How to Plan A Trip to South Korea & Japan: Tour Idea for 12 Days

How about a multi-country journey that blends the best of South Korea and Japan? Explore the vibrant streets of Seoul and the ancient marvels of Gyeongju, then discover the modern allure of Tokyo and the timeless charm of Kyoto. Let this South Korea and Japan trip idea inspire your Asia tour.

As neighboring countries, Japan and South Korea boast a similar climate distinct by their seasons, which means these two destinations almost share the same optimal time for travel. Since both Japan and South Korea are year-round destinations, the best timing for your trip to South Korea and Japan mainly depends on your preferences and desires.

For those looking for a fresh experience or something romantic, the cherry blossom season from March to May is recommended, or experience the passion of summer from June to August with excellent coastlines in both Japan and South Korea. September to November is perfect for relaxing walks and enjoying the autumn colors, while December to February offers a festival atmosphere to enjoy all kinds of snow activities.

However, keep in mind that winters in South Korea can be slightly cooler than in Japan, and both countries experience increased rainfall during the hot months of July and August. Though it won't interrupt your journey. For those seeking pleasant weather to travel with, spring and autumn will be your best times to explore both South Korea and Japan.

Fall Foliage in JapanFall Foliage in Japan

Seoul

The special city of Seoul stands out as a vibrant city, serving as a national hub for music, entertainment, and cultural industries. It's the birthplace of trendy K-pop and the Korean Wave, as well as the ancient capital housing the Five Grand Palaces.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, SeoulGyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongju

From the Anapji Pond to the Bell of King, from Yangdong Folk Village to Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju is one of the best cities to discover the thousand-year-old history of Silla, a huge open-air museum without walls that hosts various festivals and events to bring its history to life.

Bulguksa Temple, GyeongjuBulguksa Temple, Gyeongju

Tokyo

When it comes to a city that epitomizes Japan, Tokyo is a must-visit destination. With bustling streets that never sleep and tranquil shrines, temples, parks, or museums to showcase the culture of this country, Tokyo has something for every traveler.

Akihabara, TokyoAkihabara, Tokyo

Kyoto

Explore Kyoto, a city of elegant shrines and ancient temples that offer a glimpse of authentic Japan. Step back in time to the Edo period by donning a kimono and taking part in traditional tea ceremonies, indulging in kaiseki cuisine, enjoying performances at the Kabuki Theatre and more.

Kiyomizu-dera, KyotoKiyomizu-dera, Kyoto

From west to east, from Seoul to Tokyo, let this below 12-day sample itinerary idea take you through the highlights of South Korea and Japan.

DayThings to DoOvernight
Day 1Arrival in SeoulSeoul
Day 2Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Namsan Tower, Gwangjang MarketSeoul
Day 3Cheonmachong Tomb, Cheomseongdae ObservatoryGyeongju
Day 4Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram GrottoSeoul
Day 5Free DaySeoul
Day 6Arrive in OsakaKyoto
Day 7Nijo Castle, Nishiki Market, Kiyomizu-deraKyoto
Day 8Nara Park, Fushimi Inari ShrineKyoto
Day 9ArashiyamaTokyo
Day 10Meiji Shrine, Senso-jiTokyo
Day 11Mt. Fuji Day Tour, Arakurayama Sengen Park, Lake KawaguchiTokyo
Day 12Departure Japan - End of Trip-

Day 1 - 2 Seoul, South Korea

Let your journey begin in South Korea, starting in Seoul, where you'll sync with the vibrant pulse of this special city, delving into both its pop culture phenomena and its magnificent cultural heritage.

Experience the majestic beauty of Gyeongbokgung Palace even after nightfall, followed by a culinary adventure of authentic Korean flavor at Gwangjang Market, after a leisurely stroll through the traditional houses along the charming Bukchon Hanok Village.

Gyeongbokgung PalaceGyeongbokgung Palace

Day 3 - 4 Gyeongju, South Korea

Allow the captivating night vista from Namsan Tower to paint the backdrop for your dreams, preceding a two-day exploration of the open-air museum that is Gyeongju.

Here, immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Silla Kingdom, visiting the Buddhist-styled Bulguksa Temple, the ancient observatory of Cheomseongdae, the intricately designed Royal Burial Grounds, and the picturesque Anapji Pond - a perfect setting for timeless memories.

Anapji Pond in WinterAnapji Pond in Winter

Day 5 Seoul, South Korea

Set aside a leisurely day in Seoul to bid farewell to South Korea before embarking on the next leg of your journey to Japan. Explore the eclectic array of shops and boutiques in Myeongdong to fulfill your shopping desires, where you can also drop by the Myeongdong Cathedral or catch a show at the Nanta Theater. Alternatively, venture north to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for a unique and memorable experience.

MyeongdongMyeongdong

Day 6 - 8 Kyoto, Japan

Board the westbound flight landing in Osaka, one of your gateways to travel through Japan with its extensive transport network to benefit from, which means there is still much time before your night in Kyoto to take in the ironic Osaka Castle with tasty takoyaki and wander along the Dotonbori accompanied by the smells of Japanese-style street food.

Experience the contrast between the black Nijo Castle and the traditional white and red temples, which also offer stunning views of the cherry blossoms by day and night. Wander Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka in a kimono and clogs, soaking in the historic atmosphere leading to Kiyomizu-dera. Traverse the countless torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine and listen to the serene harmony of wind and bamboo in Arashiyama.

OsakaDotonbori, Osaka

Day 9 - 10 Tokyo, Japan

In just a 3-hour Shinkansen ride, you'll reach Tokyo, the heart of the Kanto region. Begin with a tranquil moment at Meiji Shrine, surrounded by lush forest. Explore the serene Japanese-style garden at the East Garden of the Imperial Palace. Then, greet the iconic Kaminarimon gate at Senso-ji, where vibrant streets offer fresh finds to explore.

Senso-jiSenso-ji

Day 11 Mt. Fuji, Japan

As one of the best spots to capture the whole mountain, extend your stay at Arakurayama Sengen Park to fully admire the majestic mountain and its lovely snow-capped peak. Ascend to the top to marvel at the distant mountain with the five-story pagoda amidst cherry blossoms or autumn foliage.

Afterward, enjoy a leisurely boat ride on Lake Kawaguchi, and let the tranquil reflections of the mountain and sky be your gift to farewell this Asia journey between Japan and South Korea.

Mt. FujiMt. Fuji

Journey Through Asia With Odynovo

A multi-country tour promises fresh experiences, allowing you to delve into each destination's authenticity and grasp the essence of its allure. For further inspiration ideas and possibilities in planning your journey through these captivating Asian countries, don't hesitate to reach out to Odynovo for your dream tour!

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