Explore some of the world’s most tranquil gardens on this cruise to the Far East!
Let Princess Cruises make this year special and allow you and your loved ones to embark on a journey to some of the most beautiful gardens on the planet
After a year where many of us couldn’t travel beyond our garden gate, being able to admire the exotic plants and landscaping techniques of another country is a surefire way to reignite your love for gardening. With Princess Cruise’s 14-Day Hokkaido Explorer tour, taking in Japan, Russia and South Korea, you’ll be treated to an abundance of vibrant and beguiling gardens. At each destination you can either join a planned excursion or explore them on your own – whichever you choose, you’ll come away with a wealth of horticultural inspiration, plus new memories that you and your loved ones will treasure for a lifetime.
The Diamond Princess ship was built in and inspired by Japan, so there are plenty of ways for you to immerse yourself in the local culture onboard. You can delight in the 400-year-old comic storytelling known as ‘rakugo’, enjoy a delicious meal at the Kai Sushi restaurant, and enjoy a blissful afternoon of relaxation with the traditional Onsen experience at the Izumi Japanese Bath. Featuring steam rooms, hot tubs and saunas with spectacular ocean views, this rejuvenating facility is the largest of its kind at sea.
After all that activity, you’ll be ready to relax with a soothing treatment at the Lotus Spa and enjoy the best night’s sleep at sea with a Princess Luxury Bed, designed especially by a sleep doctor.
Ready to explore? Here are just a few of the beautiful destinations on the itinerary…
Modernity and nature coexist harmoniously in Japan, so it seems only fitting that after a morning of exploring the buzz of Tokyo, you join an excursion to Sengan-en, a quiet, 12-acre landscaped garden with roots dating back to the 17th century. As you stroll through the peaceful bamboo groves and past the sacred shrines, cast your eye over to Sakurajimia, an active volcano sitting in the distance. It poses no threat, but locals delight in the natural dichotomy between its explosive energy and the stillness of the gardens – another ode to the wonderful contrasts that run through the country.
Overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean, this ‘town of mist’ has always been one of Japan’s most important fishing ports. But the region’s natural beauty lies further inland, so join the Natural Wonders excursion to the Shitsugen Observatory, Japan’s largest wetland area.
Across the impressive 61,000 acres, you’ll find more than 2,000 varieties of animals and plants, including the gorgeous Kushiro Hanashinobu. For the best views, head to the observation point on the eastern side of the marshland. From this higher vantage, you’ll be able to admire the pockets of colour amongst the reeds and grasses, thanks to the array of delicate irises, Jacob’s ladders, daylilies and Japanese meadowsweets scattered throughout the park.
Travellers have been making the trip from the port of Otaru to Hokkaido’s capital, Sapporo, since the first railroad line was built here in 1880. And now, you can do the same. When you depart the boat, you can join the Best of Sapporo excursion, and as part of this tour you’ll discover Odori Park, a mile-long sanctuary that intersects the bustling city. This garden is a brilliant example of how we can incorporate more greenery within our urban environments. Amongst the gushing water displays and colourful flowerbeds, there are around 97 different species of tree, but of particular note is the gorgeous lilac tree. It’s one of Sapporo’s most iconic symbols, associated with purity, serenity and calmness. It’s not hard to see why.
The natural beauty of this city is inextricably entwined with its rich past, and the traditional Japanese garden of Wakayama Castle, known as the Momijidani-Teien Garden, is the perfect way to experience both. These tranquil grounds have survived through more than four centuries of history, which you can almost hear in the whisperings of the ancient trees. These elegant trees are vibrantly pink with blossom in the spring and turn a beautiful golden red come autumn, off-setting the cool hues of the clear ponds and green-tiled temples they’re set against.
For even more natural history, visit the 1,200-year-old Koyasan Buddhist monastery complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site and secluded temple town, which is nestled on the wooded mountaintop. Here, you can join a peaceful walking tour through the 24km of cedar-lined paths, which dedicated pilgrims walk along every year. Breathe in the balmy alpine air and bask in the meditative energy as you take in the sweeping mountain views of the surrounding valleys.
Jeju, South Korea
Jeju is famous for its golden coastline, but the real magic is to be found at the enchanting Yongyeon Pond (or Dragon Pond). This serene spot is where the freshwater stream meets the saltwater sea, causing the water to cast a brilliant rainbow through the surrounding gardens and above the towering cliffs. It’s no surprise that people often travel here in search of creative inspiration. Join the Jeju City Highlights excursion and absorb the magic for yourself, as you take in the view from the Cloud Bridge and listen to your guide retell mythical tales about the dragons for whom this was once said to be a stomping ground.
Experience the Princess Difference
Aboard a MedallionClass™ Princess cruise, there are so many ways to connect.
– Share unforgettable experiences with your favourite people
– Immerse yourself in a choice of more than 380 destinations
– Create new forever friends with crew and fellow guests
– You can also cruise with confidence knowing that Princess Cruises works hard to make every journey as safe and sanitary as possible and offers a flexible cancellation policy.