Welcome to Seoul, the business and cultural hub of South Korea. After disembarking from your flight at Incheon International Airport (ICN), you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. After check-in, enjoy time at leisure in this sophisticated city, which balances ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology with serene Buddhist temples and extraordinary modern architecture.
After a hearty breakfast, you will meet with your local tour director and fellow travellers before heading to Mount Seoraksan National Park. Here, you will have time to take in the gorgeous UNESCO Biosphere Preservation District, before reaching the Sinheungsa Temple. You will then take a cable car to Gwongeumseong Fortress, to enjoy castle ruins and spectacular views of the national park. If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of one of the park's inhabitants, such as deer, otters, squirrels or bears.
Afterwards, continue on to Sokcho, a small fishing village known for its fresh seafood.
Today, you will have the opportunity to explore the charming village of Andong, known for its well-preserved traditional houses and unique mask-dancing performances. You will then delight in some retail therapy in Dongseongno Shopping District, one of the major fashion districts in Daegu city.
Prepare for an exceptional day of discovery in Gyeongju. When ancient Korea was divided into three separate kingdoms, Silla, Baekje and Goguryeo, Gyeongju was the capital of the Silla Kingdom, and abounds in archaeological sites and temples, royal tombs and monuments.
Start at the Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory and Gyeongju National Museum, before admiring UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto. In the afternoon, you will visit Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond — long forgotten after the fall of the Silla Kingdom, this lovely area has since been restored to its former glory.
The last stop for the day is Gyeongju National Park, which features a palace complex of the ancient Silla kingdom set amid beautiful forest, before an evening spent at your leisure.
Early this morning, you will depart for North Korea's 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, located within the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), a 44-kilometre drive northwest of Seoul.
Then, pay a visit to the Imjingak Resort Unification Park and North Korea Centre to gain an insight into the history of the Korean War. Following your visit, you will view North Korean territory from the Dora Observation Platform, including the 'Propaganda Village' ghost town. Kaeseong City, the former capital of the Goguryeo Kingdom, is also visible.
You will then be transported back to Seoul.
- Please note: Should the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) be closed, you will spend more time at Imjingak Resort Unification Park.
Your in-depth discovery of Seoul starts today as you immerse yourself in a collection of cultural attractions and experiences. First, you will visit the residence of the South Korean president, the Blue House, otherwise known as Cheong Wa Dae. You will then be transferred to Gyeongbokgung Palace, originally built in 1395 as the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty.
In the afternoon, take a stroll through the heart of the city, through the streets of Isa-dong, a historical entertainment district. Step back in time in Bukchon Village, before enjoying a walk along the elevated sky garden of Seoullo 7017 to round out the evening.
It's time for your hassle-free journey from Korea to Japan! After breakfast, you will be transferred to Incheon International Airport (ICN) for your short included flight to Tokyo (HND or NRT airports). On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel where you can enjoy time at leisure and get a good night's rest before tomorrow's adventures.
After breakfast, discover the sights and sounds of Tokyo. Our first stop is Odaiba, an island in Tokyo Harbour where we will see the Rainbow Bridge and the Statue of Liberty replica. From here, we head to the iconic Tsukiji Fish Market. You'll enjoy free time for lunch here, with much more than just fish on offer. Perhaps sample some tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) or splash out on grilled eel, washed down with an iced matcha latte.
Then, ascend some 200 metres to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building's observation deck for sweeping views of the endless metropolis. In the afternoon, take a stroll through Sensoji, otherwise known as Asakusa Kannon Temple, before browsing for souvenirs in Nakamise Shopping Street.
This morning you'll make your way towards Mount Fuji – have your camera ready as you stop for sightseeing experiences.
En route, catch a glimpse into Japan’s brewing culture at a local beer factory, before reaching Gotemba Peace Park on the mountainside of the outer rim of Hakone. The area is known for its views of Mount Fuji, and is also home to a stupa and mound structure that contains relics related to Buddha.
If time permits, you will stop at Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre in Fujinomiya. Enjoy an immersive experience of Mt. Fuji's natural and cultural significance through captivating exhibits, an observation deck, and interactive activities. You'll leave with a profound understanding of the iconic mountain and its place in Japanese history and spirituality.
Known for its ancient feudal castles surrounded by cherry blossoms and gorgeous temples, Osaka has an incredible amount to offer the intrepid traveller. Today, you will discover the Ninja Museum of Igaryu, where a Kuno (female ninja) shows guests a typical ninja house complete with revolving walls, trap doors, and fake hallways. Afterward, you’ll continue to one of Japan's most famous landmarks, Osaka Castle. Strategically located amongst modern buildings and city life, this five-story castle was built in 1583 and is a wonderfully preserved example of Japanese architecture.
This evening, discover how food-mad the Osakans are as you 'kuidaore' (a Japanese word which translates to ‘to eat yourself broke’) in the Dotonbori region.
Following breakfast this morning, travel onwards to Kyoto on a world-famous Shinkansen bullet train. Racing at 280 kilometres per hour, watch flashes of futuristic skyscrapers, shrines and lush fields on the way from Osaka to Kyoto.
On arrival, you will be transferred to Fushimi Inari Taisha for that iconic shot of the vermillion torii gates. Then, get lost in the otherworldly beauty of the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, where you may choose to go for a peaceful walk or find a quiet corner for relaxation.
Later, admire the Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), a Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold. The detailed architecture incorporates the three distinct architectural styles of Shinden, Samurai and Zen.
Return to Osaka for an evening at leisure.
Now that you're familiar with the city, enjoy a day exploring at your own pace!
Learn about Japanese woodblock printing at Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, explore Sumiyoshi Shrine, visit the aquarium, shop at Shinsaibashi or check out Shitennoji Temple.
Today, head for Hiroshima. En route, stop at one of Japan's last remaining original medieval castles, Himeji Castle, whose imposing size and artistic design make it one of the most spectacular sights in Japan. Enjoy time here before continuing on to Hiroshima.
This morning after breakfast, you will be transferred from Osaka to the ancient city of Hiroshima. Largely destroyed when the first atomic bomb — ‘Little Boy’ — devastated the city on August 6, 1945, Hiroshima preserves the memory of the world’s first nuclear attack through memorials, eyewitness testimony and annual anniversary ceremonies.
Landmarks can be found lining Motoyasu River, including the A-Dome, Bell of Peace and Atomic Bomb Memorial Burial Mound, with the Flame of Peace and Peace Memorial Park located just a little further downstream. Visit the Atomic Bomb Museum to learn the history of these sites.
Then, travel to the edge of the sea to admire the iconic Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this famous landmark appears to float above the water at high tide. As the water recedes, you may get the unique opportunity to walk around this sacred site. Return to Osaka in the afternoon.
After breakfast, bid farewell to Osaka as your adventure comes to an end. Meet in the lobby for your included transfer to Kansai International Airport (KIX) for your onward journey.