SEOUL 72ºF - 75ºF
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 72ºF - 75ºF
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 72ºF - 75ºF - SUWON 72ºF - 73ºF - JEONJU 75ºF - 75ºF
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 75ºF - 75ºF - HAEINSA - DAEGU 70ºF - 70ºF - BUSAN 72ºF - 72ºF
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 72ºF - 72ºF - 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 79ºF - 79ºF - IWAKUNI 82ºF - 82ºF - ITSUKUSHIMA - HIROSHIMA 81ºF - 86ºF
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 81ºF - 86ºF - MATSUYAMA 81ºF - 81ºF
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 81ºF - 81ºF - KOTOHIRA 75ºF - 77ºF - TAKAMATSU 77ºF - 81ºF - NARUTO 75ºF - 81ºF - KOBE 72ºF - 82ºF
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 72ºF - 82ºF - OSAKA 81ºF - 84ºF - 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 72ºF - 82ºF
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 72ºF - 82ºF
After breakfast, end of our services.
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