Your quintessential guides to Asia and Beyond
Our Essence of South Korea & Japan tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine.
Reflect in this city which needs no introduction
Explore the staggering number of tombs, temples, statues and ruins
Stroll through the bamboo forest with its towering and impressive thickets
Where tradition and culture meets a modern city
This two-week South Korea and Japan adventure gives a fascinating insight into two of Asia's most intriguing countries. Close in proximity yet culturally distinct, this tour offers the perfect way to experience the diversity of the Far East.
Fly overnight to South Korea's dazzling capital, Seoul. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
In Seoul's urban landscape of skyscrapers and nightlife, an immersion of culture and tradition awaits. Start your full-day tour at Gyeongbok Palace for the captivating 'Changing of the Guards' ceremony and a palace exploration. Then, indulge in a Korean cooking class to create and enjoy the flavors of Bibimbap for lunch. Experience the city's beauty from N Seoul Tower and explore the artistic allure of Insadong Antique Alley, a hub of traditional Korean treasures.
Created as a buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea at the end of the Korean War, the DMZ is part of the most heavily militarised border in the world. An early start is needed today as tickets the DMZ are limited. See the DMZ Theatre & Exhibition Hall and walk along the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, visit Dora Observatory & Station and see the Bridge of Freedom. (Should tickets not be available, take a ride on the DMZ gondola and visit the Odusan Unification Observatory). Return to Seoul explore the huge Gwangjang Market.
Embark on a train journey from Seoul to the captivating city of Gyeongju, known as 'the museum without walls' for its abundant cultural relics. Former capital of the Silla Kingdom for over 1,000 years, Gyeongju boasts an astonishing array of tombs, temples, statues, and ruins to explore. In the afternoon, marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Bulguksa Temple, an architectural gem of Silla heritage, and the awe-inspiring Seokguram Grotto. End your day with a serene stroll along the enchanting Anapji Pond, where echoes of the city's illustrious history resonate amidst the tranquil waters.
Begin the day with a visit to Gyeongju National Museum and Tumuli Park's royal tombs. Then, journey by road to Busan, a city brimming with character, traditional charm, and scenic wonders like mountains, beaches, temples, and delectable seafood. In the afternoon, experience the lively atmosphere of Jagalchi Fish Market and Gukje Market's bustling stalls. Later, find tranquility on Dongbaekseom Island before relishing the sandy shores of Haeundae Beach.
It's time to say goodbye to South Korea and hello to Japan! Board the ferry to Fukuoka.
Discover the allure of Fukuoka, Kyushu Island's largest city, nestled on the northern shores of Japan. Begin your day with a visit to the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shinto Shrine, followed by an exploration of the National Museum, unveiling the city's vibrant past. After lunch, board the bullet train to Hiroshima, a city that resonates with historical significance, symbolizing resilience and peace.
Start the day at the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, which pays homage to the victims of the 1945 atomic bomb, followed by a visit to an oyster farm by boat. In the afternoon, hop on the ferry to the holy island of Miyajima and visit the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site, located on the edge of the waters of the Seto Island Sea.
Transfer by bullet train to Kurashiki to explore the beautifully-preserved Bikan Historical Quarter, where the streets along the banks of the Kurashiki River are lined with white-walled kominka (traditional houses). Next, head to Okayama and visit Korakuen Garden, one of the 'Three Great Gardens of Japan'. Later, board the bullet train to the vibrant city of Osaka.
Travel to Nara and enjoy a leisurely walk through Nara Park to Todaiji Temple before returning to Osaka. Enjoy lunch at Dotonbori Street, famous for its eye-catching signage and billboards and then visit the impressive Osaka Castle.
Journey by road to Kyoto – an enchanting city, Kyoto was Japan's capital city for 1,000 years; today it is a testament to ancient Japan, packed with tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens. Visit Ryoanji, the 'temple of the peaceful dragon' and the famous Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the 'Golden Pavilion'. Later immerse yourself in the culture by experiencing the sacred rituals of a tea ceremony with a tea master.
Visit the vibrant district of Arashiyama and stroll through the bamboo forest with its towering and impressive thickets before trying your hand at the art of fan painting. Next you'll have the opportunity to have lunch with a Maiko – an apprentice Geisha. In the afternoon, visit to one of Kyoto's most famous sites – Fushimi Inari Shrine, renowned for its 10,000 vermilion torii gates, and follow a forested hillside pathway passing numerous shrines along the way.
Take the bullet train to Odawara. Upon arrival, visit the Hakone shrine, situated on the shores of Lake Ashi and enjoy the breathtaking views of Mount Fuji in the background. After lunch, take part in a Yosegi marquetry craft experience, before continuing by road to Tokyo – Japan's capital city.
Tokyo is the ultimate 24-hour city, but look behind its frantic, high-tech neon-lit frontage and you will find plenty of tranquil backstreets and ancient temples. Begin the day with a visit to Meiji Shrine, before driving past the famous Shibuya crossing. Next, wander through the old district of Asakusa to soak up the atmosphere at Sensoji, Tokyo's most famous and beloved temple. After lunch, visit a bonsai museum and observe a demonstration before trying your hand at pruning your own. End the day with a dinner cruise on the beautiful Tokyo Bay.
Fly to New Zealand, arriving home the following day.
Places Visited: Seoul - Gyeongju - Busan - Fukuoka - Hiroshima - Miyajima - Kurashiki - Okayama - Osaka - Kyoto - Hakone - Tokyo
If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs or you prefer travelling with your own personal guide, contact us to arrange this as a Private Tour.
With our Book with Confidence guarantee you have peace of mind when booking and travelling with us. Benefit from a low deposit, unlimited changes up to 75 days prior to travel, extended final payment terms, and our pioneering Travel Safe protocols. See full terms and conditions.
Fetching Price Information - please wait
There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.
Read our latest articles or travel inspiration, exciting news about our destinations and all things Wendy Wu Tours