33 days in South Korea & Japan Itinerary

33 days in South Korea & Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

33 days in South Korea & Japan Itinerary

Start: Anchorage, United States
+2
Drive + Fly + train:  29​h
1
Seoul, South Korea
— 4 nights
train:  2​h
2
Daegu, South Korea
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Busan, South Korea
— 5 nights
train:  3​h 15​min
4
Seoul, South Korea
— 1 night
Fly:  5​h 15​min
5
Osaka, Japan
— 4 nights
train:  30​min
6
Kyoto, Japan
— 4 nights
train:  2​h 45​min
7
Tokyo, Japan
— 5 nights
train:  3​h 15​min
8
Osaka, Japan
— 1 night
Fly:  5​h 15​min
9
Seoul, South Korea
— 2 nights
+2
train + Fly + Drive:  29​h
End: Anchorage, United States


Learn more about your trip

4
nights
Seoul, South Korea

Seoul ©
One of east Asia's major cultural and financial centers, Seoul boasts five World Heritage Sites and a huge selection of museums, temples, shrines, palaces, parks, gardens, and glass-and-steel skyscrapers.
Shop till you drop at Myeongdong Shopping Street and Creative Life Store KEY. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Mulhyanggi Arboretum and Hangang Park. When in Seoul, make a side trip to see Bucheon Sikmulwon in Bucheon, approximately 46 minutes away. There's still lots to do: explore the historical opulence of Gyeongbokgung Palace, take in nature's colorful creations at Changdeokgung Palace, don't miss a visit to Bukchon Hanok Village, and take a stroll through Insadong.

To find other places to visit, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Seoul route maker website .

Anchorage, USA to Seoul is an approximately 29-hour flight. Traveling from Anchorage to Seoul, you'll lose 18 hours due to the time zone difference. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Anchorage in May; daily highs in Seoul reach 75°F and lows reach 57°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Sun) early enough to take a train to Daegu.

Things to do in Seoul

Parks Neighborhoods Historic Sites

Side Trips

Mulhyanggi Arboretum, Bucheon Botanical Garden
Find places to stay May 5 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Gyeongbokgung Palace ©
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace ©
Changdeokgung Palace
Bongeunsa Temple ©
Bongeunsa Temple

4
nights
Daegu, South Korea

Daegu ©
The fourth-largest city in South Korea, Daegu sprawls out across a wide, flat valley overlooked by a sacred Buddhist mountain.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Bulguksa Temple and Cheomseongdae Observatory. Discover out-of-the-way places like Anapji Pond and Gyeongju National Museum. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Daegu: Upo Wetland (in Changnyeong-gun) and Gyeongju (Gyeongju National Park & Gyeongju Bird Park). Next up on the itinerary: browse the eclectic array of goods at Seomun Market and tour the pleasant surroundings at Gukchaebosang Memorial Park.

For ratings, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Daegu trip itinerary planning website .

You can take a train from Seoul to Daegu in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and flight; or drive. Traveling from Seoul in May, you will find days in Daegu are a bit warmer (81°F), and nights are about the same (58°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) so you can drive to Busan.

Things to do in Daegu

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Gyeongju, Upo Wetland
Find places to stay May 9 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Bulguksa Temple ©
Bulguksa Temple
Gyeongju National Museum ©
Gyeongju National Museum
Cheomseongdae Observatory ©
Cheomseongdae Observatory

5
nights
Busan, South Korea

Busan ©
The country's second city, Busan has often been referred to as South Korea's summer capital.
Visiting Haeundae Beach and Gwangalli Beach will get you outdoors. Your inner history buff will appreciate Beomeosa Temple and Sinseondae. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Busan: Ulsan (Ulsan Theme Botanic Garden & Seoknamsa Temple) and Oedo Botania (in Geoje). The adventure continues: enjoy the sand and surf at Dadaepo Beach, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Haedong Yonggung Temple, hunt for treasures at Jagalchi Market, and make a trip to Gwangandaegyo Bridge.

For maps, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Busan road trip app .

Traveling by car from Daegu to Busan takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Expect slightly colder weather when traveling from Daegu in May: highs in Busan hover around 75°F, while lows dip to 57°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Tue) so you can travel to Seoul.

Things to do in Busan

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Ulsan, Geoje
Find places to stay May 13 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Gwangalli Beach ©
Gwangalli Beach
Haeundae Beach ©
Haeundae Beach
Beomeosa Temple ©
Beomeosa Temple

1
night
Seoul, South Korea

Seoul ©
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Tue): examine the collection at Grevin Museum, look for gifts at Kyobo Book Store Gwanghwamun, then view the masterpieces at Insa Art Center, and finally buy something for everyone on your list at Times Square Mall. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: browse the eclectic array of goods at Majang Meat Market, take in nature's colorful creations at Namsan Park, and then indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink.

To see where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Seoul trip planner .

Getting from Busan to Seoul by flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a train; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Osaka.

Things to do in Seoul

Shopping Tours Museums
Find places to stay May 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Kyobo Book Store Gwanghwamun ©
Kyobo Book Store Gwanghwamun
Grevin Museum ©
Grevin Museum
Insa Art Center ©
Insa Art Center

4
nights
Osaka, Japan

Osaka ©
Proud of their hometown's distinct culture and dialect, many natives of Osaka describe their city as "Japan's anti-capital." An antidote to Tokyo's hectic energy, Osaka marches to the beat of its own drum, serving as the country's longtime commercial and industrial hub.
Head to Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Streetfor some retail therapy. Osaka Castle and Todai-ji Temple will appeal to history buffs. Change things up with these side-trips from Osaka: Nara (Kasuga Grand Shrine, Kazugayama Genshirin, & more) and Arima Onsen (in Kobe). It doesn't end there: take in the spiritual surroundings of Senko-ji Temple.

To see other places to visit, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Osaka trip app .

Getting from Seoul to Osaka by flight takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of car and ferry. In May, plan for daily highs up to 77°F, and evening lows to 60°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Sun) to allow enough time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Osaka

Parks Historic Sites Nature

Side Trips

Nara, Arima Onsen, Nanshuji Temple
Find places to stay May 19 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Kasuga Grand Shrine ©
Kasuga Grand Shrine
Arima Onsen ©
Arima Onsen

4
nights
Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto ©
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
Do your shopping at Nishiki Market and Fuuka-Kimono. Get outdoors at Kanabiki Waterfall and Fukuchiyama City Zoo. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Kyoto: Omimaiko Beach (in Otsu) and Mt. Matsuo (in Sekigahara-cho). There's lots more to do: step into the grandiose world of Nijo Castle, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Ginkaku-ji Temple, identify plant and animal life at Yase Momiji no Komichi, and contemplate the waterfront views at Kamogawa River.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Kyoto vacation planner .

Kyoto is just a short distance from Osaka. In May, daily temperatures in Kyoto can reach 77°F, while at night they dip to 59°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Thu) so you can travel to Tokyo.

Things to do in Kyoto

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Fukuchiyama City Zoo, Mt. Matsuo, Lake Biwa, Omimaiko Beach, Kanabiki Waterfall
Find places to stay May 23 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle
Sanjusangendo Temple ©
Sanjusangendo Temple
Mt. Kurama ©
Mt. Kurama

5
nights
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo ©
Tokyo holds the status of most populous metropolitan area in the world--a fact you'll find tangible as you walk the bustling streets and explore its diverse neighborhoods and cultures.
Visiting Pola Museum of Art and Shirasato Central Beach will get you outdoors. Get some cultural insight at Sensō-ji and Asakusa. Venture out of the city with trips to Koajiro Forest (in Miura), Kamiyatsuno Okusuu (in Ogose-machi) and Ikspiari (in Maihama). There's lots more to do: take a stroll through Odaiba, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Takao, examine the collection at Samurai Museum, and get to know the resident critters at Ueno Zoo.

To see reviews, maps, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Tokyo holiday maker site .

Getting from Kyoto to Tokyo by train takes about 3 hours. Other options: fly; or drive. In May, daily temperatures in Tokyo can reach 76°F, while at night they dip to 61°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Osaka.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Parks Shopping

Side Trips

Ikspiari, Kamiyatsuno Okusuu, Koajiro Forest, Pola Museum of Art, Shirasato Central Beach
Find places to stay May 26 — Jun 1:
Highlights from your plan
Pola Museum of Art ©
Pola Museum of Art
Senso-ji Temple ©
Senso-ji Temple
Odaiba ©
Odaiba

1
night
Osaka, Japan

Osaka ©
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Wed): get a taste of the local shopping with Hankyu Umeda Main Store and then wander the streets of Minami (Namba).

To see ratings, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Osaka vacation planner .

You can take a train from Tokyo to Osaka in 3.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 2nd (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Seoul.

Things to do in Osaka

Shopping Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Jun 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Minami (Namba) ©
Minami (Namba)

2
nights
Seoul, South Korea

Seoul ©
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Thu): pause for some photo ops at Statue of Sejong the Great, get engrossed in the history at National Museum of Korea, then get a taste of the local shopping with Namdaemun Market, and finally explore the galleries of Deoksugung. Keep things going the next day: explore the striking landscape of Bukhansan National Park.

To find photos and tourist information, refer to the Seoul trip site .

Fly from Osaka to Seoul in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of car and ferry. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Seoul

Parks Nature Museums
Find places to stay Jun 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Bukhansan National Park ©
Bukhansan National Park
Deoksugung ©
Deoksugung
Namdaemun Market ©
Namdaemun Market

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