The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

This tour was originally scheduled for May 17–30, 2023.

May 13–25, 2024

Aboard the New 152-Guest Expedition Cruise Ship Minerva

Dear Friends,

Japan is a land of contrasts. It is one of the largest economies of the world, ultramodern and technologically advanced. And yet, it cherishes and preserves its ancient traditions, customs and architecture. Modern, glittering, dynamic cities coexist with centuries-old Buddhist temples, sublime Shinto shrines, feudal castles, and samurai estates. Throughout this voyage to the Inland Sea and Japan’s southern islands, we will experience these contradictory aspects of Japan as they are reflected in the art, architecture, and culture of its towns, cities, and gardens.

The traditional aspect is seen in the architecture and adornments of the Buddhist and Shinto shrines we visit in Miyajimi and Nagasaki, in the castles of Himeji, Hagi, Matsue, and Uwajima, and in the open-air museum of Shikoku Mur. And this ancient aesthetic literally comes alive in the exquisitely designed and maintained gardens of Koraku-en and Sengan-en. The modernist impulse is evident not only in the great cities we visit, but also in the works of avant-garde artists on display in the Adachi Museum in Sakaiminato, in Isamu Noguchi’s studio in Takamatsu, and in the vibrant art scene on the island of Naoshima.

Joining us on the voyage is Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, and NBC News Chief International Security Analyst. At various stages throughout the trip, he will speak on a wide range of historical and cultural topics with a focus on Japan’s role on the international stage. The rise of China to superpower status after World War II has made Japan an increasingly important factor in United States policy in East Asia. He will help you understand the central issues that will drive American military and security policy in the Pacific in the 21st century.

As a nation of sprawling islands, Japan is best explored by sea, and we have the ideal vessel for the task, the Swan Hellenic Minerva, a state-of-the-art, new-generation expedition cruise ship built in Finland and launched in 2021. Accommodating only 152 guests in superb staterooms and balcony suites, Minerva features elegant common areas and the most modern mechanical and environmentally conscious technology.

I hope you will join us on this extraordinary Springtime Voyage to Classic Japan.

Best wishes,
Dr. Michael Shermer

Executive Director, Skeptics Society

7% of your cruise fee will be a tax-deductible donation to The Skeptics Society — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


For daily itinerary, route map, cabin rates, inclusions, and cruise ship description, please download the Expedition Brochure (PDF).

Download the Expedition Brochure


Book this cruise program and receive a 5% savings on your next cruise with the Skeptics Society and Thalassa Journeys. If you book your next cruise within 30 days after you return from our Springtime Voyage to Classic Japan expedition, you will receive an additional 5% savings.


A limited number of cabins are available for single occupancy in categories E through B at no additional charge. Additional single cabins are available at a supplement of 50% of the per person double occupancy rate, instead of the normal 70% supplement.

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