PONANT reveals new Japanese expedition programme for 2024 - TravelMole

PONANT reveals new Japanese expedition programme for 2024

Thursday, Apr 20, 2023 0


PONANT has revealed its new Japanese luxury expedition programme for 2024 featuring acclaimed sailings in the Nippon archipelago as well as three new itineraries never offered before, for travellers to discover and rediscover the Empire of the Rising Sun.


Commencing in March 2024, the world leader of luxury expeditions PONANT is expanding its programme of Japanese expeditions with the addition of sailings in Kyushu’s islands between Kagoshima and Fukuoka, and in the Seto Inland Sea from Kagoshima to Kobe. PONANT, a trailblazer in the small luxury expedition cruise landscape, is the first operator to bring its modern fleet in some of Japan most remote locations, offering its guests the unique chance to encounter another fascinating and never-seen-before part of the country.


Travellers sailing onboard Le Jacques-Cartier and Le Soleal will not only be amongst the first to explore some of Japan south islands on a luxury expedition but can also expect to discover the unexpected Christian heritage off the coast of Nagasaki – a religion which survived being banned for three centuries during the Edo period. At the intersection of Western and Japanese traditions, guests will access various UNESCO sites and hidden Christian sites, including Sakitsu and Kamigoto on Yakushima Island.


Each sailing promises a rich itinerary combining some of Japan’s most diverse and sometimes under-the-radar assets, from luxurious vegetation to sharp rugged cliffs; from green-topped volcanoes to white-sand beaches; from modern metropoles to ancestral remote towns.


The new itineraries add to PONANT’s existing routes across Japan’s subtropical islands, gently taking travellers away from the lively Kobe, Fukuoka and Onomichi, to the exotic and remote provinces of Iheyajima, Kerama or even Ishigaki. On select itineraries, guests will have the chance to embark on a wider Asian exploration stopping by some of South Korea’s most famous southern ports of Busan, Yeosu or Jeju, Keelung in Taiwan, or Ha Long in Vietnam.


The new 2024 programme is the result of a highly curated selection of the country best-kept secrets carefully curated by Ryo Ijichi, PONANT’s Expedition Leader and Commercial Manager for Japan and Korea who commented on the expansion of the existing Japan programme whilst staying true to PONANT’s ethos of unparallel and meaningful expedition sailings.


“As an island state, Japan was originally more connected by sea than by land. Most of the cities, the gateways to these regions, there faced the ocean. Imagine what a great playground this is for an expedition ship discovery. When one considers Japan, one often thinks of the contemporary pace of Tokyo and the traditional aspects of Kyoto, but it is my


hope from our itineraries that our guests will learn and experience an entirely different way or being in this unexpectedly rich country,” Ryo said.


NEW – Japan, natural archipelago, and secular heritage


A new itinerary for the 2024 season, PONANT invites guests to discover one of Japan’s unique heritages between Kagoshima and Kobe through a 9-day trip. Sailing through the Seto Inland Sea and its picturesque villages, Le Jacques-Cartier will son set course to the fascinating Koshikijima Islands and its monumental cliffs, before heading for the island region of Amakusa, once the refuge of Christians fleeing the ban on Catholicism in the Edo period and visiting Sakitsu’s UNESCO-listed church. After a stop in South Korea’s second largest city, Busan, travellers will return to Japan and discover Moji on the northern tip of Kyushu, a preserved architectural jewel evoking the traditional Japan of the Meiji  era. After a trip to Onomichi, home to numerous temples and emblematic shrines, guests will visit Tomonoura and its craggy landscape before reaching Kobe.


From Kagoshina to Kobe – 9 days, 8 nights

From 4 May 2024 to 12 May 2024

From AUD 10,270 per person*

Save up to 25% when you book early – conditions apply.

Find more about this sailing.


Japanese Subtropical Islands – Okinawa to Keelung


As the first cruise company to take travellers to the heart of the sublime landscapes of the tropical islands in southern Japan, PONANT’s guests can expect to discover the rich natural heritage, traditional villages and craft of the Okinawa and Yaeyama Islands in the Ryukyu archipelago. From Naha Island, Le Jacques-Cartier will set sail for Iheya Island where the traditional “Eisa” show takes place before heading to Zamami in the Kerama Islands and its unspoiled beauty from where “Kerama blue” is known. Guests will then head for Kumejima, a truly multifaceted island with mythical rock formation and idyllic beaches. The sail will conclude in Keelung (Taipei’s port) but not before visiting the highlights of Japan’s southern islands, including Ishigaki, Taketomijima, and UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Iriomotejima island’s southern coast.


From Naha, Okinawa to Keelung (Chilung) – 8 days, 7 nights

From 16 March 2024 to 23 March 2024

From AUD 8,030 per person*

Save up to 30% when you book early – conditions apply.

Find more about this sailing.


Japanese Subtropical Islands – Fukuoka  to Keelung


From Fukuoka to Taiwan, this 8-day expedition cruise will take travellers through the mountainous island of Yakushima, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site with unspoiled nature and endemic species such as Yakushima monkey and deer, before making their way to Zamami, and Taketomijima. On a southward journey, Le Jacques-Cartier will sail to Ishigaki, the capital island of the Yaeyama Islands, which hosts the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, with idyllic scenery, crystal-clear turquoise water and beaches of white sand. Following a stop in the island of Iriomotejima, another UNESCO World Heritage Site for its authentic and preserved character in luxurious tropical forest and mangrove, travellers will reach Yonagunijima, then Keelung – the port of Taiwanese capital Taipei.


From Fukuoka to Keelung (Chilung) – 8 days, 7 nights

From 6 April 2024 to 13 April 2024

From AUD 8,420 per person*

Save up to 30% when you book early – conditions apply.

Find more about this sailing.


Japanese Subtropical Islands – Keelung to Kagoshima


Departing from Taipei’s Port of Keelung, the capital of the lush island of Taiwan, travellers will set sail for the southern islands of Japan including Ishigaki, the capital island of the Yaeyama Islands. There in the heart of the magnificent Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, guests will be able to enjoy the dynamic atmosphere of the eponymous city or discover


Kabira Bay and its crystal-clear turquoise water and beaches of white sand. After a stop in Taketomijima and the island of Iriomotejima, travellers will call in Kumejima which once linked Okinawa to China and today known for being one of

the world’s most famous spots for underwater activities, and Iheya Island and its traditional “Eisa” show featuring traditional drums. Le Jacques-Cartier will then make its way to the island of Amamioshima and its stunning coral reefs, the UNESCO listed island of Yakushima and finally, Kagoshima: a bustling city nestling between ancient forests and majestic volcanoes.


From Keelung (Chilung) to Kagoshima – 8 days, 7 nights

From 13 April 2024 to 20 April 2024

From AUD 8,990 per person*

Save up to 25% when you book early – conditions apply.

Find more about this sailing.


Expedition in the Seto Inland Sea


Sailing through the oldest sea route in Japan, with a history as a strategic hub during Antiquity, guests of Le Jacques-Cartier will set sail from Kobe, a charming harbour city between sea and mountains, and make their way to the island of Inujima – a flourishing centre of the mining industry. Onboard one of the zodiac inflatables, travellers will adventure into Tomonoura and its craggy landscapes before visiting Onomichi, a charming coastal town surrounded by green hills and home to many temples and emblematic shrines. Sailing by the jagged coastlines of Miyajima Island and witnessing the emblematic Shino Shrine of Itsukushima, a UNESCO World Heritage where time seems stuck in the  feudal era, Le Jacques-Cartier will drop anchor on the island of Honshu, home of the samurai. After taking travellers to Yeosu (South Korea), home of the Marine Expo in 2012, the sailing will end in Fukuoka.


From Kobe to Fukuoka – 8 days, 7 nights

From 30 March 2024 to 6 April 2024

From AUD 9,560 per person*

Save up to 20% when you book early – conditions apply .

Find more about this sailing.


Expedition to the Kitamae Route


One of PONANT’s most extensive Japan sailings will start from Otary, taking its guests to the north of the island of Honshu and the charming city of Sakata, long known as a prosperous town with authentic and traditional architecture. Guests of Le Jacques-Cartier will then head to the small island of Sado, Wajima, Ine and Miyazu, all known for their ancestral arts and crafts, before a change of scenery with the Uradome Coast, one of the major geological sites in the Sainin Kaigan National Park. Stopping by Tottori, an ancient, fortified town and home to Japan’s largest sand dunes, guests will soon sail to South Korea and discover the fascinating Busan. Back in Japan, travellers will discover the picturesque Shimonoseki, a city known for its rich history and emblematic fish market. As the sailing draws to a close, PONANT’s zodiac inflatables will provide the perfect way to explore Onomichi and its numerous temples and shrines, before stopping by Tomonoura and ultimately, Osaka.


From Otaru, Hokkaido to Osaka – 12 days, 11 nights

From 9 April 2024 to 20 April 2024

From AUD 15,480 per person*

Save up to 15% when you book early – conditions apply.

Find more about this sailing.


Kyushu’s Secret Islands and Ancestral Heritage


A new itinerary for the 2024 season, travellers can expect to uncover an unsuspected side of Japan onboard Le Jacques-Cartier, combining enchanting nature and unexpected Christina heritage at the intersection of Western and Japanese traditions. From bustling Kagoshima, travellers will head to the mountainous island of Yakushima, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its rich wildlife and unspoiled nature, before reaching Koshikijima Islands and their majestic cliffs. Guests will then discover the island region of Amakusa, off the coast of Nagasaki, once the refuge of Christians  fleeing the ban on Catholicism during the Edo period, including an immersion in the emblematic UNESCO-listed church.


of Sakitsu. Further North, in Goto Islands’ Kamigoto, further traces of this under-the-radar heritage can be found across small towns. Pursuing this new discovery expedition, travellers will then unveil the secrets of Iki, a little-known island between South Korea and Fukuoka, set amongst verdant-topped rock formations, heavenly beaches and no less than 150 shrines. The new sailing will conclude in Fukuoka after a stop by the volcanic island of Jeju in South Korea.


From Kagoshina to Fukuoka – 8 days, 7 nights

From 20 April 2024 to 27 April 2024

From AUD 8,990 per person*

Also operates in reverse from 20 April to 27 May 2024

Save up to 30% when you book early – conditions apply.

Find more about this sailing.

Learn more about Ponant Yacht Cruise & Expeditions

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