Itsukushima Shrine in Japan
Asia Spring Sea
April 18 - April 29, 2023

Waitlist Only: Ancient Traditions of Japan’s Inland Sea

Tom Conlan
Thomas D. Conlan, Professor of East Asian History

Thomas Conlan specializes in Japan’s history before 1600. He has also written widely about samurai culture, the Mongol invasions of Japan, and the question of Buddhist ritual and sovereign authority in medieval Japan. Currently he is researching the Ōuchi, a family of immigrants from the Korean peninsula who plied the seas that we will be exploring on our cruise. Samurai and the Warrior Culture of Japan, 471-1877: A Sourcebook is his most recent publication.

Born in Ohio, Conlan attended the University of Michigan from 1986 through 1989, where he majored in History and Japanese. He has resided in Japan in both Sendai and Kyoto. After receiving his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1998, Conlan taught at Bowdoin College before coming to Princeton University in 2013.

About the Journey

Experience the timeless splendor of Japan and South Korea on this unique itinerary, featuring a seven-night cruise across the full length of the Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海, Setonaikai), plus three nights in the former imperial capital of Kyoto (京都). Program excursions include:

  • Visit the renowned Zen Buddhist temples of Ryōan-ji, Kinkaku-ji, and Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto.
  • Walk the streets Hagi’s old samurai quarter and visit the early 17th-century Kikuya Residence— once home to a samurai-turned-merchant family.
  • Pay respect and learn more about the aftermath of WW2 in Japan at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) and Museum.
  • Stroll Miyajima (宮島), or “shrine island,” and witness the iconic “floating” torii gate.
  • Explore Japanese painting, ceramics, and sculpture in an environment that exemplifies the beauty found in nature at the Adachi Museum of Art and Gardens.
  • Spend a day in Gyeongju, South Korea, former capital of the ancient Kingdom of Silla and marvel at the architecture of the Bulguksa temple, learn explore Korean history at the the Gyeongju National Museum, and visit Royal Burial Mounds at Tumuli Park.

Accommodations are deluxe and memorable featuring a seven-night cruise aboard five-star Le Soléal and three nights at the Kyoto Hotel Okura. Optional pre-trip and post-trip extensions will be offered in Tokyo and Nara.

Please note: Princeton travelers will be joined by participants from likeminded institutions.


This journey is waitlist only. Please email or call 609.258.8686 to be added to the waitlist.

View terms and conditions.

Trip Details