14 nights onboard Noordam

14-Day Circle Japan

Winners 2022 Best Premium Cruise Line
Winners 2022 Best for Enrichment

Named for the Northern compass point, Noordam dazzles with museum-quality art and lavish staterooms. Guests of this Vista Class cruise ship will have their pick of onboard activities.

Leaving from: Yokohama
Cruise ship: Noordam
Visiting: Yokohama Aomori Otaru Hakodate
Holland America Line Logo
Holland America Line

Holland America Line, which has been sailing for 150 years, visits 400 ports in 114 countries every year. Dutch heritage shines through in some of the $4million-worth of artwork to be seen onboard, complimenting the luxurious cruise experience.

Live music remains HAL's forte, with venues including the Rolling Stone Rock room and BB King's Blues Club. For foodies, a wide range of restaurants serve the finest of fayre.

1927
Passengers
820
Crew
2006
Launched
2019
Last refit
82897t
Tonnage
285m
Length
32m
Width
24kts
Speed
11
Decks
USD
Currency
Cruise Itinerary
Day 1
Yokohama, Japan
Day 3
Aomori, Japan
Day 4
Otaru, Japan
Day 5
Hakodate, Japan
Day 6
Akita, Japan
Day 8
Sokcho, South Korea
Day 9
Sakaiminato, Japan
Day 10
Fukuoka, Japan
Day 11
Kagoshima, Japan
Day 12
Kochi, Japan
Day 13
Osaka, Japan
Day 14
Shimizu, Japan
Day 15
Tokyo, Japan
Yokohama, Japan image
Day 1
Yokohama, Japan
In 1853, a fleet of four American warships under Commodore Matthew Perry sailed into the bay of Tokyo (then Edo) and presented the reluctant Japanese with the demands of the U.S. government for the opening of diplomatic and commercial relations. The following year Perry returned and first set foot on Japanese soil at Yokohama—then a small fishing village on the mudflats of Tokyo bay. Two years later New York businessman Townsend Harris became America's first diplomatic representative to Japan. In 1858 he was finally able to negotiate a commercial treaty between the two countries; part of the deal designated four locations—one of them Yokohama—as treaty ports. In 1859 the shogunate created a special settlement in Yokohama for the growing community of merchants, traders, missionaries, and other assorted adventurers drawn to this exotic new land of opportunity. The foreigners (predominantly Chinese and British, plus a few French, Americans, and Dutch) were confined here to a guarded compound about 5 square km (2 square miles)—placed, in effect, in isolation—but not for long. Within a few short years the shogunal government collapsed, and Japan began to modernize. Western ideas were welcomed, as were Western goods, and the little treaty port became Japan's principal gateway to the outside world. In 1872 Japan's first railway was built, linking Yokohama and Tokyo. In 1889 Yokohama became a city; by then the population had grown to some 120,000. As the city prospered, so did the international community and by the early 1900s Yokohama was the busiest and most modern center of international trade in all of East Asia. Then Yokohama came tumbling down. On September 1, 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake devastated the city. The ensuing fires destroyed some 60,000 homes and took more than 40,000 lives. During the six years it took to rebuild the city, many foreign businesses took up quarters elsewhere, primarily in Kobe and Osaka, and did not return. Over the next 20 years Yokohama continued to grow as an industrial center—until May 29, 1945, when in a span of four hours, some 500 American B-29 bombers leveled nearly half the city and left more than half a million people homeless. When the war ended, what remained became—in effect—the center of the Allied occupation. General Douglas MacArthur set up headquarters here, briefly, before moving to Tokyo; the entire port facility and about a quarter of the city remained in the hands of the U.S. military throughout the 1950s. By the 1970s Yokohama was once more rising from the debris; in 1978 it surpassed Osaka as the nation's second-largest city, and the population is now inching up to the 3.5 million mark. Boosted by Japan's postwar economic miracle, Yokohama has extended its urban sprawl north to Tokyo and south to Kamakura—in the process creating a whole new subcenter around the Shinkansen Station at Shin-Yokohama. The development of air travel and the competition from other ports have changed the city's role in Japan's economy. The great liners that once docked at Yokohama's piers are now but a memory, kept alive by a museum ship and the occasional visit of a luxury vessel on a Pacific cruise. Modern Large as Yokohama is, the central area is very negotiable. As with any other port city, much of what it has to offer centers on the waterfront—in this case, on the west side of Tokyo Bay. The downtown area is called Kannai (literally, "within the checkpoint"); this is where the international community was originally confined by the shogunate. Though the center of interest has expanded to include the waterfront and Ishikawa-cho, to the south, Kannai remains the heart of town. Think of that heart as two adjacent areas. One is the old district of Kannai, bounded by Basha-michi on the northwest and Nippon-odori on the southeast, the Keihin Tohoku Line tracks on the southwest, and the waterfront on the northeast. This area contains the business offices of modern Yokohama. The other area extends southeast from Nippon-odori to the Moto-machi shopping street and the International Cemetery, bordered by Yamashita Koen and the waterfront to the northeast; in the center is Chinatown, with Ishikawa-cho Station to the southwest. This is the most interesting part of town for tourists. Whether you're coming from Tokyo, Nagoya, or Kamakura, make Ishikawa-cho Station your starting point. Take the South Exit from the station and head in the direction of the waterfront.
Aomori, Japan image
Day 3
Aomori, Japan
Aomori's main event is its Nebuta Matsuri Festival,held August 2 to 7. People come to see illuminated floats of gigantic samurai figures paraded through the streets at night. Aomori's festival is one of Japan's largest, and is said to celebrate the euphoria of post-battle victory, and is thus encouraged to be noisier and livelier than you may have been exposed to in other Japanese festivals. Dancers, called heneto, run alongside the floats, dancing crazily, and you're encouraged to join in. Throughout the year you can enjoy delicious seafood from Aomori Bay, including Oma no Maguro (tuna of Oma), as well as delicious fruits and vegetables (particularly garlic). And come every summer, the town cuts loose to throw the decidedly wild Nebuta Matsuri festival, a frenzied, utterly unaccountable period when normal gets thrown to the wind.
Otaru, Japan image
Day 4
Otaru, Japan
Otaru is a small harbor city west of Sapporo. Famous for its many hills and a nearby ski resort, the town has been an important trade and herring fishing center. A wide canal that led from the port to the old town’s warehouses has been maintained for touristic purposes and the old stone or brick-built warehouses have been beautifully converted to restaurants and boutiques
Hakodate, Japan image
Day 5
Hakodate, Japan
Facing out on two bays, Hakodate is a 19th-century port town, with clapboard buildings on sloping streets, a dockside tourist zone, streetcars, and fresh fish on every menu. In the downtown historic quarter, a mountain rises 1,100 feet above the city on the southern point of the narrow peninsula. Russians, Americans, Chinese, and Europeans have all left their mark; this was one of the first three Japanese ports the Meiji government opened up to international trade in 1859. The main sights around the foot of Mt. Hakodate can be done in a day, but the city is best appreciated with an overnight stay for the illumination in the historic area, the night views from either the mountain or the fort tower, and the fish market at dawn. City transport is easy to navigate and English information is readily available. Evening departure trains from Tokyo arrive here at dawn—perfect for fish-market breakfasts.
Akita, Japan image
Day 6
Akita, Japan
Sokcho, South Korea image
Day 8
Sokcho, South Korea
Vibrant urban activity is juxtaposed with dramatic mountain ridges and beautiful beaches in Sokcho, South Korea. Many tourists come to this city of approximately 90,000 residents to visit Seoraksan National Park, home of the highest mountain in Gangwon-doProvince and the third highest mountain in South Korea. The city and mountain range attracts national and internationally visitors year-round, but particularly in autumn, when the foliage is at its height (and considered the most beautiful in Korea). Visitors to Sokcho can also visit hot springs, beaches, or view one of the several well-preserved Buddha statues located in temples throughout the city.
Sakaiminato, Japan image
Day 9
Sakaiminato, Japan
Sakaiminato is a small city almost totally surrounded by water: the Sea of Japan to the east, the Sakai Channel to the north and Lake Nakaumi to the west. Across the lake the towns of Matsue and Yasugi offer interesting experiences. Matsue is known as the “Town of Water” next to scenic Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi. It has one of the very few wooden castles that still remain in Japan. Touring the castle and boat rides on the Horikawa River and the castle’s moat are popular. Yasugi has the Adachi Museum of Art, a private museum that houses one of the finest collections of contemporary Japanese paintings, but also has a 165,000 square metres garden –with plants and rocks collected by the museum’s founder. Six different gardens show different scenarios depending on the season. These gardens have been selected as “Japan’s best garden” for several years.
Fukuoka, Japan image
Day 10
Fukuoka, Japan
Kagoshima, Japan image
Day 11
Kagoshima, Japan
Kagoshima city is the capital of Kagoshima prefecture and also Kyushu’s southernmost major city. This city is often compared to its Italian sister city Naples, due to its’s similarities such as mild climate and active volcano, Sakurajima. Sakurajima is one of the most renowned active volcanos not only in Japan but also in the whole entire world. This smoking Sakurajima is centred in Kinko Bay and is one of the main symbols of this prefecture. We cannot talk about Sakurajima without the history of continuous eruption. Sakurajima used to be an isolated island; however, the land has banded together with Osumi peninsula from the eruption in 1914. You may have a chance to see the smoke coming from the top of Sakurajima depending on the weather condition. Not only does the scenery of Sakurajima represent the beauty of Kagoshima City but Senganen garden is also symbolic to elegance in the Kagoshima region. This Japanese garden was constructed by a feudal lord, Mitsuhisa Shimazu, as a guest house of the Kagoshima castle which attracts many visitors for its splendid view.
Kochi, Japan image
Day 12
Kochi, Japan
Osaka, Japan image
Day 13
Osaka, Japan
From Minami's neon-lighted Dotombori and historic Tenno-ji to the high-rise class and underground shopping labyrinths of Kita, Osaka is a city that pulses with its own unique rhythm. Though Osaka has no shortage of tourist sites, it is the city itself that is the greatest attraction. Home to some of Japan's best food, most unique fashions, and warmest locals, Osaka does not beg to be explored—it demands it. More than anywhere else in Japan, it rewards the impulsive turn down an interesting side street or the chat with a random stranger. People do not come here to see the city, they come to experience it.Excluded from the formal circles of power and aristocratic culture in 16th-century Edo (Tokyo), Osaka took advantage of its position as Japan's trading center, developing its own art forms such as Bunraku puppet theater and Rakugo comic storytelling. It was in Osaka that feudal Japan's famed Floating World—the dining, theater, and pleasure district—was at its strongest and most inventive. Wealthy merchants and common laborers alike squandered fortunes on culinary delights, turning Osaka into "Japan's Kitchen," a moniker the city still has today. Though the city suffered a blow when the Meiji government canceled all of the samurai class's outstanding debts to the merchants, it was quick to recover. At the turn of the 20th century, it had become Japan's largest and most prosperous city, a center of commerce and manufacturing.Today Osaka remains Japan's iconoclastic metropolis, refusing to fit Tokyo's norms and expectations. Unlike the hordes of Tokyo, Osakans are fiercely independent. As a contrast to the neon and concrete surroundings, the people of Osaka are known as Japan's friendliest and most outgoing. Ask someone on the street for directions in Tokyo and you are lucky to get so much as a glance. Ask someone in Osaka and you get a conversation.The main areas of the city, Kita (north) and Minami (south), are divided by two rivers: the Dojima-gawa and the Tosabori-gawa. Between Kita and Minami is Naka-no-shima, an island and the municipal center of Osaka. Kita (north of Chuo Dori) is Osaka's economic hub and contains Osaka's largest stations: JR Osaka and Hankyu Umeda. The area is crammed with shops, department stores, and restaurants. Nearby are a nightlife district, Kita-shinchi; Naka-no-shima and the Museum of Oriental Ceramics; Osaka-jo (Osaka Castle); and Osaka Koen (Osaka Park). Restaurants, bars, department stores, and boutiques attract Osaka's youth to Minami (south Chuo Dori); theatergoers head to the National Bunraku Theatre and electronics-lovers to Den Den Town. For a glimpse of old Osaka, visit Tenno-ji Temple and Shin Sekai. The main stations are Namba, Shin-sai-bashi, Namba Nankai, and Tenno-ji. There's easy access to the Municipal Museum of Fine Art and Sumiyoshi Taisha (Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine).The bay area, to the west of the city center, is home to the Osaka Aquarium and Universal Studios Japan. The Shinkansen stops at Shin-Osaka, three stops (about five minutes) north of Osaka Station on the Mido-suji subway line. To the north of Shin-Osaka is Senri Expo Park.
Shimizu, Japan image
Day 14
Shimizu, Japan
The salt and pepper cone of Japan's most famous natural landmark won’t fail to take your breath away, as it soars into the sky in a vision of spectacular symmetry. Make sure your camera is fully prepared before you dock in Shimizu’s port, where unparalleled views of the extraordinary Mount Fuji’s dramatic peak await. Take your time to soak up one of Japan's most iconic views, before dipping your toes into the rest of what this destination of tranquil temples has to offer. While there’s a bustling fish market, and a charming amusement park waiting close to the port, most new arrivals immediately set off in pursuit of the best views of Mount Fuji, or to see the stunning panorama on offer from the heights of the Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. Take the cable car up to the top, to experience the tranquillity around the forested shrine, and to enjoy its stunning architecture of deep scarlets and gleaming golds. You can also enjoy heart-stopping views out over the Bay of Suruga, and the tea plantations below.
Tokyo, Japan image
Day 15
Tokyo, Japan
Lights, sushi, manga! Sprawling, frenetic, and endlessly fascinating, Japan’s capital is a city of contrasts. Shrines and gardens are pockets of calm between famously crowded streets and soaring office buildings. Mom-and-pop noodle houses share street space with Western-style chain restaurants and exquisite fine dining. Shopping yields lovely folk arts as well as the newest electronics. And nightlife kicks off with karaoke or sake and continues with techno clubs and more. Whether you seek the traditional or the cutting edge, Tokyo will provide it.
Ship Details
Holland America Line
Noordam

Named for the Northern compass point, Noordam dazzles with museum-quality art and lavish staterooms. Guests of this Vista Class cruise ship will have their pick of onboard activities.

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