24 days Seoul to Osaka
24-day South Korea & Japan Tour
Start your epic tour travelling through the major regions, epic sites and hidden gems of South Korea, before jetting off to explore Japan’s rich culture, unique history and natural beauty.
Tick incredible destinations off your bucket list and go off-the-beaten-track to parts of South Korea you never knew you needed to see, every single day you’re there.From neon-lit metropolises to rolling countryside hills, long sandy beaches to temples in the mountains, and even a visit to the historic Demilitarized Zone. Fly across the sea to bustling Tokyo where you’ll continue your unforgettable adventure. Our adventure leaders will take you to the best spots in town and have you living life like a local. Find more details below or use the chat on the right hand of your screen to speak to one of our experts!
Including hostels, bath houses, temples & 1 night in a Ryokan
Bilingual Adventure Leaders in each city
All transport within Japan & South Korea as well as the flight between them.*
Itinerary & map
Day 1 – Seoul:
Get ready to start your South Korea adventure tour by meeting your guide and group at the hostel in the afternoon! Listen to a pre-departure brief as you find out everything you need to know about your trip. This is also an opportunity to get to know your fellow travelers over a Taekwondo Class and even learn some basic Korean phrases!!
After time spent exploring Myeongdong, make your way to the top of Namsan Mountain, where you can admire spectacular views of Seoul lit up at night. Recognised as the most popular location in Seoul for couples, wander through the ‘padlocks of love’ locked at the base of Seoul N Tower, representing visitors’ endless love! If you want an even better view of the city, you can head to the top of the Tower.
Later, hop on public transport back to the district of Myeongdong where your accommodation is located. Enjoy some time to stroll around and explore the area or get an early night ready for your first full day tomorrow!
Day 2 – Seoul:
Today, you will visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Climb aboard a bus, taking you an hour north of Seoul to Imjingak, where you’ll have the chance to grab some breakfast. Pay a visit to Dora Observatory where you can see the nearest North Korean villages through binoculars. If you’re lucky, you might even see some people in the streets. Next, descent into the 3rd Tunnel created by North Koreans, taking you as close as 170m to North Korea!
After, you will begin your journey back to Seoul and make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talk to a North Korean defector on the bus. Back in Seoul, try out a K-Pop Dance Class and then enjoy a night out in Hongdae, best known for its endless restaurant and bar options.
Day 3 – Seoul:
Today, you’ll wake up nice and early for a day exploring the ancient side of Seoul. Hop on the metro to Gyeongbokgung Palace where you’ll have the chance to watch the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony, before entering the palace itself. You can even do so in a hanbok (traditional Korean clothes) to get that additional historical experience! After, make your way to Bukchon Hanok Village, passing by the Blue House (South Korea’s White House) on the way. This was the official residence of South Korean Presidents until being recently opened to the public.
You’ll then be given time to explore Korea’s capital at your leisure. While your guides will have plenty of suggestions, you may wish to keep exploring the delights of Bukchon Hanok Village and Insadong Art Street before escaping the hustle and bustle of the city with a walk down the Cheonggyecheon stream, an area of tranquility and relaxation restored during an urban renewal project.
In the evening, you will have some free time to explore Seoul further. Walk around Insadong Hanok Street, immerse yourself in local life with a group dinner at a pojangmacha – or head back to Myeongdong for a night out on a pub crawl!
Day 4 – Seoul & Sokcho:
Check out of your accommodation and depart to Sokcho, in the north-eastern part of the country. Arrive at Seoraksan National Park in the late morning and pay a visit to Sinheungsa Temple. Embark on a hike to Ulsanbawi Rock for spectacular views over the national park. For those looking for a less challenging hike, you can hike the well-signed waterfall trail and board a cable car to another peak.
Refuel with some lunch back at the entrance of the park before taking the bus to Sokcho town. Here, you’ll travel on a gatbae to cross the river to Abai, a small village formed by North Korean refugees. Explore the historical village before climbing to the Lighthouse Observatory for incredible views of Seoraksan Mountain, the East Sea and Sokcho.
In the evening, enjoy a dinner with the rest of the group in and around the local fish markets. We’d recommend one of the most famous Korean fried chicken restaurants in the area, Manseok, known for its sticky sweet and sour boneless fried chicken.
Day 5 – Gyeongju:
Prepare to set off early as you take the bus along the East Coast to the former capital Gyeongju. Along the way, K-Pop enthusiasts will get to stop off and take a picture at Jumunjin Bus Stop, better known for featuring as the artwork to one of BTS’ releases.
Once you arrive in Gyeongju, prepare for an afternoon exploring by bike! First up, explore Cheonmachong Ancient Tombs, part of the Daereungwon Tomb Complex in Tumuli Park. Then, make your way to Cheomseongdae, the oldest existing astronomical observatory in East Asia.
Want to experience authentic Korean food? Have dinner at Dosol Maeul, a local restaurant serving traditional Korean set meals in an equally authentic environment! Later, why not take a stroll around to Anapji Pond for some amazing nighttime views of the palace? Be sure to pack your cameras because the lights are stunning!
Day 6 – Gyeongju:
Enjoy a free morning in Gyeongju ahead of your temple stay later on.
Perhaps you could start the day early with a visit to Bulguksa Temple, a UNESCO World Cultural Asset, or take the opportunity to have a lie-in. Grab a bite to eat for lunch in the city before transferring to Golgulsa Temple, where you’ll experience an overnight temple stay.
Upon arrival, check into the temple and start the day’s activities with a meditation class. Afterwards, try out the traditional arts Sunmudo and take part in the evening chanting service before sitting down to enjoy a simple Buddhist dinner of vegetables, rice and fruit with the other temple visitors.
Day 7 – Busan:
Wake up with the sunrise and take part in the morning chanting service and meditation, followed by starting the day right with a traditional breakfast.
After a relaxing morning, take the bus and make your way to Sin Gyeongju station where you’ll start your journey to Busan via high-speed train. Arrive quickly at your destination and board a privately hired bus to take you around for the day, starting with the unmissable Gamcheon Culture Village.
Hop back aboard your bus and head down to Songdo where you will board the Marine Cable Car and take in the impressive coastal views.
Following this, you will make your way to BIFF Square in Nampo-dong, home to the annual Busan International Film Festival, where you can try a variety of food options from local street vendors (but why not go for a Busan hotteok seeing as you’re in town?).
There’s also the nearby Jagalchi Market to explore, the biggest seafood market in South Korea. Wander through the bright and colourful stalls showcasing a huge variety of the day’s fresh catch.
Finally, head to your hostel in Haeundae where you will be given the evening to relax and unwind.
Day 8 – Busan:
You’ll spend your day exploring Busan. First up, visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a Buddhist temple nestled in the coastline’s cliffs.
Feeling in need of some more rejuvenation? Head to Spa Land in Centum City, located in Busan’s largest shopping complex! Make the most of South Korea’s high-quality jjimjilbang while you’re here and treat yourself to saunas, cold rooms, jacuzzis and more.
Finally, enjoy the evening with your fellow travelers trying local delicacies. Once the sun sets, be sure to admire the light show on Gwangan Bridge from the shore, or perhaps opt for an evening boat cruise around the bay.
Day 9 – Busan:
Enjoy a free morning to explore Busan – venture out on your own, or take part in some of our suggested activities. For example, you might enjoy a trip on the coastal railway, the Haeundae Blueline. Alternatively, you can visit the observatory of the second-tallest building in Korea and take in the views, or embark on the Igidae Coastal Walk and Oryukdo Skywalk. You may even just opt for a relaxing morning on the beach!
Later, you will collect your belongings from the hostel and make your way to the airport where you’ll catch a plane to Jeju Island. Once you’ve checked in at your accommodation in Seogwipo, feel free to spend your evening getting orientated in your new home!
Day 10 – Jeju Island:
Wake up on the wonderful island of Jeju and head to Jeongbang Waterfall. Start the day at the waterfall – the only one of its kind in Asia, this amazing natural wonder flows directly into the ocean. After this, you’ll embark on a trek along the beautiful Jeju Olle Trail.
Once the trek is completed, head to Seongsan Ilchulbong and enjoy a hike for some truly spectacular views across Jeju and out to sea. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a unique formation that was formed by hydrovolcanic eruptions over 5,000 years ago! Enjoy some time at the volcano, being sure to grab some photos, before you head to find something to eat. After that, your afternoon is your own. You can spend it at your leisure in the accommodation or on the beach, or you might opt to explore Jeju some more. Feel free to ask your Adventure Leader for recommendations!
In the evening, kick back with a barbecue dinner! Make the most of your time with your fellow travellers, as you may be saying goodbye to some of them tomorrow!
Day 11 – Jeju Island / Tokyo:
Make the most of your second morning in stunning Jeju by sailing out on a yacht to relax and enjoy the fresh sea air with your fellow Dragons.
This afternoon, you’ll bid farewell to your group in Korea and prepare to head to your next amazing destination in East Asia: Japan! You’ll arrive in Tokyo tonight, just in time to check in and get a good night’s sleep.
Day 12 – Tokyo:
First things first, this morning you’ll meet your new Adventure Leader for your Japan tour at the accommodation. After this, they’ll take you to grab an amazing view of the city at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
We hope you’re hungry, because it’s off to the Tsukiji Outer Market next – Japan’s ‘Food Town’. After having a look around, we recommend trying some of the freshest sashimi around! Once you’re nice and full, it’s time to get some steps in with a visit to the Asakusa district. Here, you’ll look around the stuning – and iconic – Senso-ji Temple.
If you’ve got some energy left after a busy day, you can opt to head to a try out a staple of Japanese culture – baseball! – at the local batting cages. Then, you might want to relax with a drink on nearby Hoppy Street, or take part in a little bit of shopping in the Shinjuku District.
Day 13 – Tokyo:
In the morning, you’ll discover the Japanese art of sushi-making with an unforgettable lesson from a sushi chef, and then sample your creations for lunch!
Later, you’ll visit Akihabara, Japan’s ‘Electric Town’ and hub of Anime. It’s also home to Japan’s most famous J-pop group, AKB48. You will find venues specialising in manga and games, including the Tokyo Anime Center. Here, you can take part in an optional ‘Made in Tokyo’ experience at one of the Akihabara’s maid cafes.
In the evening, you can head to Golden Gai and experience Japanese nightlife!
Day 14 – Tokyo:
Start the morning with a trip to the unmissable Tokyo Imperial Palace – an abundance of gardens and galleries, with guided tours and castle ruins. Surrounding the home of the Emperor, the grounds are perfectly maintained and are a top attraction for visitors to the capital. Here, you’ll learn more about why Japan’s Imperial Family is so unique.
It’s another afternoon of traditional-modern contrast in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. Your first stop will be Harajuku, which is Tokyo’s fashion district, you will encounter punks, goths, technicolour hair – anything goes in Harajuku. Take in the industrial vibes – and if you want, grab some hair dye and get involved!
After this, you will make your way to Shibuya to visit the Meiji Shrine. This shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.
Then, you’ll head to the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world and iconic landmark, Shibuya Crossing. This is where you will find the Hachiko Statue. After, why not stop by the Cat Café MoCHA to make some furry friends while enjoying a cup of tea and slice of cake?
If you want to experience some more nightlife, you can explore the streets of Roppongi. If not, you can have a relaxing evening at the hostel.
Day 15 – Tokyo:
First thing in the morning, head to Tokyo’s Iconic area Odaiba before walking onto Joy-polis! This indoor amusement park is produced by gaming company Sega, and features the most high-tech rides around. Enjoy your free time with a free rides ticket! Next, meet in front of the Love Sign by Aqua City, where you’ll then head to see the giant Gundam Statue!
After returning to the hostel, the rest of the day is yours. Your Adventure Leader can suggest some amazing activities for you, but you might want to head to the Asakusa District to visit the Sensoji Temple – Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple! If you’re a foodie, head to Tokyo’s Tsukiji Outer Market for the freshes sashimi around – but if you’re a veggie, ask your AL for guidance! For an amazing view of the Tokyo skyline, why not head up the Metropolitan Government Building?
Day 16 – Tokyo & Kamakura:
Off to a new destination: Kamakura! After breakfast in Tokyo, it’s time to say goodbye to the modern capital and hop on a train to Japan’s medieval center. Kamakura is a seaside Japanese city south of Tokyo. As the political centre of medieval Japan, today, Kamakura is a resort town with many Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines.
Upon arrival you have the option to rent a surfboard and head to the beach, as the hostel is moments away from the coast, or you can make the most of this opportunity to sunbathe. There are beachside bars where you can relax, enjoy a drink, and watch the sunset later on.
Later on, you will explore some of the town’s many ancient shrines, and then hike over to Kotoku-in Temple to marvel at the Great Buddha statue, which stands at nearly 45ft tall, even after a tsunami, and is made of solid bronze! Afterwards, you will hike to Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine or you can kick back in one of the many beach front bars and watch the sun go down.
Day 17 – Hakone:
Say goodbye to Kamakura as you hop on a series of trains and buses to Hakone station. When you arrive you will hike along the Old Tokaido and enjoy lunch near Moto-Hakone. Hakone used to be a checkpoint to control traffic along the Tokaido, the highway which linked Tokyo with Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period. Today, a passage of the old Tokaido is located along the shore of Lake Ashi.
Later, you will climb aboard a sightseeing cruise with a twist – it’s a pirate ship! From the deck of this ship, you’ll cross the Lake Ashi’s clear blue waters and, on a cloudless day, get an unforgettable view of the famous Mount Fuji.
You’ll take the Hakone Ropeway for a great cable car journey that drops you at Owakudani, an active volcanic zone where you can try black eggs – a local delicacy coloured by the sulphuric water they’re boiled in.
Spend the evening soaking in the sulphuric water of a traditional Japanese outdoor bath, called an ‘Onsen’. (Please note: those with tattoos may not be able to enter an ‘onsen’ in Japan as tattoos are associated with gang culture – you can read more about it here)
Change into your kimono after a long hot bath ready to learn about the art of Japanese rice wine during a Sake tasting session! You’ll listen to an introduction about how sake is made, the different varieties and top it off with tasting opportunities to truly understand the art.
Day 18 – Kyoto, Arashiyama
Next, you’re off to Kyoto via bullet train. You’ll zoom across the country, covering around 273 miles in two hours, leaving plenty of time to experience Kyoto later in the day and evening.
After leave your Luggage at the hotel departure to Kiyomizu Temple which one of the most Iconic Buddhist Temple in Japan also chosen by Unesco as world heritage site.
Then free time in Gino Area. You can wander through Pontocho alley in the Geisha District.
In the evening you have option to explore city centre of Kyoto or return to the Hostel with the group.
Day 19 – Kyoto:
Spend the morning on the Hozugawa River Cruise.
Then Arrive at Togetsukyo Bridge and Head across to the Arashiyama Monkey Park, where you can feed monkeys or simply enjoy the panorama of Kyoto below.
After optional lunch, pay a visit to Tenryu-Ji Temple to see breath taking Zen garden. After leaving the temple, hike through Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest.
Then, Departure to Kyoto city for Calligraphy Class
Evening is Karaoke!
Day 20 – Kyoto:
Take a breather and relax your vocal cords after the previous night’s exertions – you have a free day to enjoy!
If you feel you have the energy, we would suggest taking a look at the majestic temples that adorn the Philosopher’s path.
Alternatively, you could check out the Todaiji Temple and deer Park in Nara and Fushimi Inari Shrine for thousands of red torii gate which is at southern part of Kyoto.
Day 21 – Kyoto & Hiroshima:
Today you will cycle around Kyoto like a local! First, you’ll ride over to a Zen temple where you can discover your inner peace with meditation led by a Buddhist monk.
Continuing your Kyoto adventure, admire an iconic image of Kyoto: The Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-Ji. Walk around the mirror pond and prepare to be mesmerised by the shimmering golden reflection of the pavilion on the water.
After lunch, jump on your bike and cycle around to the Imperial Palace, before bidding farewell to this magical city. In the afternoon, you’ll take another bullet train and venture further west for Hiroshima.
Day 22 – Hiroshima:
Hiroshima, a modern city on Japan’s Honshu Island, was largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during World War II. Today, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park commemorates the 1945 event. Here, you will find out how this city came to suffer the consequences of the world’s first atomic bomb, but you will also learn that Hiroshima is now the standard bearer for a peaceful and nuclear-free world.
After a train ride and a short ferry trip to Miyajima Island, you’ll reach the Itsukushima shrine. To avoid angering the gods on the island, the main temple buildings were built on stilts on the shores of the island. Just offshore, you will see an enormous torii gate standing in the sea. At low tide, you can walk across the sand to take a closer look.
Make your way back to the hostel and enjoy a free evening to relax.
Day 23 – Osaka:
Today, another bullet train will take you to Osaka – you’ll arrive in time for lunch in the Shinsaibashi area.
After enjoying your typically Japanese lunch of yakitori, ramen, sushi or whatever takes your fancy, it’s a short subway ride to the Osaka Castle. The castle is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks as it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the 16th century. Take a stroll around the castle that rises above the moat, and don’t forget to check out the 9-level dungeon.
Time for a free afternoon! You can choose to explore more of Osaka on your own, have the ultimate Japanese shopping experience in Shinsaibashi or have a rest.
Your evening you will start the night off by playing off to become The Dragon Trip Arcade Challenge Champion, or eat, drink, game and enjoy the endless Dotonbori and Namba night scenes.
Tonight, you will sleep at a capsule hotel – small, private and quintessentially Japanese.
Day 24 – Osaka:
Say goodbye to your fellow Dragons over breakfast in Osaka before catching your final bullet train back to Tokyo – where you’ll arrive at 13:42pm.
South Korea Included Activities:
- Taekwondo Class (Seoul)
- Tour around the DMZ, including Dora Observatory, tunnels, and Q&A with North Korean defector (Seoul)
- K-Pop Class (Seoul)
- Visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace (Seoul)
- Visit to Seoroksan Park, including Bisundae and Keumganggul Cave, waterfalls, and Ulsanbawi Rock (Sokcho)
- Gatbae boat & visit to Abai Village (Sokcho)
- Traditional liquor tasting (Sokcho)
- Cycling tour of Gyeongju (Gyeongju)
- Visit to Chunmachong Ancient Tombs in Daereungwon Tumuli Park (Gyeongju)
- Visit to Cheomseongdae (Gyeongju)
- Golgulsa Temple stay (Gyeongju)
- Traditional vegetarian dinner & breakfast (Gyeongju)
- Sunmudo training session (Gyeongju)
- Buddhist meditation session (Gyeongju)
- Private day tour of Busan, including Gamcheon Village, Songdo Marine Cable Car, and BIFF Square entertainment area (Busan)
- Visit to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (Busan)
- Hike to summit of Seongsan Ilchulbong (Jeju)
- Yacht sailing tour (Jeju)
- Half-day nature hike in Jeju Island (Jeju)
- Farewell BBQ dinner (Jeju)
- Domestic flight from Jeju Island to Seoul
- International flight from Seoul to Tokyo
Japan Included Activities:
- Panoramic city views from the Metropolitan Government building (Tokyo)
- Tsukiji Outer Market (Tokyo)
- Asakusa district and Sensoji Temple (Tokyo)
- Sushi-making class (Tokyo)
- Explore Akihabara (Tokyo)
- Tokyo Imperial Palace Nijubashi Bridge (Tokyo)
- Imperial Palace East Gardens (Tokyo)
- Head to Meiji Shrine (Tokyo)
- Visit the famous Shibuya Cross and Hachiko statue (Tokyo)
- Visit the Daibutsu Buddha located in the Kotoku-in (Kamakura)
- Hike to Zeniairai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine (Kamakura)
- Hike along the Old Tokaido (Hakone)
- Take the Hakone sightseeing cruise from Moto-Hakone to Togendai (Hakone)
- Ride the ropeway to Owakudani (Hakone)
- Soak in a traditional Japanese Bath, called an Onsen (Hakone)
- Sake tasting session, only for travellers aged 20+ (Hakone)
- Kiyomizu Dera (Kyoto)
- Take a cruise down the Hozugawa River (Kyoto)
- Visit the Iwatayama Monkey Park (Kyoto)
- Tenryuji Temple (Kyoto)
- Walk through Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (Kyoto)
- Cycling city tour (Kyoto)
- Daisen-in Temple: Meditation class (Kyoto)
- Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji (Kyoto)
- Calligraphy class (Kyoto)
- Visit the Peace Memorial Museum (Hiroshima)
- Day trip to Miyajima island (Hiroshima)
- The Great Torii (Hiroshima)
- Osaka Castle (Osaka)
The use of Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is prohibited during activities organized by The Dragon Trip. If you are in possession of a drone when entering the country it is your responsibility to be informed of and follow all local laws. This may include registering your drone with authorities. If you violate this policy or operate a drone illegally you are subject to removal from the tour as per our terms & conditions.
A deposit is required to make a reservation on our Japan and South Korea tours, with the balance due 70 days prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply).
The deposit is 10% of the group tour price (unless stated otherwise). If you book on to our Japan and South Korea tours less than 70 days prior to departure, the full balance will be due within 3 days of booking.
No bookings can be accepted within 40 days of a trip departure date.
The price of a single room upgrade for the trip is £1,075 and a double room upgrade is £1,110 per room (£555 per person). Please note that accommodation upgrades are not available in Hakone and Osaka.
*Flight from Jeju to Tokyo:
Please note that as it currently stands, direct flights between Jeju Island and Tokyo are not available. Depending on the airline, travellers may need to change for a connecting flight at either Busan or Seoul. This will be confirmed closer to your departure date, but this change to the travel time means that passengers can currently expect to arrive in Tokyo in the evening. Once direct flights resume, we will aim to revert back to this.