19 days in Japan & South Korea Itinerary

19 days in Japan & South Korea Itinerary

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Route & dates

19 days in Japan & South Korea Itinerary

Start: London, United Kingdom
Fly + Train:  15 h 30 min
1
Seoul, South Korea
— 3 nights
Fly:  3 h
2
Gyeongju, South Korea
— 2 nights
Drive:  1 h 30 min
3
Busan, South Korea
— 1 night
Fly:  3 h
4
Osaka, Japan
— 3 nights
Train:  2 h 30 min
5
Hiroshima, Japan
— 1 night
Train:  2 h
6
Kyoto, Japan
— 3 nights
Train + Taxi:  5 h 30 min
7
Yamanouchi-machi, Japan
— 3 nights
Drive + Fly:  21 h 15 min
End: London, United Kingdom

3
nights
Seoul, South Korea

Seoul ©
One of east Asia's major cultural and financial centers, Seoul boasts five World Heritage Sites and a huge selection of museums, temples, shrines, palaces, parks, gardens, and glass-and-steel skyscrapers.
Get outdoors at Cheonggyecheon Stream and Bukhansan National Park. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village. The adventure continues: get a taste of the local shopping with Myeongdong Shopping Street, admire the landmark architecture of Changdeokgung Palace, take a stroll through Insadong, and stroll around Namsan Park.

To see photos, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, read Seoul online road trip planner .

London, UK to Seoul is an approximately 15.5-hour combination of flight and train. You can also fly; or do a combination of train and flight. The time zone changes from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to Korea Standard Time (KST), which is usually a 9 hour difference. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from London in August, with highs in Seoul at 35°C and lows at 27°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) so you can travel to Gyeongju.

Things to do in Seoul

Parks Neighborhoods Nature
Highlights from your plan
Cheonggyecheon Stream ©
Cheonggyecheon Stream
Gyeongbokgung Palace ©
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace ©
Changdeokgung Palace

2
nights
Gyeongju, South Korea

Gyeongju ©
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the Republic of Korea, Gyeongju combines a rich cultural heritage with mountain and coastal scenery.
Kick off your visit on the 13th (Thu): explore the activities along Bomun Lake, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Bulguksa Temple, then steep yourself in history at Seokguram, and finally browse the eclectic array of goods at Jukdo Market. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Fri): see the interesting displays at Gyeongju National Museum, contemplate the waterfront views at Anapji Pond, then contemplate the long history of Cheomseongdae Observatory, then steep yourself in history at Cheonmachong Tomb, and finally contemplate the long history of Gyeongju Historic Area.

For ratings, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Gyeongju trip planner.

Fly from Seoul to Gyeongju in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or drive. Traveling from Seoul in August, expect nights in Gyeongju to be about the same, around 26°C, while days are slightly colder, around 26°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Busan.

Things to do in Gyeongju

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Jukdo Market
Highlights from your plan
Bulguksa Temple ©
Bulguksa Temple
Seokguram ©
Seokguram
Gyeongju National Museum ©
Gyeongju National Museum

1
night
Busan, South Korea

Busan ©
The country's second city, Busan has often been referred to as South Korea's summer capital.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sat): get outside with Gwangalli Beach, kick back and relax at Haeundae Beach, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Haedong Yonggung Temple, then hunt for treasures at Jagalchi Market, and finally walk around Yongdusan Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the exciting artwork at Gallery 604 and then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Beomeosa Temple.

For reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Busan trip builder.

Getting from Gyeongju to Busan by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a train; or take a bus. While traveling from Gyeongju, expect somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Busan, ranging from highs of 36°C to lows of 27°C. On the 16th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Osaka.

Things to do in Busan

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Haeundae Beach ©
Haeundae Beach
Haedong Yonggung Temple ©
Haedong Yonggung Temple
Beomeosa Temple ©
Beomeosa Temple

3
nights
Osaka, Japan

Osaka ©
Proud of their hometown's distinct culture and dialect, many natives of Osaka describe their city as "Japan's anti-capital." An antidote to Tokyo's hectic energy, Osaka marches to the beat of its own drum, serving as the country's longtime commercial and industrial hub.
On the 16th (Sun), shop like a local with Daimaru Museum Umeda. Keep things going the next day: explore the historical opulence of Osaka Castle, stop by Jikko Japanese Knife Shop Namba Skyo, and then find something for the whole family at Universal Studios Japan.

To find traveler tips, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Osaka sightseeing planner.

Traveling by flight from Busan to Osaka takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of flight and train. Expect a daytime high around 39°C in August, and nighttime lows around 29°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Wed) early enough to travel to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Historic Sites Shopping

Side Trip

Nara
Highlights from your plan
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle
Dotonbori ©
Dotonbori

1
night
Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima ©
Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
On the 19th (Wed), examine the collection at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, then contemplate the long history of Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima, then stop by Miyajima Omotesando Shopping Street, and finally contemplate the long history of Itsukushima Shrine. On the next day, take in nature's colorful creations at Shukkei-en Garden, explore the historical opulence of Hiroshima Castle, contemplate the long history of Atomic Bomb Dome, then snap pictures at Kintaikyo Bridge, and finally head off the coast to Miyajima.

To see maps, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Hiroshima trip planner.

You can take a train from Osaka to Hiroshima in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of flight and train. In August, daily temperatures in Hiroshima can reach 36°C, while at night they dip to 29°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Hatsukaichi, Kintaikyo Bridge
Highlights from your plan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum ©
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Itsukushima Shrine ©
Itsukushima Shrine
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima ©
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima

3
nights
Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto ©
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Nijo Castle are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Get some historical perspective at Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Ryoanji Temple. There's still lots to do: steep yourself in history at Sanjusangendo Temple, take a stroll through Gion, take in the pleasant sights at Philosopher's Walk, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Kinkaku-ji.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Kyoto day trip planning tool .

You can take a train from Hiroshima to Kyoto in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. August in Kyoto sees daily highs of 39°C and lows of 29°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Yamanouchi-machi.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kinkaku-ji ©
Kinkaku-ji

3
nights
Yamanouchi-machi, Japan

Yamanouchi-machi ©
The resort town of Yamanouchi-machi has plenty of contrasting, but complementary things going for it.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Mon): get outside with Kusatsu International Ski Place, then indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at some of the top local onsens, and then pause for some serene contemplation at Karuizawa Kogen Church. On the next day, stop by Obuse Highway Oasys, then step into the grandiose world of Matsushiro Castle, and then get outside with Madarao Mountain Resort.

To see more things to do, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Yamanouchi-machi online trip itinerary builder .

Traveling by combination of train and taxi from Kyoto to Yamanouchi-machi takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and bus. When traveling from Kyoto in August, plan for a bit cooler days in Yamanouchi-machi, with highs around 34°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 26th (Wed) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Yamanouchi-machi

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports

Side Trips

Onsen Resorts, Karuizawa Kogen Church, Matsushiro Castle, Madarao Mountain Resort, Kusatsu International Ski Place
Highlights from your plan
Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park ©
Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park
Karuizawa Kogen Church ©
Karuizawa Kogen Church
Matsushiro Castle ©
Matsushiro Castle

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