About Osaka

Japan's third largest city, Osaka offers your cruise holiday a combination of historical and cultural attractions with modern developments. Before World War II, Osaka was an exotic maze of crisscrossing waterways and traditional wooden buildings, but unfortunately most of these were destroyed in the bombings.

Today however, the city has leapt into the architectural future with such buildings as the Imperial Hotel, the inverted U-shape of the Umeda Sky Building and the enormous Ferris wheel on top of the HEP Five complex.

In addition, cruises to Osaka will also offer you the chance to see the gentle side of Japan. Kyoto, the former capital, is a serene city of geometric gardens, geisha houses, cherry trees, temples and palaces. While on Osaka cruises witness the ritual of the tea ceremony or savour a teriyaki lunch in the loveliest of Japanese cities.


Shore excursions in Osaka

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Ancient Japan

Activity highMeal includedShopping

Duration: 10½ hours

Simply 2 of Japan’s best; Kyoto and Nara both former capitals, which are brimming with fascinating tales from the past.

One of Japan’s most famous temples is the Todaiji Temple in Nara. Known for the great image of Buddha, which has become a symbol of Nara, the building itself is the largest existing wooden structure in the world.

The Kasuga Taisha Shrine was originally constructed in 768 AD, and has been rebuilt over 50 times in accordance with Shinto custom to purify the site. View the 2,000 stone lanterns lining the pathways, before passing through the ‘Torii Gate’ to see the unique architecture and the brilliant vermilion and green halls.

Lunch is a combination of Western and Japanese-style cuisine served at a local hotel or restaurant.

The Golden Pavilion (Exterior View) is one of Kyoto’s ‘must sees’. The 3 storey pavilion is covered in gold leaf, and also features tranquil gardens and a serene pond.

Pillars against the side of the mountain support the magnificent wooden construction of the Kiyomizu Dera Temple. The temple, which was built in ‘Yosemune-zukuri’ style, is unique in that not one nail has been used in its construction. From the balcony there are wonderful views over the city of Kyoto (weather permitting).

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Traffic delays are to be expected. A visit to the interior of the Treasure Hall at Kasuga Shrine is not included. This tour involves a substantial number of steps and uphill walking. Comfortable, non-slip shoes and bottled water are recommended. Some parts of Kiyomizu Temple may be undergoing restoration work. There are approximately 150 steps to Kiyomizu Temple. Only Japanese Yen will be accepted by local vendors.

Highlights of Kyoto

Activity highMeal includedShopping

Duration: 9½ hours

Kyoto, with its wealth of temples, shrines, and traditional arts, is an immensely popular destination, which never fails to charm.

Kinkakuji Temple, known as the Golden Pavilion, is a key highlight of Kyoto. This architectural masterpiece, featured on the World Heritage list, is 3 storeys high and covered in pure gold leaf. The mirror reflection of the temple on the serene pond creates a striking scene; one that should feature in any world-traveller’s album. Enjoy an exterior view of the Temple.

Built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogun, Nijo Castle has a solemn exterior, contrasting sharply with its beautiful interior. The Castle is famous for its cultural treasures from the 16th century, such as the Chinese Gate and the Ni-no-maru Garden.

The bright vermilion and blue-tiled Heian Shrine has enchanting gardens and ponds, reflecting the graceful life of Kyoto’s medieval court. The shrine was built in 1895 to mark the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto.

Traditional crafts, works of art and souvenirs await at the Kyoto Handicrafts Center.

Lunch is a combination of Western and Japanese-style cuisine, served at a local restaurant or hotel.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey time to Kyoto is approximately 1½ hours. Traffic delays are to be expected. Photography is not permitted inside the Castle or the Heian Shrine. Shoes must be removed to enter Nijo Castle. There is approximately 3 hours of walking involved on this tour, and 30 steps at the Kinkakuji Temple. Comfortable, non-slip shoes and bottled water are recommended. Some parts of Nijo Castle may be covered due to ongoing restoration work. Only Japanese Yen will be accepted by local vendors.

Hiroshima by Bullet Train

Activity highMeal included

Duration: 11½ hours

Experience a magnificent feat of engineering on the world famous ‘Bullet Train’ and visit the sights of Hiroshima.

Step aboard the world famous JR Supper Express ‘Bullet Train’ and experience a 240 kilometre-per-hour journey to Hiroshima.

Drive through the city and pass the imposing Hiroshima Castle. The fortress was completely destroyed by the firestorm that followed the atomic explosion. Rebuilt in 1958, its central keep is now a local museum, afterwards a Western-style lunch will be served at a local hotel.

Visit the Peace Memorial Park, dedicated to the victims of the first atomic bomb. The Park is home to the Peace Memorial Museum and eloquent monuments, exhibiting photographs and artifacts from the bomb’s aftermath. The Children’s Peace Monument depicts a young girl, named Sadako, who died from leukemia caused by radiation. The girl believed that if she folded 1,000 origami cranes - the crane symbolizes long life - she would be cured. Sadako finished 1,300 cranes before her death.

You will also see the Atomic Bomb Dome, an internationally recognised symbol of Hiroshima and the old Industry Promotion Hall which was one of the few buildings near Ground Zero to survive the blast - although its dome was vapourised. Shukkeien Gardens were created by the feudal lord, Nagaakira Asano in 1620. The serene oasis of ponds, small streams and sculpted pines was inspired by Chinese landscapes and a perfect location for your last stop.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, Bullet Train and on foot. This is a tour with sensitive materials including graphic pictures and displays on the atrocities of war. Comfortable shoes are recommended for this tour. Please carry Japanese Yen should you wish to make any purchases. The Atomic Bomb Dome may be covered due to maintenance work.

Japanese Drum Show and Experience

Activity low

Duration: 2½ hours

Immerse yourself in the percussive world of Taiko drumming.

From the 6th century, drums have played an important yet mainly understated part of Japanese culture, from providing the beat to march to war, to adding drama to a Kabuki performance. From temples to teahouses all around Japan, drums have been in attendance, but only really took centre stage in the 1950’s with the introduction of Taiko, which showcases this dramatic, loud and physically commanding art form.

But before you enjoy one of these thunderous performances, you’ll actually have the chance to play the drums yourself. No experience is needed, just the willingness to take part and have fun. How much you do is up to you, but if you want to let loose and work up a sweat, you certainly can before you take part in your own concert with the other on site musicians.

After you have gained a better understanding of the skill it takes, you’ll see how the professionals do it, with a live Taiko performance. Ranging from the size of snare drums up to giant barrels, feel the drum beat resonate through you as you enjoy the visual spectacle that this art form has become.

Although relatively new to Japanese culture, Taiko has become an important part of the Japanese identity, and this chance to learn and listen is a wonderful opportunity.

Essential information

This excursion is conducted by coach and on foot.Those wishing to take part in playing the drums should wear relaxed comfortable clothing. It is advisable to bring along a bottle of water, or Japanese yen to purchase refreshments. The tour may operate in reverse. Shoes must be removed to enter the theatre.

Kyoto by Day & Night

Activity highMeal included

Duration: 8½ hours

A fantastic introduction to Japanese culture, traditions, food and performing arts, on a tour which spans afternoon and evening.

Enjoy a visit to one of Kyoto’s main highlights, Kinkakuji Temple, the ‘Golden Pavilion’, this architectural masterpiece features on the World Heritage list. The three storey high temple is covered in pure gold leaf and the mirror reflection of the temple on the serene pond creates a striking scene; one that should feature in any world-traveller’s album. (exterior view)

At Marumasu Nishimuraya discover the art of Yuzen-zome. A magnificent dyeing art with marvellous colours and patterns spread over kimonos. Yuzen-zome was established 330 years ago in the Edo period. Learn of the Yuzen stencil dyeing process by making your own souvenir to remind you of this unique and enjoyable experience.

Indulge in a Japanese-style dinner of Shabushabu (sliced beef and boiled vegetables) in a local restaurant. During your meal, you will also enjoy some Meiko or Geisha entertainment. Have your camera ready to capture the wonderful traditional costumes of the Maiko or Geisha.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey time to Kyoto is approximately 1½ hours. Traffic delays are to be expected. This tour involves a high level of activity with uphill walking and numerous steps. Kodai Yuzen-en is a four-storey building with no lifts. Please remember Japanese Yen for shopping. Early booking is recommended due to limited capacity.

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