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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 Fukuoka, a modern city with a rich cultural and historical heritage, 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.
Le Jacques-Cartier heads once again for the western part of Kyushu to reach the emblematic Nagasaki. A symbol of nuclear horror, in the same way as Hiroshima, Nagasaki has become one of the archipelago's most peaceful cities and one of its most attractive. Warm and cosmopolitan, it reveals its religious heritage along its narrow streets: the Oura Catholic Church and its gardens, the Suwa Shrine, and the sumptuous Buddhist temples.
In the Goto Islands, off the coast of Nagasaki, succumb to the charms of Kamigoto Island. Having served as a refuge for many Christians fleeing the ban on Catholicism in the 17th century during the Edo period, the island boasts many churches once hidden amid the island's abundant vegetation and now listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Christian heritage can also be found further south, between the Yatsushiro and Ariake seas, in the island region of Amakusa. In Sakitsu, you will have the privilege of immersing yourself in this ancestral heritage, particularly as you visit the emblematic UNESCO-listed church.
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.
Next, you 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.
For the grand finale, your cruise will draw to an end in Kagoshima, a bustling city nestling between ancient forests and majestic volcanoes.