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Posted date 05.04.2023

13 Centuries Of Civilisation!

Discover Japan on a luxury expedition with Ponant

From age-old structures to state-of-the-art robotics, Japan is as fascinating as it can be misunderstood. At the core of all the challenges, the sea offers a new point of view, like a chance to step back and look at the Land of the Rising Sun with fresh eyes.

A trip guided by the waters will provide an opportunity to grasp the strength of the elements, which can be devastating here, bringing you to a cultural crossroads, where ancient traditions meet modern innovations. Medieval relics, historic temples, and ancestral rites are scattered throughout the futuristic cities and global urban centres of Japan.

Scroll down for three such journeys of discovery, including one exceptional double-cruise itinerary aboard PONANT’s incredible discovery yacht Le Jacques-Cartier.


Odyssey in the Heart of Japan’s Subtropical Islands

PONANT is the first cruise company to take you to the heart of the sublime landscapes of the tropical islands in southern Japan during an expedition cruise. On this 13 day itinerary aboard Le Jacques-Cartier, from the island of Ha Long to Naha, you will discover the rich natural heritage, traditional villages and craft of the Okinawa, Yaeyama and Sakishima Islands, in the Ryukyu archipelago.

Highlights include:

Included Outings and shore visits with a team of experienced naturalist guides.

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Iriomotejima island.

Varied landscapes: white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, coral reefs, tropical forest, mangroves, rivers, cliffs, caves, waterfalls.

Local distillery visit and opportunity to taste the local cuisine of Okinawa.

Explore the culture of Okinawa: visit to a traditional village in the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, traditional Eisa drumming show (Iheya Island).

Discover beautiful beaches on the islands of Zamami and Kumejima

Gain an insight into the history, culture and the diversity of flora and fauna from your expert expedition team.


12 nights from $11,990pp

Including 20% Ponant Bonus Savings


Expedition to the Kitamae Route

Set sail with PONANT and discoverJapan, its many traditions and emblematic sites. From Otaru, you will set off on an 12-day cruise in the footsteps of the mid-18th-century Japanese merchants, who travelled the Kitamae maritime route to Osaka every year.


Included outings and shore visits with a team of experienced naturalist guides.

Brand-new ports of call in Wajima, Shimonoseki, Uradome Coast and Miyazu.

All-new crossings of the Kanmon Straits and the Kurushima Strait, emblematic passageways on the Kitamae maritime route.

Discovering the local arts and crafts of Wajima, famous for making Kiriko lanterns and producing Wajima lacquerware.

The varied landscapes of the Sea of Japan, the rich Japanese shores among which there are majestic sand dunes.

Enjoy local cuisine of the Kitamae route from rich seafood to local sake.

Experience the rich culture along the Sea of Japan to Setouchi inland sea. A coast line that best preserves the traditional side of Japan.

11 nights from $11,260pp

Including 15% Ponant Bonus Savings


Combine Two Luxury Expeditions and SAVE!

The first part of this back-to-back cruise itinerary aboard Le Jacques-Cartier takes you from Fukuoka to Taïwan, where you will discover the rich natural heritage, traditional villages and craft of the Okinawa and Yaeyama Islands, in the Ryukyu archipelago.

The second cruise is from Kobe to Fukuoka. This 8-day circuit will allow you to discover the jewels to be found in the picturesque towns and cities of the Seto Inland Sea. The oldest sea route in Japan, a strategic hub during Antiquity, it was also the theatre of many battles and historic events that shaped its myth and grandeur over time with the ebb and flow of the tides.


15 days from $16,344pp

Balcony Stateroom


Welcome to Le Jacques-Cartier



In keeping with the philosophy of PONANT and the PONANT EXPLORERS, Le Jacques-Cartier combines the desire for adventure with five-star travel. A modern ship with slender, tapered lines, it is environmentally friendly and equipped with innovative technology.

Tastefully decorated, Le Jacques-Cartier reflects the universe so dear to PONANT, with its light tones and open-to-the-sea design providing soft light and luminosity at every instant of the day. Its ethnic chic ambiance pays homage to the destinations we visit.

Located below the waterline, the Blue Eye, the first ever multisensorial lounge, offers a unique experience: the opportunity to enjoy undersea views and the sounds of the marine world whilst sharing a glass together.