Princess Cruises has announced it will begin homeport sailing in Japan starting March 15, 2023. The decision follows the country’s announcement to allow the return of international cruise ships in the region.
“The reopening of Japanese ports to the international cruise industry is an important and welcome development that not only vastly expands the vacation opportunities available to guests but also helps to significantly strengthen the Japanese tourism economy,” said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises.
Japanese-built Diamond Princess returns to celebrate the 10th anniversary of sailing from Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe starting March 15 with a nine-day sailing roundtrip from Tokyo. The ship, designed exclusively with the destination in mind, will call to 38 destinations in four countries on 43 itineraries and 57 departures, ranging from five to 19 days. Key highlights of Princess’ Japan itineraries in 2023 include:
Temples, shrines, castles – Guests can visit several temples and shrines, such as the 16th-century Osaka Castle or Seiryu-ji Temple, home of the country’s largest bronze-seated Buddha.
Festivals – Guests can experience seven festivals, including “Kyoto Gion Festival,” featuring massive, hand-crafted “Yama” and “Hoko” floats that are constructed every year without the use of nails; and watch a display of 10,000 fireworks during the “Kumano Fireworks Festival.”
Vibrant cities and landscapes – Guests can go shopping in Tokyo’s Ginza district, trying local delicacies at nearby restaurants or exploring the Imperial Palace plaza. With access to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, guests can marvel at Mt. Fuji, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
Spring flowers, gardens and onsens – Travelers soak in spring flowers all around Japan during spring, be it visiting a classic Japanese garden, seeing hundreds of sakura (cherry blossoms) while picnicking, enjoying the meditative atmosphere of tranquil parks or soaking in an “onsen,” or hot spring bath.
For travelers with more time to explore Japan, Princess offers 13- or 14-day itineraries, featuring a multiple-night land tour combined with the cruise so they can experience the wonders of both Tokyo and Kyoto.