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Japan & Korea Discovery 2025

Explore the highlights of two amazing Asian countries

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£3,425

3425
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Temple zoomed out with cheery blossom trees at the base in Osaka, Japan

Group Size: Max 17

Trip code: DTJK25

Duration: 25 days

Included flight between Japan & South Korea
Cultural experiences
Lots of included activities

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

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 Osaka to Seoul
  • 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 start point and from end point
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport transfer on arrival in Tokyo 
  • Airport transfer on departure from Jeju Island
  • Some meals, plus snacks and drinks
  • Optional activities and excursions

Day 1: Tokyo introduction. Meet your trip leader and group for the first time this morning and get ready to hit the ground running! Today immerses you in the action of Tokyo – starting with Tsukiji Outer Market, followed by the breathtaking Sensō-Ji Temple and city skyline vistas! Enjoy a free evening in Tokyo or pick up a bat and join us for some baseball. 

Day 2: Anime District. Our day starts with a sushi lesson, before we check out the electrifying Akihabara district for all things anime, manga and gaming! There’s plenty of time to explore Akihabara at your own pace this afternoon, but you can also join in on an exhilarating optional activity which is just like Mario Kart in real life (international driving permits required). This evening, we’ll discover the magical Golden Gai district for a taster of Tokyo at night. 

Day 3: Imperial Palace and Sumo District. Explore the enchanting Imperial Palace and its gardens this morning. Just before midday, we’ll head to Tokyo’s impressive Sumo District and learn more about this fascinating side to Japanese culture. 

Day 4: Meiji Shrine and Shibuya Crossing. This morning we’ll visit the incredible Meiji Shrine, an unforgettable historical gem in the heart of Tokyo. Then you’ll have the chance to freely explore Tokyo’s fashion district – Harajaku – before meeting up again to walk across the exciting Shibuya Crossing. Enjoy a free final evening in Tokyo before we explore more of Japan. 

Day 5: Tokyo to Kamakura. Today we’ll travel to Kamakura where you will discover all the ancient shrines and temples that the enchanting town of Kamakura has to offer – including a hike to Kotoku-in Temple to see the Big Buddha statue. This evening, you could check out Kamakura’s beaches, fresh seafood or ramen restaurants. 

Day 6: Kamakura to Hakone. This morning we will travel to Hakone. Then we will see the stunning Mount Fuji in person on a cruise along the idyllic Lake Ashi. Afterwards, we’ll visit the fascinating Owakudani volcano where you can try black eggs with rumoured potent powers. Unwind in a traditional onsen this afternoon, before finishing the day with a Sake tasting session inside our traditional guesthouse stay. 

Day 7: Hakone to Kyoto. Today we’ll take our first bullet train to Kyoto: a magical and timeless destination filled with old-world architecture and the extraordinary Kiyomizu Temple, which we will visit today. Explore the Geisha district of Gion this evening at your leisure. 

Day 8: Kyoto culture. There’s no sight quite like Fushimi-Inari. Wander through the shrine’s endless red Torii gates as you hike to the top of the lush mountain. This evening, we have a Calligraphy class planned for you to write your own scriptures. After dinner, we hope to see you for karaoke!

Day 9: Kyoto free day. Today is an unguided adventure in Kyoto, and there are all kinds of activities for you to get up to independently today! You could wander the majestic Philosopher’s Path, attend a traditional tea ceremony and hire a kimono, or if you want to travel further afield, the bamboo soundscapes of Arashiyama Forest and friendly local deer of Nara Park await discovery. 

Day 10: Kyoto to Hiroshima. Before leaving Kyoto, we’ll take a morning bike round around the beautiful town and see exquisite attractions like The Golden Pavilion and Imperial Palace. In the late afternoon, we’ll take a bullet train to Hiroshima before heading downtown to Okonomiyaki Village. Join us for an epic optional dinner where the chefs prepare dinner right before your eyes!

Day 11: Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. This morning we will pay our respects to the Peace Memorial Museum and the Atomic Bomb Dome. Afterwards, we’ll make a short journey to the breathtaking Miyajima Island, where you will find the legendary Itsukushima Shrine standing in the water and the Miyajima Ropeway just nearby. 

Day 12: Osaka. We’ll arrive into Osaka - our final Japan destination - in perfect time for lunch. Then we’ll take a short subway ride to see the magnificent Osaka Castle, which is nothing short of a photographer’s paradise. Explore Osaka at your own pace this afternoon, before joining us for an epic evening out venturing the neon-lit Dotonbori riverfront.

Day 13: Travel to Seoul. Today is unguided, but detailed instructions will be provided before your trip starts to help you organise an airport transfer, as public transport is so widely available.Your included flight will typically depart from Osaka in the late afternoon and the flight will typically take 2 hours to reach Seoul.Transfers from Seoul airport are not included, but we can help you plan this. 

Day 14: South Korea trip begins! Meet up with a new group and trip leader at 2pm today, but expect to find some of your Japan buddies there too! We’re kickstarting our South Korea trip with a Taekwondo class, followed by an optional group dinner. Then we’re riding a cable car to the top of Namsan Mountain to admire the Seoul cityscape at night. Lock a “padlock of love” here, or reach the top of North Tower for even more vistas!

Day 15: Gyeongbokgung Palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace is simply incredible, from the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony to the chance to hire hanboks – not to mention the sight itself! Enjoy a free afternoon and evening exploring Seoul however you wish. 

Day 16: DMZ and K-Pop dance class. Exploring the DMZ that divides North and South Korea is a rare lifetime opportunity. To give you the best possible insight into this history, today will also include a Q&A session with a North Korean defector. Afterwards, we’ll get ready for a K-Pop dance class and learn how to move to the music like an idol!

Day 17: Seoraksan National Park. Today we’ll escape to a breathtaking mountain range which you’ll have hours to explore at your own pace or with friends from your group. Later today, we’ll visit Abai Village and enjoy a traditional liquor-tasting experience.  

Day 18: BTS bus stop and Temple Stay. Before we arrive in Gyeongju for a legendary temple stay, we have a landmark stop planned first… the BTS bus stop! While many of us are eager to get our picture taken here, there’s a beach just behind for non-ARMYs to stretch their legs. When we arrive at the Golgulsa Temple Stay in the late afternoon, we’ll be following their fascinating schedule. Expect a meditation class, Sunmudo (a unique martial art) training and a traditional Buddhist dinner this evening!

Day 19: Gyeongju. It’s an early start this morning as we’ll be meditating to Buddhist chants while the sun rises, as part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. We’ll arrive in Gyeongju with plenty of time for you to explore it freely, before meeting up again at 5pm for a scenic cycling tour. They say Gyeongju is like an open-air museum, and this evening you’ll discover why!

Day 20: Busan. Today we’ll ride a bullet train to Busan and see all its top attractions – starting with the Gamcheon Culture Village, which is more colourful than a rainbow! Later today we’ll ride the Marine Cable Car before finishing our day at BIFF Square to try Busan’s famous street food. 

Day 21: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Enjoy a lazy start to the morning before travelling to an extraordinary attraction that is widely regarded as the most beautiful temple in all of Korea thanks to its sea views and spectacular architecture. The rest of today is yours to explore Busan at your own pace, whether you want to go to a bathhouse, join an optional boat tour or sing your heart out at Noraebang karaoke!

Day 22: Busan to Jeju Island. Enjoy a morning at the beach or join us for a traditional cooking class where you can learn how to make Korean staple dishes. Take a flight to Jeju in the late afternoon, an island nicknamed the “Hawaii of Korea” after its breathtaking emerald wildlife. 

Day 23: Jeju Olle Trail. Today we’ll hike along the iconic Jeju Olle Trail and discover all its hidden wonders and highlights, including the solitary Oedolgae Rock and mythic Jungbang Waterfall which flows directly into the sea. Then, our journey continues to the lush Seongsan Ilchulbong for unbeatable views of Jeju Island at the top of this beautiful volcano. The rest of today is completely free so you can explore more of Jeju’s nature, head straight to the beach or get to know its cultural attractions – the choice is all yours!

Day 24: Yacht sailing and BBQ dinner. Soak up more of Jeju Island’s bewitchingly green scenery on today’s boat tour, as we sail past all the island’s curves and cliff edges to admire its beauty from all angles. Then we’ll return to our hotel at around 1pm for a free afternoon of chasing waterfalls, unwinding on the beaches or wandering around town. But we hope to see you tonight to celebrate our adventure with a traditional BBQ dinner! 

Day 25: End trip. We hope you’ve had an amazing time exploring some of East Asia’s most enriching countries and that you’ve made friends for life along the way. Check-out is before 11am, and while travellers are welcome to make their own plans, there will be an optional airport transfer and flight back to Seoul that you can book if you let us know before your trip starts.

Please note this itinerary is only applicable for departures in 2025, if you are travelling in 2024, please check-out Japan & Korea Discovery

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Please note: If your departures is within 5 weeks, your date is requestable and there may be a surcharge for the late flight booking. Please allow 1 - 3 working days for confirmation of availability.

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Activities start in Tokyo at 10am for Day 1, so we highly encourage our travellers to book accommodation for the night before. You have the option to fly into either Haneda or Narita Airport, but we recommend Haneda because it is closer to the starting accommodation.

Your flight from Japan to South Korea is included in this trip. 

This trip ends on Day 25 in the morning at Jeju Island. There is an optional airport transfer and flight from Jeju Island to Seoul that you can book. This flight should arrive in Seoul before 1pm. 

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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