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17-Day Japan and South Korea Tour

17-Day Japan and South Korea Tour

By Mike HoUpdated Jan. 25, 2024
A Trip to Discover Rich History and Culutre of Japan and South Korea

Explore the cultural treasures of Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, and Busan as you immerse yourself in the rich histories and vibrant traditions of these two remarkable countries. Witness the iconic beauty of Mount Fuji, wander through ancient temples and palaces, and indulge in delectable cuisines. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene landscapes of Jeju Island, this expertly crafted tour ensures a seamless and immersive experience. Discover the enchanting beauty and cultural wonders of Japan and South Korea on this 17-day journey that will leave you with cherished memories.

We can customize this trip by adding anything you're interested in and scheduling days to fit your pace. We would happily organize a unique theme or activities for birthdays, young children, anniversaries, etc.

  • Days:17±
  • Best For:Slow Pacers and Couples
  • Departure date: Up to you
  • Sample Price:From US$7,199p/p, (2 per room)*
  • Flights: SE Asia's included (international on request)

*The price is based on a private tour for 2 people.

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Tour Map

Japan and South Korea tour

Tour Highlights

Here are the fantastic attractions, the most must-do activities selected by Asia Highlights (AH Hand-Picked), and exclusive cultural experiences offered by Asia Highlights (Only With AH) included in this tour:

Learn about Japanese emperors by visiting the Imperial Palace and the Meiji Shrine.

the Imperial Palace of Japan

Understand Japan more deeply by visiting Kyoto's World Heritage Sites: Kinkakuji Temple.

Kinkakuji Temple

Enjoy a visual feast made famous by its appearance in the iconic movie "Memoirs of a Geisha." in Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Absorb the profound message of peace in Hiroshima.

the Hiroshima Dome with sakura

Suggested Itinerary for Inspiration

The itinerary serves as a mere example of a personalized tour, designed exclusively for you.
Your preferences will shape the authentic journey. We are fully prepared to craft an tailor-made tour that fulfills your desires.

Day 1
Tokyo Arrival

Your private guide will be ready to meet and greet you at the arrival hall in Tokyo. A comfortable private car with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check-in.

Day 2
Tokyo Discovery | The Imperial Palace and Meiji Shrine

Start your day at the Imperial Palace, situated at the heart of Tokyo. Built on the historic grounds of Edo Castle, this sprawling area boasts scenic moats and grand stone walls. While the Palace itself is not accessible to the public, you can still catch a glimpse of its beauty from Kokyo Gaien, a spacious plaza. Be sure to take in the sight of Nijubashi, the iconic twin bridges that serve as the entrance to the palace grounds. Don't miss the opportunity to admire the majestic Meganebashi (Eyeglass Bridge) right at the forefront.

Imperial PalaceImperial Palace

Continue your cultural journey by immersing yourself in an authentic tea ceremony. Delight in the experience of sipping freshly-made green tea in a traditional Japanese tearoom. Knowledgeable tea masters will eagerly guide you through the intricacies of tea enjoyment, ensuring a memorable encounter.

Next, pay a visit to Meiji Shrine, an iconic landmark in Tokyo. Revered as Tokyo's most renowned shrine, it is devoted to the spirit of Emperor Meiji. As you wander through the expansive park surrounding the shrine, immerse yourself in a tranquil oasis of over 120,000 trees, representing 365 diverse species. Keep your eyes peeled for the opportunity to witness a traditional Shinto wedding, as the shrine is a favored venue for such celebrations.

Stroll down Omotesando, affectionately known as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees. This picturesque avenue boasts a wide expanse of trees, with an array of flagship fashion stores awaiting your exploration. Admire the architecturally stunning retail spaces, designed by internationally acclaimed architects, all conveniently clustered within a short distance from one another.

Finally, wrap up your day by paying a visit to the towering Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku. As one of Tokyo's most prominent and distinctive skyscrapers, it offers a bird's-eye view of the city, truly showcasing its vibrant and dynamic atmosphere.

Day 3
Tokyo to Kyoto by bullet train | Kinkakuji Temple and Nijo Castle

Kickstart your day with a visit to the awe-inspiring Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. Originally constructed as a tranquil retreat for the Shogun, this architectural masterpiece has evolved into one of Kyoto's most treasured Buddhist temples. Marvel at the shimmering gold leaf-adorned exterior, radiating an ethereal beauty that captures the essence of Kyoto.

Nijo CastleNijo Castle

Continue your journey at Nijo Castle, an opulent fortress steeped in history. Constructed as the Kyoto residence of the Edo Shogunate's founder, this ornamental castle showcases exquisite gardens enveloping its regal structure. Step within its walls and be captivated by the architectural marvels, adorned sliding doors, and the renowned "chirping" nightingale floors, designed to alert of potential intruders in the past.

Conclude your day with a visit to the iconic Nishiki Market, affectionately referred to as "Kyoto's Kitchen." Delight in the sensory explosion as you venture through this narrow shopping street, teeming with more than 100 shops. Indulge in the aroma of freshly caught seafood, admire the vibrant array of seasonal vegetables, and appreciate the artistry behind traditional Japanese sweets and delectable sushi.

Day 4
Kyoto Discovery | Fushimi Inari Shrine

Our first stop is the renowned Fushimi Inari Shrine, a visual feast made famous by its appearance in the iconic movie "Memoirs of a Geisha." Ascend the mountainous trail behind the temple, adorned with a breathtaking display of more than 10,000 vibrant red torii gates. With each step, immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere and embrace the spiritual aura that emanates from this timeless site.

Fushimi Inari ShrineFushimi Inari Shrine

After exploring the shrine's wonders, we invite you to indulge in a unique experience at a traditional sake brewery. Delve into the secrets of the time-honored brewing process as our knowledgeable guides take you on an insightful tour. Discover the intricate craftsmanship behind Japan's beloved beverage and delight your taste buds with a sampling of their exceptional sake varieties.

Day 5
Kyoto to Osaka by train | City transfer

Experience a seamless journey from Kyoto to Osaka aboard the Thunderbird Train in Standard Class. Relax in comfort as you traverse the distance in just 27 minutes, enjoying the convenience and efficiency of this high-speed train service.

Please note that this package includes the train ticket only, without any transfers or guiding services. Simply make your own way to the station and use your ticket to board the Shinkansen bullet train, embarking on a swift and efficient transfer to Osaka.

Upon reaching the Osaka station of your choice, make your own way to your hotel, enjoying the flexibility and freedom to explore the city at your leisure. The remainder of the day is yours to indulge in Osaka's vibrant culture and attractions.

Day 6
Osaka Discovery | Osaka Castle

Begin your day at the magnificent Osaka Castle, a symbol of Japan's history and unification. Explore the faithfully rebuilt castle, now a functional museum showcasing Osaka's vibrant past.

Osaka CastleOsaka Castle

Next, immerse yourself in Dotonbori, a bustling district known for its delectable cuisine. Indulge in Osaka's famous street food, such as takoyaki, the beloved octopus dumplings.

Discover the art of Japanese prints at the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, featuring exquisite 18th-century artwork. Get hands-on and create your own woodblock print (closed on Mondays).

End the day at Umeda Sky Building, a striking high-rise offering panoramic views of Osaka. Ascend to the "Floating Garden Observatory" on the 39th floor and marvel at the cityscape.

Day 7
Osaka to Hiroshima by train | Peace Memorial Park and Miyajima Island

Embark on a transformative journey to Hiroshima, traveling by Shinkansen train (1.5 hours) to discover its poignant past. With a local guide, visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a testament to the lives lost in the atomic bomb attack. Explore the park's memorials and the insightful museum. Then, take a short ferry ride to Miyajima Island, a sacred place of Shintoism in the Inland Sea. Marvel at the iconic Floating Torii Gate, one of Japan's '3 Most Beautiful Views.' Explore shrines, temples, and savor local treats like maple leaf-shaped cakes.

Day9
Osaka to Seoul by flight | City Transfer

Your tour guide will transfer you to Osaka Airport for the charming Seoul flight. Upon arrival in Seoul, your private guide and driver will greet and transfer you to the hotel.

Day 9
Seoul Discovery | Changdeok Palace

Begin at Changdeok Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site since 1997. Immerse yourself in the rich history and beauty of this ancient palace, marveling at its intricate architecture and tranquil gardens.

Next, visit Jogyesa Temple, a significant Buddhist temple in the heart of Seoul. Absorb the serene atmosphere of this sacred site, adorned with vibrant colors and intricate Buddhist artistry.

Continue your cultural immersion with a unique experience - kimchi making at Bukchon Hanok Village. Learn the art of preparing Korea's iconic dish, kimchi, while surrounded by traditional hanok houses that elegantly preserve the country's architectural heritage.

Day 10
Seoul Discovery | Hwaseong Fortress

Begin your adventure at the magnificent Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site since 1997. Immerse yourself in the late Joseon Dynasty's architectural masterpiece, marveling at its impressive design and strategic fortifications. Take a leisurely stroll along the fortress walls and soak in the panoramic views of Suwon.

Next, venture to the enchanting Korean Folk Village, where you'll step back in time to experience the vibrant ethnological life and folk traditions of Korea. Discover an authentic reproduction of traditional Korean culture, with opportunities to witness captivating performances, explore traditional houses, and engage in cultural activities.

Day 11
Seoul Discovery | Imjingak Park

Start at Imjingak Park, just an hour away by car. Discover symbolic bridges and monuments, including the Unification Bridge, immersing yourself in the peaceful ambiance.

Continue to the DMZ theater and exhibition hall for historical insights. Descend into the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, a poignant reminder of the region's challenges.

At Dora Observatory, capture panoramic views into North Korea. Visit Dorasan Station, symbolizing hope and reunification.

Return to Seoul and explore the traditional charms of Bukchon Hanok Village. Stroll through alleyways lined with preserved hanok houses.

Day 12
Seoul to Sokcho by private car | Sinheungsa Temple

Begin your adventure with a visit to Sinheungsa Temple, nestled amidst the scenic beauty of Mt. Seorak. Take in the tranquil atmosphere and appreciate the profound spirituality of this revered Buddhist temple.

Next, hop aboard a cable car that will whisk you to the majestic Gwongeumseong peak. Marvel at the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the stunning landscape stretching before you.

Continue your exploration with a visit to Abai Village, a charming village known for preserving the traditional customs and unique culture of the local people. Immerse yourself in the welcoming ambiance as you stroll through its quaint streets and interact with the friendly residents.

Day 13
Sokcho to Andong by private car | Ojukheon and Seongyojang

Begin your exploration at Ojukheon, a historic site renowned for its cultural significance. Immerse yourself in Korea's rich heritage as you visit this traditional wooden house and learn about its influential residents who shaped the nation's history.

Next, venture to Seongyojang, a beautifully preserved nobleman's mansion that offers a glimpse into the aristocratic lifestyle of the past. Marvel at the elegant architecture, exquisite gardens, and unique cultural artifacts housed within its walls.

Conclude your visit to Gangneung with a refreshing stop at Gyeongpo Lake, famed for its picturesque surroundings and tranquil ambiance. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, soak in the breathtaking views, or simply relax in this idyllic natural setting.

Day 14
Andong to Suncheon by private car | Andong Hahoe Folk Village

Begin your adventure by visiting the enchanting Andong Hahoe Folk Village. Step back in time as you wander through this well-preserved village, experiencing the traditional way of life in ancient Korea. Encounter traditional hanok houses, witness captivating cultural performances, and engage with friendly locals who proudly uphold their heritage.

Next, lace up your hiking boots and prepare for a rewarding climb up Buyongdae. As you ascend, soak in the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and the Nakdong River winding through the landscape. Feel the exhilaration of reaching the summit and capturing memorable photos of the panoramic vistas.

Immerse yourself in the local Confucius temple and school, bringing you closer to the philosophical and educational traditions that have shaped Korean culture throughout history. Gain insights into the profound influence of Confucianism on the nation and appreciate the architectural beauty of these sacred sites.

Day 15
Suncheon Discovery | Suncheon Bay National Gardens

Begin your tour at Suncheonman Bay Wetlands and Suncheon Bay National Gardens. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of these ecological marvels, home to diverse flora and fauna. Traverse the wooden boardwalks, absorb the peaceful ambiance, and witness the harmonious coexistence of nature and modernity.

Continue your exploration with a visit to the Dream Bridge, an open film set that brings the past to life. Step into three distinct villages, each representing a different era from the 1950s to the 1970s. Marvel at the attention to detail and experience the nostalgia of these meticulously recreated settings.

Conclude your tour at Nagan Fortress village, where history and charm intertwine. Discover the ancient fortress walls and stroll through the quaint streets, immersing yourself in the culture and traditions of the past.

Day 16
Suncheon to Seoul by private Car | Venture into the Cu Chi Tunnels

Begin your exploration at Jeonju Hanok Village, a beautifully preserved neighborhood that showcases traditional Korean architecture. Wander through the charming alleyways, lined with well-preserved hanok houses, and immerse yourself in the timeless atmosphere of this cultural gem.

Indulge in the culinary delights that Jeonju is renowned for, especially its signature dish, bibimbap. Savor this delicious rice bowl topped with an array of colorful vegetables, savory meat, and a touch of spicy gochujang sauce. Let your taste buds rejoice as you explore the local food stalls and restaurants that offer an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of Jeonju, with opportunities to visit museums, art galleries, and traditional craft workshops. Engage with friendly locals and discover the city's rich artistic traditions.

Day 17
Seoul Departure

Our guide will help you transfer from your hotel to Seoul Airport for departure with independentcar/van and guide.

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Our Service Includes:

17 days from
US$7,199 p/p
Private tour for 2 people in low seasons. Price varies based on program, travel date, number of people, chosen hotel. We accept payments in multiple currencies (GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR...).
  • Private transfers and English-speaking tour guide
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Hand-picked star-rating accommodations
  • Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
  • Governmental taxes

Tour code: ah-cx-30

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