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trvlwrld

What are the must see ports in Japan?

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We are planning a cruise to Japan, but have only been to Nagasaki.  There are several different itineraries, and we will only be doing Japan once due to the long flight. We have traveled extensively in Asia, so are not doing anything but Japan.  What are the must-see Japanese ports?

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I am very interested, too.  I was studying the Japan itineraries before Covid. Let's hope we hear some interesting comments.

 

Speaking of the long flight, I was hoping to fly Hawaiian Air from Honolulu.  I previously had a good flight Honolulu to Sydney.

 

 

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I had explored cruising in Japan, but found that the country was better appreciated by land tours.  One suggestion is to pick itinerary so you can combine with a guided land tour in any one or two of the following regions:  Kanto, Kansai, and Hokkaido.

Airport in Kantos (East) region is Narita.  Best cities of interest are Tokyo (Fuji Mountain) and vicinities.  Flavor is modern.

Airport in Kansai (West) is Kansai International Airport.  Best cities of interest are Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Kobe.  Flavor is culture and ancient history.

Airport in Hokkaido is In Sapporo.  Flavor is adventure and appreciation of nature.

 

Check out the tour operator Superatour dot com.  This tour operator is my favorite land tour operator, because I like its tour itinerary (excellent), service (excellent), food above average), and accommodation (above average).  As reference for my rating for cruiselines, I would rate Princess good to above average, Viking above average to very, very good, and Scenic or Crystal excellent.

 

Ckeck out superatour’s “Island of Hokkaido”.  The tour is given in four seasons, each of which has a special theme for the season.  Itinerary for each season varies a little.  I took the Spring tour for Sakura Cherry Blossom, and want to take the tour again in Winter.

Note that it is easy to travel to different regions or cities within Japan.  Besides air, the public train transportation is excellent.  Non-Japanese visitors pay half fare for bullet trains if they apply.  I applied for the discount voucher near airport or railroad station.  Since most Japanese do not speak English, it is best to inquire information at the airport’s Customer Service counter or hotel concierge.

 

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For your information, I visited Nagasaki and Hiroshima in my two previous cruises years ago.  In comparison, I enjoy Kansai and Hokkaido much better.

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Forgot to mention some tips for flights.  It is much less expensive to book a round trip international air between your home country and Narita or Kansai International Airport and then take local flights (e.g., Nippon).  I usually stay one night at Narita or Kansai airport before heading to Sapporo Airport the next morning.  The rest is much needed after a long haul flight and before adjusting to time zone difference.

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On 4/8/2020 at 3:01 AM, dreamercruise said:

I had explored cruising in Japan, but found that the country was better appreciated by land tours.  One suggestion is to pick itinerary so you can combine with a guided land tour in any one or two of the following regions:  Kanto, Kansai, and Hokkaido.

Airport in Kantos (East) region is Narita.  Best cities of interest are Tokyo (Fuji Mountain) and vicinities.  Flavor is modern.

Airport in Kansai (West) is Kansai International Airport.  Best cities of interest are Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Kobe.  Flavor is culture and ancient history.

Airport in Hokkaido is In Sapporo.  Flavor is adventure and appreciation of nature.

 

Check out the tour operator Superatour dot com.  This tour operator is my favorite land tour operator, because I like its tour itinerary (excellent), service (excellent), food above average), and accommodation (above average).  As reference for my rating for cruiselines, I would rate Princess good to above average, Viking above average to very, very good, and Scenic or Crystal excellent.

 

Ckeck out superatour’s “Island of Hokkaido”.  The tour is given in four seasons, each of which has a special theme for the season.  Itinerary for each season varies a little.  I took the Spring tour for Sakura Cherry Blossom, and want to take the tour again in Winter.

Note that it is easy to travel to different regions or cities within Japan.  Besides air, the public train transportation is excellent.  Non-Japanese visitors pay half fare for bullet trains if they apply.  I applied for the discount voucher near airport or railroad station.  Since most Japanese do not speak English, it is best to inquire information at the airport’s Customer Service counter or hotel concierge.

 

Great information we are doing a cruise Alaska and Japan in August 2021  and plan to do land tour around Tokyo next year, handy to know about half price for bullet trains. 

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On 4/7/2020 at 3:26 PM, trvlwrld said:

We are planning a cruise to Japan, but have only been to Nagasaki.  There are several different itineraries, and we will only be doing Japan once due to the long flight. We have traveled extensively in Asia, so are not doing anything but Japan.  What are the must-see Japanese ports?

 

Like anywhere, I find it difficult to say which are the “must-see” Japanese ports as it depends so much on what you are interested in. 

 

Firstly, many of the Japanese ports are less interesting close to the ports. With some exceptions, expect to be travelling to get to the top sites.

 

The big ports with a bit of everything:

Yokohama/Tokyo - You have the shopping of Tokyo, the urban sights of Tokyo and Yokohama, some of Japan’s top museums and attractions, and the possibility of travelling to Hakone and Mt. Fuji for the scenery.

 

Osaka/Kobe - Two quite different ports which provide access to the same regional attractions. Of course, Kyoto is the most famous of these, easily accessible from both, and has several places worth visiting. There is also Nara which definitely worth visiting for shrines, temples and the Nara Deer (I’m biased admittedly, but I do prefer it over Kyoto). Osaka itself has great shopping, as well as your urban Japan city life plus some great museums and attractions. Kobe is a smaller city, but it has its European and Chinese influenced areas, and good transport connections to the rest of the area.

 

A Few Other interesting ports:

Himeji - If you’re interested in Japanese castles then Himeji is one of the best. (It is also easy to visit as a day trip from Kobe) There is a few other museums around, as well as some nice parks & gardens.

 

Hiroshima - Although most famous for its Peace Gardens and Museum, it is also the port for the ferry to Miyajima with it’s shrines and floating torii gate.

 

Kochi - Another one to see if you’re interested in castles (although it’s a much smaller example) as well as for religious sites. However, if you’re interested in nature there is the gorges and waterfalls of this area to visit.

 

Kagoshima - Even without leaving the ship you have the views of Sakurajima (an active, usually smoking, volcano), which is worth visiting for its geopark. There is also the hot sand beach and hot springs or the area for those interested in having a spa day.

 

Ishigaki - Pretty beaches and the traditional architecture of Taketomi, another island a short 15 minute ferry ride away, makes it worth visiting and a different experience from most other ports in Japan.

 

 

This is just a few of the ports which come to mind, but if you have some particular interests for what you like to see in ports I can probably offer some more suggestions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We had planned on doing a cruise in Japan next year, but we're moving our Galapagos trip from this year to next year.  We were really looking forward to our Japan cruise on Azamara, but the more we looked at what we wanted to do and see, the more we thought rushed by doing it with a cruise.  We definitely want more days in both Kyoto (cruise had an overnight there and started and ended in Tokyo) and Tokyo and using those cities as a base to all see Nara, Osaka, and Mt Fuji.  We also like to eat out and get a taste of the nightlife in both cities.  

 

The only thing we're a little apprehensive about is eating Japanese food straight for two weeks.  On the cruise, we would eat western breakfasts onboard and most dinners on board as well.  We'll figure it out though,

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On 4/19/2020 at 4:47 AM, hubofhockey said:

The only thing we're a little apprehensive about is eating Japanese food straight for two weeks.  On the cruise, we would eat western breakfasts onboard and most dinners on board as well.  We'll figure it out though,

 

I wouldn’t worry too much in this regard. If you so wished, it is very possible to visit Japan without ever eating “Japanese” food. And that’s still eating good quality food, no fast food. Some of it might occasionally be a little strange (such as some of the Japanese ideas of what belongs on pizza) but food in Japan is generally of high quality regardless of which cuisine it is.

 

Not that I would recommend missing out on experiencing actual Japanese food whilst you’re over there, but expect a lot of variety.

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Great topic -- and I'm going to agree with Dreamer.  Some things are just better by land -- So I'll recommend a combo!  We did a 3 week land tour in 2007 (our focus was Kyoto, Nara, and the World Science Fiction Convention)   We're coming back in 2021.  Since we picked Kyoto over Tokyo on our first trip, this time it's a week in Tokyo plus a 2 week cruise.   Our cruise has several stops on the island of Kyushu and Hiroshima - more places we didn't get to in 2007.   Kyoto/Nara and Tokyo - they deserve WAY more than just a day in port.   Others such as Himeji-jo - are perfect for a port stop.     

 

Really only you can figure out what's a must see for you with a tour book.  (But I think Japan is like Norway -- every one is doing something a bit different, but they'll all be great.) 

 

As for food -- as ShipFish says, you'll be amazed at the variety.   If you just want basic a basic pork cutlet -- order tonkatsu

 

   

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On 4/7/2020 at 4:26 PM, trvlwrld said:

We are planning a cruise to Japan, but have only been to Nagasaki.  There are several different itineraries, and we will only be doing Japan once due to the long flight. We have traveled extensively in Asia, so are not doing anything but Japan.  What are the must-see Japanese ports?

 

Since we have become great fans of Japan, I´d say: any port in Japan 🙂

However, maybe you can find some ideas in our reviews...
 

 

 

 

 

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