Hit all the hot spots of East Asia on this 24-day tour through Japan, South Korea, and China. Start with stunning mountain temples, shrines, and torii gates before heading to the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea and venturing to Beijing's monumental highlights (Great Wall, Forbidden City). Along the way, you'll experience destinations like the locals do — overnights in a Japanese Ryokan (complete with onsen baths and tatami floors), a local temple in Busan, and indulging in street eats to get a true understanding of day-to-day life in China.
Arrive at any time.
We highly recommend booking pre-accommodation to fully experience this lively city.
Depart early and travel to the centre of Buddhism in Japan and sleep in a temple atop the 800m Mt Koya. Savour a traditional dinner of shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine). Watch the monks pray in the morning.
Journey to Mt Koya, a religious centre founded in 816 by the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. The train ride up the mountain is possibly one of the finest rail journeys in Japan. For the final steep ascent, switch to funicular and then hop on a bus to reach the monastery.
In the evening, dine on shojin-ryori, typical vegetarian cuisine, and relax in a yukata, or kimono.
Watch the monks pray in the morning and enjoy a traditional breakfast before travelling to Hiroshima. This afternoon, visit the Peace Park and Memorial Museum commemorating the events of 1945.
Early morning offers the chance to observe the monks praying. Breathe in some fresh mountain air before a vegetarian breakfast, then start the journey back down the mountain via bus, train and funicular.
Later, board a train to Hiroshima, a historically significant city, marked by the explosion of the first atomic bomb in 1945.
Take a ferry ride over to the sacred island of Miyajima to see the famous floating Torii Gate. Opt to hike around Mt Misen.
Travel to Kyoto and start exploring. Visit the impressive Nijo Castle and gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the evening, explore the geisha district of Gion on a CEO-led walking tour.
Enjoy a visit to the beautiful Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine and walk under the bright torii gates. Opt to shop, stroll along the riverbank, or explore another of Kyoto's many temples with free time.
Take a boat ride on Lake Ashino-ko and a walk along the Old Tokaido Highway, and hopefully catch a glimpse of majestic Mt Fuji. Enjoy a stay in traditional ryokan accommodation, feast on a Japanese multi-course kaiseki meal, soak in the natural hot springs, and sleep on a futon.
Travel to Hakone, a town in the hills famous for its onsens, or natural hot springs. Stay in a traditional ryokan, with its own private onsen.
In the evening, enjoy the ryokan, savouring a complex meal of traditional Japanese foods, followed by a recommended soak in the onsen.
Head to Tokyo with time to do some last-minute shopping.
Arrive before noon to Tokyo, with time to explore this energetic metropolis.
Opt to visit Ueno park and the museums, Akihabara for cutting edge electronics, Harajuku for funky fashions, Ginza for the highest of the high end, walk the grounds of the Imperial Palace East Garden, or just stroll the streets, looking for the traditional life that still lies just under the modern surface.
Explore this exciting day with a free day.
Catch a flight to Seoul, South Korea's capital city.
Enjoy a walking tour in the bustling metropolis where modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways and pop culture meet Buddhist temples and street markets. Visit Gyengbokgung Palace, the National Folklore Museum, Jogyesa Temple, Bukchon Hanok Village and Insadong alley.
After exploring the city, opt to see a show, explore a local museum, or hit the pavement and eat your way through street markets trying local fares such as bibimbap, soondae, and kimchi.
Visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. With over a million soldiers on watch each day, it is one of the last remnants of the Cold War.
Spend about 3-4 hours visiting the Demilitarized Zone. On your way there pass by the Blue House, home to the President of the Republic of Korea and South Korea's official government complex.
The DMZ was founded in 1953 when the Korean war ended and it is highly militarized on both sides. With a buffer zone 4km wide and spanning 250 km long separating North and South Korea there has been very little development in the area, therefore nature and wildlife have pretty much taken over.
Later, return back to Seoul for another night in the city.
Travel to Gyeongju and visit the UNESCO-listed sites of Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple on an included tour.
Depart Seoul in the morning and travel by high-speed train to Gyeongju, taking just over two hrs to reach the city.
In the afternoon, enjoy an included tour of some local highlights, including the UNESCO World Heritage temples. Later, opt to further dive into Gyeongju by visiting some more local historic sights or basking in the serenity of Anapji Pond.
Take a day trip to Yangdong Folk Village, a UNESCO site, before continuing to Busan to visit the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and relaxing with a trip to Haeundae Beach and Dongbaek Island (APEC House).
Take a private van to visit the 500-year-old UNESCO site of Yangdong Folk Village, located in Gyeongju National Park, to get a feel for life during the early Joseon Dynasty.
Travel to the picturesque 14th century seaside temple, Haedong Yonggungsa. Continue to Busan and enjoy a walk or swim at Haeundae Beach, the most popular beach in South Korea, or perhaps a light trek on Dongbaek Island.
Visit the bustling Jagalchi fish market, Gukjesijang market, and Yongdusan Park, before an overnight in a local temple.
Stay in rooms called Ondol. These rooms are very traditional, heated to be cozy and comfortable, with beds made up directly on the floor. The rooms here are multi-share, divided up by male and female rooms. Enjoy a traditional dinner and breakfast during the stay.
Have the opportunity to learn about temple etiquette, experience the daily drum and bell ritual, craft your own prayer beads and take an easy hike up to the oldest and highest temple in Busan for morning meditation.
Enjoy a final morning in Busan before returning to Seoul by train. Visit the Namdaemun Market and N Seoul Tower in the afternoon, then have some free time for your final evening in Seoul.
After arriving into Seoul by train head to check out Korea's oldest traditional market, Namdaemun Market. Then make your way by cable car to N Seoul Tower to see this beautiful landmark and opt to make the trip up to the observation deck if you're feeling adventurous. Spend the rest of your day in Seoul seeing Banpo Bridge, the floating islands or hanging out in the Gangnam district.
Board a flight to Beijing, China.
Enjoy an included visit to the Great Wall.
Head out of town to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Spend time wandering around, taking photos, and picking up souvenirs.
Take the Beijing metro to visit the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Later, board a fast train to Xi'an.
Enjoy some free time exploring the city before a visit one of China's greatest archaeological treasures—the Terracotta Warriors. After enjoy a local lunch at a farmhouse before hopping on an overnight train to Suzhou.
Visit Suzhou, the "Venice of the East." Explore the Master of the Nets Garden, one of China's most exquisite gardens.
Travel to Shanghai and take an orientation walk along the Bund. After enjoy a Shanghai acrobat show.
Travel by metro and train to Shanghai. After an orientation walk along Shanghai's famous Bund, you are free to explore the delights this modern Chinese city has to offer.
Enjoy free time in this bustling city.
Depart at any time.
We highly recommend post-accommodation to fully experience all Shanghai has to offer.
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Trip Name: Highlights of East Asia: Japan, South Korea, and China
Duration: 24 Days
From Price: $7,349
Supplier Tour ID: AJKC/242612
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