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Japan/South Korea

Land of the Rising Sun: A Circumnavigation of Japan

Program No. 24833RJ
Experience Japan by sea, with a bonus day in South Korea, and discover the blend of tradition and innovation, geography and climate that makes the Land of the Rising Sun wholly unique.

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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.


Ship Inside Ship Out Ship Balc
Mar 27 - Apr 13, 2025
Ship Inside 8,499
Ship Outside 8,799
Ship Balcony 9,299


Ship Inside Ship Out Ship Balc
Mar 27 - Apr 13, 2025
Ship Inside 9,999
Ship Outside 10,499
Ship Balcony 11,999

At a Glance

Have you dreamed of discovering of Japan by water? On a voyage unlike any other, experience the diverse regions of Japan, each home to unique cultures, traditions, landscapes and cuisines. Beginning and ending in Tokyo, circumnavigate the four main islands, stopping to spend one day in South Korea. Journey south to the warm climate of Shikoku, home to Kochi Castle, one of only 12 left in Japan with its original keep. Explore Nagasaki, the Atomic Bomb Museum, then voyage northwest to observe a rural slice of Japan and explore the “great white north” of Hokkaido. Along the way, enjoy onboard lectures by expert instructors as you discover lively urban centers, ancient roots and iconic landscapes.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 2 miles per day, occasionally more, on terrain varying from city streets to unpaved, uneven trails.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Explore the diverse culture and natural splendor of Aomori City, the northernmost city on Japan’s main island, including Japan's most active volcano, Sakurajima.
  • Discover Busan, South Korea's second largest city dubbed “the San Francisco of Korea,” a vibrant urban atmosphere juxtaposed against beaches, mountains and temples.
  • Enjoy Kenrokuen during the famous annual cherry blossom bloom — this 17th-century garden is considered one of Japan’s most beautiful, a stunning example of Japanese landscape design.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Little Book of Japan
by Charlotte Anderson, Gorazd Vilhar
Veteran Japanophiles Vilhar and Anderson produced this illuminating collection of 44 essays on Japanese life and culture, which, even in the 21st century remains elusive and poorly understood.
Culture Smart! Japan
by Paul Norbury
A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture, this is a helpful travel tool for visitors to Japan.
Thousand Cranes
by Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker (Translator)
This novella by the great Kawabata may be Japan's best-known literary work, a story of love, grief and redemption. Kawabata's prose is as economical as the tea ceremony itself and very beautiful.
Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook
by Yoshi Abe
A handy palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye
by Marie Mutsuki Mockett
When her American father passes away, Mockett seeks consolation in her mother’s home country of Japan. She visits a radiation zone, a Buddhist school, temples and festivals in an effort to understand the Japanese way of grieving, to bury her dead and find healing.
Japan's Cuisines
by Eric C. Rath
This illustrated overview charts the transformation of Japanese cuisine over the ages, revealing the influences of private and public institutions, exploring the rise of tea and showing how lunch became a gourmet meal.
The Book of Tea
by Kakuzo Okakura
A graceful, witty meditation on Japanese aesthetics and culture as reflected through the tea ceremony. A celebrity and cultural ambassador, Okakura was a curator at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Bending Adversity, Japan and the Art of Survival
by David Pilling
Financial Times Asia editor Pilling captures the dynamism and diversity of Japan after the 2011 tsunami. He interviews, among many, novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists, bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians
The Book of Tokyo: A City in Short Fiction
by Michael Emmerich (Editor)
This anthology of contemporary Japanese short stories was edited with the traveler in mind. The ten pieces of literature, mystery, science fiction and horror form an imaginary tour of the city of Tokyo.
A Traveler's History of Japan
by Richard Tames
A lively and concise narrative history of Japan and its transformation from Shinto, Shogun and Samurai traditions to 20th-century powerhouse.
Eyewitness Guide Japan
by Eyewitness Guides
Dazzling illustrations, architectural cutaways and color photographs, along with useful local maps, give this guide to Japan's many attractions a distinct edge.
Kaempfer's Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed
by Beatrice Bodart-Bailey
A good account of what it was like to travel in the Tokugawa period.
The Dog Shogun
by Beatrice Bodart-Bailey
Arguably one of the most notorious figures in Japanese history, Tsunayoshi (1646 to 1709) was viewed as a tyrant with eccentric policies, including the Laws of Compassion, which made maltreatment of dogs an illegal offense, punishable by death. Bodart-Bailey delves deep into the shogun’s life, offering an engaging and brilliantly researched biography of the fifth Tokygawa shogun.
Tokyo, A Biography
by Stephen Mansfield
In his 500-year history of Tokyo, Mansfield presents the Japanese capital as an "indestructible organism" that has survived bombs, earthquakes and radiation and continues to thrive. An easy introduction to a fascinating city.
Japan Adventure Map
by National Geographic Society
Printed on waterproof and tear-resistant paper, this double-sided map shows all the islands of Japan at a scale of 1:1,300,000.
by John Hersey
This classic book, first published in 1946, has been hailed as the greatest piece of journalism in the 20th century. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Hersey puts a human face on the Hiroshima tragedy through interviews with survivors.
Super Sushi Ramen Express
by Michael Booth
Using keen insight and sarcastic wit, Booth describes the cuisine and culture of Japan as he recaps the nearly three months-long foodie road trip he and his family took through the island nation. A fun journey, sure to both entertain and inform.
In Praise of Shadows
by Junichiro Tanizaki
This extended essay by the great Japanese novelist, first published in 1933, offers tremendous insight into traditional Japanese art, architecture and design.
Walking the Kiso Road: A Modern-Day Exploration of Old Japan
by William Scott Wilson
William Scott Wilson travels along the ancient Kiso Road, historically used by samurai and warlords and relatively unchanged today. As he makes his way, Wilson engagingly ruminates on Japanese history, culture and folklore.
The Samurai
by Shusaku Endo
This historical novel by one of Japan's best-known modern writers is set in the world of the 17th-century Samurai. A Roman Catholic, Endo explored Christianity and morals in his many novels and stories.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.