Highlights of Korea and Japan Tour Summer

Description

Itinerary

Day 1 Incheon Airport

Welcome to Korea! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an “All Japan Tours” sign.

Best Western Kukdo Hotel or similar class

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 it’s thatched-roof houses and villages. This picturesque village is also known for it’s 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.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Gyeongju Kolon or similar class

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 it’s 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.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Daegu Grand or similar class

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.)

Breakfast / Lunch

Best Western Kukdo Hotel or similar class

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 country. 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!

Breakfast / Lunch

Best Western Kukdo Hotel or similar class

Day 6 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.

Breakfast

Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport or similar class

NOTE 1: The airport transfer is available at 10:00 AM from the hotel to Seoul Incheon Airport, please arrange your flight departing after 2:00 PM.

Day 7 Osaka (Osaka Castle), Nara (Todai-ji Temple / Nara Deer Park), Kyoto (Fushimi Inari Shrine / Kiyomizu Temple)

In the morning we will travel to Osaka by private coach. We will visit Osaka Castle, whose construction began in 1583 on the ruins of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple. The castle was the largest of its time and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. From Osaka, our coach departs to Nara, the oldest capital city of Japan. We will visit Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in Japan. The temple also houses the largest bronze statue of Buddha at 16.3 meters high, and the surrounding park is filled with over 1,000 Sika deer. In the afternoon we will travel to Kyoto, a historical city that was spared from air raids and saved from the atomic bomb during World War II for its cultural and historical value. We will visit to the stunning vermilion colored Fushimi Inari Shrine, whose 4km long tunnel of scarlet torii gates was featured in the film Memoirs of a Geisha. This complex wraps around a bamboo wilderness that includes mountains, streams, and ponds, the perfect backdrop for a scenic hike. Then, 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 stay two nights in Kyoto.

Breakfast / Lunch

Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or similar class

Day 8 Kyoto (Arashiyama – Tenryuji Temple Zen Garden – Sagano Bamboo Forest – Togetsukyo Bridge / Golden Pavilion / Nishijin Kimono Show / Green Tea Ceremony / 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 Arashiyama to see Tenryuji Temple where you can have a glimpse of traditional Zen landscape garden design. Then proceed through a dense bamboo forest, past several small shrines, tea shops and private houses before arriving at the Togetsukyo Bridge over Hozu River. Continue on to 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. At the Nishijin Textile Center, you can view displays of kimonos and even watch a kimono fashion show. Next, we will experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Lastly, we will tour Gion, the old Geisha Quarter, and Pontocho, whose cobblestone alleys vibrate with night life.

Breakfast / Dinner

Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or similar class

Day 9 Koka (Miho Museum / Koka Ninja Mansion), Toyota (Toyota Kaikan Museum), Shinkansen Bullet Train Ride

This morning we will visit the famous Miho Museum. The Miho 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”. From there, visit Koka Ninja Mansion. This mansion used to be resided in by ninja, equipped with many ingenious traps and devices, designed to prevent intruders and to provide a means of escape in times of need. We will then continue to Toyota Kaikan Museum, which has displays of Toyota’s new car models and technologies. 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 Atami Onsen, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Atami New Akao Hotel or similar class

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.

Breakfast / Lunch

Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo or similar class

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.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Mystays Premier Narita or similar class

Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo or similar class (NOTE 2 & 3)

NOTE 2: If you wish to stay in the center of Tokyo for the last night instead of Hotel Mystays Premier Narita, we can arrange for you to stay at Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo (or similar class). In this case, airport transfer is not included, but we will provide full instructions for you to get to the airport in advance.

NOTE 3: If you will be flying out from Haneda Airport (HND) instead of Narita Airport (NRT), we can arrange for you to stay at Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo (or similar class) instead of Hotel Mystays Premier Narita. In this case, airport transfer is not included but we will provide full instructions for you to get to the airport in advance.

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.

Breakfast

Dates & Price

2019

Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City
Wed. Jun 26, 2019 Sun. Jul 7, 2019 USD $3498.00 Seoul Tokyo

Please Note:
All prices are per person, based on twin (double on request) or triple occupancy.
International flights are not included on our tours – this allows you the flexibility to choose your own departure and get the best value for your money!
We can arrange international flights for US customers if needed, please ask for details.

Deposit

We require US$200 deposit per person to hold the space at time of booking and the final payment is due 2 month prior to departure

What’s included

  • 10 nights Western style and 1 night Japanese style accommodation
  • Meet and greet upon arrival at 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
  • Gratuities

 Meals

  • Breakfast everyday
  • 8 lunches and 4 dinners

Admission fees and activities

All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

What’s NOT included

  • International Airfares
  • Meals that are not included in the itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
  • Personal expenses such as telephone and laundry bills

Additional Information

Transport

Travel by private coach between destinations, hassle free baggage handling

Arrival Departure Airports

This tour starts in Seoul and ends in Tokyo. You will need flights for arrival at Incheon Airport (ICN), then international flight from Seoul (ICN) to Osaka (Kansai Airport-KIX) on day 6, with departure in Tokyo at Narita Airport (NRT). Please note that the airport transfer from hotel to Incheon Airport is available at 10:00 AM, please book your flight departing after 2:00 PM on day 6.

Meal Requests

Vegetarian or special meals can be arranged

Meet and Greet

Please note that the meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour after 11 AM. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, please arrange your own hotel transfer.