Cruise the Beauty of Japan & China

With Jay Paramesh

October 26 – November 9, 2025

Japan: Tokyo, Shimizu, Osaka, Takamatsu, Hiroshima, Hakata, Nagasaki
South Korea: Pusan
China: Shanghai and Hong Kong


Optional trip extension: November 9 - 11

Hong Kong Shopping for beads, pearls, gems, textiles

Join talented (and exceptionally nice) bead artist and teacher Jay Paramesh on this enchanting cruise around Japan, South Korea, and China. Another chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to experience other cultures and share your passion for the art of beading, which is what Beadventures is all about!


Day 1. Sunday, October 26. Arrive in Tokyo.
Today you’ll fly into Tokyo Japan. Tokyo is the largest city on earth and packed with some of the world’s best shops, museums, and restaurants, big and small. While the bright neon lights and the bustle of contemporary Tokyo may be what comes to mind when you think of the city, there is another side. Tokyo's historic gardens and neighborhoods of traditional homes on narrow lanes speak to a timeless Japan that has survived into the 21st century.

You’ll be met at the airport for your transfer (included) to our pre-cruise hotel (included). The day is free so can relax after your long flight or sightsee. Because of varying arrival times, those that can informally meet-up in early evening for a casual dinner (not included).

Day 2. Monday, October 27. Anchors Away!                                                                  
The morning will be yours to relax. Mid-day we’ll head to the cruise port for embarkation on Holland America’s Westerdam. You’ll then have to time to have lunch, get settled in your cabin, and familiarize yourself with the ship. We’ll get together in early evening for dinner.

Day 3. Tuesday, October 28. Shimizu, Japan.
Ship arrives 7a; departs 3p
Shimizu is widely regarded as one of Japan’s most beautiful ports, Shimizu affords peerless views of Mount Fuji on a clear day and claims the scenic Miho-no-Matsubara pine forest as a backdrop (both are UNESCO World Heritage sites). The port’s temperate climate and rich culture—heavily connected to the surrounding Shizuoka region—have made it one of the country’s prime sightseeing destinations. A few of the main attractions include Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, designated a National Treasure by the Japanese government, Sumpu Castle (built in 1586), and Shizuoka Sengen Shrine, where warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu, who ushered in the Edo period, held his coming-of-age ceremony. The broader region offers plenty in the way of picturesque coastal landscapes, tea plantations, and a wealth of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. The port itself—famed in the 1900s for its tea exports—is today best known for its prodigious tuna haul, the biggest in Japan.

Days 4 & 5. Wednesday & Thursday, October 29 & 30. Osaka, Japan.
Ship arrives 8a; departs 11p the following day
It is often said that Osaka is a combination of Los Angeles and Chicago—it has L.A.’s second-city complex, but its attitude is pure Chicago. The only business that matters is business, and so what if the Hanshin Tigers, the local baseball team, are frequently the worst professional athletes in the world? They’re the home team. People in Osaka laugh louder, play harder and drink more than Tokyo’s most decadent dreams. Nothing is old in Osaka. The place was flattened during the war (and then again in 1962 and 1989, by Godzilla!). During the reconstruction, they forgot to include much in the way of parks or green space, and the sheer amount of concrete and steel sights can get overwhelming. Busy markets, the visual noise of neon and nonstop action on shopping streets offer insight into the energy and ambition of Osaka. It also is less than an hour from some of the most beautiful temples, shrines, and ancient Japanese tourist attractions in the world—a thousand years of Japanese history—waiting in the old capitals of Kyoto and Nara.

Day 6. Thursday, October 31. Scenic Cruising Kanmon Strait. Workshop Day!
Today we'll have our workshop with Jay. We'll start at 10 a.m.; break for lunch, and end mid-afternoon.

Day 7. Saturday, November 1. Fukoka (Hakata), Japan.
Ship arrives 7a; departs 6 p
Fukuoka, Kyushu's largest city, was once two separate entities: Fukuoka in the west and the merchant area of Hakata to the east. Joined together in 1889, the contemporary city, with a population of 1.5 million, has a lively, modern atmosphere, an array of impressive architecture by international starchitects, and a number of cultural attractions and museums such as the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. Modern developments like Canal City—a mixed-use complex designed by American Jon Jerde that contains hotels, cinemas, restaurants, and shops—lend the city space a futuristic air, as does the striking 768-foot Fukuoka Tower, which is covered in mirrored glass and has an observation deck. On the historical side, sites like the Kushida Shrine and the ruins of Fukuoka Castle offer traditional and cultural insights. The pond in the center of Ōhori, Fukuoka's largest park, was once part of Fukuoka Castle's moat, and you'll find gardens, a zoo, an amusement park, and a car museum in Uminonakamichi Seaside Park.

Day 8. Sunday, November 2. Nagasaki, Japan.
Ship arrives 8a; departs 6p
Situated in the northwest of Kyushu, the third-largest island in Japan, Nagasaki is one of the country’s most cosmopolitan port cities, with a decent tourism infrastructure, a fascinating past that stretches back to the early 7th century, and a picturesque harbor that’s been an active port since the 16th century. Home to around 500,000 residents, the city is a buzzy yet relaxed place with abundant services, shops, and restaurants as well as several cultural and historic attractions. Check out the Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, which outline the horrific bombing of the city during World War II while making a poignant pledge for world peace.

Day 9. Monday November 3. Pusan, South Korea.
Ship arrives 8a; departs 6p
South Korea’s second-largest city (after the capital, Seoul), Busan is in the southeastern corner of the country along the Sea of Japan. It combines a vibrant, big-city atmosphere with a famously laid-back attitude and subtropical landscapes. Often described as the 'San Francisco of Korea,' thanks mainly to its hilly terrain and close-knit neighborhoods, it offers visitors a little of everything: fashionable boutiques, dynamic culture, and buzzy nightlife, as well as sandy beaches, hot springs, and nearby mountains crossed with hiking trails and dotted with temples. Cultural highlights include the Gamcheon Cultural Village; the spectacular Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, built into the side of a cliff; and Art Street in Sinchang-dong, which hosts art competitions, exhibitions, and cultural events.

Day 10. Tuesday, November 4. At Sea. Workshop.
Today we'll continue our workshop with Jay from 10 a.m. to mid-afternoon with a break for lunch.

Days 11 & 12. Wednesday & Thursday, November 5 & 6. Shanghai China.
Ship arrives 7a; overnights; departs 11p
During our first day in Shanghai we are working on a private pearl and bead shopping tour. Stay tuned for details!

About our port: Shanghai is one of Asia’s most dynamic cities, and one of juxtapositions. It’s divided in two by the Huangpu River—to the west is Puxi and to the east Pudong. Puxi is the city’s downtown and its historic center; on this side of the river, much of the city was historically divided into the famous foreign concessions, and it’s here that much of the shopping, dining, and nightlife is concentrated today. Its museums, particularly the Shanghai Museum with its 120,000-strong collection of antiquities, are equally impressive. Pudong is where the city’s major skyscrapers stand, among them the Jin Mao and Oriental Pearl towers. Nowhere is Shanghai’s rich history and bright future more evident than along the Huangpu River. Stand on the Puxi side and, with the Bund—along which curve Shanghai’s stately early-20th-century heritage buildings—behind you, you can gaze across the river at some of the world’s tallest buildings, soaring skyscrapers that glow nightly, their lights reflected in the river.

Days 13 & 14. Friday & Saturday, November 7 & 8. At Sea. Free days to relax (and bead!)
These two days will be yours to plan--from relaxing, to the spa, to informal gathering to continue to work on Jay's project--and sadly, get ready to disembark the following day :-(

Day 15. Sunday, November 9. Hong Kong, China. Disembark.
Ship arrives 6:30a
Today we will disembark the ship in the morning. Holland America advises that your flight departure be later than noon. Transportation from the ship to the airport is included.


Optional Trip Extension--Bead, gem, pearl, textile shopping in Hong Kong.

Sunday November 9 - Tuesday, November 11.
Beadventures is researching the possibility of two additional nights in Hong Kong during which we will shop for beads, gems, pearls, and textiles. If you might be interested, please click here to let us know).

About our project . . . Rei Necklace
A few hundred years ago in Japan, women of nobility wore shimmering silk kimonos with traditional motifs and did not wear necklaces and bracelets. Their main pieces of jewelry were delicately ornamented hair sticks and pins. These hairpins were adorned with pearls, turtle shell butterflies, phoenix and cranes, silk flowers and long dangles. When the women walked, the dangles would sway with their movement, gracefully.

Inspired by the elaborate hairpin jewelry from Japan and China, Rei Necklace is full of intricate detail. Sun, moon, stars, tiny blossoms, fan, and a pair of fish all come together harmoniously in the pendant. Several delicate long dangles complete the look and will sway with your every move! The pendant hangs from a silk cord with a Chinese knotted clasp.

Techniques: Bead embroidery and basic wire skills for making dangles.
Level: Intermediate
Pendant is 2 ½” wide and 6” long approximately. Kits will be available in 3 or more colors. Kits will include all items needed to make a necklace.


About our Teacher . . . Jayashree Paramesh
Jayashree Paramesh was introduced to the world of beads through a bead embroidery class she took while a student at Parsons, The New School for Design, New York. She looks everywhere for inspiration and then creates from within. Her designs are more about her desire to bring out the unique beauty of the beads and the woman, rather than having a signature style. That being said, she is inspired by fine jewelry and loves to use some gold or silver in her pieces. Sparkly crystals and gemstones in jewel-tones are her favorites. 

She has been beading for about 14 years. Her designs have been published in Perlen Poesie, Beadwork, Bead and Jewellery Magazine and Bead and Button. She has taught and continues to teach at various studios and stores across the USA and abroad, Bead and Button Shows, exclusive bead retreats, bead cruises and Bead Guilds. It is a very gratifying experience for her to share her designs with fellow bead artists.


Trip Cost

Approximately $3500 for a shared hotel room in Tokyo, and shared interior ship cabin (Category MM); cabin can be upgraded to oceanview or verandah at additional cost/based on availability (call/email for amounts) Single supplement is approximately an additional $1400 (budget currently is being finalized so check back).

Optional Hong Kong extension: Plans are being explored for an optional two days of shopping for beads, pearls, gems, textiles in Hong Kong.  Check back for details.

Non-beader savings: $195.00

Sign Up Deadline--June 15, 2025--IMPORTANT!

To guarantee your spot on this trip, send in a $1,000 deposit and completed registration form after reviewing Beadventures' Conditions & Responsibilities information. Final payment will be due 120 days prior to the start of the trip.

The reason for the deadline is that Beadventure trips are in small groups (typically around 10). If the minimum number needed haven’t signed-up by the deadline, the trip will not be able to proceed. If you want to go on a trip, it’s important to submit your registration and final payment before the deadline!

Cost includes:

  • One pre-cruise hotel night in Tokyo Japan
  • 13-day cruise aboard Holland America's Westerdam
  • All breakfasts, lunches, dinners aboard the ship
  • Private bead, pearl shopping tour and lunch in Shanghai
  • Transportation from the Tokyo airport to the hotel
  • Transportation from the hotel to the ship
  • Transportation from the ship to Hong Kong airport
  • Tuition for workshop with Jay

Cost Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Meals on day of arrival in Tokyo
  • Trip insurance (highly recommended)
  • Shore excursions/tours
  • Kit for Jay’s workshop

Trip Notes . . . IMPORTANT!

Travel Insurance
You are making a big investment in your upcoming travel. Despite all your planning, travel can be unpredictable--from cancelled flights to last minute illness. To help protect the investment you are making in your upcoming trip, you are strongly encouraged to purchase trip insurance. Research coverage options by clicking here. Another option is Holland America's cruise protection plan (click here for information).

Check your passport expiration date to make certain it is valid for at least six months beyond the dates of this trip and it must have at least two blank pages.

While in port--tours and shore excursions
Holland America has a wide number from which you can select, the cost for which is not included in the Beadventure package.

About Cruising on a Beadventure
Beadventures doesn’t structure group activities on the days that the ship is in Port. You can enjoy a shore excursion based on your area of interest; or you can relax with a spa appointment or otherwise enjoy some down time. There also will be lots of opportunities to informally get together to bead, knit, and visit. In the evening the group will come together for dinner, or if you chose, you could enjoy in-room dining or have dinner at one of the ship’s specialty restaurants. We’re flexible—you can have as much together time/or on-your-own time as you prefer!

Bead Workshop Gear
Remember to bring your customary bead supplies (beading mat, needles, thread, scissors, magnification, and task light). A task light is important (because lighting in the classroom isn’t that great). It’s best if your light is battery-powered because we may not have electric extension cords in the classroom.  Your best option is to have a rechargeable power source for your light (so you don’t have to pack lots and lots and lots of extra batteries!).