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Japan & Korea Discovery

Explore the highlights of two amazing Asian countries

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Korea & Japan Discovery with Gap 360

Group Size: Max 17

Trip code: JKDI

Duration: 24 days

Are you ready for some serious adventure in the Far East? This cracking combo tour kicks off with two weeks in South Korea, Asia’s up-and-coming travel destination. You’ll explore the Korean DMZ, learn the art of meditation from monks, make like a K-Pop star with a Korean dance class, and learn Taekwondo. Then say Konichiwa to the neon-lit streets of Tokyo as you jet off to Japan! Learn how to make sushi from a master, see Mount Fuji from the water, explore ground zero at Hiroshima and stroll through graceful  forests!

 

Trip Highlights

  • Spend the night in a Korean Buddhist temple, learning martial arts and meditation
  • Cruise round beautiful Jeju Island on a yacht
  • Learn how to make sushi with a Japanese chef in Tokyo
  • Take in views of Mount Fuji on a pirate-ship cruise across Lake Ashi
  • Explore the mysterious world of the Kyoto geisha over a tea ceremony
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  • 23 nights’ accommodation
  • 1 breakfast, 2 dinners
  • Bilingual tour leaders
  • All in-country transport
  • Tsukiji Outer Market 
  • Sensō-Ji Temple 
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 
  • Sushi-making class 
  • Guided exploration of Akihabara
  • Visit to Tokyo Imperial Palace 
  • Visit to Sumo District 
  • Sumo Museum visit 
  • Meiji Shrine visit 
  • Guided exploration of Harajuku 
  • Visit to Shibuya Crossing 
  • Hike to Kotoku-In Temple & Great Buddha 
  • Hike to Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine 
  • Hike along Old Tokaido 
  • Boat cruise on Lake Ashi 
  • Ropeway & visit to Owakudani 
  • Japanese onsen visit 
  • Sake tasting session 
  • Kiyomizu Temple visit 
  • Fushimi Inari Shrine visit & hike 
  • Traditional calligraphy class 
  • City cycle tour, with visits to the Golden Pavilion and Imperial Palace 
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum 
  • Miyajima Island visit, including visit to Itsukushima Shrine and Ropeway 
  • Osaka Castle visit 
  • Flight from South Korea to Japan
  • Taekwondo Class
  • Tour around the DMZ, including Dora Observatory, tunnels, and Q&A with North Korean defector 
  • K-Pop Class 
  • Visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace 
  • Visit to Seoroksan Park, including Bisundae and Keumganggul Cave, waterfalls, and Ulsanbawi Rock 
  • Gatbae boat & visit to Abai Village 
  • Traditional liquor tasting 
  • Cycling tour of Gyeongju 
  • Visit to Chunmachong Ancient Tombs in Daereungwon Tumuli Park 
  • Visit to Cheomseongdae 
  • Golgulsa Temple stay 
  • Traditional vegetarian dinner & breakfast 
  • Sunmudo training session 
  • Buddhist meditation session 
  • Private day tour of Busan, including Gamcheon Village, Songdo Marine Cable Car, and BIFF Square entertainment area 
  • Visit to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
  • Hike to summit of Seongsan Ilchulbong 
  • Yacht sailing tour 
  • Half-day nature hike in Jeju Island
  • Farewell BBQ dinner 
  • 24-hour emergency support

  • International flights to starting location and from end location
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport transfer on arrival in Seoul
  • Airport transfer on departure from Osaka
  • Some meals, plus snacks and drinks
  • Optional activities and excursions

Days 1 - 3: Seoul, South Korea. Your adventure starts here! Kick off (literally!) with a Taekwondo class, before heading up Namsan Mountain for spectacular views across the city. On day 2 you’ll head into the Korean Demilitarised Zone, visiting Dorasan Station, Doran Observatory, descending into the 3rd tunnel and chatting to a North Korean defector before heading back to Seoul for a K-Pop dance class! On day 3 we’ll visit the majestic Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Day 4: Seorakasan National Park. Travel to Seoraksan National Park this morning where you’ll have free time to hike, or take the cable car to one of the peaks.  After lunch, opt to visit a village of North Korean refugees and tuck into fresh seafood at a local fish-market This evening, enjoy a traditional liquor tasting – kanpai!

Days 5 - 6: Gyeongju. Explore historic Gyeongu by bike on day 5, taking in Cheonmachong Tombs in Tumuli Park, the ancient Cheomseongdae observatory, beautiful Gyerim Forest and Hyanggyo Confucius School. Day 6 is something special, with an overnight stay in Golgulsa Buddhist Temple. Take a meditation class, watch a traditional arts performance and Sunmudo (martial art) demonstration and learn the basics of Sunmudo yourself!

Days 7 - 9: Busan. Head to Gamcheon Village on day 7, to check out the pastel coloured houses and winding streets. Then hit Songdo Beach, where you’ll ride the Marine Cable Car before an afternoon in the trendy BIFF Square entertainment and shopping area in Nampo-dong in Busan. Day 8 is a free day to explore at your own pace, then on day 9, enjoy a morning at the beach, before catching  a flight to the ‘Hawaii of South Korea’, Jeju Island. 

Days 10 - 12: Jeju Island & Seoul. Spend the next few days in paradise. Hike to the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong, sail round the island on a yacht, visit Jeongbang Waterfall, and take a day-long trek along the Jeju Olle Trail before a delicious farewell Korean barbecue dinner. Head back to Seoul where your Korea adventure ends, before flying to Tokyo in Japan to start the next leg of your adventure.

Days 13 - 15 Tokyo, Japan. You’ve got a few days to explore this sprawling metropolis. We’ll visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Tsukiji Outer Market, colourful Senso-ji Temple, Akihabara district (Japan’s ‘Electric Town’), Tokyo Palace, Harajuku (home to Japan’s most extreme youth cultures), Meiji Shrine, Shibuya Crossing, Joypolis, and the 'Love Sign' by Aqua City. We’ll also learn the art of sushi-making with an experienced chef!

Day 16: Kamakura. Say sayonara to Tokyo and hop on a train to Japan’s medieval capital. Our hostel is just minutes from the sea, so rent a surfboard and head to the beach to catch some waves. You can also visit some of the town’s many shrines, including the giant bronze Buddha.

Day 17: Hakone. Travel to Hakone and enjoy a sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi on board a pirate ship! Take in spectacular views of Mount Fuji, then board a cable car to Owakudani, an active volcanic zone. Spend the evening in a Japanese outdoor bath, or ‘onsen’. Then learn all about Japanese rice wine during a sake tasting session.

Days 18 - 20: Kyoto. Travel to Japan’s cultural heart on the bullet train. Kick off with a visit to Kiyomizu Dera Temple, and then attend an optional geisha performance, featuring a tea ceremony, puppet show and traditional music. Day 20 is totally free for you to explore the atmospheric city at your own pace.

Days 21 - 22: Hiroshima. Explore Kyoto by bike on day 21, including the Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-Ji and the Imperial Palace, before taking the bullet train to Hiroshima. On day 22 we’ll learn about Hiroshima’s tragic history with a visit to the Peace Memorial Park. Then travel to Miyajimi Island, where we’ll see the striking Itsukushima Shrine.

Day 23: Osaka. Travel to Osaka on the bullet train, arriving in time for lunch before taking the subway to Osaka Castle. Marvel at the displays of original artefacts and learn all about Japans ancient warriors, the Samurai. The afternoon is yours to explore Osaka at your own pace.

Day 24: Trip end. The time has come to pack your bags and say your farewells. If you would prefer to head back to Tokoyo, you can hop aboard an included bullet train. See you again soon!

Please note this itinerary is applicable for 2024 dates only. If you are interested in travelling in 2025, please check out our Japan & Korea Discovery 2025.

Please note this itinerary is for guidance only and depending on the start date you may spend some extra nights in either Tokyo or Seoul. Please download the trip notes for further information.

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Please note: If your departures is within 5 weeks, your date is requestable. Please allow 1 - 3 working days for confirmation of availability.

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You will need to arrive into Seoul, Korea on day 1 or earlier (there’s a welcome meeting at 2pm so you’ll need to arrive before that). Incheon (ICN) is the nearest international airport. Make your way to your starting accommodation. You can take the AREX train, which is one of the fastest and easiest ways to travel into the centre, airport bus or taxi. Taxi will take between 50 and 70 minutes and fare will vary depending on traffic. 

Your flight from Korea to Japan is included. 

On arrival in Tokyo you’ll need to transfer to your starting accommodation for Japan by bus. Your guide will meet you at the accommodation. The airport bus transfer is not included in the trip price but easy to get locally upon arrival.

Most trips end on day 24 in Osaka, Japan. You’ll need to make your way to the airport, or arrange your onward travel yourself. Kansai International Airport (KIX) is the nearest international terminal. Your guide can help you with booking your return transfer.

Accommodation

You’ll stay in a selection of hostels and guesthouses, and have a couple of unique stays, with a night with the monks in a Korean temple and a night in a traditional Japanese Ryokan. Staying in a ryokan is a really unique experience. They typically feature rooms with tatami flooring, futons and sliding doors and communal areas where you can wear yukata (a summer kimono) and talk to the owner. Ryokan also usually have a communal bathing area, fed by water from natural hot springs (onsen). Hostel stays are in single-sex/mixed dorms with a maximum of 8 beds in one dorms. Please note that if you are travelling with a friend or partner of the opposite sex, you will not be roomed together. Please speak with a travel advisor if you wish to upgrade to a twin room. 

Meals

1 breakfast and 2 dinners are included on this trip. This includes a sushi-making class in Tokyo where you get to eat your own creations! You’ll have to buy all other meals, snacks and drinks yourself. This means you’ve got total flexibility to eat where and when you want and to explore the incredible local cuisine.

You need to be a minimum of 18 years old to join this trip.

This trip mainly attracts ages 18-35, please note the maximum age to join this tour is 55.

British citizens can enter South Korea and Japan for up to 90 days without a visa. However, you must have an onward or return ticket. Your passport should be valid for a minimum of 3 months from your date of entry to South Korea and for the duration of your stay in Japan. It’s your responsibility to obtain the necessary visas for your time away. Visa rules are subject to change without prior notice, so please do check visa requirements at the time of your trip.

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