Experience the timeless splendor of Japan while cruising the full length of the tranquil Inland Sea, plus stop in South Korea's port of Ulsan for a special visit to historic Gyeongju, the “museum without walls.”

Starting at: $5,995 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Torii Gate near Miyajima  Entrance to Nijo Castle (detail), Kyoto  Himeji Castle  Nijo Castle Garden, Kyoto  Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto  Ryoan-ji Zen Garden, Kyoto  Young geishas. Japan Tourism Bureau  Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju, South Korea

A Cruise of Japan

Featuring a Stop in South Korea From Himeji to Matsue and Osaka Aboard the 220-guest Le Soléal

11 days from $5,995

Experience the timeless splendor of Japan while cruising the full length of the tranquil Inland Sea, plus stop in South Korea's port of Ulsan for a special visit to historic Gyeongju, the “museum without walls.”

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

I would highly recommend Smithsonian. They are a high quality tour organization. They organize the tour in a highly efficient manner. I would travel again with them.

- Victoria B.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Kyoto Hotel Okura

Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Okura Hotel has 16 stories and is located right in the heart of Kyoto. It is close to the business district, as well as the shopping district of Shijo-Kawaramachi, the Imperial Palace, Toji, and the Nijo Castle. Inside the hotel, the décor is that of a 1920s feel. With over nine different restaurants to choose from, guests definitely have their choice of cuisine. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, a shopping arcade, a beauty salon, and a barber shop. Other services include a pharmacy, as well as a photo shop and a Japanese dress boutique. Rooms feature high-speed Internet access, cable/satellite television, daily newspaper, mini-bar/refrigerator, room service, and hair dryers.

Number of nights: 2

Activity Level

Activity Level 3: Moderate / Active


Expectations: Ocean-going cruise that pulls into a pier for embarkation and shore excursions. Excursions will be at a moderately active pace during the mornings and/or afternoons and some days will require early morning departures (8:00 or 8:30 a.m.). Some standing and walking for periods of time (up to one and a half hours) during outdoor activities and tours, city tours, and museum visits. Our guides will find a place for you to sit if necessary.   

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Tour Extension

Tokyo Pre-Program Option — 4 Days, 3 Nights

Experience Japan’s capital city and the world’s most populous metropolis during your pre-program stay in vibrant Tokyo. Beneath the layers of thriving business districts, amidst the contemporary architectural achievements and a wellspring of Japanese pop culture, you will find venerable wooden houses fronted by bonsai trees and shrines wreathed in incense smoke—the inherent cultural core of this historic city. Explore notable landmarks such as Tokyo’s most important Shinto shrine—the Meiji Shrine—the magnificent gardens of the Imperial Palace and a full-day excursion to Hakone to view the tallest peak in Japan—the iconic Mt. Fuji—a World Heritage site. A high-speed transfer aboard the legendary Bullet Train to Kyoto is included. Accommodations are for three nights in the prestigious five-star InterContinental Hotel Tokyo.

Osaka Post-Program Option — 3 Days, 2 Nights

Get to know Osaka’s interesting culture and history as a merchant city with a visit to the Osaka History Museum.  Continue on to the Sky Garden Observatory in the Umeda Sky Building for incredible views of the city.  

Visit famous temples in the former capital of Nara.  Todaiji, the Great Eastern Temple holds one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha.  Also, see the beautiful wooden, five-story pagoda of the Horyuji Temple.  Experience the art of gripped Sumi making, a craft of the Nara area.  Accommodations are for two nights in Five‑Star Intercontinental Hotel Osaka.

Pre- and Post-Program Options are available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

Ship

Le Soléal

The highly acclaimed, deluxe Le Soléal (launched in 2013) is a new generation small ship of the highest quality and features distinctive French sophistication.

Spacious Suites and Staterooms, Most with Balconies

95 percent of the large (from 200 to 484 square feet), air-conditioned, deluxe, ocean-view staterooms and suites feature private balconies. Most accommodations have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed; each has a private bathroom with shower and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel including individual climate control, satellite flat-screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining

International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious Dining Room in single, unassigned seating; alfresco in the casual Indoor-Outdoor Restaurant; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included.

Spacious Public Areas/World-Class Service and Facilities

Enjoy views from the Panoramic Lounge, nightly entertainment in the Main Lounge and lectures, cultural performances and film screenings in the state-of-the-art Theater. There is a library, Internet salon, Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa, Turkish bath-style steam room, full range of fitness equipment and two elevators. The infirmary is staffed with a doctor and nurse. The highly trained and personable English-speaking international crew provides attentive service.

Respect for the Environment

The state-of-the-art propulsion system and custom-built stabilizers provide an exceptionally smooth, quiet and comfortable voyage by minimizing vibration and engine noise. The ship is in Clean Ship standing, an extreme rarity among ocean cruising vessels, showcasing the paramount importance of and commitment to energy efficiency and environmental protection of marine ecosystems.

Le Soléal

The highly acclaimed, deluxe Le Soléal (launched in 2013) is a new generation small ship of the highest quality and features distinctive French sophistication.

Spacious Suites and Staterooms, Most with Balconies

95 percent of the large (from 200 to 484 square feet), air-conditioned, deluxe, ocean-view staterooms and suites feature private balconies. Most accommodations have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed; each has a private bathroom with shower and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel including individual climate control, satellite flat-screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining

International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious Dining Room in single, unassigned seating; alfresco in the casual Indoor-Outdoor Restaurant; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included.

Spacious Public Areas/World-Class Service and Facilities

Enjoy views from the Panoramic Lounge, nightly entertainment in the Main Lounge and lectures, cultural performances and film screenings in the state-of-the-art Theater. There is a library, Internet salon, Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa, Turkish bath-style steam room, full range of fitness equipment and two elevators. The infirmary is staffed with a doctor and nurse. The highly trained and personable English-speaking international crew provides attentive service.

Respect for the Environment

The state-of-the-art propulsion system and custom-built stabilizers provide an exceptionally smooth, quiet and comfortable voyage by minimizing vibration and engine noise. The ship is in Clean Ship standing, an extreme rarity among ocean cruising vessels, showcasing the paramount importance of and commitment to energy efficiency and environmental protection of marine ecosystems.

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

I would highly recommend Smithsonian. They are a high quality tour organization. They organize the tour in a highly efficient manner. I would travel again with them.

- Victoria B.
Reading List
The Inland Sea
By: Donald Richie
"An elegiac prose celebration . . . a classic in its genre."—Publishers WeeklyIn this acclaimed travel memoir, Donald Richie paints a memorable portrait of the island-studded Inland Sea. His existential ruminations on food, culture, and love and his brilliant descriptions of life and landscape are a window into an Old Japan that has now nearly vanished. Included are the twenty black and white photographs by Yoichi Midorikawa that accompanied the original 1971 edition.Donald Richie (1924–2013) was an internationally recognized expert on Japanese culture and film.Yoichi Midorikawa (1915–2001) was one of Japan's foremost nature photographers.
In Praise Of Shadows (Vintage Classics) by Tanizaki, Junichiro New edition (2001)
By: Junichiro Tanizaki
Seeing Kyoto
By: Juliet Winters Carpenter
Tokyo may be the capital of Japan, but Kyoto is its heart and soul. The rich textures of twelve centuries of culture seem to have woven themselves into the very air. How else could you explain the centuries-old feel of the Gion quarter, where geisha still ply their trade? Or the quiet dignity of the cobblestone back streets lined with traditional wooden houses?Seeing Kyoto captures all the elegance and charm of Japan's most beloved city with dozens of stunning images. One can imagine the days when aristocrats and samurai inhabited these neighborhoods. With insightful text, long-time Japan resident juliet Carpenter delves into the cultural history of Kyoto, as well as its treasures — artistic, culinary, and historical. She also introduces the neighboring city of Nara, often referred to as "little Kyoto." Finally, Carpenter tackles the clash of old and new: how Kyotoites, in their inimitable vigor, are turning the traditions of yesterday into the strengths of today.With a lyrical foreword by tea master Sen Soshitsu, Seeing Kyoto offers an unparalleled view of one of the world's finest cities. It explores everything from the ancient palaces to sacred temple grounds, classic Japanese gardens to treasured artworks — in short, a deluxe volume not to be missed.
Hiroshima
By: John Hersey
On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times).Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told.  His account of what he discovered about them is now the eloquent and moving final chapter of Hiroshima.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan
By: DK Travel
Explore Japan's busy city streets, historic temples, and beautiful culture. Experience Tokyo, Kyoto, and the rest of Japan's exciting cities.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan.   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city maps include street finder indexes for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan truly shows you this country as no one else can.Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.
Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Yoshi Abe, Keiko Hagiwara
Lonely Planet: The world's #1 phrasebook publisher* Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful Japanese phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Get to know your sushi from your sake, enjoy an elaborate tea ceremony with its centuries'-old conventions, and find your way elaborate transit maps; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now! Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation! Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides Inside Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook & Dictionary: Full-colour throughout User-friendly layout organised by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues Convenient features 5 Phrases to Learn Before You Go 10 Ways to Start a Sentence 10 Phrases to Sound like a Local Listen For - phrases you may hear Look For - phrases you may see on signs Shortcuts - easy-to-remember alternatives to the full phrases Q &A - suggested answers to questions asked Covers Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodations, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook & Dictionary, a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture. About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves. The world awaits! *#1 phrasebook publisher. Source: Nielsen Bookscan UK, US & AUS
Japan - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Paul Norbury
Culture Smart! Japan will guide you through modern Japan’s shifting social and cultural maze. It provides invaluable insights into people’s attitudes and behavior, and practical tips to help make your visit to this complex, rich, and dynamic society a mutually rewarding experience. Today Japan is at a crossroads. The postwar economic miracle is over and the balance of power in Asia is shifting as new players enter the field. The bedrock of traditional Japanese culture—its remarkable resilience, coherence, and consensus-based philosophy, underpinned by many protocols—until recently regarded by some as a hindrance, is starting to look like a virtue in a world of accelerating change. Japan remains the world’s third-largest economy and one of the most attractive and secure destinations for investment. The younger generation is outward-looking, Japanese women have a new confidence, and the country’s technical and scientific research capability is as good as it gets. Japan continues to excel at innovation in technology and the “new” sciences, and is among the world’s largest funders in research as a percentage of GDP.
Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History (Updated)
By: Bruce Cumings Ph.D.
"Passionate, cantankerous, and fascinating. Rather like Korea itself."--Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times Book Review Korea has endured a "fractured, shattered twentieth century," and this updated edition brings Bruce Cumings's leading history of the modern era into the present. The small country, overshadowed in the imperial era, crammed against great powers during the Cold War, and divided and decimated by the Korean War, has recently seen the first real hints of reunification. But positive movements forward are tempered by frustrating steps backward. In the late 1990s South Korea survived its most severe economic crisis since the Korean War, forcing a successful restructuring of its political economy. Suffering through floods, droughts, and a famine that cost the lives of millions of people, North Korea has been labeled part of an "axis of evil" by the George W. Bush administration and has renewed its nuclear threats. On both sides Korea seems poised to continue its fractured existence on into the new century, with potential ramifications for the rest of the world. 25 illustrations
Kyoto: A Cultural History (Cityscapes)
By: John Dougill
Kyoto, the ancient former capital of Japan, breathes history and mystery. Its temples, gardens and palaces are testimony to many centuries of aristocratic and religious grandeur. Under the veneer of modernity, the city remains filled with countless reminders of a proud past. John Dougill explores this most venerable of Japanese cities, revealing the spirit of place and the individuals that have shaped its often dramatic history. Courtiers and courtesans, poets and priests, samurai and geisha people the pages of his account. Covering twelve centuries in all, the book not only provides a historical overview but also brings to life the cultural magnificence of the city of "Purple Hills and Crystal Streams."
Tokyo: A Biography: Disasters, Destruction and Renewal: The Story of an Indomitable City
By: Stephen Mansfield
The history of Tokyo is as eventful as it is long. A concise yet detailed overview of this fascinating, centuries-old city, Tokyo: A Biography is a perfect companion volume for history buffs or Tokyo-bound travelers looking to learn more about their destination. In a whirlwind journey through Tokyo's past from its earliest beginnings up to the present day, this Japanese history book demonstrates how the city's response to everything from natural disasters to regime change has been to reinvent itself time and again. A calamitous fire results in a massive expansion of the city's territory. A debate over the Samurai code creates far-reaching social change. A malleable boy becomes the figurehead for powerful forces which change an ancient feudal society into a modern industrialized power within a generation. Utter destruction wipes the slate clean again so Tokyoites may start all over. And so it goes. Tokyo's story is riveting, and by the end of Tokyo: A Biography, readers see a city almost unrivaled in its uniqueness, a place that—despite its often tragic history—still shimmers as it prepares to face the future.
Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival
By: David Pilling
“[A]n excellent book...” —The EconomistFinancial Times Asia editor David Pilling presents a fresh vision of Japan, drawing on his own deep experience, as well as observations from a cross section of Japanese citizenry, including novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists and bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians. Through their voices, Pilling's Bending Adversity captures the dynamism and diversity of contemporary Japan.Pilling’s exploration begins with the 2011 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. His deep reporting reveals both Japan’s vulnerabilities and its resilience and pushes him to understand the country’s past through cycles of crisis and reconstruction. Japan’s survivalist mentality has carried it through tremendous hardship, but is also the source of great destruction: It was the nineteenth-century struggle to ward off colonial intent that resulted in Japan’s own imperial endeavor, culminating in the devastation of World War II. Even the postwar economic miracle—the manufacturing and commerce explosion that brought unprecedented economic growth and earned Japan international clout might have been a less pure victory than it seemed. In Bending Adversity Pilling questions what was lost in the country’s blind, aborted climb to #1. With the same rigor, he revisits 1990—the year the economic bubble burst, and the beginning of Japan’s “lost decades”—to ask if the turning point might be viewed differently. While financial struggle and national debt are a reality, post-growth Japan has also successfully maintained a stable standard of living and social cohesion. And while life has become less certain, opportunities—in particular for the young and for women—have diversified. Still, Japan is in many ways a country in recovery, working to find a way forward after the events of 2011 and decades of slow growth. Bending Adversity closes with a reflection on what the 2012 reelection of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his radical antideflation policy, might mean for Japan and its future. Informed throughout by the insights shared by Pilling’s many interview subjects, Bending Adversity rigorously engages with the social, spiritual, financial, and political life of Japan to create a more nuanced representation of the oft-misunderstood island nation and its people.The Financial Times“David Pilling quotes a visiting MP from northern England, dazzled by Tokyo’s lights and awed by its bustling prosperity: ‘If this is a recession, I want one.’ Not the least of the merits of Pilling’s hugely enjoyable and perceptive book on Japan is that he places the denunciations of two allegedly “lost decades” in the context of what the country is really like and its actual achievements.”The Telegraph (UK)“Pilling, the Asia editor of the Financial Times, is perfectly placed to be our guide, and his insights are a real rarity when very few Western journalists communicate the essence of the world’s third-largest economy in anything but the most superficial ways. Here, there is a terrific selection of interview subjects mixed with great reportage and fact selection... he does get people to say wonderful things. The novelist Haruki Murakami tells him: “When we were rich, I hated this country”... well-written... valuable.”Publishers Weekly (starred):"A probing and insightful portrait of contemporary Japan."
The Samurai (General Military)
By: Stephen Turnbull
The world of the samurai, the legendary, elite warrior cult of old Japan, has for too long been associated solely with military history and has remained a mystery. In this exciting new book, Stephen Turnbull, the world's leading authority on the samurai, goes beyond the battlefield to paint a picture of the samurai as they really were. The world of the samurai warrior is revealed to be one of great richness, with familiar topics such as the cult of suicide, ritualized revenge, and the lore of the samurai sword, seen in the context of an all-encompassing warrior culture that was expressed through art and poetry as much as through violence.
Japanese Design: Art, Aesthetics & Culture by Patricia J. Graham (2014-09-30)
By: Patricia J. Graham;
The Art of Setting Stones: And Other Writings from the Japanese Garden
By: Marc Peter Keane
In Japanese gardens, composition follows from placement of the first stone; all elements and plantings become interconnected. These eight essays on Kyoto gardens similarly begin with keen description and build into richly meditative excursions into art, Buddhism, nature, and science. Landscape architect Marc Keane shows how Japanese gardens are both a microcosm of the natural universe and a clear expression of our humanity, mirroring how we think, worship, and organize our lives and communities. Filled with passages of alluring beauty, this is a truly transcendent book about "experiencing" Japanese design.Marc Peter Keane has lived in Kyoto for 17 years and is author of Japanese Garden Design. He designs residential, company, and temple gardens.
Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey
By: Marie Mutsuki Mockett
“Read it. You will be uplifted.”―Ruth Ozeki, Zen priest, author of A Tale for the Time BeingMarie Mutsuki Mockett's family owns a Buddhist temple 25 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In March 2011, after the earthquake and tsunami, radiation levels prohibited the burial of her Japanese grandfather's bones. As Japan mourned thousands of people lost in the disaster, Mockett also grieved for her American father, who had died unexpectedly.Seeking consolation, Mockett is guided by a colorful cast of Zen priests and ordinary Japanese who perform rituals that disturb, haunt, and finally uplift her. Her journey leads her into the radiation zone in an intricate white hazmat suit; to Eiheiji, a school for Zen Buddhist monks; on a visit to a Crab Lady and Fuzzy-Headed Priest’s temple on Mount Doom; and into the "thick dark" of the subterranean labyrinth under Kiyomizu temple, among other twists and turns. From the ecstasy of a cherry blossom festival in the radiation zone to the ghosts inhabiting chopsticks, Mockett writes of both the earthly and the sublime with extraordinary sensitivity. Her unpretentious and engaging voice makes her the kind of companion a reader wants to stay with wherever she goes, even into the heart of grief itself.
Korea: A Walk Through the Land of Miracles
By: Simon Winchester
In the late 1980s, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester set out on foot to discover the Republic of Korea -- from its southern tip to the North Korean border -- in order to set the record straight about this enigmatic and elusive land.Fascinating for its vivid presentation of historical and geographic detail, Korea is that rare book that actually defines a nation and its people. Winchester's gift for capturing engaging characters in true, compelling stories provides us with a treasury of enchanting and informed insight on the culture, language, history, and politics of this little-known corner of Asia.With a new introduction by the author, Korea is a beautiful journey through a mysterious country and a memorable addition to the many adventures of Simon Winchester.
Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel
By: Arthur Golden
A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it. In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.
The Makioka Sisters
By: Junichiro Tanizaki
Junichirō Tanizaki’s magisterial evocation of a proud Osaka family in decline during the years immediately before World War II is arguably the greatest Japanese novel of the twentieth century and a classic of international literature. Tsuruko, the eldest sister of the once-wealthy Makioka family, clings obstinately to the prestige of her family name even as her husband prepares to move their household to Tokyo, where that name means nothing. Sachiko compromises valiantly to secure the future of her younger sisters. The shy, unmarried Yukiko is a hostage to her family’s exacting standards, while the spirited Taeko rebels by flinging herself into scandalous romantic alliances and dreaming of studying fashion design in France. Filled with vignettes of a vanishing way of life, The Makioka Sisters is a poignant yet unsparing portrait of a family—and an entire society—sliding into the abyss of modernity. It possesses in abundance the keen social insight and unabashed sensuality that distinguish Tanizaki as a master novelist.From the Hardcover edition.
South of the Border, West of the Sun: A Novel
By: Haruki Murakami
Born in 1951 in an affluent Tokyo suburb, Hajime—beginning in Japanese—has arrived at middle age wanting for almost nothing. The postwar years have brought him a fine marriage, two daughters, and an enviable career as the proprietor of two jazz clubs. Yet a nagging sense of inauthenticity about his success threatens Hajime’s happiness. And a boyhood memory of a wise, lonely girl named Shimamoto clouds his heart.   In South of the Border, West of the Sun, the simple arc of a man’s life—with its attendant rhythms of success and disappointment—becomes the exquisite literary terrain of Haruki Murakami’s most haunting work. When Shimamoto shows up one rainy night, now a breathtaking beauty with a secret from which she is unable to escape, the fault lines of doubt in Hajime’s quotidian existence begin to give way. And the details of stolen moments past and present—a Nat King Cole melody, a face pressed against a window, a handful of ashes drifting downriver to the sea—threaten to undo him completely. Rich, mysterious, quietly dazzling, South of the Border, West of the Sun is Haruki Murakami’s wisest and most compelling work.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian - “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian's 19 museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy) 
  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Travel Director(s), and local guides throughout the tour.
  • Meals, including special Welcome and Farewell Receptions, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner).
  • Open bar aboard ship featuring house wines, beer, and standard brands of spirits.
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in the itinerary.
  • WiFi aboard the ship
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.
  • All on-tour transportation unless otherwise noted.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for all participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance.

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, à la carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Gratuities to ship and hotel staff.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Airfare and departure taxes.
  • Taxes.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included. 
  • Optional Travelers’ Protection Plan: Unexpected events before or during a trip may leave you with cancelled plans, lost luggage, or unforeseen medical expenses. This optional plan offers an affordable package of benefits and services that can provide coverage and assistance for the unexpected. Visit TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys to learn more.

Registration

Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process, or please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time).

Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour. You will be notified of your status when your request has been received and processed. Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your request, the following is necessary:

Required Information
For all international departures, passport information including the following, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program as well as by our international travel partners: your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, and gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov). In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments
Deposit of $1,000 per person ($200 per person pre/post optional extensions), per tour, payable by check or major credit card, to the tour operator is required to reserve a space on a tour. Deposits are applied to payment of the program price.

Balance due upon invoicing at least 95 days prior to the program. If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration
Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered a "late registration" and must be subject to special confirmation. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card or by check and sent by overnight mail to the tour operator before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full.

Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the program within the designated late registration period for that program.

For additional information, please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time) or visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact.

A Note About Costs
Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.​

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellation within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellation after 7 days of booking: $1,000 retained; $200 pre/post cruise optional extension retained (entire deposit).
  • Final payment due: 95 days before departure.
  • Cancellation made less than 95 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
  • No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policies.

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, or otherwise because of a flight delay, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time.  If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high fees for changes. We urge you to check airline cancellation fees before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation fees related to domestic or international airline tickets.

Travel Insurance Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  Smithsonian Journeys provides the following travel coverages with Travel Guard as part of your trip.

Limit (Maximum per person)

·   Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation of Remains up to $100,000

·   Emergency Medical Expenses up to $25,000

·   Emergency Dental Expenses up to $500

The Evacuation/Repatriation provides coverage for emergency air and ground transportation due to a serious illness or injury.  You also have worldwide access to a 24-hour travel assistance hotline if you need help with lost documents, cash transfers, and other travel-related problems.

IMPORTANT: Smithsonian Journeys offers an optional, travel insurance plan which will cover you for trip cancellation, interruption, and/or delay; baggage loss, theft, damage or delay; accident and/or sickness, medical expenses, and accidental death. To learn more, visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call 800-208-6142. Please consider this or other coverage.  Many insurance and HMO/PPO plans offer reduced benefits when traveling internationally and Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the U.S. 

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If you are a U.S. citizen and your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For certain international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and/or with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens. The U.S. Department of State no longer will add visa pages into U.S. passports. Applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we strongly recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov. For medical information, we strongly recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, itinerary changes, speakers, experts, places visited, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation use, hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants when they are available; however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

This paragraph relates solely to the tour operator (Thomas P. Gohagan & Company). You agree that any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) concerning, relating or referring to these Terms and Conditions, the brochure or any other literature concerning your tour, or the touritself, shall be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§1-16, either according to the then existing Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or pursuant to the Comprehensive Arbitration Rules & Procedures of the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (JAMS). Such proceedings will be governed by substantive (but not procedural) Illinois law and will take place in Chicago, IL. The arbitrator and not any federal, state, or local court or agency shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, conscionability, or formation of this contract, including but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this contract is void or voidable. By agreeing to these terms and conditions, you (and we) are waiving our right to a trial by jury.

Any action or legal proceeding against the Smithsonian Institution in connection with your trip shall be brought only in a United States federal court of competent jurisdiction.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties. This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals in certain hotels or aboard ship. There is no smoking aboard the ship, and some hotels may not allow smoking anywhere on the property. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer travelers a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator books services of independent suppliers for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator is liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited to inappropriate or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

Thomas P. Gohagan & Company and its employees, shareholders, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors or trustees, successors and assigns (“Gohagan”) and Smithsonian Institution and its  Regents, officers, employees, representatives, agents, successors, and assigns (“Smithsonian”) do not own or operate any entity which is to or does provide goods or services for your tour including, for example, lodging facilities, airline, vessel, or other transportation companies, guides or guide services, local ground operators, providers or organizers of optional excursions, food service or entertainment providers, etc.  All such persons and entities are independent contractors.  As a result, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is liable for any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any such person or entity or of any other third party.

  

In addition and without limitation, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is responsible for any injury, loss, death, inconvenience, delay, or damage to persons or property in connection with the provision of any goods or services whether resulting from, but not limited to, acts of force majeure, acts of government, acts of war or civil unrest, insurrection or revolt, bites from or attacks by animals, insects or pests, strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities of any kind or the threat thereof, sickness, illness, epidemics or the threat thereof, the lack of availability of or access to medical attention or the quality thereof, overbooking or downgrading of accommodations, mechanical or other failure of airplanes, vessels, or other means of transportation, or for any failure of any transportation mechanism to arrive or depart timely or safely. 

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The reader has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation including the Dispute Resolution paragraph as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour as well as the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The reader further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to acts of force majeure, the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, other criminal conduct, illness, inadequate medical facilities and difficulty in evacuation to same, and damage to persons or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of the Smithsonian, the United States, and/or Gohagan. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.