AJT 12D Highlights of Korea & Japan
Explore two beautiful countries in one tour.
Korea (Andong - Gyeongju - Seoul) & Japan (Nara - Kyoto - Hakone - Mt Fuji - Tokyo)
- Enjoy a beginner expedition to two countries and visit their must-see sites.
- Perfect for travelers who would like to see the main features of South Korea and Japan.
- Stay one night at Japanese-style accommodation and unwind in the hot spring they offer.
- See the award-winning “Nanta Cookin’ Show” at a theater in Central Seoul.
- Experience kimchi making, a kimono fashion show, and a sushi making class.
- Select itineraries include opportunities to visit during the cherry blossom season or visit Hiroshima.
- Experience a traditional green tea ceremony hosted by an apprentice geisha (maiko).
- Visit the DMZ, a buffer zone between North and South Korea.
- 10 nights Western style and 1 night Japanese style accommodation
- Meet and greet upon arrival at Seoul Incheon Airport & Osaka Kansai Airport
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Private coach transfers between destinations in Korea & Japan
- Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
- Meals: Daily Breakfast, 7 lunches and 4 dinners
- Admission fees and activities: All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary
Tour Dates by Season:
Autumn - 21 Oct’20 | 20 Oct’21 | 19 Oct’22
Spring – 15 May’21 | 15 May’22
Summer – 23 Jun’21 | 22 Jun’22
Cherry Blossom – 25 Mar’21 | 7 Apr’21 | 24 Mar’22 | 6 Apr’22
Itinerary In Brief
Day 1: Arrive in Seoul
Day 2: Andong - Gyeongju
Day 3: Gyeongju
Day 4: Seoul
Day 5: Seoul
Day 6: Flight to Osaka
Day 7: Nara - Kyoto
Day 8: Kyoto
Day 9: Kyoto - Koka - Bullet Train Ride
Day 10: Hakone - Mt. Fuji - Tokyo
Day 11: Tokyo
Day 12: Tour ends
Day 1 - Seoul Incheon Airport
Welcome to Korea! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
Day 2 - Andong (Andong Hahoe Village), Gyeongju (Gyeongju National Museum)
Start your tour of Korea with a visit to the traditional Andong Hahoe Village, a UNESCO Heritage site. Popularly known as the birth of Korea's Confucianism, the place is being preserved for its thatched-roof houses and villages. This picturesque village is also known for its mask dance. Should time / weather permits, one can enjoy the traditional performance amidst the picturesque surroundings. After, we transfer to Gyeongju, the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty for the Gyeongju National Museum. Divided into 3 main halls & an outdoor garden exhibit area, the museum showcases mainly ancient Korean Archaeology found in the area. The artifacts range from prehistoric times to the Three Kingdom Period, as well as items buried with the Royalties in the Tombs of Cheongmacheon area.
Day 3 - Gyeongju (UNESCO site Bulguksa & Seokkuram Grotto / Cheomseongdae)
This morning, we visit the UNESCO preserved site of Bulguksa Temple. Built in year 528, the name of the temple is literally translated as "Temple of Buddha's Land" or "Buddha's World Temple". It aims to realize the blissfulness of the Buddhist scriptures where the mortal being's suffering is being released. The steps leading to the temple being called the "Blue Cloud Bridge" & "White Cloud Bridge" as well as the decorative elements in the architecture are all symbolic of the temple's name. This afternoon, visit the Seokkuram Grotto, a small and quaint temple which houses an elegant but majestic statute of Buddha. Despite its size, the exquisiteness of the temple's architecture suggest that it was being used by the Royalty and nobilities in ancient time. Our last stop for the day is the Cheomseongdae, the oldest astronomical observatory in Asia.
Day 4 - Seoul (Gyeongbuk Palace / Drive Pass Presidential Blue House / Presidential Museum / Jogyesa / Insa-Dong Antique Streets)
We head back to Seoul for the Gyeongbuk Palace, the main and and most grand of the five palaces. Construction started in 1300's, and in the 1400's its beauty flourished. Unfortunately, a few fires destroyed it and was eventually burnt down during the Japanese occupation. It was reconstructed several times since and now brought back to its former glory. Enjoy your walk in the palace grounds as your guide brief you through the various building. Next, we drive pass the Presidential Blue House, home to the current President of Korea. Please note that no photography is allowed. Next, we visit the Presidential's Museum, set up in 2010 to co-incide with APEC meeting held in Seoul the same year. The museum encompasses the past, present and the future of Seoul as well as the entire Korea. The Jogyesa is considered the "head temple" of Buddhist temples in Korea. From here, walk the streets of Insa-Dong, often considered the "Mary's Alley of Seoul" or antique streets. The traditional buildings and wide array of traditional souvenirs are absolutely mesmerizing.)
Day 5 - Seoul (DeMilitarised Zone: Imjinggak - Freedom Bridge - 3rd Tunnel - DORA Observatory / Nanta “Cookin” Show / Dongdaemun Market )
Depart for Imjinggak at DMZ, see the Freedom Bridge and Mangbaeda which is an altar for the Koreans to come pay respect to their families in North Korea. It is especially crowded during the Lunar New Year and Korean Thanksgiving Holidays as this is the closest the families can get to North Korea. After, transferring to the DMZ, we take a shuttle bus for a ride through the 3rd tunnel and DORA Observatory. One can see parts of North Korea from the observation deck. The Media Hall offers an insight of the disparities between the divided countries. After, transfer for lunch and journey back to Seoul. This evening, get ready for some non- verbal comedy at the Nanta ‘Cookin’ Show. Embodying traditional Korean drumming skills into a modern kitchen scene, this light hearted comedy married with intense drumming will leave you thumping for more! After, we visit the famous Dongdaemun Market where you can find wares of every kind!
Day 6 - Seoul Incheon Airport - Osaka Kansai Airport
After breakfast, free for leisure until your transfer to Seoul Incheon Airport for your flight to Japan. Upon arrival Osaka, an AJT representative will meet you at the arrival gate holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
Day 7 - Nara (Todaiji Temple / Deer Park), Kyoto (Fushimi Inari Shrine / Green Tea Ceremony with a Maiko)
In the morning, travel by private coach to Nara -- Japan's oldest capital city. We will first visit Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in Japan. The temple also houses the world's largest bronze Buddha statue, which measures over 49 feet (15 m) high. Venture into the surrounding park, which is filled with over 1,000 Sika deer. Then, make your way to historic Kyoto and the lovely vermillion-colored Fushimi Inari Shrine, home to an almost 2.5-mile-long (4 km) tunnel of scarlet torii gates that were part of the film 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. The shrine complex wraps around a bamboo forest that features a backdrop of picturesque mountains, streams, and ponds. You will then take part in an once-in-a-lifetime experience – tea with a Geisha in training, known as a Maiko. The Maiko will prepare your tea and show you the Japanese art of the tea ceremony. After, she will be happy to converse, answer questions, and tell tales about local life. (You'll stay two nights in Kyoto).
Day 8 - Kyoto (Nijo Castle / Nishijin Kimono Show / Golden Pavilion / Arashiyama - Tenryuji Temple Zen Garden - Bamboo Grove - Togetsukyo Bridge / Gion Geisha District)
Today, we will continue our tour of Kyoto, once the capital of Japan and still considered its cultural center. First is a visit to the Nijo Castle, built in the early 17th century. Ninomaru- goten, renovated in 1626, and is a building renowned as a priceless example of the architectural style of that period. At the Nishijin Textile Center, you can view displays of kimonos and even watch a kimono fashion show. Visit the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) covered with 18 carat gold leaf. This three story structure was originally built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. Next is a visit to Arashiyama to see Tenryuji Temple where you can have a glimpse of traditional Zen landscape garden design. Then proceed through a dense bamboo grove, past several small shrines, tea shops and private houses before arriving at the Togetsukyo Bridge over Hozu River. Lastly, we will tour Gion, the old Geisha Quarter, and Pontocho, whose cobblestone alleys vibrate with night life.
Day 9 - Kyoto (Kiyomizu Temple), Koka (Miho Museum), Shinkansen Bullet Train Ride
This morning, we will visit the famous Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall, as well as of the city of Kyoto in the distance. We will then continue to Miho Museum. The museum has stunning architecture that accentuates the surrounding nature while exhibiting a variety of items from different ancient civilizations. It was designed by the renowned architect, I. M. Pei, and is named after Koyama Mihoko, one of the richest women in Japan and the founder of the museum. This museum is also listed as one of the "1000 Places to See Before You Die". Next, our group will experience a Shinkansen bullet train ride, which can reach speeds of up to 300 km/hr. We will stay at the Onsen Hotel at Hamanako Kanzanji Onsen, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
Note: If Miho Museum is close, we will visit Kyoto National Museum or Sagawa Art Museum instead.
Day 10 - Hakone (Hakone Ropeway / Owakudani), Mt Fuji, Tokyo (Shibuya - Shibuya Crossing - Hachiko Statue)
After enjoying Japanese breakfast at the hotel, we will travel to Hakone and take a 20 minute ropeway from Togendai to Owakundani. Much of the area here is considered an active volcanic zone since its creation from the eruption of Mount Hakone some 3,000 years ago. There, you can experience hot springs and hot rivers, where sulfurous fumes still linger. Owakundani also has splendid views of Mount Fuji in good weather. From Hakone we will proceed to Mt. Fuji on our private coach. Along the way, enjoy the changing scenery, from thick vegetation to lowlands and rolling clouds. We will stop at Mt. Fuji 5th station (depending on weather) to admire the world famous peak. In the afternoon we will travel to Tokyo. Our last visit for this day is Shibuya. We will be able to see the famed Shibuya Crossing in action and cross the street with the crowd. We will then take photos with the Hachiko Statue at the crossing, which is a monument dedicated to a loyal dog that waited even after his master passed away.
Day 11 - Tokyo (Asakusa Sensoji Temple / Sushi Making Experience / Tsukiji Outer Market / Imperial Palace / Tokyo Tower)
Today, you will be taken to the Asakusa Kannon Temple, an active place of worship where you can see the largest paper lantern in Japan. You will also be able to explore the Nakamise Market, which is located right after the temple's outer gates. It is a traditional-style shopping street with centuries of history. Next, you will have the chance to enjoy a sushi making experience with a professional sushi chef. Whatever you prepare, you will get to eat! Afterwards, we will proceed to the Tsukiji Outer Market, where various restaurants and shops line the streets. Then, pay a visit to the Imperial Palace, the former site of Edo Castle and current residence of Japan's Imperial Family. In the afternoon, we will visit the the world's tallest self-supporting steel tower. At 333 meters high, Tokyo Tower is 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. You will be able to sightsee 150 meters up at the main observatory deck and get a bird's eye view of the city.
Note: For Sushi Making Experience, if you are vegetarian, on gluten-free diets, have seafood allergy, or don't eat raw fish, please contact us for other ingredient options.
Day 12 - Tour Ends
After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am and Narita Airport can be reached by hotel shuttle bus.
Journey to both South Korea and Japan in one tour package for the perfect introduction to two incredible Asian countries.
For those who love to explore and learn about differnt cultures, consider visiting these two major countries in Asia - Japan and South Korea! While the two countries share many similarities, they also have their own unique cultures. All Japan Tours has designed a special itinerary for guests, showcasing unique locales, “must see” tourist attractions, colorful cultural traditions, and delectable dining. Travel in comfort by private coach bus while your English-speaking guides show you the Highlights of South Korea and Japan.
Begin your tour in the beautiful country of South Korea, staying in Seoul for your first night. You will then make your way to Andong Hahoe Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a river flowing along its borders. Travel to Gyeongju, known as the “museum without walls” for the amount of tombs, pagodas, rock carvings, Buddhist statuary, and palace ruins that can be found in the area. Here, you will have the opportunity to visit Gyeongju National Museum and also Cheomseongdae, the oldest astronomical observatory in Asia. Make your way back to Seoul, where you will stay for two nights, exploring the enormous city. Visit the chief temple of Korean Buddhism and visit Insa-dong Antique Street, where you can purchase handmade crafts. Before leaving South Korea to continue your Asia expedition, visit the DMZ, which serves as a buffer zone for North and South Korea.
Once you have flown from Seoul to Osaka, you will start your tour of Japan by traveling to Nara, where you can see the giant statue of Buddha at Todaiji Temple, or make new friends with the hundreds of wild deer. In the ancient city of Kyoto, you will experience the best gardens, temples, and shrines. Enrich your cultural side by partaking in a traditional green tea ceremony hosted by an apprentice geisha (maiko). Travel towards Mt. Fuji, visiting Hikone, where the beautiful Hikone Castle is surrounded by cherry blossoms in spring, and stopping at Hakone to take in the amazing views of Mt. Fuji. Stay overnight at a Japanese-style hotel, where you can relax in the hotel's hot spring bath. Once you have reached the bustling city of Tokyo, enjoy a bird's eye view of the city from Tokyo Tower, learn to make your own sushi, and during spring, visit Ueno Park, where you can see over a thousand cherry trees.
With exclusive access to gardens, temples, shrines, castles, museums and specialty shops, you will have a one of a kind experience and a chance to see why these countries are popular tourist destinations. Selected tours also include a visit to Hiroshima, where you will learn about the tragic history and bright future of the city. With tours based on seasonal attractions, and must see sites in every tour, you will truly enjoy your time in these two wonderful countries.
Terms and Conditions
- Prices stated are per person on twin-sharing basis and are subject to change without prior notice
- Arrival and/or departure airport transfer does not apply to guests who extend their stay before or after the main tour. Other conditions apply.
- Promotion discounts stated are subject to change without prior notice
- All arrangements are subject to availability upon booking
- Standard itinerary displayed is subject to change and may differ depending on season, duration of tour and tour dates
- Please request for details such as duration of tour and itinerary based on tour date
- Other terms and conditions apply.