From robot waiters to ancient temples to astonishing vistas, Japan is a county of contradiction. Bookended by the neon lights of Tokyo, this voyage takes in an overnight in Kobe (of beef fame), the solemn cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the kaleidoscopic Busan in South Korea. Shimizu is another must-see, if only for its heavenly views of Mount Fuji. If this is your first trip to the land of the rising sun, you’re in for a surprise!
As Kobe is located just a short 60 minute drive, many guests opt to take a shore excursion to this modern Port City which combines historical and cultural attractions with all the delights of a Japanese urban marvel!
September 30, 2021- Nagasaki, Japan – The scars the city wears will never heal, but the colour, culture and creativity of Nagasaki may surprise you. Of course, the events of August 9th 1945 are unavoidable, and the Atomic Bomb Museum pulls no punches in its rendering of the story. Hear from survivors, known as ‘Hibakushas’, who speak at the centre, sharing tales of sadness, hope and resilience. The Memorial Hall is a glass structure of meditation and messages of peace left by visitors from every corner of the world. Nagasaki Peace Park honours the victims, while the Hypocenter Park marks the explosion’s epicentre. Suwa Shrine stands just 800 metres away, and you can see the iconic, one-legged torii which was photographed, miraculously still standing amid the sea of devastation. Look out for the temple’s scarred trees, which somehow survived the blast too. Look out over the city, nestled in the undulations of the valley – as you reach the top of Mount Inasa – which actually served to protect and shelter Nagasaki from even more destruction. Up here, you can’t help but consider the city’s journey – as it spreads out before you. A ropeway or a bus will help you reach this spectacular vantage point, to observe the harbour glittering and glistening peacefully.
October 2, 2021 Hiroshima, Japan – History buffs will want to write home Hiroshima. Despite being devastated in 1945, this Japanese city is known to all for its commitment peace – its ruin on the 6th August 1945 led to the end of the war and today, the Peace Memorial (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) , is a constant reminder of the destruction that war brings. A walk in the leafy boulevards of Peace Memorial Park brings quiet contemplation. The Flames of Peace – set in the park’s central feature pond – burn brightly and will continue to do so until all the nuclear bombs I the world have been destroyed. There are many other inspiring messages of hope around the city too; the Children’s’ Peace Monument just north of the park is a homage to little Sadako Sasaki, who was just two in 1945. When she developed leukemia in 1956, she believed that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes – a symbol of longevity and happiness in Japan – she would recover. Sadly she died before she finished her task but her classmates finished the rest. If you are lucky enough to visit during the unpredictable and short-lived Sakura (cherry blossom) season, then the extraordinary sight of the delicate pink blossom floating across the water to the red gate, means you can consider yourself one of the luckiest people on the planet.
October 4, 2021 Shimizu, Japan – Feel your heart thumping, at your first sight of Japan’s most heavenly vision – Mount Fuji’s cone emerging through the haze. With its summit dipped in pure white snow, the iconic volcano’s cone is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the world – and a picturesque backdrop for Shimizu. Come ashore to this serene vision of beauty – and whether you head straight for the siren-call of the volcano’s slopes, or the sanctuary of gorgeous, heritage-rich shrines, and tranquil tea plantations – spine-tingling views of Japan’s most tallest mountain are never far away. A perfectly symmetrical spectacle, visible for miles around, Mount Fuji is an adored national symbol of Japan. Travel closer to its slopes to soak in some of the country’s finest panoramas. Or take in the views with a dash of local culture, at the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Shrine – an elegant shrine, that stands in thrall to the salt and pepper volcano close by. The Shiraito Waterfall World Heritage Site flows just beneath the volcano – visit to see the gloriously wide curtain of water gushing through the thick vegetation. Visit Kunozan Toshogu Shrine for another perspective, or to soak up the tranquil site before swinging above on a scenic ropeway. Located on the adjacent Mount Kuno – privileged views of the mountain and Suruga Bay will unroll before you. Nihondaira Plateau is another option, where you can soak in panoramic views of the bay and Mount Fuji dominating behind. However you choose to experience it, Shimizu welcomes you into the heart of Japan, to absorb the mesmerising panoramas of the country’s most famous sight.
Mt. Fuji Shimizu
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