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Set sail with PONANT and discover the Empire of the Rising Sun, its many traditions and emblematic sites. From Otaru, you will set off on an 12-day cruise in the footsteps of the mid-18th-century Japanese merchants , who travelled the Kitamae maritime route to Osaka every year.
First of all, you will visit the north of the island ofHonshu and, more specifically, the charming city of Sakata. Long known as a prosperous town in the western part of the Tohoku region, it will captivate you with its folkloric atmosphere, with authentic and traditional architecture, still retaining the scents, flavours and certain traditions of the time of Kitamae.
You will then sail to the small island of Sado, renowned for its magnificent coastline, wild landscapes and rich history, which blends maritime and artistic traditions with vestiges of the gold rush.
After a port of call in Wajima, renowned for its ancestral arts and crafts, you will discover the small towns of unparalleled charm that lie along the shores of Kyoto prefecture. Ine with its old-world authenticity, Miyazu with its enchanting bay: they offer a unique and stunning experience.
This charming voyage will then take you along the Uradome Coast, a coastal estuary and major geological site in the SaninKaigan National Park. You will be captivated by the scenery: white sandy beaches, shallow caves and jagged cliffs, sculpted by the winds and currents of the Sea of Japan.
Then, the port of call in Tottori will seem like the unexpected interlude of your cruise. With good reason, since this ancient, fortified town is home to Japan's largest sand dunes. Bright sunshine, ochre dunes edged by the Sea of Japan, camels with a captivating gait... Here, in this majestic landscape where wind waves rise to caress the sand giants, time seems to stand still.
Then you will sail to South Korea, a small peninsula that juts out into the Sea of Japan, and discover Busan, South Korea's second city. A place of great contrasts, Busan offers a spectacular view over its port, as well as over the ancient district of Chalgachi.
Back in Japan, you will set off to discover picturesque Shimonoseki, the westernmost town on the island of Honshu opposite the Kanmon Straits, an emblematic passageway on the Kitamae maritime route. Here, you will stroll along the steep alleyways of the town's emblematic fish market. It is a city of history: for example, the peace treaty ending the First Sino-Japanese war was signed here at the end of the 19th century.
After a trip aboard one of our zodiac inflatables, in the picturesque fishing villages of Shimokamagari and Mitarai, you will head to Onomichi, a charming coastal town surrounded by green hills and home to a large number of temples and emblematic shrines, including the Senk?-ji, Saikoku-ji, and J?do-ji temples. Then, you will visit Tomonoura, known for its gentle way of life and its craggy landscapes, which inspired the artist Hayao Miyazaki for the animated film Ponyo.
You will disembark in Osaka, a modern, forward-looking city, in the heart of the Japanese archipelago.