South Korea and Japan

Departs: 18th September 2022 | 19 Days | 2 Countries

TRIP INCLUSIONS:

  • 18 nights in premium accommodation
  • Services of Travelmarvel Tour Directors
  • 29 meals – 18 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners
  • See the changing of the guard ceremony at Gyeongbok Palace and take a moonlight stroll at Donggung Palace
  • Visit a traditional Korean village at Bukchon Hanok and enjoy tea with a monk at Jogyesa Temple
  • Visit the snowcapped Mt Fuji and explore Matsumoto Castle
  • Experience local Japanese life with a special dinner at an izakaya-style restaurant
  • Wander through the towering bamboo at Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

$11,695* per person, twin share

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ITINERARY

DAY 1
ARRIVE INCHEON, SEOUL

Join your Tour Director for a Welcome Dinner at a traditional Korean-style BBQ house. Smoky meats and sizzling savoury pancakes are often on the menu. Arrive into Incheon and transfer to Seoul. After a Welcome Dinner this evening, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel which is located in the heart of Seoul.

Stay: Three Nights, Seoul, Courtyard Marriott Namdaemun

Daily: Dinner


DAY 2
SEOUL

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

At Gyeongbok Palace, witness the changing of the guard ceremony.

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

Learn how to make South Korea's favourite dish, bibimbap, during a cooking class and demonstration.

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

Visit Bukchon Hanok, a traditional hanok village, before visiting Jogyesa Temple for the chance to share tea with a monk.

Fill up at breakfast this morning - you're in for a full day of sightseeing. Begin at the City Hall plaza, walk through the giant Gwanghwamun Gate plaza and onto Gyeongbok Palace. The excitement begins with Gyeongbok Palace, the largest palace in South Korea. Built in 1392 at the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty, it was the main royal palace for five centuries. After a number of Insider Experiences, your final stop for today is Insadong Antique Alley, where quirky amulets and jewellery among other wares are scattered across stalls. Poke around the many streets, maybe picking up a souvenir or two.

Daily: Breakfast and Lunch


DAY 3
SEOUL, PAJU, DEMILITARISED ZONE

Today is dedicated to the relationship between North and South Korea. You'll visit the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) in Paju to gain an understanding of the bordering countries. See Imjingak Park, the Bridge of Freedom and the Third Infiltration Tunnel, where it's believed that some 30,000 soldiers could pass through within an hour. You'll also spend time at the DMZ Theatre and Exhibition Hall, and the station, along with Dora Observatory which offers binocular views into North Korea. Return to Seoul for an afternoon visit to the War Memorial Museum to reflect further on the conflict.

Daily: Breakfast and Lunch


DAY 4
SEOUL, BUSAN

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

Board one of South Korea’s famous KTX Express Trains to Busan. Watch the beautiful countryside whip past your window, and jet right past busy cities as your train reaches speeds of over 300 kilometres per hour.

After breakfast at your hotel, travel to Busan. Upon arrival in South Korea's second-largest city, you'll be taken on a city sightseeing tour of some of Busan's most well-known sites. Begin at Busan Tower, which offers a great vantage point to the city's bustling port. Visit Jagalchi Fishery Market, the largest seafood market in South Korea. Here, locals select their seafood straight from the ocean and take their purchase to the market's chefs to be prepared just how they like it, for a fresher-than-fresh seafood lunch. Finish your explorations in Gamcheon Village, a mishmash of pastel-coloured houses, street art and art galleries.

Stay: Busan, Avani Hotel

Daily: Breakfast


DAY 5
BUSAN, GYEONGJU

There's more of Busan to be explored this morning. At Taejongdae observatory, admire sweeping views of the natural wonders of Taejongdae Resort Park. Continue to the United Nations Memorial cemetery - the only one of its kind. Afterwards, voyage to the seaside for a visit to Haedong Yonggung temple before journeying to Gyeongju. Be welcomed into the ancient city with a traditional performance at Jeongdong Theatre.

Stay: Two Nights, Gyeongju, Commodore Hotel

Daily: Breakfast


DAY 6
GYEONGJU

Join a moonlight tour to Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond, once part of the palace complex of ancient Silla. Explore the site which was only properly uncovered and renamed in the 1980s.

Set your sights on the World Heritage Bulguksa Temple resting on the slopes of Mt Toham. Built in 774 AD, the temple is considered a masterpiece of Buddhist art. Nearby, explore Seokguram Grotto and see the giant Sakyamuni Buddha which is buried in the grotto's inner chambers. Afterwards, take a stroll across the green grounds of Tumuli Park and Family Choi's House, the oldest house in the area which was built in 1630. Also visit the Cheomseongdae observatory. After time for dinner, this evening experience a special Insider Experience.

Daily: Breakfast & Lunch


DAY 7
GYEONGJU, GAYASAN NATIONAL PARK, SEOUL

Travel by KTX Express Train to Seoul.

Make the journey by coach to Haeinsa Temple. As one of the three principal Buddhist temples in Korea, discover Buddhist scriptures within the temple, which have been carved into more than 80,000 wooden blocks. Afterwards, head to Dongdaegu train station to board a KTX Express Train to Seoul. Tonight, celebrate the Korean part of your holiday with your fellow travellers and Tour Director with a special dinner at a local restaurant.

Stay: Seoul, Courtyard Marriott Namdaemun

Daily: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 8
INCHEON, TOKYO

Head to a local izakaya for dinner to celebrate your first night in Japan.

Today, fly to Tokyo and transfer to your hotel. Tonight, meet your Japan Tour Director for a welcome meeting before dinner.

Stay: Two Nights, Tokyo, Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu

Daily: Breakfast and Dinner

DAY 9
TOKYO

A full-day tour of Tokyo begins with a trip to Sensoji Temple. Next, it's on to the Imperial Palace for a photo stop and a walking tour of the Tsukiji Outer Market, the largest fish market in Japan, where fresh seafood is delivered daily. We wander the narrow aisles of this atmospheric marketplace to find all sorts of delicious and uniquely Japanese food - from fish and shellfish to barrels of green tea, dried seaweed and all manner of pickles and other tasty morsels. Continue to Ginza, Tokyo's famous upmarket shopping district. Here, you'll have time for lunch or perhaps join an optional sushi-making class (additional expense). The last stop is Meiji Shrine and the famous Shibuya Crossing.

Daily: Breakfast

DAY 10
TOKYO, HAKONE

Travel to Hakone today. Take a ride on the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani Geothermal Valley. Continue on to Lake Ashi and enjoy a cruise around the lake. This caldera lake was formed 3,000 years ago when Mt Hakone erupted. On a clear day, you may see Mt Fuji. Later, for the ultimate exercise in relaxation, perhaps partake in a traditional onsen experience at your hotel.

Stay: Hakone, Susukinohara Inchinoyu

Daily: Breakfast and Dinner


DAY 11

MT FUJI, MATSUMOTO

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

Stop at Mt Fuji’s Fifth Station where, if the sun is shining, you will be able to see the snowcapped peak.

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

Visit Japan's oldest original castle, Matsumoto Castle, an impressive five-storey fortress.

This morning, travel to Mt Fuji, arguably Japan’s most distinctive landmark. Continue to Matsumoto and afterwards, enjoy a stroll through the merchant district of Nakamachi, where streets are lined with well-preserved Edo-style buildings.

Stay: Matsumoto, Hotel Kagetsu

Daily: Breakfast

DAY 12

MATSUMOTO, TAKAYAMA

Dive deeper into Japan's alpine region with a visit to Oku-Hida region, where you'll board the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway to an observation deck that is elevated to 2,156 metres. Later, arrive in the picturesque mountain town of Takayama. The rest of the day is free for you to relax. Tonight, perhaps discover the famous Hida beef, a remarkably tender variety of Wagyu beef (own expense).

Stay: Two Nights, Takayama Ouan or Tokyu Stay Hida Takayama

Daily: Breakfast

DAY 13

TAKAYAMA

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

Take part in an o-sembei making workshop, where you will learn to shape, flavour and roast your own rice crackers.

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

Up here in the mountains makes for perfect sake-producing conditions. It’s only fitting you visit a sake brewery and enjoy a tasting.

This morning, visit the Miyagawa Morning Market. Afterwards, enjoy two Insider Experiences. The afternoon is at your leisure, where you might like to explore further.

Daily: Breakfast and Lunch

DAY 14

TAKAYAMA, KANAZAWA

Following breakfast, head to Kanazawa, stopping en route at the alpine village of Shirakawa-go, made famous by its collection of original gassho-zukuri style farmhouses. Continue to Kanazawa and join a walking tour through the geisha and samurai districts.

Stay: Agora Kanazawa

Daily: Breakfast

DAY 15

KANAZAWA, KYOTO

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

This evening, keep on the lookout for beautiful geiko (geisha) and maiko (apprentice geisha) as you enjoy a stroll through the city of Kyoto.

Begin your explorations with a visit to Kenrokuen Garden. Stroll across bridges, passing tranquil ponds and fountains, and admire a landscape dotted with Japanese pines, cherry trees and maples. Afterwards, continue to Kyoto.

Stay: Three Nights, Noku Kyoto

Daily: Breakfast and Lunch

DAY 16

KYOTO

INSIDER EXPERIENCE

Enjoy a walk through Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, where towering green bamboo stalks give off an otherworldly feel.

Today your Kyoto explorations begin at the Heian Jingu Shrine. Walk under the giant red torii gates and stroll across the shrine’s court. After, visit Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) and its stunning Japanese garden. Visit Nijo Castle before spending the rest of the day exploring Kyoto your way. Or you may choose an optional tea ceremony experience (additional expense).

Daily: Breakfast

DAY 17

KYOTO, NARA

Rise early this morning and follow the path marked by thousands of scarlet torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine. You'll then board your coach for a day trip to Nara. Immerse yourself in Nara culture with a visit to Todai-ji Temple. You'll also head to Nara Park to see the friendly wild deer, and Kasuga Shrine, whose countless lanterns have been donated by worshippers.

Daily: Breakfast

DAY 18

NARA, OSAKA

Travel to Osaka, where you will visit the Umeda Observatory in the iconic Umeda Sky building. Afterwards, admire Osaka Castle for a photo stop before heading to Dotonbori, a hotspot for street food. Your final night is celebrated with a Farewell Dinner at a local sukiyaki restaurant.

Stay: Osaka Excel Hotel Tokyu

Daily: Breakfast and Dinner

DAY 19

DEPART OSAKA

After breakfast, be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Daily: Breakfast

Flights to South Korea and from Japan are not included in this tour.