SOUTH KOREA & JAPAN HIGHLIGHTS - 13 days / 12 nights
DAY 1 Arrive Seoul
Welcome to South Korea’s capital city. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
DAY 2 Seoul
Your PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING starts at GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE, built in 1395 during the Joseon Dynasty that ruled the country for five centuries. Gyeongbokgung was the primary residence of the royal family and considered the most magnificent of the “Five Grand Palaces” built in Seoul. The palace complex was razed by the Japanese invasion of 1592. It sat abandoned for nearly 300 years until the mid-19th century when the complex was rebuilt and expanded. You will also stop at the NATIONAL FOLK MUSEUM to learn more about Korean culture. Before leaving the complex, watch a re-enactment of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. Next, take a WALKING TOUR through BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE. Here, you can see hundreds of hanoks (traditional Korean houses) dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. Walk along the quiet alleys lined with restaurants and tea houses. Travel to nearby Insadong for lunch at a local restaurant featuring Korean cuisine. A highlight is bibimbap, a signature dish of warm rice topped with sautéed vegetables, sliced meat, chili paste, and a fried egg. Afterward, stroll along Insadong Street, a center for traditional arts and crafts. The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure. (B,L)
DAY 3 Seoul
Enjoy a full day at your leisure to explore this exciting city. (B)
DAY 4 Seoul–Gyeongju
This morning, board a HIGH-SPEED TRAIN bound for Gyeongju, capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, which ruled much of the Korean Peninsula from the 7th to 9th centuries. Upon arrival, a PRIVATE GUIDED TOUR features TUMULI PARK to see several tombs from the Silla period, including King Michu. Also visit ANAPJI POND, where the Silla royal family spent their leisure time, and GYEONGJU NATIONAL MUSEUM, which houses artifacts found around the pond during renovations. (B)
DAY 5 Gyeongju–Busan
Today, visit two fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites during your PRIVATE GUIDED TOUR. Start at YANGDONG FOLK VILLAGE, one of the best preserved historic villages dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. The village features clusters of houses with mud walls and thatched roofs, faces a river, and is surrounded by forested mountains and open fields. Next, visit BULGUSKA TEMPLE with its ancient wooden pavilions and pagodas built on lush, forested hills. Within the temple complex is stunning SEOKGURAM GROTTO, one of Asia’s finest Buddhist shrines, with its large Buddha statue looking out over the Sea of Japan. Continue to Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city. (B,L)
DAY 6 Busan
Your PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING starts at JAGALCHI FISH MARKET, Korea’s largest and most famous seafood market. Here, most of the vendors selling fish are Jagalchi Ajumma, meaning middle-aged or married women. Afterward, visit UN CEMETERY which honors soldiers from 16 countries that were killed during the Korean War. Next, take a WALKING TOUR through GAMCHEON with its colorful homes built on a hillside. Originally founded by refugees of the Korean War, this neighborhood has been transformed into an artistic center with galleries and cafés. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B)
DAY 7 Busan–Tokyo
Fly to Tokyo, Japan’s capital city. (B)
DAY 8 Tokyo
Today, hop on Tokyo’s subway system for a PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR of the city. First, stop at MEIJI SHRINE, a magnificent 20th-century Shinto monument set in a man-made forest. Next, stop at the SAMURAI MUSEUM to learn about their history and see authentic period-specific swords, armor, and helmets (kabuto). You will even have the chance to have your picture taken wearing a helmet and armor! Lastly, visit bustling NAKAMISE SHOPPING ARCADE and ASAKUSA KANNON TEMPLE, the oldest of their kind in Tokyo. The remainder of the day is at your leisure for independent activities. (B,L)
DAY 9 Tokyo
Today, enjoy a full day at your leisure. Your Local Host will have suggestions. (B)
DAY 10 Tokyo–Kyoto
Today, transfer to the train station and board your BULLET TRAIN to historic Kyoto, former capital of Japan. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. (B)
DAY 11 Kyoto
This morning, your PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING starts at NIJO CASTLE, built in 1603 as the official residence of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Then, visit stunning Kinkakuji or TEMPLE OF THE GOLD PAVILION, covered with shimmering gold leaf. Continue on to SANJUSAGENDO TEMPLE, famous for 1,001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Flanking the main statue are 1,000 life-sized statues, covered in gold leaf, with 40 arms said to have the power to save 25 worlds. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B,L) NOTE: The Nijo Castle will be closed on Tuesdays in January, July, August & December. Guests will visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine instead.
DAY 12 Kyoto
A full day at leisure to explore more of Kyoto’s historic temples and shrines. You may consider an excursion to nearby Nara to visit Todaiji Temple, which houses the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha. (B)
DAY 13 Kyoto
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. THE TRIP ENDS TODAYs from Kansai International Airport in Osaka should not depart prior to 11 am. (B)
Package Includes
  • 12 nights hotel accommodation as per itinerary
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Transfers as per itinerary
  • Sightseeing tours & entrance fees as per itinerary
  • English speaking guide
AED 19,100*
Per person in double room
*Price starting from.
Terms and conditions apply.
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