South Korea & Japan

South Korea & Japan

Alluring South Korea and Japan await on this small-group, 14-night adventure that features the highlights of Seoul, Busan, Kyoto and Tokyo! Experience Japan’s blend of Eastern traditions and Western modernity, and travel on a high-speed bullet train. Witness amazing ancient palaces, shrines, temples and pagodas. Experience South Korea’s local life and traditions first-hand and visit the UN Memorial Cemetery. Plus, explore the Osaka World Expo 2025! This deluxe adventure includes a generous meal plan.

Trip Itinerary:

August 12 In Transit

In Transit

August 13 Depart gateway city | Seoul, South Korea

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Seoul, South Korea. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: ICN. Cross the International Date Line.

August 14 Seoul

Arrive at Incheon International Airport in Seoul. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area, retrieve your luggage and transfer to The Westin Josun Seoul and check in.

August 15 Seoul

Join a discussion about contemporary Korea before heading out to Gyeongbokgung Palace to experience the grandeur, history and cultural significance of this palace of the Joseon dynasty, where many kings were crowned. On a guided tour, explore the grounds filled with lotus ponds, pleasure gardens and ornate statues. While there, visit the National Folk Museum of Korea, dedicated to showcasing the folk history and traditional way of life in Korea. Continue to Bukchon Honok Village to visit this historic village dating back nearly 600 years and one of the only areas where you can see the hanok, traditional Korean wooden houses. After a group lunch, visit Namdaemun Market, where merchants have been selling items near this location since 1414. Stroll the dense maze of the market to peruse the stalls and experience daily life here. This evening, get to know your fellow travelers at the Welcome Dinner in the hotel.

August 16 Seoul

This morning, take a trip outside of Seoul to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the de facto international border that divides the Korean Peninsula into North and South Korea. Despite its name, the DMZ is one of the most militarized borders in the world, with troops, artillery, landmines, barbed wire fences and other fortifications. The DMZ remains a stark reminder of the unresolved conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Arter lunch at a local restaurant, return to Seoul and join a culinary experience to learn about the history of and how to make kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish that has designated as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and enjoy a tasting. Gather for dinner this evening.

August 17 Seoul

Today, visit Hwaseong Fortress, one of South Korea’s prized historical treasures. Located in the town of Suwon, just outside of Seoul, this UNESCO World Heritage site is the only remaining walled fortress in the country. It was constructed by King Jeongjo, king of the Joseon dynasty from 1777 to 1800, to honor the remains of his father, Crown Prince Sado. Built during the late 18th century, the fortress is considered an outstanding example of Korean military architecture, with its sturdy walls, watchtowers, command posts and gates. Back at the hotel, enjoy free time to explore Seoul on your own for the remainder of the day.

August 18 Seoul | Busan

This morning, board the KTX high speed bullet train on a journey from Seoul to Busan. These trains are known for their exceptional speed of up to 186 miles per hour, and their efficiency and punctuality. En route to your hotel in Busan, stop to visit Oryukdo Skywalk, opened in 2013 with the theme of "walking over the sky.” Iron columns were set up over a 115-foot-high coastal cliff, and a 49-foot glass bridge, comprised of 24 glass plates that connect the iron columns. Thrill to spectacular views over the Oryukdo Islands and the water below as you walk over the bridge with its transparent floor. The sea stretches out ahead of the skywalk, a perfect photo opportunity. Settle in and enjoy a group dinner this evening.

August 19 Busan

This morning, visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, related to the Goddess of Buddha and situated on the northeast coast of Busan, overlooking the East Sea (Sea of Japan). On a guided tour, take in the stunning views of the sea and surrounding area and appreciate the Korean Buddhist architectural elements and coastal aesthetics of the temple. Continue to visit the stunning, serene United Nations Memorial Cemetery, the only cemetery honoring UN Forces casualties of the Korean War. Stop for lunch together and then visit the Gamcheon Culture Village to see the brightly painted houses built in staircase fashion in the foothills this coastal mountain, earning the nickname “Machu Picchu of Busan.” The village has evolved into a vibrant art scene, where many of the alleys that cut through this community are decorated with murals and sculptures created by the residents.

August 20 Busan

Head out to explore the traditional markets of Busan this morning. Stop by Jagalchi, the largest seafood market in Korea. A popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, it offers a glimpse into everyday life in Busan and the importance of seafood in Korean cuisine. Continue to Gukje Market, also known as Nampodong International Market. One of the largest traditional markets in Busan, it is renowned for its diverse array of goods – everything from clothing, shoes, accessories and electronics to household items, souvenirs, antiques and traditional Korean goods. As you wander through both markets' maze of shops and stalls, you’ll encounter a vibrant atmosphere filled with the sights, sounds and smells of commerce. Enjoy the remainder of the day and evening at leisure.

August 21 Busan | Kyoto, Japan

After breakfast, check out and transfer to the Busan airport for your flight to Kyoto, Japan. Upon arrival, transfer and check in to the Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto. Get settled in and take the remainder of the day and evening to explore a bit and find lunch and dinner at your leisure.

August 22 Kyoto

Learn about the "A to Zen of Japanese Gardens of Temples" this morning before going to visit some of these inspiring landmarks. Marvel at the imperial Heian-jingū Shrine, a reproduction of the Heian-period imperial palace; the 1001 statues of Sanjūsangen-dū Temple; and the hilltop Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Enjoy a group lunch and then participate in a demonstration on Japanese sweet making, with a tasting.

August 23 Kyoto | Osaka World Expo 2025

Spend an exciting day exploring the 2025 World Expo in Osaka. See exhibits from around the world and their take on the theme: Designing Future Society for Our Lives. Explore this exciting, international event, representing nearly 200 countries—with innovative exhibits from around the world, immersive cultural experiences, art installations and groundbreaking architecture. Taste your way through lunch and dinner on your own by sampling from more than 50 global cuisines offered throughout the expo.

August 24 Kyoto

Today, visit Nijo Castle, an excellent example of Momoyama architecture, and Kinkakuji Temple, known for its stunning exterior covered in gold leaf. Your tour continues at Kitano-Tenmangū Shrine to see its trademark Plum Tree Garden and Sanko Gate, adorned with sculptures of the sun, moon and stars. Lunch is included during your excursion.

August 25 Kyoto | Tokyo

After breakfast, depart Kyoto this morning on a Japanese bullet train (Shinkansen) to Tokyo. Arrive and, en route to your hotel, drive through the chic, stylish Ginza shopping district. Check in to the hotel, settle in and enjoy lunch on your own. Gather for a group dinner this evening.

August 26 Tokyo

This morning, discover how modern Japanese businesses blend modern innovations with centuries-oContinue to the Tokyo National Museum to explore its comprehensive collection of art works and antiquities from Japan and other Asian countries. Next, visit the colorful gardens at the Imperial Palace to see its impressive guardhouses, moats and gates. During your excursion, stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Cap off today’s excursions with an immersive cultural highlight as you learn how to perform a traditional Japanese tea ceremony from a tea instructor.

August 27 Tokyo

Continue your explorations of Tokyo this morning, including a visit to Tokyo Skytree, one of the world’s tallest buildings. Then, experience the art of Taiko Drumming with a visit to a workshop. Learn about this sacred, ancient art form of percussion and take a turn at the drums yourself! Spend your final afternoon in Tokyo exploring the city on your own. This evening, raise a toast to your magnificent journey during a Farewell Dinner this evening at a local restaurant.

August 28 Toyky | Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, check out and transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Most flights arrive home on Day 18.


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