Due to the pandemic, the Japanese cruise market has been unable to operate international cruises for about three years, but from March this year, international cruise ships operated by non-Japanese cruise companies can finally resume making port calls to Japan. We have been looking forward to this moment for a long time.
In September 2020, a new cruise terminal opened in Tokyo. It’s available for up to the world’s biggest class cruise ships. The Port of Tokyo, which boasts outstanding access via land and air that connects to the rest of Japan, will serve as a hub for tourism in Japan by offering exciting sightseeing experiences to visitors from all over the world.
Now, Tokyo will collaborate with ports throughout Japan to provide information for cruise lines, travel agencies, passengers and related parties that appeals to their specific needs and interests. There is no doubt that Japan’s beautiful landscape and the unique and irreplaceable experience of Japan will fascinate passengers. This article presents a proposal that integrates the attractions of each port of call where passengers can experience traditional culture, food, seasons and scenery, and meets the different needs of passengers of both large and small ships. Of all the content we have, the ideas presented in this article are very small, but we hope it will be a good inspirational start for you.
With the increasing popularity of theme cruises, Tokyo and these affiliated Pacific ports of call offer unique opportunities for cruise lines and their passengers to experience unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experiences.
Tokyo: The Central Hub of Japan
The Port of Tokyo has the best access to the largest international airports in Japan, and it’s an ideal turnaround port for fly and cruise packages. Tokyo port is easily accessible to Tokyo Station, the land gateway to the rest of Japan. Of course, all parts of Tokyo offer a wide variety of culture, sports, art, entertainment, and food–from the ancient to the modern– that will delight guests from around the world.
Must do things in Tokyo
Food – sushi，sukiyaki，tempura，ramen，kaiseki cuisine (traditional multi-course meal), yakitori, monjayaki, soba noodles, and much more!
Culture – Traditional：Asakusa area（Senso-ji Temple，Sanja Festival); Japanese Garden（Hama-rikyu, Rikugien, etc）
Modern – Shibuya area（a cutting-edge town in fashion and entertainment), Roppongi area（a city bustling with art and entertainment）
Experiences – Watching a sumo match, immersing yourself in a digital art experience at teamLab Planets TOKYO, participating in Edo Kiriko Cutting glass workshop, exploring the shitamachi (traditional downtown) area via rickshaw, wearing a kimono, floating along the Sumida river aboard a Yakatabune（Japanese-style boat) on which you You can enjoy Japanese food such as sashimi and tempura, and sake while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Japan.
For more details please access https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html
Shizuoka – Gateway to the Majestic Mt. Fuji
Shizuoka has the most iconic view of Japan, Mt Fuji. It is the only port where passengers can enjoy this magnificent view from the ship. Also, it is #1 production area of Japanese green tea. It just looks like the world of traditional woodblock prints “Ukiyo-e” with the breathtaking view of tea plantations and with Mt. Fuji atop.
Must do things in Shizuoka
Food – Shizuoka tea, wasabi, tuna, sake and locally brewed beers
Culture – Kunozan Toshogu (a Shinto shrine dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan for over 250 years), local Suruga Hina dolls, Suruga bamboo ware
Experiences – tradition tea-picking, sushi-making workshops, Ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking
For more details, please access https://exploreshizuoka.jp/en/
Wakayama – The Spiritual Heartland of Japan
Wakayama is the spiritual center of the Japanese people. The entire area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a place of pilgrimage that has been respected by local people since ancient times. You can book a site of the World Heritage Shrine to hold a concert and so on. You can give your clients this special “power spot” and discover the deep history and spirituality of Japan.
Must do things in Wakayama
Food – shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine), chuka soba (pork ramen in a soy sauce broth), tuna
Culture – traditional Shinto and Buddhist rituals (Mt. Koya, Kumano Pilgramage)
Experiences – walking pilgrimage routes, hukubo ( temple stay at Mt. Koya), Onsen (hot spring)
For more details, please access https://en.visitwakayama.jp/
Kochi – Bounty of the Sea and River
Exploring the Kochi countryside is a must for seeing the most beautiful and natural tourist destinations in Japan. With highest water quality rivers, it is a perfect place for outdoor activities or simply refresh yourself. Visitors will also enjoy tasty food including seared bonito (fish), lively markets, friendly people and unique regional culture represented by the highly energetic “Yosakoi” traditional festival dances.
Food – seared bonito “Katsuo no Tataki”, vegetable sushi, yuzu citrus, Shimanto eel
Culture – lively “Yosakoi” dancing, traditional Furafu (traditional big flag celebrating and wishing the growth of boy ) painting, Okyaku (original drinking culture style)
Experiences – river activities (canoeing, rafting, canyoning), local Japanese paper “Tosa Washi” making
For more details, please access https://visitkochijapan.com/en/
Kagoshima – Feel the Earth’s Power
Kagoshima Port is well-liked by cruise passengers because it is situated at a location that gives a magnificent view of the active volcano Mt. Sakurajima. Furthermore, we are delighted to say that Kagoshima prefecture is home to not one, but two of Japan’s five UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites;Yakushima Island, Amami-Oshima
Island and Tokunoshima Island which can be accessed by smalerl cruise ships..The unique character of each island has been shaped over time by nature. All stakeholders are collaborating on sustainable tourism efforts to protect islands. Visitors to Kagoshima are sure to find a warm and genuine welcom
Must Do Things in Kagoshima
Food – Premium Black Meat Trio “Kagoshima Kurobuta Pork”, “Kagoshima Kuroushi Wagyu Beef”, and “Kuro Satsuma-dori Chicken”
Culture – Kagoshima samurai spirits “jigenryu”, distilled alcohol “shochu”and “craft whisky”
Experience – Japanese soup stock “dashi” culinary experience, meet the artisan of samurai armors
For more details, please access https://www.kagoshima-kankou.com/for/cruise
It is possible to deliver a unique itinerary with a theme by combining experiences and characteristic local meals in each place. It is possible to create infinite variations according to the ship type and the number of days, and here we will introduce two cruise model itineraries that combine five ports.
We hope that this article has stimulated your interest in cruising around the Pacific ports of Japan. Based on this article, we have two webinars scheduled for the industry on the 24th of February. If you are interested in learning more, please apply via following form by 21 February Wed.
Webinar: 24Feb2023 Fri https://forms.gle/3uXYWQ8Yfnw2yUcL7
Also, five of our ports will be exhibiting at Seatrade Cruise Global which will be held in Fort Lauderdale from 28 to 30 March. If you are going to participate in it, please come to our booth.
We look forward to meeting you all!