The Art of a Life Well-Lived in Japan’s Charming Ports

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In Japan, there’s a concept called ikigai, which loosely means “a state of wellbeing that arises from devotion to activities one enjoys” — or more succinctly — “a reason to get up in the morning.” This joy of life isn’t something you just flip a coin on; it can take time, effort and self-reflection to find your calling. What better place to start looking for it than in some of Japan’s most charming cities and towns? And, with the help of a luxe cruise sailing from port to port, you don’t have to settle for just one destination. Here are a few of our favorite places to visit for a good dose of wanderlust and inspiration.

 

Yokohama, Japan

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Sankeien Garden, Yokohama, Japan

As Japan’s second-largest city, it’s not an exaggeration to say Yokohama has something for everyone. You could spend a month straight here with every day comprised of something different; one day you’re microbrewery-hopping between dozens of bespoke options, the next you’re getting lost in the tranquility of the many gardens sprinkled throughout the city (if you only see one, make it the Sankeien Garden). You might want to spend a day strolling through the world-famous Chinatown, or maybe catch a Yokohama DeNA Baystars baseball game. The city is truly a pick-your-own-adventure come to life — perfect for finding what sparks your joy. 

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Kobe, Japan

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Port of Kobe and the Kobe Skyline

Nestled between the sea and the Rokko mountain range, Kobe is a postcard-pristine city. The happenings within town are equally soul stirring. The city is renowned for Kobe beef, a deliciously savory treat that pairs well with the decadent offerings of the Nada Sake District. Arima Onsen is a 1,000-year-old hot-spring resort town within city limits, making it the go-to spot for a sumptuous spa day. But, perhaps the richest experience within Kobe is the art scene. The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art hosts an eye-feast of modern and contemporary art, while the Kobe City Museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of Namban art. Either is sure to instill a fresh look on life itself.

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Kochi, Japan

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Historic Kochi Castle, Kochi, Japan

Compared to the previous two, Kochi is a quieter locale — perfect for finding yourself. You might find yourself while strolling the grounds of the historic Kochi Castle, or while wandering the pine-grove-engulfed Katsurahama Beach. You might find your ikigai while mesmerized by the emerald waterfalls of Niyodo River, or while roaming a yuzu orchard. Or maybe you’ll find it while savoring local delicacies like yuzu liquor and katsuo no tataki, or lightly broiled bonito served with a medley of veggies. More likely than not, you’ll find yourself often remarking, “wow, this place is beautiful.”

Not mentioned with each of these awe-inspiring destinations is — the journey itself. Sampling all of these inspiring Japanese ports is easy aboard a relaxing cruise with Holland America Line. With a fleet of spacious, modern mid-sized ships all offering immersive culinary journeys, exclusive onboard activities and carefully crafted itineraries tailored to ignite your passions, you might not even need to leave the ship to find your ikigai — making your trip what the vacation industry likes to call “a job well done.”

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Holland America Line's Westerdam at sea

 

Contact our agency to book your once-in-a-lifetime adventure with Holland America Line today.

 

 

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