We chose this cruise to experience Japan in Cherry Blossom season and experience the culture and history of the country.
The tours provided by EXC (HA's onboard service) were good. I feel I saw most of the attractions I wanted through these tours, while being guaranteed I wouldn't miss the boat at the end! The price was up there, but after sorting out some private tours at either end of the cruise, the costs were comparable for the amount we experienced.
The ports we stopped at were new for Holland America. There really weren't any ports that were in the centre of town. It was at least a 20 minute bus ride into the town centres if you were wondering around by yourself for the day. The frequency of busses was adequate.
A beautiful little town to walk through. Good markets and shops. The castle garden is very nice. We didn't go into the castle.
Tottori Flower Park is amazing. So many varieties of different flowers and landscapes. A nice walk, probably need a good 2 hours to see everything. Good cafes and amenities as well.
Didn't do a tour here, just walked around the town. Markets are OK but that's about it.
Ship organised tour to Hirosaki gardens. Sooo many cherry blossoms near a nice little music museum and market. A little cold, but a great day out!