7 nights onboard Le Soléal

Expedition in the Seto Inland Sea

Gastronomic cruise with featured guest chef Jean-François Piège.

With this brand-new itinerary, PONANT is taking you on a cruise from Kobe to Fukuoka. This 8-day circuit will allow you to discover the jewels to be found in the picturesque towns and cities of the Seto Inland Sea. The oldest sea route in Japan, a strategic hub during Antiquity, it was also the theatre of many battles and historic events that shaped its myth and grandeur over time with the ebb and flow of the tides.

Le Soléal will set sail from Kobe, a forward-looking modern city, and make its way to the island of Inujima. A flourishing centre of the mining industry more than a century ago, particularly for copper extraction, this small 54-hectare island is now an essential destination for contemporary art enthusiasts. It is notably home to the Seirensho Art Museum, designed around the remaining blackened walls of a former copper refinery.

Aboard one of our zodiac inflatables, you will then head to Tomonoura, known for its gentle way of life and its craggy landscapes, which inspired the artist Hayao Miyazaki for the animated film Ponyo. Then, you will visit Onomichi, a charming coastal town surrounded by green hills and home to a large number of temples and emblematic shrines, including the Senkō-ji, Saikoku-ji, and Jōdo-ji temples.

After calling at Mitarai and Shimokamagari, two traditional fishing villages, Le Soléal will continue its crossing of the Seto Inland Sea to drop anchor on the island of Honshu, in Hagi. The home of the samurai and of Hagi ware will win you over with its narrow streets, traditional houses, and the former residences of the Japanese warriors from this feudal town, of which the mythical Shizuki Castle, erected in the 17th century, emerges as a symbol.

Then, you will sail towards Tsushima, the largest of the Nagasaki islands. Famous for its Aso Bay, offering exceptional panoramas of its ria coast, the island separates the Korean Peninsula from Japan. Eighty-nine percent of it is covered by natural vegetation and mountains. This green setting is the natural habitat of the Tsushima leopard cat, among others.

Your ship will then take you to Yeosu, in South Korea. Thrust into the international limelight for hosting the Marine Expo in 2012, the coastal city will captivate you with its traditional character, evident also in its fish market.

Your cruise will end in Fukuoka, your disembarkation port.

Leaving from: Kobe
Cruise ship: Le Soléal
Visiting: Kobe Inujima Onomichi Tomonoura
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Ponant

When searching for a luxury yacht expedition cruise, there’s one name above all else that you need to know – Ponant Cruises. Founded in 1988 by former French Merchant Navy officers, Ponant combines succulent luxury with authentic adventures on all seven continents.

From classic Mediterranean itineraries and Caribbean sailings, to bucket-list expeditions around Greenland and Antarctica, Ponant cruises proudly counteract the banality of mainstream voyages with a unique take on the concept of small-ship cruising. It’s the absolute trip of a lifetime.

264
Passengers
139
Crew
2013
Launched
10944t
Tonnage
142m
Length
18m
Width
16kts
Speed
6
Decks
EUR
Currency
Cruise Itinerary
Day 1
Kobe, Japan
Day 2
Inujima, Japan
Day 3
Onomichi, Japan
Day 3
Tomonoura, Japan
Day 4
Mitarai, Japan
Day 4
Shimokamagari, Japan
Day 5
Hagi, Japan
Day 6
Tsushima, Japan
Day 7
Yeosu, South Korea
Day 8
Fukuoka, Japan
Kobe, Japan image
Day 1
Kobe, Japan
Located on the calm waters of the Inland Sea, Kobe has served as an important port town for hundreds of years. It was one of the first harbours to accept foreign traders in 1868 when Japan was just emerging from its centuries of isolation. What followed was a surge of Western trade and exports. Today, Kobe is quite multicultural, with expatriates from 98 different nations in residence, providing a cultural diversity most easily visible in restaurants serving every kind of cuisine, including the now world famous Kobe beef. The Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 set back Kobe’s development, but not for long. Kobe emerged more vibrant than before - with additional attractions, hotels and urban redevelopment, and only a few remnants of the extensive damage. It is a cosmopolitan place with lively shopping arcades, interesting museums, great restaurants, and a port that is still at the heart of things. Kobe is well known for its nightlife, in an intimate quarter of neon lights, cosy bars and sophisticated nightclubs. It also serves as the gateway to the ancient Japanese capitals of Kyoto and Nara.
Inujima, Japan image
Day 2
Inujima, Japan
Onomichi, Japan image
Day 3
Onomichi, Japan
Tomonoura, Japan image
Day 3
Tomonoura, Japan
Mitarai, Japan image
Day 4
Mitarai, Japan
Shimokamagari, Japan image
Day 4
Shimokamagari, Japan
Hagi, Japan image
Day 5
Hagi, Japan
Hagi is a former castle town located in the middle of Yamaguchi prefecture along the coast of the Sea of Japan. It is surrounded by the ocean, mountain and Abugawa River. Early in the 17th century, Terumoto Mori built Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki-yama, and the area served as the seat of the Yamaguchi prefecture government until the middle of 19th century. Around then, Hagi produced many capable men who played a leading role in the construction of modern day Japan, including Hirobumi Ito who became the first prime minister in Japan. You will still see a castle town itself which was built 400 years ago and you can get the feel of how it was like during the Samurai period. During your visit, we recommend experiencing the Hagi-yaki pottery which was brought from Korea in the early 17th century. Its colour is very unique and changes over time due to its porous nature. You can find many craft shops specialized for Hagi-yaki pottery all over the town. Last but not least, do not forget that Hagi is also famous for summer tangerines, and there are several shops which sells soft ice cream with summer tangerine flavour.
Tsushima, Japan image
Day 6
Tsushima, Japan
Yeosu, South Korea image
Day 7
Yeosu, South Korea
Fukuoka, Japan image
Day 8
Fukuoka, Japan
Ship Details
Ponant
Le Soléal

Designed in 2013 and loyal to the PONANT spirit, Le Soléal like her sisterships embodies the subtle alliance between luxury, intimacy and wellbeing which is Ponant’s signature.

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