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With featured guest Sue Flood, British Photo Ambassador.
From the rias of Nagasaki Prefecture to the captivating coast of Kagoshima, the western part of the island of Kyushu is both surprising and captivating. During a brand-new 8-day expedition cruise aboard Le Jacques-Cartier, PONANT invites you to discover an unsuspected side of Japan, combining enchanting nature and unexpected Christian heritage, at the intersection of Western and Japanese traditions.
Departing from Kagoshima, a bustling city nestling between ancient forests and majestic volcanoes, Le Jacques-Cartier will set a southward course to reach 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.
Your trip will continue in the Koshikijima Islands. Aboard one of our inflatable dinghies, admire the raw and authentic beauty composed of monumental cliffs and huge rock formations dating back to the Cretaceous periodnearly 80 million years ago. You will be captivated by these landscapes unlike any other.
Between the Yatsushiro and Ariake seas, off the coast of Nagasaki, succumb to the charms of the island region of Amakusa, once the refuge of Christians fleeing the ban on Catholicism in the 17th century during the Edo period. In Sakitsu, you will have the privilege of immersing yourself in this ancestral heritage, particularly as you visit the emblematic UNESCO-listed church. Christian heritage can also be found further north, in the Goto Islands, on Kamigoto Island. Here, each small town bears traces of this influence that is still very much present, as evidenced by the many religious buildings dotting Kamigoto.
Further north, between South Korea and Fukuoka Prefecture, in the Tsushima Strait, a little-known island called Iki will reveal itself to you in a glorious setting of rock faces with verdant summits and heavenly beaches of fine sand. Considered one of the cradles of Shinto, the island boasts no fewer than 150 shrines scattered across these sacred and unspoiled lands.
Le Jacques-Cartier will sail westward to the volcanic island of Jeju in South Korea. Dominated by the majestic silhouette of the Hallasan volcano, the country's tallest peak, this nature sanctuary reveals its most beautiful treasures: steep cliffs with emerald and ashen reflections, monumental waterfalls, bewitching virgin forests, long stretches of tea plantations, and more.
For the grand finale, your cruise will end in Fukuoka, a modern city with a rich cultural and historical heritage.