Ancient Traditions of the Inland Sea of Japan

May 8-18, 2018 [waitlist only]

Tour Details

Number of days: 
$6,995 [and up]
Activity Level: 
Mild to Moderately Active
Tour Operator: 
Thomas P. Gohagan & Co.
Tour Brochure 
Final: Inland Sea of Japan1.79 MB
Deck Plan: L'Austral145.38 KB
Tour Description 
  • Experience the timeless splendor of Japan and South Korea on this unique, custom-designed itinerary, featuring two nights in Kyoto and a seven-night cruise across the full length of the serene Inland Sea of Japan from Himeji to historic ports of Japan and Ulsan, South Korea.
  • On board the exclusively chartered, Five-Star small ship M.S. L’AUSTRAL, featuring only 110 ocean-view Suites and Staterooms, enjoy this 280-mile stretch of scenic, tranquil ocean with port calls at captivating points of interest, including five UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • In the enchanting city of Kyoto, visit opulent temples and the Nijō Castle, an imperial gem. Walk through the imposing Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, tour the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima with its awe-inspiring Great Torii Gate and see the impressive Himeji Castle, the oldest surviving feudal structure from medieval Japan.
  • In Gyeongju, South Korea, visit the glorious Buddhist Bulguksa Temple and the ancient Silla Kingdom Royal Burial Mounds. Tokyo Pre-Program and Kanazawa Post-Program Options are available.

EXCLUSIVELY CHARTERED, FIVE-STAR SMALL SHIP M.S. L’AUSTRAL State-of-the-Art Design: The exclusively chartered MS L’Austral represents the newest generation of Five-Star small ships, featuring only 110 Suites and Staterooms and distinctive French sophistication. Elegantly Appointed Suites and Staterooms, 95% with Private Balconies: Each air-conditioned deluxe Stateroom and Suite (200 to 484 square feet), features a private bathroom with shower, luxurious Five-Star hotel amenities and minibar with complimentary beverages; most have two twin beds that convert into one queen bed. Enjoy accommodation amenities including individual climate control, satellite flat-screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, plush robes and slippers. Chic and Casual Dining: International and regional cuisine is served in the stylish, spacious Le Coromandel dining room in single, unassigned seatings; alfresco in the casual Le Rodrigues Restaurant; or from24-hour room service. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise. Continental and buffet breakfasts, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and a four-course dinner are served daily. Complementary wine is served with served with lunch and dinner. Spacious Public Areas/World-Class Service and Facilities: In keeping with the low passenger density, the public areas are spacious and inviting and can accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy views from the Panoramic Lounge, nightly entertainment in the Main Lounge and lectures, cultural performances and film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. There is a library, Internet salon, Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa, Turkish bath-style steam room, full range of fitness equipment and two elevators. The infirmary is staffed with a doctor and nurse. The highly trained and personable, English-speaking, international crew provides attentive service. Respect for the Environment: The state-of-the-art propulsion system and custom-built stabilizers provide an exceptionally smooth, quiet and comfortable voyage. By design, each ship is energy efficient and environmentally protective of marine ecosystems and has been awarded the prestigious “Clean Ship” designation due to its advanced eco-friendly features, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels. The ship has two tenders and 10 Zodiacs. INCLUDED FEATURES IN KYOTO

  • Two nights in the deluxe KYOTO HOTEL OKURA.
  • Full buffet breakfast each morning.
  • Welcome Reception.
  • Tour of the impressive UNESCO World Heritage-designated Nijō Castle, built by a powerful shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty.
  • Visit to the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage-designated temples of Ryōan-ji and Kinkaku-ji.
  • Tour of the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine to see its thousands of beautiful vermilion torii gates.
  • Transfer from Kyoto to Himeji, including lunch.


  • Seven-night cruise from Himeji, Japan, with port calls at Hiroshima, Miyajima, Hagi, Sakaiminato for Matsue, Moji, Uno for Kurashiki or Okayama, and Osaka, Japan; and Ulsan for Gyeongju, South Korea.
  • Elegantly appointed, Five-Star Suite or Stateroom, each with a private bathroom.
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise.
  • All meals—early continental breakfast, buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and dinner—throughout the cruise, featuring fine international and regional cuisine, served at single, unassigned seatings.
  • Complementary wine is served with lunch and dinner.
  • Guided visit of the stunning grounds of Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the finest surviving example of 17th-century Japanese castle architecture in the world.
  • Visit to Hiroshima’s compelling Peace Memorial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a tour of the Peace Memorial Museum.
  • Excursion on Miyajima (“Shrine Island”) to tour the UNESCO World Heritage site of the sixth-century Itsukushima Shrine and see its iconic Great Torii Gate.
  • Walking tour of Hagi’s old samurai quarter featuring visits to the early 17th-century Kikuya House and the 17th-century Toko-ji Temple.
  • Visit to the Hagi Uragami Museum to see the famous craftsmanship of traditional woodblock arts.
  • Excursion to the acclaimed Adachi Museum of Art Japanese modern art and perfectly landscaped kare-sansui (dry landscape) viewing gardens known as “living Japanese paintings.”
  • Excursion from Ulsan, South Korea, to historic Gyeongju, the cradle of the Silla Kingdom and a UNESCO World Heritage site, with visits to Bulguksa Temple, the Gyeongju National Museum and the Royal Burial Mounds at Tumuli Park, including a typical Korean lunch.
  • Tour of Moji, featuring visits to the Mekari Shrine, the Akama Shrine, dedicated to the 12th-century child emperor Antoku, and the lively Karato Ichiba Fish Market.
  • Choice of a tour of Kurashiki, known for its willow-lined canals and distinctive 17th-century merchant buildings, or a visit to famous Koraku-en Garden, a classic Japanese strolling garden completed in 1700