Cruising can be a fantastic way to travel anywhere in the world, and the Diamond Princess makes Japan all the more accessible by boat. With a fantastic itinerary, amazing onboard dining and entertainment, and last-minute deals, this Princess Cruise may be the perfect way for you to see the lesser-known parts as you cruise Japan!
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Guest Post Written By Sarah
INTERESTED IN JAPAN CRUISES?
Check out a range of Japan itineraries on Princess Cruises HERE!
Diamond Princess Itinerary with Princess Cruises Japan
Day 1: Kobe, Japan
The port of Kobe acts as a gateway to many other popular Japanese cities, and also as the departure port for the Diamond Princess’ Japan cruise. Visit the famed Osaka castle, feed the deer in Nara, or stare in awe at the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto.
If you’re hoping to explore the port city of Kobe rather than its neighboring cities, there are a few options. The most popular thing to do in Kobe is visit the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, where you’ll be able to learn about the traditional art of Japanese sake making and even purchase some to take home. Other than the sake, there is also Mt. Rokko, which provides stunning views of the city of Kobe, and Kitano-cho, former mansions that have now been turned into museums.
Day 2: At Sea
During the At Sea days aboard the Diamond Princess, there are still plenty of activities to do. These activities are all outlined in the daily guide called the Princess Patter. Each night, a hard-copy is delivered to your door, and it is also accessible through the ship’s Wi-Fi.
Day 3: Hakodate, Japan
If you’re taking a Japan cruise, there’s a good chance that you’ll stop in the port city of Hakodate, Japan. Located on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, Hakodate was one of the first cities to be opened to the influences of the rest of the world.
As a port city, seafood, particularly squid, is a huge portion of Hakodate’s culture. If you visit the Hakodate morning market (which is a must), you’ll be able to catch live squid, eat fresh squid, and even enjoy squid ink ice cream! Other popular things to do in Hakodate include seeing the view from Mt. Hakodate at dusk and walking through the cherry blossoms in Gorykaku Fort in the spring.
Day 4: Sakata, Japan
Sakata, Japan is a city that does not have many visitors; however, that does not mean it isn’t worth visiting. A visit to the Three Mountains of Dewa should definitely be at the top of your list. This nature-filled pilgrimage hike that leads to a rare five-story pagoda is sacred to the Japanese Shinto religion. Alternatively, you can visit the Sankyo Soko storehouse, which once served as the traditional location for storing harvested rice.
As an added bonus, Sakata is known throughout Japan for its plump cherries, which are sold for $25 per pound!
Day 5: Kanazawa, Japan
Kanazawa’s most famous landmark is Kenrokuen Garden. Japan is known for its calm, peaceful gardens filled with streams, waterfalls, bridges, and manicured landscapes, and Kenrokuen Garden is a fantastic example of this. Kanazawa also acts as the gateway to Higashichaya Machi, where you can walk in the footsteps of geisha and samurai, as well as Shirakawago, a quaint thatched-roof town that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 6: Sakaiminato, Japan
Sakaiminato is the epitome of all things of traditional Japan: shrines, castles, and gardens. Visit Izumo Grand Shrine, one of the oldest and most important Shinto shrines in all of Japan. Pop by the Matsue Castle, one of Japan’s few black castles. Or perhaps wander through Tottori Flower Road, which is one of Japan’s largest flower displays.
Day 7: Busan, Korea
As the only non-Japanese port on this Diamond Princess itinerary, Busan, Korea has a culture of its own. If you want to experience a taste of Korean religious culture, take a trip to Beomeosa Temple, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, or Tongdosa Temple. On the other hand, if you would like to embrace the everyday culture of Busan, head over to the Ja-Gal-Ch’i Fish Market.
Day 8: At Sea
Check the Princess Patter for the amazing at sea activities!
Day 9: Kobe, Japan
To complete the circle, you’ll end up right back where you started: in Kobe, Japan.
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About the Diamond Princess for your Japan Cruise
Recently refurbished in 2014, the Diamond Princess has been making its way around the stunning country of Japan for a handful of years. Because the guests are primarily English-speaking and Japanese-speaking, there are accommodations throughout the ship for speakers of both languages.
The Diamond Princess has a mix of interview, ocean view, balcony, mini-suites, and suites onboard. Pricing varies depending on the size of the accommodation.
There are both included and specialty dining options aboard the Diamond Princess.
Included dining options are included in the initial cost of the cruise. Included dining options consist of the Horizon Court buffet, traditional and anytime dining in the dining rooms, 24-hour room service, Prego Pizzeria, and Trident Grill.
Specialty dining options require an additional fee. These options consist of Sabatini’s (Italian), Sterling Steakhouse (American), Kai Sushi (Japanese), and the private Chef’s Table and Ultimate Balcony Dining Experiences.
There are several entertainment venues onboard the Diamond Princess, the most popular being the original music productions and featured guest entertainers in the Princess Theater. Skywalkers Nightclub, Club Fusion, the Explorer’s Lounge, and Churchill’s are all alternative entertainment venues. Lastly, there are Movies Under the Stars on the open pool deck.
There are also three separate kids’ clubs for children of all ages.
As if the extensive dining and entertainment options were not enough, there are additional activities onboard the Diamond Princess to keep you thoroughly entertained. If you’re an art fan, browse the art gallery and participate in the onboard art auctions. If Las Vegas is your vacation of choice, head over to the Vegas-style casino. Or if you want to simply relax, feel rejuvenated at the Lotus Spa.
There are also pools, hot tubs, a sports court, an Internet Café, a library, a photo and video gallery, and an array of shops.
Extending your Japan holiday? Heading to the ski fields? Check out this epic accommodation:
JAPAN – The Best Airbnb – Hakuba Accommodation
How to Get the Best Princess Cruise Deals
The best way to get amazing cruise deals is to book it just a couple of months in advance. At that point in time, the cruise ships are simply looking to fill their rooms – after all, a room with people is guaranteed to bring in more money than an empty room. While you may not get the exact room style or location that you may have been looking for, that’s just a small price for the hundreds of dollars that you’ll save!
So what are you waiting for? Go and book that cruise around Japan!
About The Author
Hello! My name is Sarah, and I was born, raised, and currently live on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. While I absolutely love to travel around the world to countries like Japan, I also love sharing some of the local sites and adventures of the island. I hope to try to encourage visitors to the islands to actually take part in some aspects of the beautiful local culture, rather than living in the artificial tourist bubble that can sometimes seem so tempting. Follow more of my Hawaiian Island adventures on my blog, “Borders and Bucket Lists,” as well as on my Pinterest and Facebook.