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  • Writer's picturePinnacle Global Travel

13 Days Kyoto & The Zen Of Japan Cruise Tour: Kobe to Tokyo (Call For Pricing)

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

Cruise Ship

Asia | Windstar Cruises - Star Breeze

Departure Dates:

2020: September 10, 18, October 1, 9 | 2021: April 9, 17

Ports of Call:

Kobe; Takamatsu; Hiroshima; Karatsu; Busan; Hashima Island; Nagasaki; Kagoshima; Shingu; Shimizu; Tokyo

General Info:

From the tranquil Zen beauty of Kinkakuji Temple to the vibrant blinking plasma screens and incessant press of pedestrians throughout Tokyo's Shibuya Station, this 12-day cruise experience throughout Japan combines pristine natural beauty with contemporary and cosmopolitan contrasts. Nibble on freshly caught fish paired with salty soy sauce and fiery wasabi in Shimizu's world-famous Fish Market. Meander among East Asian relics and prehistoric stone tools in Busan's museums, ornate temples and royal tombs in Gyeongju, one of South Korea's most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sip steamy green tea in the peaceful shade of chestnut trees near the scenic Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsu City, or participate in the ancient rituals of a formal tea ceremony. Examine Kyoto's majestic temples and storied Nijo Castle in detail as part of a two-night inland stay, or explore the Zen temple of Tenryuji in scenic and peaceful Arashiyama, one of the most popular destinations in the city. It's a perfect journey for those who love Japan, and adventurous travelers who want to go further inland to explore the distinctive culture and history of Kyoto.


With only 212 guests, you begin to feel like it's your own private yacht almost as soon as you step aboard. The sitting area of your spacious suite gives you an expansive ocean view, making it a welcome retreat. When you're ready to make an appearance, the lounges, club, casino and library are waiting to be explored. Take some "you" time in the tranquil WindSpa, enjoy a dip in the pool, work off that decadent dessert in the Fitness Center and, of course, you are always welcome to visit the Bridge to examine navigation charts with the Captain. Star Breeze is large enough to pamper and entertain you, yet small enough to tuck into delightful tiny harbors and hidden coves that others can't reach.


Day 1 | Kobe to Kyoto: Disembark from your plane and an English-speaking guide will be waiting. Board the motor coach for the two-hour drive to Kyoto Hotel Okura where the evening is at your leisure. (Includes overnight at Kyoto Hotel Okura) Day 2 | Kyoto Half-Day Tour: Admire Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, built in 1397. Positioned by a tranquil pond, the three-story Chinese-influenced pavilion has the walls and eaves covered in shimmering gold leaf. Then continue to Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site adorned with wood carvings, artistically painted sliding doors and expansive tatami rooms. You will lunch at a local Kyoto restaurant before heading to a local machiya in Kyoto where, you can try on a kimono and attend a tea tasting ceremony. Learn the history of kimonos and then you will be transferred back to the hotel. Day 3 | Kyoto to Kobe: After breakfast check out of the hotel and meet your guide in the lobby. Start the day with a visit to Sanjusangendo, famous for its 1,001 12th century statues of the Buddhist deity Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. You will be transferred to the Gion District, which is Kyoto's most famous geisha district, filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses). Following lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to Osaka Castle. Enjoy the photo stop at Osaka Castle before you head to Osaka Port and embark the cruise. Day 3 | Kobe, Japan: Kobe is the 66th largest city in Japan and famous for its signature marbled beef. The Ikuta Shrine there is among Japan's oldest shrines, dating back to the third century. Kobe is also the gateway to Mount Rokko, accessible by antique cable cars, and the outdoor hot springs of Arima Onsen. Other sites include the Sake Breweries, the Earthquake Museum, and Sorakuen Garden. Day 4 | Takamatsu, Japan: The main gateway to Shikoku Island and an important focal point for the island's rail and road transit systems, Takamatsu, on Japan's scenic Inland Sea, has been a political and economic center since the Edo period. Among the attractions here is Ritsurin Garden, created during the Edo period, and especially popular during spring for the cherry blossoms and autumn for the fall foliage. Takamatsu Symbol tower has several observation decks providing panoramic views of the sea and landscapes. Day 5 | Hiroshima, Japan: Largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during WWII, Hiroshima today is a modern city on the island of Honshu. The Hiroshima Memorial Peace Arch, a UNESCO site commonly referred to as the Atomic Dome, commemorates the 1945 event. One feature is a colorful memorial to Sadako Sasaki, a young woman whose dying wish for peace was told in the story A Thousand Paper Cranes. Also worth seeing is the Hiroshima Museum of Art displaying paintings from Monet, Van Gogh, Fujishima and Asai and the UNESCO red torii of Miyajima. Day 6 | Karatsu, Japan: Located on the island of Kyushu, Karatsu is one of the closest Japanese cities to the Korean Peninsula. Karatsu Castle is the main attraction here. Built in 1608, it houses a museum of the castle's history and Karatsu ceramics. Karatsu is also known for its pottery which can be viewed at the Karatsu-yaki Pottery Gallery. Also worth visiting is the Karatsu Hikiyama Exhibition Hall which displays the 14 floats used in the annual Karatsu Kunchi Festival in November. Day 7 | Busan, South Korea: The second largest city in South Korea is a popular leisure destination due to the nearby hot springs. It is home to many famous beaches that lure visitors from around the world and the UNESCO site of Gyeongju an outdoor museum that was once the capital of the Silla Kingdom and holds many architectural points of interest including ornate temples. Also of interest is South Korea's largest temple, Tongdosa Temple, renowned for having no outdoor statues. Day 8 | Busan, South Korea: The second largest city in South Korea is a popular leisure destination due to the nearby hot springs. It is home to many famous beaches that lure visitors from around the world and the UNESCO site of Gyeongju an outdoor museum that was once the capital of the Silla Kingdom and holds many architectural points of interest including ornate temples. Also of interest is South Korea's largest temple, Tongdosa Temple, renowned for having no outdoor statues. Day 9 | Scenic Cruising: Hashima Island: Cruise around the island of Hashima, abandoned over 50 years ago when the coal mining that flourished there suddenly ran out. The mining company shut the mine down and the island has been a ghost town ever since. (Visibility depends on weather conditions.) Day 9 | Nagasaki, Japan: Notable for the nuclear attack it suffered during WWII, Nagasaki has memorialized the event at the city's Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Memorial Park. The museum tells the story of the events leading up to the bombing and the park, located at the center of the bomb blast, houses a beautiful 30-foot tall fountain symbolizing peace. Other highlights to see are the Glover Gardens and Dejima Museum, which was originally an artificial island. Day 10 | Kagoshima, Japan: The seaside city of Kagoshima is best known for Sakurajima, an active volcano facing Kinko Bay. Take a tour to the Shiroyama Observatory or to the peaceful Edo-period Sengamen Japanese Garden. Visit the Ishibashi Park and the three Edo-period stone bridges or travel to the nearby village of Chiran to see the well-preserved Samurai Houses and the Chiran Peace Museum, exploring the background of kamikaze pilots. Day 12 | Shingu, Japan: For over 1,000 years pilgrims have traveled to the Kumano Region to pray at the three Sacred Kumano Shrines. In Shingu you can see the Hayatama Shrine and the Kamikura Shrine. Both of these shrines are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Sacred Sites of Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range. The Kamikura Shrine sits on Mount Kamikurayama and requires climbing 538 steps to reach it. Day 13 | Shimizu, Japan: Most notably known as the city you can see the UNESCO site of Mount Fuji from. This small port city considered one of the three most beautiful ports in Japan has many historical building like Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, Sumpugo Park, and Shizuoka Sengen Shrine. The 65-foot Shiraito Waterfall, located near Mount Fuji looks like it could be silk. Enjoy tuna from Japan's largest fishery here or a cup of maccha, a Japanese green tea. Day 14 | Tokyo, Japan: There are so many interesting things about Tokyo it is not possible to list them here and you will want to plan to extend your stay. This is the place for excellent and unlimited shopping choices and from where new fashion trends seem to spring. It offers excellent cuisine and has earned mention on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Even though Tokyo's neon-lit streets make it seem modernistic, it also prides itself on retaining its shogun past, carrying on sumo tournaments and kabuki productions. Tokyo is also committed to providing green spaces in the city or on the outskirts, quickly reached by train.


All meals in all venues at all times, including room service menu available 24-hours. All non-alcoholic beverages, including cappuccino, espresso, and other specialty non-alcoholic drinks are offered to guests. There is also a welcome cocktails reception as well. Options include Amphora Restaurant, Candles, Compass Rose, Veranda, Yacht Club Cafe, Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso, Star Grill by Steven Raichlen, The Lounge and Star Bar.


Guests are allowed unlimited access to use all water sports equipment and there is also on-board entertainment. A casino, library/computer center, lounge, pool, whirlpool, and screening room are also available for guests at their leisure.


Explore beautiful landmarks throughout your journey with many highlighted excursions. Below are just a few of the many that you can experience on your voyage. Takamatsu Garden and Green Tea Shodoshima Island Highlights Takamatsu Highlights Udon Noodle Making Experience and Garden Hiroshima and Miyajima Full Day Hiroshima Highlights Miyajima Highlights Panoramic Hiroshima Karatsu Culture and Panorama Karatsu Highlights Karatsu Highlights with Castle Tea Ceremony at Kinshoji Temple and View of Karatsu Beautiful Harmony of Nature and Humanity Busan City Highlights Journey Back in Time, Gyeongju Sea Breeze of Busan Busan Tea Ceremony Best of Nagasaki Excursion Panoramic Nagasaki Peace Memorial Park and Museum The Pottery Town Arita and Nagasaki Kagoshima, Chiran and Kagoshima Kagoshima Highlights Sakurajima Highlights Senganen Gardens and Shoko Shuseikan Museum Doro Gorge River Cruise Kumano Kodo Hiking Journey Oniga-jo Rocks and Shrines Mount Fuji Cultural Experience Mount Fuji Highlight Sacred Toshogu and Nihondaira Ropeway


Guests can enjoy amenities including a queen size bed with luxurious linens, a waffle weave robe and slippers, a flat-screen television with DVD player, a full stocked mini-bar and refrigerator, safety deposit box, direct dial phone, luxury bath amenities, Wi-Fi access, fresh flowers and fruit, granite vanity with makeup mirror, walk-in closet with ample drawer space, bathroom with granite countertop, full-size tub and a shower, and hairdryers. Gracious Balcony and Oceanview Suites | Where stylish comfort and oceanviews welcome you in 277-square-feet. Your queen bed, which can be separated as twins if you prefer, features luxurious Egyptian cotton linens. Enjoy a luxurious soak in your full-size tub or an invigorating shower, then wrap up in your waffle-weave robe and slippers, savor a treat from the fresh fruit bowl, or simply stretch out and enjoy the fresh flowers. Classic Suites | Relax in 400 to 530 spacious square-feet. Your living area offers beautiful views from the forward-facing window and French doors onto your private veranda. Two spacious closets give you plenty of room to unpack. Owner's Suites Forward |With 575-square-feet, your Owner's Suite offers separate living room and dining areas. A veranda, two flat-screen televisions and DVD players, and a full master bath and separate powder room indulge you in spacious comfort. Star Category Suites | As soon as you walk through the door, you're greeted with an open living area for a more welcoming entrance. Drift off to sleep by the window in your queen bed as you watch the same stars that sailors used to navigate the seas hundreds of years ago. Star Porthole Suites | These suites represent a nod to the sailing tradition of porthole windows. And while sailors might have had cramped quarters, your 277-square-foot stateroom is wonderfully spacious and furnished with all the modern amenities and comforts of home. Owner's Suites Midship | A stunning brand new owner's suites with 820-square-feet of space featuring two-bedrooms and two-bathrooms, a verandah, and plenty of space in the sitting area for entertaining. This is the most sought after suite on the entire ship and once you stay here, you'll never stay anywhere else. Grand Owner's Suites Midship | The Owner's Suite Midship combines with the adjoining suite for a three-bedroom and three-bath suite totaling 1,374-square-feet. Bring your friends and share the suite like a villa, or luxuriate with just the two of you for accommodations as unique as your travels. There's no other suite like this at sea.


WindSpa | Available to guests who wish to take time and relax after an adventurous day out exploring.


There is a fitness center on board for guests who want to continue their workout while sailing.


Starting 02/20/2020, this all-suite ship will undergo a complete renovation to provide more of what guests love. New public areas, including a two new dining venues, a new spa, infinity pool, and fitness area. The ship also boasts all new bathrooms in every suite and a new category of Star suites, featuring a new layout that would expand itself to carry 312 guests. With oceanviews and over 277-square-feet of comfort, Star Breeze is the perfect ship to watch glaciers and fjords drift by from the serenity of your suite.


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