Our Favorite Japan Sailings for 2025-26

In multiple 2024 consumer research surveys, Japan consistently either ranks atop or high up on the “most desired” list for consumers planning an international vacation. Fortunately, many luxury cruise lines call at Japanese ports as part of a point-to-point or round-trip voyage. Here’s a sampling with just one example per line; most have multiple Japan-touching itineraries.

For a robust, lengthy, point-to-point vacation, Luxury Travel Advisor likes Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 30-day “Transpacific Quest” itinerary on September 17, 2025. Sailing from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, to Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan, the 746-passenger Seven Seas Explorer first calls at Ketchikan, Sitka, Seward, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor, all in Alaska, before sailing across the Pacific Ocean and crossing the international date line. Then the hefty lineup of Japanese port calls begins, as well as a call at Busan, South Korea.

In Japan, Seven Seas Explorer first arrives at Kushiro, followed by Hakodate, Sendai, Kochi, Shimizu, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Beppu, plus the ship overnights in both Yokohama (Tokyo) and Kobe (Kyoto). Aboard the ship, consider reserving one of Seven Seas Explorer’s 1,895-to-2,108-square-foot Master Suites or, the magnificent 4,443-square-foot Regent Suite, which sports everything from a baby grand piano to its own private sauna.

To dive into traditional Japanese culture in an easy way, we’d head out in Kobe on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ five-and-a-half-hour “Geisha Performance with Dinner” excursion including a Kaiseki-style meal. What’s a geisha? Geisha is a Japanese word that means “art person.” Wearing traditional Japanese kimonos, today’s geishas are women who sing, dance and play the flute-like samisen to create a delicate, chic and pleasant aura. Some also arrange flowers, perform the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, or practice calligraphy.

Diving into Japanese Culture: Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers a “Geisha Performance with Dinner” excursion. Shown here is a Japanese woman in maiko’s costume practicing tea ceremony in Kyoto. A maiko is an apprentice geisha. (Getty Images )

For more active, strenuous eco-adventure, during the port day in Kochi, guests might opt for Regent Seven Seas’ three-plus-hour “Ryugado Caves” excursion. Travelers will view the caves’ geological formations, learn about the people who inhabited the caves 2,000 years ago, and search for marine creatures in the caves’ streams and waterfalls.

Silversea’s 728-passenger, ultra-luxury Silver Nova, its newest ship now in service, will sail a 15-day voyage round-trip from Tokyo, Japan on both March 15, 2026, and March 30, 2026. This itinerary offers a significant collection of Japanese ports including Hakodate (Hokkaido), Akita, Niigata, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, and Osaka (overnight); plus, guests will overnight in Tokyo at the cruise’s conclusion. Another day is spent in South Korea in Busan.

During five sea days, luxury travelers can also relax on board and enjoy a pampering spa treatment, listen to enrichment talks, enjoy yoga and fitness activities and savor Silversea’s fine dining with multiple restaurants including specialty eateries. Among those, guests can learn about and taste local foods and beverages in the region of sailing as part of Silver Nova’s dedicated S.A.L.T. (sea and land taste) onboard venues that include a separate kitchen, bar and lab (the latter with cooking stations for guests who desire lessons in how to prepare local food delicacies).

Shoreside S.A.L.T. excursions also continue the local focus as guests can choose a tour that will allow them to sample and savor Japanese foods and beverages. Sightseeing highlights? During Silver Nova’s call at Hakodate, guests can travel to Mount Hakodate for spectacular scenic views. In Akita, it’s a “must” for many travelers to check out an “onsen.” That’s a hot spring where people can bathe in the water’s therapeutic warmth, a plus for travelers who’ve over-exerted exploring ashore and seek to soothe tired muscles and joints.

Silver Nova Otium Suite
Panoramic Suite: The Otium Suite on Silver Nova spans 1,324 square feet and offers 270-degree views. (Silversea)

As for where to stay on the ship, the Otium Suite spans 1,324 square feet and offers 270-degree views, while the Owner’s Suite at 1,412 square feet is akin to a stylish apartment. One of Silver Nova’s most distinctive new suite categories is the 700-square-foot Signature Suite, offering unobstructed views from all interior areas and a 172-square-foot balcony.

Seabourn also has a strong portfolio of Japan voyages of varying lengths. We particularly like the “seasonal beauty” flair of the 12-day “Circumnavigation of Japan’s Fall Foliage” voyage departing from Yokohama (Tokyo) to Kobe, Japan, on October 12, 2025. The 450-passenger, ultra-luxury Seabourn Quest will sail to Hakodate, Tsuruga, Sakaiminato and Takamatsu. In addition to seeing lovely fall foliage, cruisers will discover such unique destinations as Tsuruga.

Dating from 702 A.D., Tsuruga’s opulent Kehi Shrine is adorned with a 36-foot-high wooden torii gate that is considered among Japan’s finest. Guests can also admire Museum Street’s renovated machiya. Those are historic wooden townhouses that now house quaint shops and cafes. Flora fans shouldn’t miss serene Yokokan Garden and eco-enthusiasts can go “forest bathing” among thousands of pines at Kehi no Matsubara. Active guests can scale the Tojinbo Cliffs.

Interestingly, Tsuruga was Japan’s only port open to Polish orphans and Jewish refugees during World War II, and travelers can learn more about that at the Port of Humanity Museum. If dinosaurs float your boat, then head to nearby Katsuyuma’s Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, home to 40-plus full-sized dinosaur skeletons and some “all-too-real” dinosaur robots. Tasty local foods to try when exploring the destination include Tsuruga’s Echizen crab, grilled mackerel, and fugu (pufferfish).

Among the ship’s pampering accommodations are Owner’s Suites with expansive ocean views, forward-facing windows, dining for four to six guests, a master bathroom with whirlpool bathtub, separate guest bath, pantry with wet bar, two flat-screen TVs, complimentary Internet/Wi-Fi, butler service and much more. Top suite on Seabourn Quest is the two-bedroom Grand Wintergarden Suite and among its perks is a glass-enclosed solarium with a tub and day bed.

Azamara’s multiple 13- to 18-night “Japan Intensive” voyages in spring 2025 will take guests on an exotic deep dive into Japanese culture, heritage and natural beauty. All are operated by the 702-passenger Azamara Pursuit. For instance, the ship will depart March 23, 2025, from Kobe to Yokohama, Japan, and call at Takamatsu, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu, Sakaiminato, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Nagoya and Mt Fuji (Shimizu), all in Japan, as well as South Korea’s Busan.

Guests can also immerse themselves even more in Japan’s lifestyle with Azamara’s two-night pre-cruise city stay in Osaka or, alternatively a “Time Honored Japan: Tokyo and Kyoto” add-on. And subsequent “Japan Intensive” voyages scheduled for April 6, April 20, May 3 and May 18, 2025, will visit some (not all) of the same ports but others too. For a full loop round-trip from Tokyo, Luxury Travel Advisor would suggest the 15-night “Japan Intensive Voyage” departing April 24, 2026, on Azamara Pursuit. It also calls at Maizuru, Japan, a maiden call for the line in 2026.

As for where to stay aboard Azamara Pursuit, the 560-square-foot Club World Owner’s Suite is the largest accommodation; it has a 233-square-foot balcony, a spacious living room and separate master bedroom.

Azamara Pursuit, Corsica
Longer Voyages: Azamara is offering multiple 13- to 18-night “Japan Intensive” voyages in spring 2025 on Azamara Pursuit. The ship is shown here in Corsica. (Azamara )

For a small-ship, ultra-luxury cruise, Scenic’s 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse II sails to Japan on several different itineraries. We’d opt for the 17-day “Unrivaled Discovery of Japan” itinerary, essentially a circumnavigation of Japan’s isles. Sailing round-trip from Tokyo on May 4, 2025, Scenic Eclipse II, launched in 2023, heads for some smaller ports that other major lines cannot, yet it also calls at many marquee ports too.

Japanese ports of call include Oarai, Sendai, Hakodate, Akita, Niigata, Sado Island, Kanazawa, Sakaiminato, Hofu, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kochi, Kobe, Toba, Shimizu and Tokyo. In Niigata, an agricultural city encircled by terraced rice fields, guests should check out the rice and sake. Did you know that this destination produces some of the country’s best of those products? Yes, it’s attributable to a high annual snowfall that, when it melts in springs, flushes the fields with pristine water.

Many travelers heading to Japan may desire to learn more about “samurai” heritage. On this voyage, they should explore Hofu, steeped in samurai culture from the once-powerful Mohri Clan. Travelers can wander through Mohri Garden and House, once the clan’s residence, to peruse the family collection of feudal artifacts that includes seven national treasures. This attraction’s lovely garden, with 19th- and 20th-century Japanese garden design, is one of the best places to watch the “turning leaves.”

Guests traveling on Scenic Eclipse II will likely sample local tastes and beverages while ashore, but then they can also return to their ship, which offers multiple dining venues including Koko’s, one of our favorite seagoing Asian dining spots. At its entry is Koko’s Sushi and Sake Bar and behind the eatery in a private room is the intimate Night Market for a destination-themed tasting menu. As for which suite to book, the May 4, 2025, departure is sold out for higher suite categories, but Verandah Suites and Deluxe Verandah Suites were still available at press time.

Many other upscale lines also operate voyages that touch Japan. Viking sails a 29-day “Southeast Asia Horizons” itinerary between Bangkok (Laem Chabang) to Tokyo on select 2025 and 2026 dates. Guests will receive 14 included, guided tours as they visit five Asian countries. Ponant offers an eight-night “Treasures of Japan by Sea – with Smithsonian Journeys” round-trip from Kobe on April 12, 2025. That’s operated by the 264-passenger Le Soleal. At Takamatsu, Ponant’s guests can explore the Ritsurin Garden, constructed during the early Edo period, and also chow down on its famous udon noodles.

When it comes to Japan voyages, the cruise industry offers diverse choices for 2024 through 2027. Best of all, many are luxury voyages with pampering onboard services and enticing activities ashore. Increasingly, luxury travelers are finding that the perfect recipe for exploring new corners of the globe.

Regent Suite
A Grand Suite: The 4,443-square-foot Regent Suite on Seven Seas Explorer sports everything from a baby grand piano to its own private sauna. (Regent Seven Seas Cruises)

Singapore Cruise Options

Another booming Asia cruise destination is Singapore. More than 642,000 Americans visited the island in 2023. The U.S. continues to be among the destination’s top 10 source markets, and last year, destination spending by American visitors surpassed $764.7 million, a record.

On January 18, 2025, ultra-luxury Crystal will offer a 47-night round-trip voyage from Singapore. The 606-passenger Crystal Symphony will call at multiple Asian destinations—from Ko Samui, Thailand to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, and from Hong Kong to Tokyo. Perks of this voyage include port calls in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, China, South Korea and the Philippines. Plus, guests will have lots of shore time with overnights in Bangkok, Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Shanghai, China; and Singapore.

Sometimes luxury travelers don’t desire a lengthy voyage, though, and instead prefer to spend more time on land and then take a cruise as part of their overall vacation. If so, we’d suggest adding on Oceania Cruises’ six-day voyage on the 670-passenger Regatta.

Sailing round-trip from Singapore on April 3, 2025, it’s a Malay Peninsula extravaganza. With no sea days, this itinerary should strongly appeal to land lovers.

Guests will go ashore daily during the ship’s calls at Malacca, Penang, Langkawi and Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur), all in Malaysia, as well as Phuket, Thailand. On Oceania’s exclusive, seven-and-a-half-hour “Grand Tour of Penang,” guests can gaze at Georgetown from a sprawling hilltop temple complex, browse a mansion formerly owned by a Chinese secret society’s leader, drive through gorgeous countryside, snap photos at Penang Bridge and more. This small group tour will also deliver a higher level of personal attention and flexibility.

Many other lines with ships big and small also cruise to and from Singapore. Launching this month, Cunard Line’s new Queen Anne will operate a six-night cruise with one Vietnam port call as it sails from Hong Kong, China, to Singapore on March 19, 2025. During 2024 and 2025, Royal Caribbean International will homeport its 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas here for short cruises. And the list of Singapore cruising options goes on.

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