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Celebrate Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival on an Iconic Event Cruise to the Far East

Holland America Line’s Iconic Event cruises are voyages that put our guests in the right place at exactly the right time. From spending your summer solstice at Stonehenge to attending Ladies’ Day at the Dublin Horse Show, selecting one of these cruises guarantees you the opportunity to experience an iconic event that is sure to be bucket-list worthy.

A Holland America Line cruise to the Far East is a mystical experience all its own, but if you’re looking for an extra bit of magic, our Iconic Event cruise will afford you the opportunity to experience Japan during cherry blossom time, best known as Hanami.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan.

Hanami, which means viewing flowers, is an annual celebration that takes place from March through early May all throughout Japan when its famously breathtaking cherry blossoms begin to bloom. Dating back thousands of years to the Heian Period, these flower-viewing parties were especially popular among aristocrats. Inspired by their beauty and short life-span, they found these blossoms to be a perfect metaphor for life – beautiful yet fleeting — and would often write poems about these magnificent blossoms. Hanami’s popularity eventually spread throughout the rest of the population. In addition to enjoying the spectacular beauty of the blossoms, Hanami now signifies the beginning of spring, and marks the start of a new school year and new fiscal year for businesses. Families, friends and colleagues get together to celebrate these new beginnings by indulging in a variety of foods and traditional beverages such as sake as they sit under the fully bloomed cherry blossoms to enjoy music, dancing and even karaoke. The celebrations can last all day and are so popular that there’s often competition to land the perfect viewing spots.

Cherry blossoms in Japan.

Cherry blossoms in Japan.

If you’d love to see these stunning blossoms yourself and join in on the festive celebrations, you can choose from four of our Iconic Event itineraries on Volendam. On March 28, 2018, guests can board Volendam at Shanghai, China, for a 14-day Japan, South Korea & China cruise that features three overnights, as well as scenic cruising through the Kanmon Strait. Guests on this cruise will enjoy an overnight at Shanghai before departing for the remainder of the voyage where Volendam will visit two additional ports in China, two ports in South Korea and two ports in Japan, including overnights in Tianjin (Beijing), China, and Incheon (Seoul), South Korea, before concluding at Yokohama, Japan. If you’re craving even more time in the Far East, you can extend this cruise for a 28-day China, Japan and South Korea Collectors’ Voyage.

Two additional Collectors’ Voyages are also available on March 14, 2018, and April 11, 2018. On March 14, embark at Hong Kong, China, for a 28-day Taiwan, Japan and South Korea voyage where you’ll visit ports in the Philippines, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. Those looking for a later sailing date can embark Volendam on April 11, 2018, at Yokohama, Japan, for a 29-day Japan, South Korea and North Pacific Crossing. This cruise calls at ports in Japan, China and South Korea, as well as ports in Alaska, making for a truly unique voyage.

Japanese cherry nlossoms

Regardless of the itinerary you select, our Far East Iconic Event cruises are guaranteed to take you to exotic ports and leave you with lasting memories of Japan’s wondrous cherry blossoms trees that will stay with you long after your cruise is over.

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