Category Archives: Japan

Seabourn Sojourn Japanese Ports

Our cruise started on May 11; we traveled to the ship by train, ferry and monorail.  The first couple we met, Mike and Angela from UK, continued to be table mates at different times.  A very fun couple.

On leaving Kobe, Japan on the ship, we had a sail away concert by the Kobe Community Fireman’s Band.  They were very good and played “Anchors Away” as we moved away, very appropriate and enjoyable for Navy guy, Jim.  We had 2 days at sea on our way to our first Japanese port of Aomori, where we visited an Onsen or Hot Springs baths.  This was our first time to pay for a cruise ship tour, but it turned out well, with only 20 of us and a good tour guide; also included a huge lunch.

Next was Hakodate, known for squid; it was everywhere in the Marketplace.  Some really cute 15 – 16 year old school girls greeted us in English.  They were out of school in order to practice their English.  We spoke with 3 girls for several minutes.  One plays trombone and another saxophone and all plan to go to college.  Later, as we sailed away, 50 of them entertained us by singing and dancing the “Squid Song.”  It was really comical!  As you may see, many of us have on the same Blue Coats.  They were a gift from Seabourn and very welcome with all of the cold weather; in Hakodate it was also raining.  We spent a little time at the Morning Marketplace and then returned to ship to warm up!!

Last port in Japan was Kushiro and we took another Seabourn excursion.  Our first stop was to see the Red Crown Cranes, which we could see up close.  They are quite large, but not as large as our Whooping Cranes.  After that we went to the wetlands, which were too wet and foggy!!  Lastly we had a nice rice bowl with Sashimi lunch in the marketplace.  Our guide, Tete was very good and spoke clear English.  After this port we headed across the Bering Sea for 7 days (including the International Date line and 2 Fridays).

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Eight Days in Japan

We are home after 33 days (including 2 Friday 19ths due to International Dateline), including Japan and Seabourn Cruise.  It was a very full trip with sights, experiences and tons of photos.  As you saw in my last post, of our Itinerary, we were on the move.  In Japan, we learned to use their railway and subway systems.  At first it was confusing because they have several different companies.  But after figuring it out, we saw that their system was very well organized and efficient, but expensive.

Our hotels in Japan were nice, although smaller than in USA, but they both had the Toto toilets, really deluxe (bidet and back shower with heated seat and music!).  We were visiting during their Golden Week, initially, so the tourist areas were more crowded than usual.  Our visits were to Osaka Castle,

Nara Park, Dotonbori District (Carnival atmosphere in shopping/restaurant area), Kobe, and Kyoto.  Even with all of the trains and subways, we still walked about 3 miles a day.  Jim was able to do that, with stops and utilizing his cane, especially on steep roads, such as in Kyoto.  The biggest problem was adjusting to the time change; 16 hours between CA and Japan.  At first we were waking up at odd hours and having to take naps, but we adjusted.  I had ordered a “pocket wifi” prior to our trip and it was delivered to our hotel.  That was a big bonus and able to use with unlimited, secure access.  Google maps has a setting for trains, so we utilized that to get to the correct track, along with asking assistance from agents and fellow travelers.  English was not as common as we expected, but the ticket machines had an English setting.  We did not meet any locals, but spoke with several English speaking tourists during our outings.

After these 8 days, we boarded the Seabourn Sojourn for 21 day cruise.

Japan and Seabourn Cruise

We leave tomorrow for our first big trip since Jim’s medical issues.  We fly from LAX via San Francisco to Osaka, Japan.  After 8 days on our own (we have hotel reservations only), we board the Seabourn Sojourn for a 21 day cruise which includes Alaska and ends in Seattle, WA.  Cheryl’s first time in Japan; Jim was there briefly in the Navy; and first for both of us in Kodiak, Alaska.  The following is our itinerary.  Love to all

Here’s our Itinerary for Japan trip
May 1, LAX Hotel, Quality Inn, Century Blvd
     310-671-7213
May 2, United flight to San Fran
     Flight UA 1294, 7:18 am
May 2, United flight from SF to Osaka, Japan
     Flight UA 35, 11:05 am
May 3, arrival in Osaka, KIX, 3 pm
May 3 to 6, Hotel Brighton, Osaka
May 6 to 11, Comfort Hotel Sakai, 1-5-1 Ryujimbashi-cho, Sakai-ku, Sakai
     +81 (72) 2337111
May 11, Kobe, Japan, board Seabourn Sojourn ship
May 11-13, at Sea
May 14, Aomori, Japan
May 15, Hakodate, Japan
May 16, Kushiro, Japan
May 17 – 18, at Sea
May 19, Cross International Dateline
May 20 – 22, At sea
May 23, Kodiak, Alaska
May 24, At sea
May 25, Junea, AK
May 26, Skagway, AK
May 27, Glacier Bay National Park, AK (cruising)
May 28, Inside Passage, AK (cruising)
May 29, At sea
May 30, Victoria, BC, Canada
May 31, Seattle, WA
May 31 to June 3, Anacortes, WA, with Joe and Sheri
June 3, Southwest flight from Seattle to San Diego
     Flight 5559, 1:35 pm to 4:15 pm