On Friday, October 6, 2017, Asuka II made its first port of call to Mitajiri-Nakanoseki Port. It is the largest cruise ship to have ever stopped at Mitajiri-Nakanoseki Port.
The year 2018 marks 150 years since the change to Meiji, a turning point in Japanese history, and under the theme of “~Visit the Romance of Bakumatsu Ishin~” approximately 600 passengers visited Kagoshima and Yamaguchi Prefecture as cruise stops.
On the day of the visit, it was rainy in Yamaguchi Prefecture, but locals from Hofu City including Hofu City Mayor Masato Matsuura welcomed the passengers. Other welcome events which were conducted until the last day of the trip at the wharf included selling specialty goods such as chikuwa and tempura and holding an exhibition sale on local sake gathered from around Yamaguchi Prefecture.
To commemorate Asuka II’s first port of call to the port, 2000 fireworks were shot into the air during the ship’s departure. Many locals rushed to the port and sent the passengers off, waving penlights until the ship disappeared from sight.