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, please make your own way to your accommodation.
IMPORTANT: Your tour guide will be waiting at the arrivals area at Incheon Airport (Gate 12, Lv1)
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 will head to Seoraksan National Park in which we pass through Sokcho Fishing village. The residents of the village consist of mainly migrants originally from Hamgyeong Provice in North Korea who escaped south during the Korean War. The village is now famous for its seafood and cuisine. After, we continue to Mt Seorak region which is a UNESCO Biosphere Preservation District since 1982 and houses various rare species of flora and fauna. Mount Seoraksan National park is Korea’s most famous national park. After that, we will take a tour to Shinheungsa Temple where we will take the cable car to Gweongeumseong Fortress to see the castle ruins and the spectacular views of the mountains and land within Seoraksan National Park.
After your day tour your tour guide will drive you back to your hotel where you can enjoy a rest and your leisure time.
Day 5: Mt Seorak – Andong – Gyeongju (B)
After breakfast we leave for Daegu en-route visiting the traditional village of Andong. With its preserved traditional houses and unique mask dancing performance this unique village is home to the Ryu clan of Pungsan and is well known for its traditional houses. This UNESCO listed village is home to the descendants of Andong and is well known for its spiritual culture due to the spread of Confucianism in the area as well as their culture which dates back to 2,000 years. Andong gained international recognition from the visit of Queen Elizabeth II on April 21, 1999.
We then, travel to the Mabijeong Mural Village located in Daegu city. Mabijeong Mural village is a stunning little hillside village that is not only visually interesting but full of fascinating culture. As you walk around Mabijeong Mural village you can see the stories of the local people through the murals. While you are in the village you can take part in farming activities, go to the red clay sauna and follow the walking trails to understand the tales of the Mabijeong legend.
Later, we will visit Dongseongno shopping district which is a major fashion district in Daegu city. Dongseongno is an eye pleasing and colourful place packed with hundreds of stores full of personality that reflect the city’s fast paced fashion trends. There is an array of amusement spots, department stores, cinemas, and traditional markets that you can visit in order to get a full experience of the area and the history behind this unique and youthful shopping district.
Return to the hotel in the evening.
Day 6: Gyeongju – Busan (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. We will then visit Gyeongju National Museum, home to many Silla kingdom stone relics. Visit both Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto which are UNESCO sites dating back to 700 A.D and are Buddhist stone temples that feature cultural relics such as pagodas, bridges and Buddhist figures.
Enjoy your day travelling around Gyeongju city before moving onto Busan where you will stay the night.
Day 7: Busan (B)
Today, 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 to enjoy at your own 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, please take a taxi to your hotel in Fukuoka. Please keep the receipt and we will refund your taxi fee. The rest of the day is then free to enjoy at your own leisure in Fukuoka.
Day 9: Fukuoka – – Hiroshima (B)
Today, please make your own way to the city of Hiroshima (we have sent the train tickets and the instructions to Hiroshima to the Fukuoka hotel you will stay). 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 – Himeji – Osaka (B)
Today we begin with the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, which commemorate the victims of the atomic bomb used in WWII. Later we visit the Shukkei-en 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 head to one of the most scenic spots in Japan, Miyajima Island. It is a romantic and historical island where Itsukushima shrine, a world heritage site is located along with the Virgin forest of Mt Misen, and numerous preserved shrines, temples and historical monuments.
After we make our way back to Osaka. Enroute, we stop in Himeji to visit the famous white elegant castle.
Day 11: Osaka – Nara – Osaka (B, D)
Today we will take a day trip to Nara and a night walking tour of Osaka. Once you arrive in Nara it is a short walk to the main attractions. We will visit Todaiji Temple and its Great Hall as it houses one of the largest bronze Buddha statues in the world. On your return to the station, wander back through Nara Deer Park where you can see hundreds of deer roaming around. Nara’s 1,200 deer have become the symbol of the city as it comes from the Shinto idea that every creature, nature or object is a messenger of god. While you are here you can feed the deer with crackers and enjoy some of the local foods they have to offer. As well as their cute deer souvenirs and activities that relate to the history of Nara. After enjoying most of the day in Nara we will head back to Osaka.
As we arrive back in Osaka city, we will make a stop at Osaka Castle. Osaka Castle came to be of great importance throughout Japanese history especially during 1583 and 1585 when warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi built it and ruled Japan there. After that, we will finish off our day with a tour of one of Osaka’s central food and entertainment centres Dotonbori. Enjoy wandering around trying the local foods, shopping districts and posing with one of Osaka’s famous icons, Gurico!
Enjoy a good rest in your hotel and your own leisure time.
Day 12: Osaka – – Kyoto (B)
This morning, we board on the Japan famous Bullet Train Shinkansen to Kyoto (15 minutes). First up we will visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple one of the famous temples in Kyoto that is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site with the pure sacred waters of Otowa Waterfalls. After that we will head to Nishijin Textile Centre and enjoy a traditional kimono show. Kimonos are still used today in Japan for formal ceremonies and festivals.
Enjoy your stay in Kyoto! Take a rest and enjoy your leisure time.
Day 13: Kyoto (B)
Today is a free day to enjoy at your own leisure.
Kyoto is the old capital of Japan and has a long history and traditional culture. While you are wandering around Kyoto you should make your way to the flatland castle and former residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Nijo Castle. Or you could visit the former residence of the Emperor of Japan, the famous Kyoto Imperial Palace and Heian Jingu Shrine built for the 1100 anniversary of the capitals foundation in Kyoto. Other places you should definitely visit are Sanjyusangendo Temple, one of the world’s longest wooden structures housing 1001 life size Buddhist Kannon deities; Kiyomizu-dera Temple that is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site and is famous for its Otowa Waterfall. Take a stroll down the narrow streets of Gion where you can see the historical Geisha quarters and tea houses. Or you could climb up the famous Fushimi Inari Taisha, known for its thousands of tori gates lined up to the reach the top of the mountain where you can see the statue of the fox deity.
Enjoy these places or you can explore other places in Kyoto at your own leisure.
Day 14: Kyoto – Kanazawa (B)
This morning we will make our way to Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. After that we will go to Togetsu Bridge and the Bamboo Grove, the landmarks of Western Kyoto’s Arashiyama District for over four hundred years. The Togetsu Bridge leads the way to the traditional shrines, temples, bamboo forest, Monkey Park and hot springs. Standing amongst the Bamboo Grove is like being in another world and is nothing like any other forest you have seen before. It is mesmerizing, peaceful and encapsulates the Japanese aesthetic.
After that we will gather and head on our way to Kanazawa. Enjoy your night in Kanazawa.
Day 15: Kanazawa (B)
Today we will travel onwards to Kanazawa, once known as a castle town established around 300 years ago. First up we will visit Buke Yashiki (a samurai house) and learn about how the high ranked samurais lived during the Edo period. Later we will make our way through the streets of Higashi Chaya, a district lined with quaint old buildings that were once teahouses used by the local geisha (traditional Japanese female entertainers) and their guests. Next, we will visit Kenrokuen Garden one of Japan’s “three best landscape gardens” and considered the most beautiful of them all with spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, water features and panoramas. Then we will go to Omicho Market to try the local foods and see the local crafts.
Enjoy your night’s stay in Kanazawa and your leisure time.
Day 16: Kanazawa – Shirakawa Go – Takayama (B)
Today we will go on a half day tour of Shirakawago to explore the small village and the gassho style houses. On this tour you will stop at the observation point so you can view the whole of Shirakawago and while you are there your English speaking tour guide will teach you about the history of this unique village. You will be able to look inside the traditional houses and get a feel of what it is like to live in Shirakawago. You can also try the local food and snacks as part of this wonderful village of Shirakawago.
Enjoy your day in Shirakawago! After our tour in Shirakawago we will head towards Takayama where you will stay the night in your hotel.
Enjoy a good rest and your leisure time in Takayama.
Day 17: Takayama (B)
Today we will spend the day exploring Takayama city. Takayama is a city located in Japan’s mountainous Gifu Prefecture. Takayama retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town. While you are in Takayama we will visit the preserved Old Town, the open air museum of Hida Folk Village, the former local government office, Takayama Jinya, an impressive museum called Matsuri no Mori, pass by temples and the former castle site at Higashiyama walk, enjoy seeing a range of festival floats at the Yatai Kaikan and grab a bargain or food at the morning markets.
Enjoy your day trip in Takayama!
Day 18: Takayama – Matsumoto (B)
Today we leave Takayama for the city of Matsumoto. On arrival we will go to Matsumoto city where we will view one of Japan’s most complete and original castles, Matsumoto Castle. A short stroll from the castle we will finish up our tour in Nakamachi Street where we can see nicely preserved buildings, warehouses, massive white walls, small shops, restaurants and traditional ryokans.
Rest up and enjoy your leisure time in Matsumoto.
Day 19: Matsumoto – Mt Fuji (B,D)
Ohayou-gozaimasu! (Good morning) Today we will visit one of Mount Fuji’s springs, Oshino Hakkai. Oshino Hakkai is one of the eight ponds fed by melting snow filtering down from the slopes of Mount Fuji through porous layers of lava, resulting in very clear spring water that is well-regarded by the locals. Afterwards we will visit Mount Fuji’s 5 station, which is above the clouds and allows you to view its enormous summit (if the weather permits).
Stay the night in Mt Fuji area and enjoy your leisure time. We will have a farewell dinner together.
Day 20: Mt Fuji – Tokyo (B)
Today we will visit Gotemba Peace Park to capture another breathtaking view of Mt Fuji and Hakone Checkpoint, which used to be an important checkpoint on the highway connecting Kyoto to Tokyo in the Edo period. Then we’ll take a cruise down Lake Ashi where you’ll be able to see the beautiful nature around you.
Enjoy your day in Mt Fuji area before we head off To Tokyo for the night.
Enjoy your stay in Tokyo tonight and your own leisure time.
Day 21: Tokyo (B)
Enjoy a free day in Tokyo at your own leisure.
Optional tour (at own expense): You may like to spend a day in Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea.
Or alternatively, you can join our wide range of optional programs (tea ceremonies, pottery making experiences, golden joinery, kimono photo shoots or cooking classes). All activities are not guided and transportation is self-arranged.
Some other places you may interested in going are: the Imperial Palace, Ginza District, Asakusa and Senso-ji Temple, National Museum of Nature and Science, Ueno Park and Zoo, Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Western Art, Meiji Shrine, Miraikan and Edo-Tokyo Museums, Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Ghibli Museum, National Art Centre and Kabuki-za Theatre.
Enjoy your day and night in Japan’s Mega city, Tokyo!
Day 22: Tokyo – – Australia (B)
At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the airport for your homebound flight. Tokyo is serviced by two airports , Narita and Haneda which are both accessible from Tokyo city. Make sure you check your flight details before going to the airport.
Day 23: Australia
Arrive home today.