SEOUL 43ºF - 46ºF
Welcome to Korea! Transfer to hotel in group transport. Meeting with your guide. At the end of the afternoon, we are going to enter this fascinating country and with our guide we will go on the modern and efficient underground (we will be taught to use this public transport) to City Hall to see this building shaped like a tsunami. In front of the City Hall, we will also see the Deoksugung Palace, which is lit up at night and which allows us to appreciate the tradition and modernity of this country together. On foot, we will then go from here to the district of Myeongdong, the largest and busiest shopping area in Korea. Its name means “brilliant tunnel”. Dinner included in a local restaurant. Accommodation.
SEOUL 43ºF - 46ºF
Today we include a tour of the city of Seoul lasting five hours. We will see Changdeokgung Palace. This is a World Heritage Site formed by a group of palaces inside a large park. After the visit, we will go to Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional historical neighbourhood with tiny houses. Afterwards we will visit the War Memorial, an impressive war museum that tells of the different conflicts suffered by Korea during its history, particular the Korean War with the United Nations in which soldiers from many different countries took part. We continue to the Gangnam District, one of the busiest areas of the city, where there are numerous shopping and leisure centres. To finish, we stop at LOTTE WORLD TOWER, an impressive 550 m building where there will be time to climb the tower (entrance not included) or stroll in the park or around the luxury shopping centres. Lunch included in a local restaurant. Return to the centre and free time.
SEOUL 43ºF - 46ºF - SUWON 37ºF - 45ºF - JEONJU 45ºF - 45ºF
Today we include in Seoul the Gyeongbokgung Palace, an impressive palace that is 600 years old, where we will see the Changing of the Guard ceremony (if scheduled). Our next stop is the city of SUWON, former capital of Korea, a World Heritage Site famous for its walls Heritage of Mankind. We will see the impressive wall with its fortifications and will visit Hwaseong Haenggung, the summer palace. Lunch included in a local restaurant. We continue to JEONJU, where we will see its fascinating old town (Hanok Village), with its tiny houses, traditional shops and art galleries.
JEONJU 45ºF - 45ºF - HAEINSA - DAEGU 41ºF - 41ºF - BUSAN 52ºF - 52ºF
Amidst impressive mountain forest scenery, we come to HAEINSA, a Buddhist temple built in the year 802 where we discover the Tripitaka, the most complete collection of Buddhist texts engraved on 80,000 blocks of wood. We will visit the temple and the museum on the Tripitaka. We go on to DAEGU where we see the market of traditional medicines with its different herbs, and especially ginseng, and the Museum of Oriental medicine. Lunch included. We come to BUSAN. We are in the second largest city in Korea, full of life. Time in the fantastic Doosan Haeundae complex with its more than 300 m skyscraper and its sports marina. Accommodation.
BUSAN 52ºF - 52ºF - FERRY BUSAN SHIMONOSEKI
Day in BUSAN. We are going out to the city of Busan to visit HAEDONG YONGGUNG, 14th century Buddhist temple located by the sea. Return to Busan. We see the memorial to the United Nations with its cemetery were people from numerous countries are buried. We approach the largest fish market in the country, which is alongside Nampo port. Lunch included. Then we walk from there to Yongdusan park with its immense 120 m pagoda. Afternoon free. Night on a ferry, expected departure at 21.00hrs, crossing the sea of Japan in double cabins with bathroom.Note: Due to the ferry´s limited capacity in double cabins, we will sometimes take a fast ferry leaving Busan at 15:00 hrs. and arriving in FUKUOKA at 18:30 hrs. (border crossing, free time in Fukuoka and hotel accommodation).
FERRY BUSAN SHIMONOSEKI - SHIMONOSEKI 55ºF - 55ºF - IWAKUNI 50ºF - 50ºF - ITSUKUSHIMA - HIROSHIMA 48ºF - 50ºF
We dock at the port of Shimonoseki at 08.00hrs (breakfast not included) and cross the border. We then depart for IWAKUNI, a small city where we will stop to admire the beautiful historic Kintai-Kyo Bridge. We then continue to Miyajimaguchi where we take a ferry to Miyajima, the island “where men and Gods live together in peace”, with its Itsukushima shrine dedicated to the guardian of the seas, built partly over the sea. Here we have time to visit the temple, stroll through its attractive centre and have lunch. Then we continue to HIROSHIMA, sadly famous as the site where the atomic bomb fell in 1945, which destroyed the whole city. We will visit the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic bomb dome and the impressive Peace Memorial Museum. Dinner included.
HIROSHIMA 48ºF - 50ºF - MATSUYAMA 52ºF - 52ºF
Today we will take a ferry to Shikoku Island, on a pleasant crossing that lasts two hours and a half and see the many islands that make up Japan. In MATSUYAMA we will take the cable car up to its impressive castle. Afterwards, we will visit ISHITEJI, a beautiful Buddhist temple and a place of pilgrimage. Lunch included. In the late afternoon, we will visit DOGO ONSEN (admission included), a traditional Japanese bath facility built in the 19th century.
MATSUYAMA 52ºF - 52ºF - KOTOHIRA 45ºF - 48ºF - TAKAMATSU 46ºF - 50ºF - NARUTO 46ºF - 48ºF - KOBE 45ºF - 48ºF
We depart for KOTOHIRA, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the God of sailors and a place of pilgrimage. The shrine stands on Mount Zosu and is reached by climbing 785 steps. Afterwards in TAKAMATSU we will visit RITSURIN, one of the prettiest gardens in Japan. Lunch included. Then, in NARUTO, we cross an impressive bridge over the sea, stopping on the way to admire the construction and walk on its glass floor with the sea 45 metres below us. Our road is surrounded by beautiful scenery and then crosses long bridges between islands over the sea. Arrival in KOBE, accommodation.
KOBE 45ºF - 48ºF - OSAKA 46ºF - 48ºF - MOUNT KOYA
In Kobe we visited the Earthquake Memorial Museum, a place to remind the tragic seism that devastated the city in 1995 and its perfect reconstruction. Note: On some dates, the Earthquake Museum may be changed for the Sake Museum or a climb up Kobe Tower. We go on to Osaka. We will depart from this city to visit, MOUNT KOYA, one of Japan’s sacred mountains and Japan’s main centre of Shingon Buddhism. There are 120 shrines and monasteries on this mountain which is a magical place of pilgrimage. We will visit Okuno Mausoleum, a spiritual place and an immense cemetery in the wilderness that has more than 200,000 graves. We will visit Kongobuji temple, built in 1593. We will spend this night at a Buddhist monastery. The monks will offer us a Zen meditation session (Ajikan). Dinner included (vegetarian food). There is religious ceremony at the temple early in the morning if you wish to attend it. Note: We consider the sojourn at the monastery as an experience of great existential value. The rooms at this place are modest, without bathrooms, in the traditional Japanese style with tatamis. Bathrooms are communal.
MOUNT KOYA - KYOTO 46ºF - 48ºF
Japanese breakfast at the temple. Then we leave early for KYOTO, to spend the whole day in the city, which was the capital of Japan between 794 and 1868 and home to the Imperial Court. During World War II the city was the only major Japanese to escape the bombardments, and so it still preserves its wealth of artistic heritage; the famous protocol restricting greenhouse gas emissions was signed in Kyoto in 1997. The visit includes a trip to one of the most important parts of the city. We will see the marvellous Shinto Shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji temple, “the golden pavilion” and its wonderful gardens. Free time before visiting GION, a busy traditional quarter famous for its Geisha. Free time. Note: If you already visited Kyoto on your circuit, our guide will offer you information and advice on visiting the other parts of the city unaccompanied.
KYOTO 46ºF - 48ºF - TOKYO 45ºF - 50ºF
After breakfast transfer to the station to take the BULLET TRAIN to Tokyo. Arrival to Tokyo after almost 500 km in just over two hours.Late in the afternoon, we will pay a visit to this fascinating city by taking a trip on the metro (tickets included) to the Shinjuku district and see the crowds of people who use this modern and efficient collective transport system. Shinjuku is one of the most important nightlife districts. Dinner included and return to hotel.
TOKYO 45ºF - 50ºF
In the morning, we take part in a 5-hour trip with our guide to see this amazing city, with its hustle and bustle and extremely modern districts that coexist with quiet, peaceful areas. Brief stop at the Zojoji Temple to make a beautiful photograph of the Tokyo Tower. Pay attention to the hundred of Jizos, stone traditional protecting deities who guide us on our travels, give power to those who are weak (such children) and those in dangerous places, and who are dressed including hats, robes and windmills. Then we head to the junction of Shibuya, a junction that is said to be the most crowded in the world. The Meiji Temple is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, his wife, and their spirits. We continue on our bus along the elegant street of Omotesando. We will edge the most beautiful part of the Imperial Palace and the gardens. Stop to visit the famous Nijubashi Bridge. We will pass through the district of Akihabara, the “electric town” with icons from the popular Japanese Manga and Anime culture and then see Kokugikan, the Sumo stadium, home of this Japanese sport. We will also visit the Buddhist temple of Sensoji, the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo, with its 55-metre high pagoda. Then we will have some free time to visit the traditional commercial street of Nakamise in the district of Asakusa. Lunch included in a local restaurant. Return to hotel.Free time in the afternoon. NOTE: During the Japanese Olympics, accommodation may be given near Narita airport.
TOKYO 45ºF - 50ºF - NIKKO 46ºF - 46ºF - SENDAI 37ºF - 46ºF
We leave for NIKKO and arrive at this fantastic city at 10.30am. There we visit the impressive Nikko Toshogu Shrine with the room of the crying dragon. We will also visit the Taiyuinbyo Mausoleum, set in an impressive, peaceful site, followed by a walk near the river, in Kannanga Fuchi, under the watchful eye of hundreds of Jizo statues! Free time in the city centre before leaving for SENDAI, a modern, bustling city with over 1 million inhabitants. Passengers can explore the city and have dinner in its busy, thriving centre.
SENDAI 37ºF - 46ºF - MATSUSHIMA 43ºF - 43ºF - HIRAIZUMI 37ºF - 37ºF - MORIOKA 37ºF - 37ºF
We depart for the marvellous city of MATSHUSHIMA, on the “Thousand Islands” Bay in the Pacific Ocean and considered one of the most attractive cities in Japan. After arriving, we will visit a magnificent “tea house” overlooking the sea and enjoy a cup of traditional tea while our guide tells us about the city. Then we will go on a 50-minute cruise (included). Lunch included. We continue to HIRAIZUMI to visit its temples and the UNESCO World Heritage. In a first step we visit the magnificent Buddhist temples of Chusonji. We take time to relax in the gardens of Motsuiji temple, where passengers can take part in a Zen ceremony (admission included). Finally, we will know Site of Takkoku no Iwaya, carved in the rock in 801. We then carry on to MORIOKA, the pleasant capital of Iwate province, where we settle in at our hotel and have some free time to explore.
MORIOKA 37ºF - 37ºF - HIROSAKI 36ºF - 48ºF - AOMORI 45ºF - 48ºF - HAKODATE 52ºF - 52ºF
In a region of beautiful scenery, we travel to HIROSAKI, where we will visit its castle in a beautiful park where more than 2,500 cherry trees blossom in the spring. After this we go on to AOMORI, the provincial capital of the Bay of Mutsu. We will see the Nebuta Museum where we will learn about the Japanese traditional parties that remind us of carnival, with their painted and lit up floats. Lunch included in a local restaurant. Then we board the ferry to HOKKAIDO Island. The crossing takes just over three and a half hours. HAKODATE –Arrival-. Before going to our hotel, we will ascend Mount Hakodate, which has wonderful views. We make the descent by cable car. Time in the beautiful city pedestrian centre in which to admire the influence of other cultures in the city (Russian Orthodox and Christian churches).
HAKODATE 52ºF - 52ºF - ONUMA - NOBORIBETSU 46ºF - 46ºF - SAPPORO 45ºF - 48ºF
In the morning we visit the impressive and busy fish market. Then we climb the GORYOKAKU Tower with its impressive views, from where we can make out the star-shaped fortress of Hakodate. Then we will take a stroll through the castle area before continuing to ONUMA. Free time in this wonderful tourist site, with its countless small islands in which to explore the islands, go on a boat trip and have lunch included. In the afternoon our journey takes us towards the ocean and NOBORIBETSU, an impressive volcano site, where we can walk amidst geysers in Jigoku Dani (Hell’s Valley), admire the hot spring lake of Oyunuma and follow the path next to the hot spring to the site of the footbath.- Then we carry on to SAPPORO.- At the end of the day, we arrive at this beautiful city, the capital of North Japan.-
SAPPORO 45ºF - 48ºF
City tour (included) stopping at the clock tower and Odori Koen avenue-park, dominated by the telecommunications tower. We will see the beautiful Shinto shrine of Hokkaido Jingu. The visit includes a ceremonial Kito (prayer session) in which we give thanks for the journey. We will leave Sapporo, we know the HILL OF BUDDHA, new center of avant-garde architecture opened in 2015, the hill covered with lavenders keeps the giant statue of Buddha, in the complex we will also see the replica of the statues Moai (Easter Island). We then continue to OTARU, a small city with a European air and streets filled with shops, an old canal and tiny museums. Lunch included. We return to Sapporo at about 4.30 hrs. Free time in the afternoon.
SAPPORO 45ºF - 48ºF
After breakfast, end of our services.
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