Art and Culture of Japan
* Subject to availability.
• Discovering the ‘Empire of the Rising Sun’, its traditions and iconic sites;
• Sakaiminato, medieval Japan and the former homes of the Samurais;
• New port of call: Ulsan in South Korea, discovering Gyeongju, the former capital of the Korean kingdom and its precious Buddhist temples listed Unesco World Heritage;
• Beppu, its hot springs and the stone Buddhas in Mangetsuji (National Treasure);
• Osaka, and its famous castle (port of disembarkation).
Staterooms & Suites
There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.
In May 2011, l'Austral joined PONANT's fleet. This superb mega-yacht with 132 staterooms is the result of the expertise of the Italian Fincantieri shipyard and French sophistication, as interpreted by designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. L'Austral remains faithful to our philosophy - to create a unique atmosphere, a subtle blend of luxury, intimacy and well-being.
A sleek silhouette softened by elegantly smooth contours and large, arched windows opening up to the sea and the light: so many features come together to give L’Austral her distinctive shape. Precious materials, discreet elegance and a perfect balance between chic and casual, combine to make you feel as if you are on your own private yacht. A design blending tradition and innovation, where a nautical mood has been subtly recreated. A welcoming atmosphere of relaxed sophistication revolves around shades of grey, taupe, white and ivory enlivened by touches of cinnamon, caramel and tan.. So many personal touches create the spirit of a “private yacht.”
You will encounter unique itineraries, calls inaccessible to large ships, chic and elegant yacht-like ambiance, refined and personalized service as well as gastronomic cuisine.
Port of call & excursions
Otaru, HokkaidoEmbarkation 29/05/2018 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 29/05/2018 at 18H00 .
Boasting an outstanding setting of natural beauty, bordered by the Sea of Japan on one side and Mt Tengu on the other, Otaru is a lively harbour town. This old industrial capital has kept from its past glory buildings in 19th-century brick as well as its canals, formerly the main means of transportation. They give this Japanese town a striking appearance, especially when covered in snow. Magnificent vistas abound - itﾒs up to you to put them in order of preference. Shukutsu Observatory, overlooking out over the vast Bay of Ishikari, is just one of them.
30 May 2018 – At seaArrival 30/05/2018. Departure 30/05/2018.
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
31 May 2018 – Mano BayArrival 31/05/2018 early morning. Departure 31/05/2018 early afternoon.
A ravishing cove with sapphire blue waters, Mano Bay is on the western coast of the little island of Sado. Although Sado was nicknamed the "cursed island" by political opponents exiled there in the Middle Ages, today its atmosphere is very peaceful. The island's wild, beautiful scenery shelters a protected fauna, in particular, a colony of Japanese ibis. It also boasts several splendid temples, some of which are close to the village of Mano at the end of the bay.
1 June 2018 – KanazawaArrival 01/06/2018 early morning. Departure 01/06/2018 late afternoon.
Located on the island of Honshu and bathed by the waters of the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa is a port marked by history. Under the predominance of the Maeda clan in the Meiji era, the city came under multiple political and cultural influences that shaped its landscape. Throughout the town, you'll discover many signs of its rich past: Kanazawa Castle, Kenroku-en, one of the most beautiful and famous gardens in Japan, and the old geisha district, Higashi-Chayagai. Õmicho Ichiba market in the town centre is well worth a visit, particularly for freshly cooked seafood.
2 June 2018 – SakaiminatoArrival 02/06/2018 early morning. Departure 02/06/2018 early evening.
Located on the south-west coast of Honshu Island, the busy fishing port of Sakaiminato celebrates the comic writer and artist Shigeru Mizuki, who was born here. As well as a museum a dedicated tourist route leads through streets and squares that feature 134 bronze statues representing his beloved characters. This isn't the only thing Sakaiminato has to offer; try some local seafood specialities and enjoy the stunning views of Mt Daisen and the Yumigahama peninsula.
3 June 2018 – UlsanArrival 03/06/2018 late morning. Departure 03/06/2018 early evening.
Ulsan will be your gateway to the former capital of the Silla dynasty, Gyeongju, and its two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, precious vestiges of the Korean kingdom of old. You will discover the Seokguram Grotto, one of the most beautiful sanctuaries dedicated to Buddha, built in the 8th century on the slopes of Mount Toham. Surrounded by deities, the statue of Buddha contemplates the hills and the horizon beyond the Sea of Japan. The sculpture has retained its original appearance and this gives the place real spiritual value. You will visit the Bulguksa Temple, a World Heritage treasure and one of the most beautiful vestiges of Gyeongyu’s golden age, a perfect demonstration of the skill of Korean architects at the time of the old kingdom.
4 June 2018 – Moji, KitakyushuArrival 04/06/2018 early morning. Departure 04/06/2018 mid afternoon.
At the mouth of the Kanmon Straits lies Mojiko, the northernmost port of Kyushu, one of Japan’s four main islands. For many years, Mojiko was the gateway to the island. Today, the old boats are gone, but as you stroll around the picturesque streets you will discover a well-preserved architectural heritage that evokes traditional Japan from the first Meiji era of the late 19th century. From the heights of the Mojiko Retro Observation Room, you can enjoy the amazing views that take in the Shinto shrine and coastal landscape like a postcard of the Land of the Rising Sun.
5 June 2018 – Beppu, OitaArrival 05/06/2018 early morning. Departure 05/06/2018 early evening.
A favourite destination for the Japanese, Beppu is now famous throughout the Japanese archipelago thanks to its onsen – volcanic hot springs in which people immerse themselves to relax with family or friends. From Beppu, you will set off to discover a lush, peaceful valley in which sit 60 majestic stone Buddhas carved out of the cliff face between the 12th and 14th centuries. Exuding a soothing air of serenity, the Mangetsuji site seems to have drifted off to sleep in the heart of a dense bamboo forest surrounded by rice fields. Recognised as a National Treasure of Japan, this set of sacred sculptures offers travellers a unique, wonderful experience.
6 June 2018 – HiroshimaArrival 06/06/2018 early morning. Departure 06/06/2018 early evening.
Visiting Hiroshima is a moving experience. The town spreads along Honshu Island, along the inside coasts of Seto. While firmly focused on the future, Hiroshima doesn't forget its past, and a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Genbaku Dome is a must. You'll enjoy the city's modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere and effervescent nightlife just as much as the peaceful stillness of its natural parkland areas such as splendid Shukkei-en, the town's historic garden.
7 June 2018 – TakamatsuArrival 07/06/2018 early morning. Departure 07/06/2018 early evening.
A former fortified city, ruled over by the Matsudaira clan from the Tamamo castle with its seawater moats, the city is home to one of the most beautiful classic gardens in Japan, the Ritsurin. It was created by the barons of the city at the start of the Edo period, during which time gardening became a profession in its own right. Its landscape incorporates Mount Shiun in the background, an example of what is known as the shakkei technique, which uses the surrounding landscapes to increase the beauty of the gardens.
OsakaDisembarkation 08/06/2018 at 07H00 .
Like its big sister Tokyo, Osaka is the product of ancestral traditions and amazing technological innovations. And despite its size, its location on the Pacific Ocean give it a sense of serenity. The main historic landmark is the 16th-century Osaka Castle, which stands proud in the midst of majestic skyscrapers. The lively streets of Dotomburi and the bizarre Shinsekai district attract thousands of locals and visitors. A multitude of restaurants offer menus full of regional specialities: takoyaki, made with octopus, and other succulent dishes such as kushikatsu kebabs.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Pre/Post & Overlands
Before your cruise
26/05/2018 – From Tokyo, a capital with many faces to Hokkaido (3 nights)For your comfort and serenity, this programme benefits from a PONANT accompaniment***.
The escort, mandated by the company, accompanies you and remains at your disposal during your stay.
His mission: offering you assistance and facilitating the organisation to ensure the full success of your stay.2235.00 $ **
26/05/2018 – Kyoto and Nara before reaching the Hokkaido island (3 nights)For your comfort and serenity, this programme benefits from a PONANT accompaniment***.
The escort, mandated by the company, accompanies you and remains at your disposal during your stay.
His mission: offering you assistance and facilitating the organisation to ensure the full success of your stay.2400.00 $ **
After your cruise
** Prices per person, based on double occupancy