2025 The Empire of Japan & Korea Cruise with Larry Gelwix

Dates May 6-16, 2025
Destination Yokohama, Japan Toba, Japan; kochi, Japan Hiroshima, Japan; Kanmon Straight, Japan; Busan, South Korea; Nagasaki, Japan; Philippine Sea; Kobe Shimizu, Japan
Duration 11 days 10 nights
Price From 1,678
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Religious Focus:

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Activity Level:

Walking Level:


Cruise with the Getaway Guru® - Hosted by Larry and Cathy Gelwix! 

What a great way to see Japan in the comfort of an elegant cruise ship. Larry Gelwix, Getaway Guru® invites you to join him in spring 2025 to explore this impressive country sailing on the Diamond Princess, which is a luxury destination in itself.

The Empire of Japan holds a mystery and intrigue. Long isolated from the outside world, Japan has maintained its cultural heritage and unique traits not seen elsewhere in the world. The “Land of the Rising Sun” is unlike anything you have ever experienced. We travel during the cherry blossom festival, a spring celebration of culture, history, food, trees, and blossoms held throughout Japan symbolizing a time of renewal and the importance of the moment. This will be a journey never to be forgotten.

It is always good to arrive a few days before your cruise to ensure you don't miss the ship! To complete the experience be sure to add on the Pre Cruise-Tokyo Tour to visit Japan’s busy capital, which mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers to historic temples.  

To book this cruise contact your favorite Morris Columbus Travel Advisor or the Group Tour Manager listed below:

Tour ID #9225E06

Questions? Contact:

Julie DeMille, Tour Manager
Tel: (801) 483-6172
Email Julie

OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR OF TOKYO: May 3-6, 2025
OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR OF TOKYO: May 3-6, 2025

OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR OF TOKYO

Day 1: Saturday, May 3, 2025 - Transfer from airport to hotel. Day at leisure. 

Day 2: Sunday, May 4, 2025 - After breakfast, meet guide and depart for full day Tokyo city tour. Begin you exploration of Tokyo with a visit to the Tokyo Imperial Palace East Garden. From here, your guide will take you to Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town. Visit Sensoji, also known as Asakusa Kannon and Tokyo’s oldest temple. The Broadway leading up to the Temple is called Nakamise and this shopping street has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional local snacks and souvenirs for centuries.After lunch at a local restaurant, depart for Meji Shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meji. After the shrine, you will pass by private coach through the adjacent Omotesando shopping street.  

Day 3: Monday, May 5, 2025 - Breakfast at hotel. Free day to spend as you wish.

Day 4: Tuesday, May 6, 2025 - Breakfast at hotel and check out. Transfer by bus to Yokohama Port. Check in to the Diamond Princess.

Tokyo Pre-tour Price: Double Occupancy $899 per person | Single Occupancy $1,050 per person 

Day 1: Tuesday, May 6, 2025
Day 1: Tuesday, May 6, 2025

Flights from home city to Toyko, Japan - Embarkation!

Today we will be arriving in Toyko to get on our cruise ship - our home for the next 11 days! 

Yokohama (Tokyo) and Edo began life as sleepy fishing villages. That changed in the early 17th century after Tokugawa Ieyasu became Shogun. Edo became the center of political power in Japan, a position the city retained even after the restoration of Imperial rule in 1866. Contemporary Tokyo may be the most astonishing city on earth. It's a paradoxical mix of ancient tradition and postmodern culture. The Ginza - an international shopping mecca - stands near the serene grounds of the Imperial Palace, and the hyper-speed of 21st century consumerism is mysteriously reconciled with the elegance and serenity of traditional culture. Tokyo provides the traveler with a dizzying experience. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Edo was renamed Tokyo, the "Eastern Capital," to distinguish it from the old imperial capital at Kyoto, the "Western Capital."

Meals : Lunch, Dinner, In-flight
Day 2: Wednesday, May 7, 2025
Day 2: Wednesday, May 7, 2025

Toba, Japan

Toba, located at the northeastern end of the Shima-hanto Peninsula in Mie, flourished as the castle town of the Kuki family who ruled this region from the 16th century. It was also a landing spot for visitors on the sea route to Ise-jingu Shrine and belongs to Ise-Shima National Park.

Toba Excursion: Outer Shrine of Ise Jingu Shrine and The Inner Shrine of Ise - $89 per person

You will first visit the Outer Shrine of Ise Jingu Shrine. It is sacred to Toyouke-no-O-mikami. During the rule of Japan by the Edo shogunate from the 17th to 19th centuries, pilgrimages to this shrine from all over the country — known as O-ise-mairi — were very popular. Pilgrims followed a fixed route, visiting the Outer Shrine first, followed by a visit to the Inner Shrine.

The Inner Shrine of Ise is believed to have been established over 2000 years ago. The main buildings resemble ancient rice granaries and are built in an architecture style that shows almost no influence from the Asian mainland because they predate the introduction of Buddhism. Both, the Inner and Outer Shrine, are rebuilt from scratch every 20 years according to an ancient Shinto tradition. The 62nd rebuilding was completed in 2013. The shrine ground fascinates through their simplicity, as visitors encounter little more than gravel-covered walkways and wooden, barely painted shrine structures, surrounded by a serene forest. 

Oharaimachi is the traditional approach to the Inner Shrine of Ise. it is lined by many traditional style buildings, housing shops and restaurants. Located about halfway down Oharaimachi is Okage Yokocho, a small district which recreates a townscape of past centuries (Edo Period to early Meiji Period). Completed in 1993, This historical district is full of shops, cafes, and restaurants that offer a taste of the local culture and cuisine.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Thursday, May 8, 2025
Day 3: Thursday, May 8, 2025

Kochi, Japan

Kochi sits on the broad alluvial plain facing Urado Bay. This city in Shikoku takes its name from the great feudal castle that sits at its very heart. Completed in 1611, Kochi Castle was the seat of Yamauchi Kazutoyo, a noted warrior who supported Tokugawa Ieyasu in his successful quest to become Shogun. Tosa Province and Kochi Castle were Yamauchi's reward for faithful service. There is an historical irony here: 250 years later, a Kochi native son - a former low-ranked samurai and now ronin named Sakamoto Ryoma - played a pivotal role in bringing the Tokugawa Shogunate to an end and restoring the Emperor of Japan to political prominence. The prize once awarded for faithful service had become a hotbed of support for the Meiji Restoration.

Kochi is one of the wettest places in Japan - and a frequent target for cyclonic storms or typhoons. Southeast of the city, warm oceans currents washing against the Aki Mountains create a subtropical landscape of hibiscus, palm and ficus at Muroto-Anan Quasi-National Park.

Kochi Excursion: Chikurin-ji, Kochi Castle & Hirome Market - $119 per person

From the ship, meet with your guide for a departure to Chikurin-ji by private coach. The temple Chikurin-ji is said to have been founded by Gyōki in the early eighth century and houses a number of important sculptures and its late Edo-period gardens are a Natural Monument.

Next visit is Kochi Castle, the city’s most famed landmark. It was built by Yamanouchi Kazutoyo, who took control of the province after the Tokugawa victory. Construction was begun in 1601 and was completed in 1611.

After visiting Kochi Castle, a private coach will take you to Hirome Market. The market was opened in 1998 and is made up of over 60 shops that fill this relatively small building. While the majority are Izakaya and restaurants, you can also find anything from fresh fish to local produce, souvenirs, clothes, and jewelry, etc.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Friday, May 9, 2025
Day 4: Friday, May 9, 2025

Hiroshima, Japan

On August 6, 1945, human history was irrevocably altered when the American bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The bomb was code-named "Little Boy," but its detonation left half the city in ruins and aflame. Today, Hiroshima is a monument not only to the destructive forces harnessed by men but also to the indomitable will of the human spirit to overcome tragedy. At the heart of the city lies Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome. The gutted walls of the city's old Industry Promotion Hall and the skeletal frame that supported its copper dome, vaporized in the blast, are instantly recognizable symbols of Hiroshima.

Travelers to Hiroshima will discover a more serene note at nearby Miyajima Island. One of the top-three scenic spots of Japan, the island is home to ancient Itsukushima Shrine, a designated National Treasure.

Hiroshima Excursion: Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park, Peace Memorial Museum & Shukkei-en Garden - $98 per person

Located in the center of the city, Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park takes up over 120,000 square meters and is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in history to suffer a nuclear attack. Before the atomic bomb, the area where the Peace Park now stands used to be the political and commercial heart of the city, and for this reason it was chosen as the pilot's target during World War II. It was decided that the area was not to be redeveloped, but instead devoted to peace memorial facilities.

The park's main attraction is the Peace Memorial Museum. The museum covers the history of Hiroshima and the advent of the nuclear bomb. It provides visitors an opportunity to hear eyewitness testimonies and learn about the devastating effects the A-bomb had on the city of Hiroshima and its people.

Lastly, you will visit Shukkei-en Garden was established by a local daimyo and the garden has quite a history. Shukkei-en translates as Shrunken Scenery Garden which perfectly encapsulates its concept of miniaturizing scenic views through carefully cultivating vegetation and incorporating rocks, hills, and ponds to mimic mountains and lakes, and forests.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Saturday, May 10, 2025
Day 5: Saturday, May 10, 2025

Kanmon Strait, Japan

The Kanmon Strait is a narrow channel of water that separates two of Japan's main islands, Honshu and Kyushu. The channel has long been important to maritime transportation and cargo ships, as it connects the Sea of Japan and the Inland Sea. The battle between the U.S. and Japanese navies that presaged the Shimonoseki Campaign in 1863 took place here, and eventually led to Japan's opening up to Western powers. The cannons used during the campaign can today be seen near Shimonoseki’s port, where you can also dine at gourmet restaurants serving local delicacies such as fugu (blowfish), shop at venues like the Sea Mall, and connect with ferry service to Busan, in South Korea, and the island of Kyushu.The port at Kitakyushu (Moji Port) is equally historic and attractive, serving as a gateway to Honshu and Kyushu for centuries as well as an important international trade hub since the late 19th century. Although more industrial than Shimonoseki, it has many Western-style buildings, including the neo-Renaissance Mojiko Station, constructed in 1914, as well as other tourist attractions such as a developed promenade and the Kawachi Fuji Gardens.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Sunday, May 11, 2025
Day 6: Sunday, May 11, 2025

Busan, South Korea

The second largest city in South Korea, Busan is your gateway to a fascinating land whose culture is a unique amalgam of old and new. Modern high-rise towers dwarf ancient Buddhist temples. The city's bustling business district offers a stark contrast to the serene grounds of Yongdusan Park. In short, Busan is a microcosm of South Korea, a nation whose startling economic success often obscures one of Asia's most sophisticated and venerable cultures.

Busan was the scene of bitter fighting during the Korean War. The United Nations Memorial Cemetery marks the final resting place for the troops from 16 nations who gave their lives during the conflict.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Monday, May 12, 2025
Day 7: Monday, May 12, 2025

Nagasaki, Japan

For most travelers, Nagasaki is a symbol of the horror and the inhumanity of war. An estimated 75,000 people perished in 1945 when the city became the second target of a nuclear attack. Today, Nagasaki's Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum draw visitors from around the world.

But this beautiful city on Kyushu offers other sights. Often described as the San Francisco of Japan, the city occupies verdant hills surrounded by a deep-water bay. For three centuries, Nagasaki was Japan's sole window on the world. The city is also celebrated as the setting for Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly."

Nagasaki Excursion: Mount Inasa, Nagasaki Peace Park & Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum - $109 per person

Take a ropeway up to Mount Inasa for a sunset view that is ranked among Japan`s three best views.

Next, a private coach will take you to the Nagasaki Peace Park. The Nagasaki Peace Park commemorates the atomic bombing of Nagasaki of August 9, 1945, that destroyed wide parts of the city and killed thousands of civilians. There are several memorial statues and monuments spread across the park. Continue on foot to the adjacent Hypocenter Park where a black cenotaph containing all the names of the victims marks the explosion's epicenter.

Next to the park you will find the park the sobering Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Tuesday, May 13, 2025
Day 8: Tuesday, May 13, 2025

Day at Sea: Philippine Sea and North Pacific

Enjoy a day at sea!

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: Wednesday, May 14, 2025
Day 9: Wednesday, May 14, 2025

Kobe, Japan

Kobe is the fifth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyogo Prefecture on the southern side of the main island of Honshu. Its name comes from "kanbe", an archaic title for supporters of the city's Ikuta Shrine. With a population of about 1.5 million, the city is part of the Keihanshin (Keihanshin) metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen. Kobe is also your gateway to Kyoto, Japan's ancient imperial capital and the nation's cultural and spiritual center.

Kobe Excursion: Kitano District & Sorakuen Garden - $98 per person

Your first visit is Kitano District, where the first houses of Western merchants and diplomats still stand. Continue to visit at Sorakuen Garden, a traditional Japanese garden in the center of Kobe city. Completed in the early 20th century, the garden used to be part of the residence of Kidera Kenkichi, a former mayor of Kobe, but was opened to the public in 1941. The garden displays elements of Japanese gardens alongside a few unique buildings that speak to Kobe’s cosmopolitan history.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Thursday, May 15, 2025
Day 10: Thursday, May 15, 2025

Shimizu, Japan

A mesmerizing landscape, a revered cultural history, and Japan's most sacred volcano are just a few of the many delights beckoning you to come and explore this ancient city. While Shimizu may have the reputation as being bustling and modern, its cultural and spiritual side is on display in the form of ancient and enthralling shrines. Of course, it may be the sacred and snow-capped Mount Fuji that garners the most attention. Towering over the region at approximately 12,388 feet above sea level, the active volcano, designated a "place and source of artistic inspiration" by UNESCO is just one of the many unforgettable adventures Shimizu inspires.

Shimizu Excursion: Nihondaira, Nihondaira Ropeway & Kunosan Toshogu Shrine - $112 per person

After disembarkation from the ship, meet with your guide for a departure to Nihondaira.

Nihondaira. A plateau with a maximum altitude of 308 meters, Nihondaira is famous for its view of Mt. Fuji, the Izu Peninsula, the Japanese Southern Alps, Shimizu Port, and Suruga Bay. It was selected as one of the top 100 Landscapes of Japan in 1927.

You will take Nihondaira Ropeway. The ropeway connects Nihondaira to Kunosan Toshogu Shrine which is dedicated to the famous leader Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Friday, May 16, 2025
Day 11: Friday, May 16, 2025

Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan - Disembark from Cruise ship - Flights to Home Cities

Depart for our homes with memories to last a lifetime!

Meals : In-flight

Highlights of the Tour:

  • Travel with Larry Gelwix, Getaway Guru®, as your cruise host for the whole trip
  • The most affordable and convenient way to see Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
  • We are visiting Japan during the Cherry Blossom Festival!
  • Licensed, insured, and bonded travel agency with 65 years of experience!! It matters who you travel with!

All This Is Included:

  • 10-night/11-day cruise on the Diamond Princess, with Princess Cruise Line
  • All meals and entertainment provided during the cruise
  • Cruise Hosted by Getaway Guru®, Larry Gelwix
  • Onboard group meetings & activities hosted by Larry Gelwix
  • Opportunity to book into Private Group tours and excursions 

Not Included:

  • Airfare from your home city to Tokyo Roundtrip - Group flights pending
  • Government Taxes of $155 per person
  • Shore Excursions
  • Cruise gratuities $186
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel Insurance

Cabin Options:

  • Inside Cabins Starting at $1,678 ** subject to availability at time of booking, call today
  • Outside Window, Cabins Starting at $2,104 ** subject to availability at time of booking, call today
  • Balcony Cabins Starting at $2,859 ** subject to availability at time of booking, call today
  • Triple, Quad, and Single based please call for pricing

Shore Excursions:

  • OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR OF TOKYO: May 3-6, 2025 - $899 per person based on double occupancy
  • Toba Excursion: Outer Shrine of Ise Jingu Shrine and The Inner Shrine of Ise - $89 per person
  • Kochi Excursion: Chikurin-ji, Kochi Castle & Hirome Market - $119 per person
  • Hiroshima Excursion: Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park, Peace Memorial Museum & Shukkei-en Garden - $98 per person
  • Nagasaki Excursion: Mount Inasa, Nagasaki Peace Park & Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum - $109 per person
  • Kobe Excursion: Kitano District & Sorakuen Garden - $98 per person
  • Shimizu Excursion: Nihondaira, Nihondaira Ropeway & Kunosan Toshogu Shrine - $112 per person

Payment Terms:

  • $400 per person deposit at the time of booking
  • Final Payment due February 3, 2025
  • This tour is based on a minimum of 30 passengers
  • Read our Terms & Conditions here

Cancellation Policy:

  • Free cancellation up to 7 days from deposit
  • After 7 days there is a 50% cancellation fee of your deposit or full transfer to future cruise credit
  • The cruise tour is fully non-refundable after the final payment date