43 days in Japan & South Korea Itinerary

43 days in Japan & South Korea Itinerary

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Route & dates

43 days in Japan & South Korea Itinerary

Start: Perth, Australia
Fly:  12​h 15​min
1
Miyakojima, Japan
— 2 nights
Fly:  2​h
2
Ishigaki, Japan
— 4 nights
Fly:  3​h
3
Naha, Japan
— 5 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
4
Kagoshima, Japan
— 2 nights
Train:  2​h 45​min
5
Hiroshima, Japan
— 3 nights
Train:  1​h 45​min
6
Kyoto, Japan
— 5 nights
Drive:  3​h
7
Nachikatsura-cho, Japan
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
8
Ise, Japan
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
9
Toyooka, Japan
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
10
Kanazawa, Japan
— 4 nights
Train:  2​h 30​min
11
Tokyo, Japan
— 5 nights
Fly:  6​h
12
Seoul, South Korea
— 5 nights
Train + Fly:  15​h 30​min
End: Perth, Australia

2
nights
Miyakojima, Japan

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Yonaha Maehama Beach, take a memorable tour with Tours, make a trip to East Henna Cape, then visit a coastal fixture at Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse, then enjoy the sand and surf at Aragusuku Beach, and finally take in the views from Kurima Bridge. On your second day here, kick back and relax at Sunayama Beach, make a trip to Ikema Ohashi Bridge, snap pictures at Irabu Ohashi, then get outside with Toguchi no Hama, and finally step off the mainland to explore Shimojiiima Island.

To see more things to do, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Miyakojima tour itinerary website .

Perth, Australia to Miyakojima is an approximately 12.5-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Australian Western Standard Time (AWST) to Japan Standard Time (JST) is 1 hour. When traveling from Perth in December, plan for slightly colder days and about the same nights in Miyakojima: temperatures range from 25°C by day to 20°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 1 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse ©
Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse
Sunayama Beach ©
Sunayama Beach

4
nights
Ishigaki, Japan

Ishigaki ©
Ishigaki, the most populous island in the chain, features the country's southernmost city and acts as a transport hub for exploring the landmasses that surround.
Explore hidden gems such as Cape Hirakubozaki and Canyoning & Rappelling Tours. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Island Countryside Settlement and Ishigaki Yaima Village. Change things up with a short trip to Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Iriomote-jima (about 1h 40 min away). There's much more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Kondoi Beach, get great views at Cape Ongazaki, enjoy breathtaking views from Tamatorizaki Observatory, and head outdoors with Yonehara Beach.

To find ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Ishigaki trip tool .

Fly from Miyakojima to Ishigaki in 2 hours. In December, daytime highs in Ishigaki are 26°C, while nighttime lows are 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Naha.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Iriomote-jima, Taketomi-cho, Island Countryside Settlement
Find places to stay Dec 3 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki
Island Countryside Settlement ©
Island Countryside Settlement
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach

5
nights
Naha, Japan

Naha ©
Naha, the capital of Okinawa, has deep roots: Stone Age relics have been found in the city, and through the Middle Ages it rose in importance in the Ryukyu Kingdom.
Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum and Himeyuri Peace Museum will appeal to museum buffs. Popular historic sites such as Nakijin Castle Ruins and Okinawa Peace Memorial Park are in your itinerary. Change things up with these side-trips from Naha: Onna-son (Cape Maeda & Scuba & Snorkeling), The Tower of Himeyuri (in Itoman) and Motobu-cho (Okichan Theater & Minnajima Island). And it doesn't end there: explore the historical opulence of Katsuren Castle Ruins, steep yourself in history at Sefa-Utaki, make a trip to Nakagusuku Castle Ruins, and get outside with Nishibama Beach.

To see ratings, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Naha route builder app .

Fly from Ishigaki to Naha in 3 hours. In December, daytime highs in Naha are 24°C, while nighttime lows are 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sat) so you can travel to Kagoshima.

Things to do in Naha

Historic Sites Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Zamami-son, Itoman, Motobu-cho, Nanjo, Onna-son
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Nakijin Castle Ruins ©
Nakijin Castle Ruins
Okinawa Peace Memorial Park ©
Okinawa Peace Memorial Park
Sefa-Utaki ©
Sefa-Utaki

2
nights
Kagoshima, Japan

Kagoshima ©
Kagoshima sits across the bay from Sakurajima, an active volcano that serves as a symbol of the city and works its way into many aspects of life here.
On the 13th (Sun), take in the pleasant sights at Sengan-en, then take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Shiroyama, then get engrossed in the history at Chiran Peace Museum, and finally enjoy breathtaking views from Shiroyama Observatory. On the 14th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: don't miss a visit to Kareigawa Station, contemplate the geological forces at Sakurajima, and then admire the masterpieces at Nagashima Museum.

For photos, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, read Kagoshima trip planner .

Fly from Naha to Kagoshima in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry. When traveling from Naha in December, plan for slightly colder days and colder nights in Kagoshima: temperatures range from 13°C by day to 3°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Mon) early enough to catch the train to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Kagoshima

Historic Sites Parks Museums

Side Trips

Kareigawa Station, Chiran Peace Museum
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Chiran Peace Museum ©
Chiran Peace Museum
Sengan-en ©
Sengan-en
Nagashima Museum ©
Nagashima Museum

3
nights
Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima ©
Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Yamato Museum and JMSDF Kure Museum. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims and The Cenotaph. Venture out of the city with trips to Hatsukaichi (Itsukushima Shrine, Itsukushima Shrine Torii, & more). And it doesn't end there: examine the collection at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, contemplate the long history of Atomic Bomb Dome, take in nature's colorful creations at Shukkei-en Garden, and don't miss a visit to Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima.

To see more things to do, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Hiroshima planner .

Take a train from Kagoshima to Hiroshima in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or drive. In December in Hiroshima, expect temperatures between 13°C during the day and 4°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Thu) to allow time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Hatsukaichi, Kure
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Yamato Museum ©
Yamato Museum
JMSDF Kure Museum ©
JMSDF Kure Museum

5
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.
Explore hidden gems such as Tofuku-ji Temple and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Do some cultural sightseeing at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Hikone Castle. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Kyoto: Osaka (Dotonbori & Osaka Castle) and Todai-ji Temple (in Nara). And it doesn't end there: steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, make a trip to Arashiyama, step into the grandiose world of Nijo Castle, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Ginkakuji Temple.

To find maps, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Kyoto online trip itinerary planner .

You can take a train from Hiroshima to Kyoto in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Kyoto can reach 13°C, while at night they dip to 4°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Tue) so you can go by car to Nachikatsura-cho.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping

Side Trips

Osaka, Todai-ji Temple, Hikone Castle
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Tofuku-ji Temple ©
Tofuku-ji Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple

2
nights
Nachikatsura-cho, Japan

Nachikatsura-cho ©
The town of Nachikatsuura-cho wows visitors with its superlative landscape and impressive cultural attractions.
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Wed): take in the spiritual surroundings of Kumano Hayatama Taisha, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kamikura Shrine, take in the dramatic scenery at Nachi Mitaki Falls, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Kumano Nachi Taisha, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hirou Shrine. Here are some ideas for day two: make a trip to Hashigui Rock, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Seigantoji Temple, and then don't miss a visit to Daimonzaka.

For other places to visit, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, use the Nachikatsura-cho trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Kyoto to Nachikatsura-cho takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Traveling from Kyoto in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Nachikatsura-cho, with lows of 8°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Ise.

Things to do in Nachikatsura-cho

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Shingu, Hashigui Rock
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Kamikura Shrine ©
Kamikura Shrine
Kumano Nachi Taisha ©
Kumano Nachi Taisha
Kumano Hayatama Taisha ©
Kumano Hayatama Taisha

2
nights
Ise, Japan

Ise ©
A spiritual center of Shintoism, Ise stands as a traditional city where visitors can see the roots of Japanese culture in a number of well-preserved natural and historic sites.
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Fri): take in the spiritual surroundings of Tsukiyominomiya, take in the spiritual surroundings of Ise Shrine Geku, take in the spiritual surroundings of Sarutahiko Shrine, steep yourself in history at Oharai-machi, then see the interesting displays at Okageza, and finally contemplate the long history of Hinjitsukan. On the next day, go for a walk through Ise Ninja Kingdom, then take an in-depth tour of Sengukan, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Ise Grand Shrine, and finally steep yourself in history at Jingu Chokokan Museum.

For photos, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Ise online driving holiday planner .

You can drive from Nachikatsura-cho to Ise in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Traveling from Nachikatsura-cho in December, expect nights in Ise to be about the same, around 9°C, while days are little chillier, around 11°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Toyooka.

Things to do in Ise

Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Ise Shrine Geku ©
Ise Shrine Geku
Oharai-machi ©
Oharai-machi
Sarutahiko Shrine ©
Sarutahiko Shrine

2
nights
Toyooka, Japan

Toyooka ©
A vacation in Toyooka lets you explore the UNESCO Global Geopark that completely surrounds the small town, notable for its scenic islands, rock formations, caves, and sand dunes.
On the 27th (Sun), test the waters at a local thermal spa, appreciate the extensive heritage of Street of Kinosaki Onsen, then see the interesting displays at Toyooka City Konotori Bunkakan, and finally steep yourself in history at Takeda Castle Ruins. Keep things going the next day: get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Kinosaki Marine World and then take in the views from Amarube Railroad Bridge, Sorano Eki.

For other places to visit, maps, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Toyooka trip planner .

You can drive from Ise to Toyooka in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train and flight; or take a train. Traveling from Ise in December, expect little chillier with lows of 3°C in Toyooka. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Mon) so you can drive to Kanazawa.

Things to do in Toyooka

Historic Sites Parks Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

Amarube Railroad Bridge, Sorano Eki, Takeda Castle Ruins
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Takeda Castle Ruins ©
Takeda Castle Ruins
Street of Kinosaki Onsen ©
Street of Kinosaki Onsen
Thermal Spas

4
nights
Kanazawa, Japan

Kanazawa ©
An old castle town largely unspoiled during World War II, Kanazawa features well-preserved architecture spread across a range of districts.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Daihonzan Eihei-ji Temple and Higashiyama Walking Course. Get a sense of the local culture at Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum and Ainokura Gassho Community. Venture out of the city with trips to Chirihama Nagisa Driveway (in Hakui), Takayama Jinya (in Takayama) and Maruoka Castle (in Sakai). Next up on the itinerary: wander the streets of Gokayama, admire the natural beauty at Kenrokuen Garden, don't miss a visit to The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses, and contemplate the long history of Higashichaya Old Town.

To find other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read our Kanazawa holiday planner .

Drive from Toyooka to Kanazawa in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or take a train. In December, plan for daily highs up to 11°C, and evening lows to 3°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) so you can take a train to Tokyo.

Things to do in Kanazawa

Historic Sites Parks Museums

Side Trips

Nanto, Shirakawa-mura, Takayama, Daihonzan Eihei-ji Temple, Maruoka Castle
Find places to stay Dec 28 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum ©
Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum
Daihonzan Eihei-ji Temple ©
Daihonzan Eihei-ji Temple
Ainokura Gassho Community ©
Ainokura Gassho Community

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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple and Samurai Museum. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Tokyo National Museum and Edo-Tokyo Museum. Venture out of the city with trips to The Hakone Open-Air Museum (in Hakone-machi) and Kamakura (Kōtoku-in, Hase-dera Temple, & more). There's lots more to do: take a stroll through Odaiba, don't miss a visit to Tokyo Tower, take in the spiritual surroundings of Senso-ji Temple, and get a sense of history and politics at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings.

For ratings, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Tokyo online visit planner .

Traveling by train from Kanazawa to Tokyo takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. When traveling from Kanazawa in January, plan for somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Tokyo: temperatures range from 11°C by day to 1°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Seoul.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Museums Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Kamakura, The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple ©
Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple
Hase-dera Temple ©
Hase-dera Temple
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum

5
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.
You'll explore and learn at Gyeongbokgung Palace and Deoksugung. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Hwaseong Fortress and DMZ Haemaru Village. There's much more to do: admire the landmark architecture of Changdeokgung Palace, appreciate the extensive heritage of Cheonggyecheon Stream, take in nature's colorful creations at Namsan Park, and take a stroll through Insadong.

For reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Seoul journey tool .

Traveling by flight from Tokyo to Seoul takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of train and ferry. Prepare for slightly colder weather when traveling from Tokyo in January: high temperatures in Seoul hover around 1°C and lows are around -7°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Seoul

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Parks

Side Trips

Hwaseong Fortress, DMZ Haemaru Village
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Gyeongbokgung Palace ©
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Hwaseong Fortress ©
Hwaseong Fortress
Changdeokgung Palace ©
Changdeokgung Palace

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