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With featured guest Sue Flood, British Photo Ambassador.
PONANT is the first cruise company to take you to the heart of the sublime landscapes of the tropical islands in southern Japan during an expedition cruise. On this 8-day itinerary aboard Le Jacques-Cartier from Taiwan to Kagoshima, you will discover the rich natural heritage, traditional villages and craft of the Okinawa and Yaeyama Islands, in the Ryukyu archipelago.
As you depart from the Port of Keelung, in Taipei, the capital of the lush island of Taiwan, you will set sail for the southern islands of Japan, including Ishigaki, the capital island of the Yaeyama Islands. In the heart of the magnificent Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, you will be able to enjoy the dynamic atmosphere of the eponymous city or discover Kabira Bay, renowned for its idyllic scenery, combining crystal-clear turquoise water and beaches of white sand.
Following a port of call in the picturesque village of Taketomijima, with its traditional Okinawan dwellings and its idyllic sandy expanses, Le Jacques-Cartier will sail south to the island of Iriomotejima. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this little corner of paradise will enchant you with its authentic and preserved character, with its wild beaches lying alongside traditional villages surrounded by luxurious tropical forest: jungle, mangrove, rivers, waterfalls. This unique biodiversity is made up of many endemic species.
You will then head for Kumejima, the island that linked Okinawa to China in the past. Famous for its 'Eisa', a form of folk dance performed to the rhythm of traditional drums, this multifaceted island will reveal itself through its natural treasures: the mythical Mifuga rock formation or the idyllic beach of Hatenohama, a point of reference for fans of the underwater world. You will also call at Iheya Island, Okinawa's northernmost territory, where the traditional culture of the region is preserved. You will be able to discover a few aspects of this through a traditional "Eisa" show featuring traditional drums.
Le Jacques Cartier will make its way to the island of Amamioshima, between Kyushu and Okinawa. You will fall in love with this island surrounded by stunning coral reefs, punctuated with verdant peaks, covered in primary forest and monumental mangroves, and boasting strong Okinawan influences.
Next, you will set sail south to the captivating, mountainous island of Yakushima, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Providing an unspoiled natural setting for endemic species such as the Yakushima monkey and deer, the island is home to an exceptional natural environment featuring forests of ancient cedars, bewitching waterfalls, and majestic peaks.
For the grand finale, your cruise will draw to an end in Kagoshima, a bustling city nestling between ancient forests and majestic volcanoes.