on the northern shores of the Seto Inland Sea, in the Hiroshima prefecture, the historical city of Onomichi extends from the main island of Honshu to certain neighbouring islands, linked by the bridges of the Shimanami Kaido motorway. Before becoming this peaceful town with its charming, sloping little streets, Onomichi established itself in the 7th century as a nerve centre of the rice trade for the entire Japanese archipelago. Although its activity is diminished today, the port remains at the centre of the town’s culture. Onomichi now stands out for its exceptional heritage. With good reason, since it can boast over twenty temples and shrines, saved from the bombing of the Second World War. Among them are Senkō-ji, offering an outstanding panoramic view over the whole town, Saikoku-ji and its three-storied pagoda, and Jōdo-ji and its emblematic eleven-faced statue of the goddess Guanyin.
A charming fishing village nestling in the east of Osaki Shimojima Island, on the edge of the Seto Inland Sea, Mitarai is appreciated for its traditional charm and authentic character. A trip back in time to the Edo Period, where the hustle and bustle of modern cities is replaced by the gentle sound of fishing boats. Thanks to its 19th century wooden dwellings lining the small, narrow streets, its great causeway, its centuries-old sanctuaries and its gangi stairs, a stone structure giving on to the sea, the old town was classed as a Preservation District by the Japanese state in 1994.
The island of Shimokamagari stretches into the heart of the Seto Inland Sea, off the coast of the town of Kure, in the Hiroshima prefecture. A historical city during the feudal period, the island was the theatre of major diplomatic missions for the future and the Empire’s trade relationships, notably with repeated visits from mainly Korean, but also Chinese and Dutch, emissaries. Registered since 2017 on the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, documentary heritage of these encounters is conserved in the Shotoen Garden, one of the emblems of this lush islet. A magnificent Japanese garden with perfectly kept grounds, interspersed with raked pebbles and surrounded with majestic trees, it is home to a Rantokaku Museum complex, consisting of four exhibition rooms tracing the island’s naval history.
In the south of Honshu island, surrounded by mountains, Hagi is a city of water. For good reason; it was built on the delta of the Abu-gawa river. Its castle was built in the 17th century and its outer walls remain in the lovely Shizuki Park. The old town was one of the cradles of the Meiji revolution. You will discover its rich past in streets lined with old houses and samurai manors, or within the walls of the many museums and Hagi-yaki ceramics workshops.
A mountainous island nestling in the heart of the Sea of Japan, between the Japanese archipelago and the shores of South Korea, Tsushima is made up of two distinct islands, separated by the captivating Asō Bay. This deep fjord, separating the northern and southern parts of the island, will enthral you with its remarkable ria coastline and its string of luxuriant islets. Naturally preserved, Tsushima is almost 90% covered with natural vegetation. This green setting in the Iki-Tsushima Quasi-National Park is notably the natural habitat of the Tsushima leopard cat, an endemic species on the Japanese Red List of Endangered Species.
Yeosu is a charming coastal city in South Korea’s South Jeolla Province. It is part of an archipelago comprising more than 317 verdant islands. Yeosu is known for being a hidden gem with picturesque scenery, but also for its strong naval history. And with good reason since, in the early 14th century, the city became home to naval headquarters during the Joseon Dynasty. This destination, with a mix of modern architecture and vestiges of a strong past, will enthrall you with its stunning beaches edged by the pure and warm waters of the Sea of Japan.
Arrival 22/05/2023 early morning
Disembarkation 22/05/2023 at 07:00
At the northern tip of the subtropical island of Kyūshū, Fukuoka stands proudly at the centre of a veritable natural setting, between lush mountains and the crystal-clear and calm waters of Hakata Bay. A modern city and high-tech hub, which has earned it the nickame of the Japanese “Silicon Valley” in particular, the seventh town in Japan stands out for its rich cultural and historical heritage. Promoted as one of the nerve centres of maritime trade from the 15th century onward, it experienced long decades of prosperity. A period of splendour which, among other things, saw the construction of many spiritual buildings, including the Sumiyoshi-jinja shrine and the Tochoji temple, as well as its emblematic Maizuru Castle, erected in the 17th century.
Explore the planet’s most remote tropical regions during a PONANT expedition cruise. In the heart of Oceania’s archipelagos or the Indian Ocean atolls, along the wild coastlines of Central America or Australia, our luxury amenities and services will make your expedition cruise an unforgettable experience. Our expedition leaders and their teams of naturalist guides devise exceptional itineraries and organise daily outings, shore visits in Zodiac® dinghies, or snorkelling when the cruises are conducive to it, to take you as close as possible to nature. Aboard the ship, they share their knowledge during lectures on a variety of topics such as the fauna and flora, the history of the great explorations, geology and climatology. On land, using the local transport options or during hikes, discover the must-see natural sites and, for a few hours, partake in the life and ancestral customs of the local populations.