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Japan & Korea

Tour departs: 05 November 2017
Tour length: 21 Days


Tour Departs: 05 November 2017.

Tour Length: 21 days.

Japan has lured untold numbers of adventurers since Marco Polo first introduced it to the world back in the 13th century. This is a land of cultural diversity reflecting its long, proud and sometimes violent history; colourful and inspiring natural attractions boasting many World Heritage Sites. The tour itinerary includes a comprehensive and varied range of sightseeing and events which will allow you to assimilate the diversity that makes up modern-day Japan.

Lying just a short distance across the Sea of Japan, Korea also entices visitors with its scenic beauty and unique cultural and historical heritage.  Throughout this beautiful natural landscape, there are numerous ancient temples and shrines, but while they treasure the past, the country is now a thriving modern society.

We have planned our tour for Autumn when the leaves of the maple trees and ginkgo trees turn red and yellow in concert presenting you with beautiful scenery at every turn.

Japan (14 Days) Highlights:

  • Tokyo,
  • Hakone
  • Hiroshima
  • Osaka
  • Kyoto, the ancient capital
  • Travel via the fast and efficient Bullet Train


Korea (7 Days) Highlights:

  • Seoul
  • A full day tour to the DMZ.
  • Gyeongju, known as the “museum without walls’
  • Busan, the port city
  • Haeundae Beach & Jagalchi Fish Market.



Sunday 05 November                                     Auckland – Tokyo

A morning departure from Auckland for Tokyo. Arrival time in Tokyo is late evening and we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 5 night stay.

Monday 06 November                                    Tokyo                                                                          (B,D)

A late start this morning for our city tour after our day of travelling. First stop is at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory where we enjoy the view of Tokyo from the 45th floor.  We visit the Shinto Mei Ji Shrine set in a forest of trees blocking out the noise of the city. In the afternoon, we drive through Shibya to the National Diet Building and then on to the Imperial Palace for a walking tour of the gardens.  On the way back to the hotel, we travel along the main street of the Ginza.  Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant where we enjoy Yakitori Dinner.

Tuesday 07 November                                     Tokyo – Nikko Excursion                                            (B)

After a hearty buffet breakfast, we head off on a full day coach excursion to the World Heritage site of Nikko at the entrance to the Japanese Alps.  We visit the much celebrated Toshogu shrine before lunching (Western) at a local restaurant.  Next stop is the breath-taking Kegon Waterfall and we enjoy a visit to the rural town of Lake Chuzenji followed by a return drive to Tokyo.

Wednesday 08 November                               Tokyo                                                                         (B,L)

An early morning start today as we take the local metro train for a short ride to Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s largest fish market.  You can try the sushi breakfast (optional) or more pastries. We then return to our hotel for the full breakfast. After breakfast we continue our tour of Tokyo, visiting the Edo Museum before proceeding to Asakusa for our rickshaw tour of Nakamise Arcade shopping street.  Lunch today will be Sukiyaki. We walk through Asakusa and board the Sumida River Cruise to Hamarikyu garden.  Our coach returns to the hotel via Shiodome and the Ginza district, making a stop for any travellers who want to explore on their own.

Thursday 09 November                                  Tokyo – Free Day                                                        (B)

We take a break today with a full day at leisure for independent activities – sightseeing, shopping, or maybe even a visit to Disneyland Japanese style.

Friday 10 November                                       Tokyo – Kamakura – Hakone                                      (B,L,D)

Today we travel by coach to the coastal town of Kamakura, which in 1192 was the political centre of Japan under the Minamoto Shogun.  We see the Tsurugaoka Hachgimangu shrine and visit the Great Buddha Statue.  We then transfer to Lake Ashi at the foot of Mount Fuji for a Japanese lunch at a local restaurant.  We enjoy a sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi to Hakone Station where we board the scenic cable car. At the end of the day, our coach delivers us to our hotel.  Our hotel resort has a choice of Japanese and western style rooms and has its own therapeutic hot springs, and a vast garden with spectacular views of Mt. Fuji.  Dinner is a traditional Japanese Kaisek-ryori, which is an artistic and gracious Japanese seasonal cuisine.


Saturday 11 November                                   Hakone – Hida Folk Village – Takayama                      (B,D)

Today we travel to Takayama and visit the Hida Folk Village, an open air museum exhibiting over 30 carefully preserved traditional farmhouses from the mountainous Hida region. Free time and a lunch break en route.  Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant where we enjoy Hida’s own beef raised in the meadows of Hida’s plateau, renowned for its quality and flavour.

Sunday 12 November                                     Takayama – Hiroshima                                               (B,L)

This morning we tour Takayama including the morning market and a visit to the Sannomachi District.  We then take the bullet train with traditional Ekiben lunch boxes, arriving at Hiroshima for a three night stay.

Monday 13 November                                     Hiroshima – Miyajima Excursion                                (B,D)

This morning we visit the island of Miyajima by ferry. Miyajima is one of Japan’s most sacred and beautiful locations.  We see Itsukushima shrine, built over water, and the floating Torii Gate.  Own arrangements for lunch and the afternoon is free at Miyajima before we take the ferry back to our hotel. This evening, enjoy dinner (oyster course) at a local restaurant.

Tuesday 14 November                                     Hiroshima Sightseeing                                                (B)

The morning is at leisure (own arrangements for lunch) before an afternoon tour of Hiroshima which includes a visit to Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum.  The Peace Memorial is grim in depicting the effects of the atomic explosion but inspiring in its aim of promoting peace and achieving a ban on nuclear weapons. We return to our hotel late afternoon.

Wednesday 15 November                               Hiroshima – Himeji – Osaka                                        (B,L,D)

This morning we take the bullet train to Himeji to visit the stunning Himeji (White Heron) Castle, the finest example of a traditional Japanese castle with its wooden structure, built in 1601.  After lunch, we board another bullet train to Osaka for our three night stay.  Tonight, we dine at a restaurant highlighting the regional specialty, Udonsuki, a rich hotpot dish containing an assortment of seafood, vegetable, and chicken.


Thursday 16 November                                  Osaka – Kyoto Excursions                                           (B,L)

A full day excursion to Kyoto, Japan’s ‘must see’ and most important historical and cultural city.  Enjoy the majestic Nijo Castle, the dazzling gold leaf Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, Kiyomizu & Ryoanji Temples and Zen Gardens with spectacular views. We enjoy tempura for lunch today. Late afternoon we return to Osaka.

Friday 17 November                                       Osaka – Nara                                                               (B,D)

This morning we take a half day tour to Nara, a place very close to the hearts of Japanese, the birthplace of what are now considered to be Japan’s traditional arts and crafts. We visit Todaiji Temple, the Great Buddha, (housed in the world’s largest wooden building) and the deer park. We return to Osaka where we have free time this afternoon. Tonight, we enjoy a farewell dinner together at a local restaurant, featuring Okonomiyaki, Japanese-style pancake.


Saturday 18 November                                   Osaka – Seoul                                                              (B,D)

Transfer to Kansai Airport this morning in time to join the flight to Seoul. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 2 night stay. This evening, we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Sunday 19 November                                     Seoul Sightseeing                                                        (B,L)

Today, we enjoy a full day sightseeing around the Korean capital. We pass the Cheong Wa Sae (The Blue House), the President’s residence. We visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the five grand palaces built by the last Korean dynasty. The palace includes the National Folk Museum which gives an insight into Korean culture, tradition and history. We enjoy a Korean-style lunch at a local restaurant and then travel to Insadong with its wonderful markets and shops. Time to explore the antique and craft alleys before we finish the day with a visit to Seoul Tower for panoramic views over the city.

Monday 20 November                                     Seoul to Gyeongju                                                       (B,L,D)

We leave Seoul this morning for a short three-day tour south into the countryside. We join the KTX train, the Korean equivalent to the Bullet train for the two-and-a-half-hour journey to Gyeongju, often referred to as ‘’the museum without walls”. On arrival we visit Gyeongju National Museum and Timuli Park where a number of tombs from the Silla period are located. Also in the park is picturesque Anapji Pond where royalty spent their leisure time. We finish the tour with a visit to Cheomseongdae Observatory, one of the world’s oldest scientific installations still in existence. Enjoy the Shabu Shabu dinner this evening.

Tuesday 21 November                                     Gyeongju to Busan                                                      (B,L,D)

We continue our sightseeing this morning visiting the UNESCO listed Bulguska Temple and Seokguram Grotto, one of Asia’s finest Buddhist shrines dramatically located on the slopes of Toham Mountain, looking out over the Sea of Japan. We then continue on to Busan, the country’s major port city, for an overnight stay. For a real taste of local life, we visit the Jagalchi Fish Market where fishermen sell their catch to locals. Test your bartering skills at Kukje Market with silk, clothing, handbags and so much more on offer. This evening, we enjoy a steak dinner.

Wednesday 22 November                               Busan to Seoul                                                                        (B,L)

This morning, we take a stroll along Haeundae Beach, a popular shoreline that includes Folk Square where traditional Korean games are played. We then visit Beomeosa Temple, Korea’s largest and one of Busan’s main attractions. Our last stop before lunch is Busan Tower for great views over the city’s port. This afternoon, we again join the KTX train for the 3-hour journey back to Seoul where we return to our hotel for a further 2 nights.

Thursday 23 November                                  Seoul – DMZ Tour                                                       (B,L,D)

Our last day features a full day excursion to the Panmungeon DMZ area, 45kms north of Seoul. The tour includes Imjingak Park and the Freedom Bridge; 3rd Infiltration Tunnel; DMZ Theatre and exhibition Hall; Dora Observation Post for a view into the reclusive North; Camp Bonifas for a slide show and briefing; JSA Tour including Freedom House, Conference Room and Bridge of No Return. At the completion of the tour, we return to Seoul and enjoy our final dinner together at a local restaurant.

Friday 24 November                                       Seoul – Auckland                                                         (B)

The morning is free and early this afternoon, we return to the airport in time to join our overnight flight to Auckland.

Saturday 25 November                                   Arrive Auckland

Arrival into Auckland is early morning. Journey’s End.







Tour Costs

Per Person Sharing Twin / Double Room – $15,650
Supplement For Single Room Accommodation – $3,350

Costs Include
  • Economy class air travel from the tours international departure point (upgrade to Business Class available at additional cost).
  • Prepaid government and airport security charges, fuel surcharges (as at 01/09/16).
  • First Class hotel accommodation.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary.
  • First Class train travel in both Japan and Korea.
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary.
  • English speaking local hosts and guides as appropriate.
  • Baggage handling of 1 suitcase per person.
  • Tips to local guides, coach drivers, cruise staff aboard.
  • Tour lead by a Maher Tour Leader.
Costs Exclude
  • Any meals and sightseeing not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Travel Insurance – advice and assistance offered.
  • Items of a personal nature eg room service, laundry, telephone calls etc).
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