Day 1: Australia – – Seoul
Depart Australia today on your overnight flight to South Korea.
Please note: some flights might depart 1 day later.
Day 2: Seoul
Welcome to South Korea! Upon arrival at Seoul Airport, you will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Day 3: Seoul (B)
Today we begin exploring South Korea. Stepping back in time, we visit the Korean Folk Village (Bukchon Village) to gain an insight into life during the Joseon Dynasty. We’ll then explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. The fortress wall stretches for a total of 5.52km and has a great variety of military facilities that are hard to find anywhere else. Four gates face each of the cardinal directions—Janganmun (north), Paldalmun (south), Changnyongmun (east), and Hwaseomun (west)—and the seven-arch style Sumun gates straddle the point where the nearby stream reaches the palace.
Day 4: Seoul – Mt Seorak (B)
This morning we Seoul for the Seoraksan National Park. Enroute we visit Sokcho Fishing village. The residents of the village consist mainly of refugees originally hailing from Hamgyeong Province in North Korea who escaped south during the Korean War. The village is now famous for its seafood and cuisine. After, we continue to the Mt Seorak region. Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Preservation District in 1982 due to the many rare species found in the national park, Mount Seoraksan National Park is Korea’s most famous national park. Tour Shinheungsa Temple and take the cable car to Gweongeumseong Fortress to experience the beautiful natural landscapes on offer.
Day 5: Mt Seorak – Andong – Gyeongju (B)
Today, visit the traditional village of Andong, with its well preserved traditional houses and unique mask dancing performance. The UNESCO Village is home to descendants of the Ryu clan of Pungsan and is well-known for its traditional houses. Birthplace of renowned scholars of the Joseon Period such as Gyeomam Ryu Un-ryong and Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong, the village became even more famous after Queen Elizabeth of England visited on April 21, 1999.
We then, travel to the Gatbawi Shrine. The Gatbawi statue is an imposing statue of the Buddha of Medicine that stands six metres tall, and it dates back to the 800’s. A wide flat rock sits on its head. This hat is called a “gat,” and it was traditionally worn by Korean men. After, continue we continue on to the southeast city of Gyeongju which was the capital of the 1,000-year-long Silla dynasty and is known for its extensive historical remains.
Day 6: Gyeongju (B)
Today we explore the many archaeological sites and temples of this ancient city. We begin, by visiting the Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory, constructed during the reign of Queen Seon-deok (632-647A.D). After, visit the Royal Tumuli Park, scattered with unique earthen mounds which are tombs of kings and nobles. Enjoy Gyeongju National Museum, home to many Silla Kingdom relics. Visit both the Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto Temple both UNESCO sites, both dating back to 700 A.D and considered a national treasure.
Day 7: Gyeongju – Busan (B)
Today, we leave Gyeongju behind us and make our way to the port city of Busan. On arrival, enjoy a half-day tour of the dynamic port city of Busan, including a visit to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Nurimaru APEC House, Busan Tower, BIFF Square, Jagalchi Fish Market and Kukje Market. After, return to the hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 8: Busan – – Fukuoka (B)
Today, we board the ‘Beetle’ high-speed ferry to Japan. The journey takes approximately 3 hours across the Sea of Japan. The ferry is an ultra-modern Hydrofoil making the trip fast and smooth. Welcome to Japan! On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Fukuoka. The rest of the day is then free at leisure in Fukuoka.
Day 9: Fukuoka – – Hiroshima (B)
Today, we leave the south of Japan and begin our trip north to the city of Hiroshima. Largely destroyed when the first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the city became known worldwide for this unenviable distinction. On arrival the rest of the day is at leisure to explore at your own pace.
Day 10: Hiroshima – Osaka (B)
Today we begin with the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, which commemorates the victims of the atomic bomb used in WWII. Later, we visit the Shukkeien Landscape Garden, which dates back to 1620. Being a short walk from Ground zero of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, Shukkei-en suffered extensive damage, and then became a refuge for victims of the war. After renovations, it reopened in 1951. After we make our way back to Osaka where the afternoon is at leisure.
Day 11: Osaka – Nara – Kyoto (B)
This morning we drive to the town of Nara and visit the Todaiji Temple, one of Japan’s most famous temples. The massive building houses one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu). The 15 meters tall, seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas. Along the approach to Todaiji stands the Nandaimon Gate, a large wooden gate watched over by two fierce looking statues. Representing the Nio Guardian Kings, the statues are designated national treasures together with the gate itself.
After the Todaiji Temple we wander back through Nara Park, home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara’s nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city. We then continue to the city of Kyoto. We begin with the UNESCO World Heritage Kiyomizu-dera Temple and drink to your fortune from the streams of the Otowa Waterfall. The water is said to have a different benefit, namely to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life. The Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan and has spectacular views over Kyoto. It is then on to Kinkakuji, commonly known as the Golden Pavilion. A Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold and detailed architecture incorporating three distinct styles of Shinden, Samurai and Zen.
Day 12: Kyoto – – Nagoya (B)
This morning we visit Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate and is designated a UNESCO world heritage site. It is then on to Kinkakuji, commonly known as the Golden Pavilion. A Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold and detailed architecture incorporating three distinct styles of Shinden, Samurai and Zen. We finish with a visit to the Togetsu Bridge, the landmark of Western Kyoto’s Arashiyama District for over four hundred years.
Later, we board the technological marvel, the Shinkansen (Bullet) train from Kyoto to Nagoya. Travelling of speeds up to 280km/h it provides and incredible experience as the Japanese countryside zips by. On arrival into Nagoya you will be transferred to the hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 13: Nagoya – Mt Fuji – Tokyo (B)
This morning we make our way towards the Mount Fuji area to Lake Ashinoko. Lake Ashinoko was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano’s last eruption 3000 years ago. Today, the lake with Mount Fuji in the background is the symbol of Hakone. The lake’s shores are mostly undeveloped except for small towns in the east and north and a couple of lakeside. Later, we visit Gotemba Peace Park to capture a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji, Continue your tour with a visit to the Mount Fuji 5th Station, which at 2300 meters above sea level, the offers a commanding view of the Fuji Five Lakes area below. After we make our way to Tokyo where the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 14: Tokyo (B)
Today is a free day to enjoy one of the world’s greatest cities at your own pace.
Day 15: Tokyo – – Australia (B)
Spend the day at your own leisure. At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward flight.
Day 16: Australia
Arrive home today.