However, even experienced international cruisers can find touring Japan a bit challenging due to the cultural and language differences. So, it pays to do your homework in advance. By taking the time to plan your time ashore, you will discover Japan’s many points of interest, including 19 UNESCO cultural and natural world heritage sites, many of which are accessible from major Japanese ports of call.
Historically, cruising in Japan was reserved for the rich, and a few select domestic ships catered to them. In recent years, non-Japanese cruise ships targeting the average traveler have started calling on Japanese ports in response to the preferences of non-Japanese cruisers who are looking for more “exotic” and unusual destinations. So, even though cruising in Japan is relatively new, its popularity has definitely taken off in recent years. In fact, Japan has set a target of 5 million foreign tourists arriving on cruise ships in 2020.
In addition, the current exchange rates make travel to Japan very affordable. To further entice tourists, Japan now offers tax free shopping for qualified purchases.
This guide draws upon the experience and expertise of Cruise Port Navigator co-founder and CEO, Ms. Heather Hopkins Clement, who has worked as a cultural historian and port lecturer for a major cruise line on its East Asia itineraries–especially Japan. As you explore the various sections of the guide below, we hope it will be a helpful tool in gaining a better understanding of Japan, its port cities and surrounding areas, and in making the most of your time ashore!