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Setting sail from 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.
The world’s busiest pedestrian crossing at Shibuya. Take the metro to the station of the same name and watch as thousands cross simultaneously when the traffic lights turn red.
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.
Small in size and cosmopolitan in its outlook, Kobe is a thoroughly pleasant city with a long and distinguished history as one of Japan’s main trading ports. Kobe’s past as a commercial hub is reflected in its architecture, with a number of unusually European-looking houses, as well as a charming, if slightly touristy, Chinatown.
The elegant Himeji-jo, with its five-storey main keep, moats and defensive walls, is renowned as Japan’s most beautiful surviving feudal castle. The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was built in 1580 by the powerful general and samurai warrior Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
The port of Tamano is an important centre for shipbuilding and fishing, but the city also has an arty side, with some eye-catching sculptures scattered about. Local points of interest include Miyama Park, with its elegant English garden, and Shibukawa Beach, a popular spot for watersports.
Miyajima island, officially known as Itsukushima, is famous for its incredibly photogenic torii (shrine gates) which seem to float above the water. Renovation work beginning in June 2019 means that the gates will be obscured by scaffolding for a couple of years, but the shrine itself will remain open.
The historic town of Uwajima, situated on the west coast of Shikoku island, is home to a beautiful 17th century castle, surrounded by ornamental gardens. Another popular and rather eye-opening attraction is the Taga fertility shrine, with its 9-foot carving of a phallus and adjoining sex museum.
The friendly southern Japanese city of Kagoshima enjoys a balmy climate, and sits just across the bay from the very active Sakurajima volcano, which erupts so regularly that an ‘ash forecast’ is included in local weather reports.
Japan: Miyanoura (Yakushima)
The island of Yakushima is an unspoilt natural paradise, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its primeval temperate rainforest. The mountainous interior is a magical landscape of waterfalls, ancient cedar trees and winding trails, and provided the inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed anime ‘Princess Mononoke’.
The island of Amami-Oshima is rich in flora and fauna thanks to a mild subtropical climate, and a number of whale species can be spotted in the surrounding waters during the winter. The island also has some lovely white sand beaches, and is known for producing high quality hand-made silk.
Yoronjima is the southernmost of Japan’s subtropical Amami islands, blessed with beautiful white sand beaches and clear turquoise seas. It’s an ideal location for water-based activities including kayaking, scuba diving and snorkelling, and the island has a distinctive culture influenced by nearby Okinawa.
Japan: Motobu (Okinawa)
Motobu is situated in the north of Okinawa island, in an area with some lovely beaches. The town is home to the impressive Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, where you can see whale sharks, bull sharks, manta rays and numerous species of tropical and deep-water fish.
Naha is the capital of Okinawa prefecture, a subtropical region of southern Japan with its own distinct culture. The city is a bustling commercial centre despite being flattened during the Second World War, and the architectural highlight is the elegant Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Zamami island is part of the Kerama archipelago, known for its beautiful white sand beaches, vivid blue waters and world class scuba diving. A host of other aquatic activities are also available here, or you can hike up to the Takatsuki Observatory for lovely views.
Japan: Tsuki-ga-hama Beach (Iriomote-jima)
The crescent-shaped Tsuki-ga-hama is one of the best beaches on the jungle-clad island of Iriomote-jima, part of the idyllic Yaeyama archipelago. The islands are known for their fantastic coral reefs, perfect for diving and snorkelling, while ashore you can explore on foot or on a river kayaking expedition.
Japan: Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki is the most developed of the Yaeyama islands, an idyllic tropical archipelago located closer to Taiwan than mainland Japan. The offshore coral reefs make this a popular spot for diving and snorkelling, while the jungle interior offers some great hiking opportunities.
Arriving in Taipei
The Taiwanese capital draws on an interesting mix of Chinese, Japanese and Western influences, and is home to attractive temples, a burgeoning street food scene and Taipei 101, which was the world's tallest building until it was eclipsed by Dubai's Burj Khalifa in 2010.
Your home from home
Crystal Endeavor is the world's largest and most luxurious expedition yacht, with more space per person than any other ship at sea.
What we love
This is the coolest expedition operation yet. On board is the ultimate in luxury at the Crystal level we know so well, but even more exciting is what is going to happen off the ship, as they navigate first year ice in the polar regions and follow the route of migrating whales.
A wealth of extraordinary toys including submarines, helicopters and remote operated vehicles will ensure that a Crystal Yacht Expedition creates the most extraordinary memories even for the most jaded of travellers.
|Style||The ultimate in luxury expedition cruising.|
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.