53 days in China, South Korea & Japan Itinerary

53 days in China, South Korea & Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

53 days in China, South Korea & Japan Itinerary

Start: Midland, United States
Fly:  26​h
1
Beijing, China
— 5 nights
Fly:  6​h 45​min
2
Lijiang, China
— 3 nights
Fly + bus:  6​h
3
Lhasa, China
— 2 nights
Fly + train:  8​h 45​min
4
Seoul, South Korea
— 5 nights
Fly:  3​h
5
Jeju, South Korea
— 5 nights
Fly:  4​h 30​min
6
Shanghai, China
— 5 nights
Fly:  7​h 15​min
7
Miyakojima, Japan
— 2 nights
Fly:  2​h
8
Ishigaki, Japan
— 5 nights
Fly + train:  6​h
9
Kyoto, Japan
— 6 nights
10
Takayama, Japan
— 3 nights
11
Tokyo, Japan
— 7 nights
Fly:  24​h
End: Midland, United States

5
nights
Beijing, China

Beijing ©
As the political and cultural capital of China, Beijing stands at the heart of Chinese history, buzzing with the energy of its high population density and centuries of importance.
Step off the beaten path and head to 798 Art Zone and Lama Temple (Yonghegong). Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Nanluoguxiang and Panjiayuan Antique Market. There's lots more to do: get to know the fascinating history of Summer Palace (Yiheyuan), get great views at Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan), see Mutianyu Great Wall, and admire the striking features of Ming Tombs (Ming Shishan Ling).

To find maps, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Beijing tour itinerary maker website .

Midland, USA to Beijing is an approximately 26-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 14 hours traveling from Midland to Beijing. Traveling from Midland in July, expect nights in Beijing to be about the same, around 73°F, while days are little chillier, around 90°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Sun) so you can travel to Lijiang.

Things to do in Beijing

Historic Sites Museums Parks
Find places to stay Jul 11 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Mutianyu Great Wall ©
Mutianyu Great Wall
Summer Palace (Yiheyuan) ©
Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
The Palace Museum ©
The Palace Museum

3
nights
Lijiang, China

Lijiang ©
The cultural capital of the Naxi people, one of the 55 minority ethnic groups in the country, Lijang traces its history back over 800 years, with the city developing from a trading post on the ancient Southern Silk Road.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Shuhe Ancient Town and Beiyue Temple of Lijiang. Visit Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain and Old Town of Lijiang - China for their historical value. Next up on the itinerary: steep yourself in history at Mufu Palace, explore the galleries of Rhizome - Lijiang art center, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Puji Temple, Lijiang.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Lijiang trip builder tool .

Getting from Beijing to Lijiang by flight takes about 7 hours. Other options: do a combination of train and flight; or drive. When traveling from Beijing in July, plan for much colder days and little chillier nights in Lijiang: temperatures range from 70°F by day to 68°F at night. On the 20th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Lhasa.

Things to do in Lijiang

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trip

Yulong County
Find places to stay Jul 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Shuhe Ancient Town ©
Shuhe Ancient Town
Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain ©
Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain
Old Town of Lijiang - China
Old Town of Lijiang - China

2
nights
Lhasa, China

Lhasa ©
The capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Lhasa possesses a wealth of Tibetan Buddhist sites of historical and cultural importance.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Thu): get to know the fascinating history of Barkhor Street, then step into the grandiose world of Potala Palace, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Jokhang Temple. On the 22nd (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Drepung Monastery (Zhebang Si), steep yourself in history at Norbulingka (Precious Stone Garden), and then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sera Monastery.

For photos, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Lhasa vacation maker site .

Traveling by combination of flight and bus from Lijiang to Lhasa takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. Traveling from Lijiang in July, expect a bit cooler with lows of 54°F in Lhasa. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Fri) early enough to travel to Seoul.

Things to do in Lhasa

Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Jul 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Barkhor Street ©
Barkhor Street
Potala Palace ©
Potala Palace
Jokhang Temple ©
Jokhang Temple

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.
Popular historic sites such as Gyeongbokgung Palace and Hwaseong Fortress are in your itinerary. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at The War Memorial of Korea and Insadong. Take a break from Seoul with a short trip to Icheon Termeden in Icheon, about 1h 50 min away. And it doesn't end there: take in nature's colorful creations at Changdeokgung Palace, get engrossed in the history at National Museum of Korea, shop like a local with Namdaemun Market, and get to know the fascinating history of Cheonggyecheon Stream.

For where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Seoul online route planner .

You can do a combination of flight and train from Lhasa to Seoul in 9 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from Lhasa to Seoul. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Lhasa in July: high temperatures in Seoul hover around 85°F and lows are around 74°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Jeju.

Things to do in Seoul

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Museums

Side Trips

Icheon Termeden, Hwaseong Fortress
Find places to stay Jul 22 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Gyeongbokgung Palace ©
Gyeongbokgung Palace
The War Memorial of Korea ©
The War Memorial of Korea
Hwaseong Fortress ©
Hwaseong Fortress

5
nights
Jeju, South Korea

Jeju ©
The main town on the largest of Korea's islands, Jeju has a volcanic landscape protected by UNESCO.
Head to Arario Museum Tapdong Cinema and Arario Museum Dongmun Motelfor plenty of shopping. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Bulsari Tapsa Temple and Gwaneumsa Temple. Explore Jeju's surroundings by going to Seogwipo (Alive Museum, Daepo Haean Jusangjeolli Cliff, & more). There's still lots to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Hyeopjae Beach, head off the coast to Udo, stroll through Gwakji Gwamul Beach, and take in the awesome beauty at Halla Mountain.

To find photos, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, read Jeju trip app .

Fly from Seoul to Jeju in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and ferry; or do a combination of car and ferry. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Shanghai.

Things to do in Jeju

Parks Nature Shopping

Side Trip

Seogwipo
Find places to stay Jul 28 — Aug 2:
Highlights from your plan
Hamdeok Beach ©
Hamdeok Beach
Hyeopjae Beach ©
Hyeopjae Beach
Alive Museum ©
Alive Museum

5
nights
Shanghai, China

Shanghai
With a nickname like the "Pearl of the Orient," it's not surprising Shanghai offers some of the most rewarding attractions and activities in the Far East.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Former French Concession and South Bund Soft Spinning Material Market. You'll explore and learn at Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre and Shanghai Museum (Shanghai Bowuguan). When in Shanghai, make a side trip to see Pingjiang Road in Suzhou, approximately 1h 30 min away. There's much more to do: go for a walk through The Bund (Wai Tan), appreciate the extensive heritage of Zhujiajiao Ancient Town, wander the streets of Xintiandi, and buy something for everyone on your list at In Point.

To find maps, photos, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Shanghai tour planner.

Traveling by flight from Jeju to Shanghai takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry, car, and train; or do a combination of ferry and car. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Jeju to Shanghai. In August in Shanghai, expect temperatures between 91°F during the day and 79°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sun) so you can travel to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Shanghai

Shopping Historic Sites Museums

Side Trip

Pingjiang Road
Find places to stay Aug 2 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road)
Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road)
The Bund (Wai Tan) ©
The Bund (Wai Tan)
Former French Concession ©
Former French Concession

2
nights
Miyakojima, Japan

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Yonaha Maehama Beach and Aragusuku Beach. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Sunayama Beach and Toguchi no Hama. There's more to do: take in the views from Irabu Ohashi and make a trip to Ikema Ohashi Bridge.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Miyakojima trip builder website .

You can fly from Shanghai to Miyakojima in 7.5 hours. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from Shanghai to Miyakojima. In August in Miyakojima, expect temperatures between 89°F during the day and 80°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Aug 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Aragusuku Beach ©
Aragusuku Beach
Toguchi no Hama
Toguchi no Hama

5
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.
Shop till you drop at Yurateiku Market and Nei Museum of Art. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Kondoi Beach and Canyoning & Rappelling Tours. There's lots more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Yonehara Beach, tour the pleasant surroundings at Sukuji Beach, enjoy breathtaking views from Tamatorizaki Observatory, and enjoy the sea views from Cape Hirakubozaki.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Ishigaki trip planner .

You can fly from Miyakojima to Ishigaki in 2 hours. Expect a daytime high around 90°F in August, and nighttime lows around 81°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Mon) so you can travel to Kyoto.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Taketomi-cho, Canyoning & Rappelling Tours
Find places to stay Aug 10 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach
Yonehara Beach ©
Yonehara Beach
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki

6
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Sanjusangendo Temple and Heian Shrine. Do some cultural sightseeing at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Change things up with these side-trips from Kyoto: Jikko Cutlery (in Sakai), Himeji Castle (in Himeji) and Dotonbori (in Osaka). Next up on the itinerary: appreciate the extensive heritage of Ise Shrine Geku, wander the streets of Gion, don't miss a visit to Nishiki Market Shopping District, and contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Koshojibetsuin Ryozenhobyo.

To see reviews, photos, and more tourist information, read our Kyoto online vacation planner .

Traveling by combination of flight and train from Ishigaki to Kyoto takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. In August in Kyoto, expect temperatures between 92°F during the day and 77°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Takayama.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Shopping Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Dotonbori, Asahiyaki, Ise Shrine Geku, Himeji Castle, Jikko Cutlery
Find places to stay Aug 15 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Ise Shrine Geku ©
Ise Shrine Geku

3
nights
Takayama, Japan

Takayama ©
Hidden high up in the Japanese Alps, Takayama remained largely cut off from the rest of Japan for centuries, allowing the local culture to grow in relative isolation.
Head to Shofuen Matsuno Chaho and Okuhida Fukuji Onsen Asaichifor plenty of shopping. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses and Takayama Jinya. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Takayama: Matsumoto Castle (in Matsumoto) and Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (in Tateyama-machi). And it doesn't end there: take a stroll through Sanmachi Suji, get a new perspective on nature at Hida Minzoka Mura Folk Village (Hida no Sato), and get to know the fascinating history of Higashiyama Walking Course.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Takayama day trip planning site .

Traveling by car from Kyoto to Takayama takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. When traveling from Kyoto in August, plan for a bit cooler days in Takayama, with highs around 87°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 75°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Wed) early enough to drive to Tokyo.

Things to do in Takayama

Historic Sites Scenic Drive Outdoors

Side Trips

Matsumoto Castle, The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses, Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Find places to stay Aug 21 — 24:
Highlights from your plan

7
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.
Get some cultural insight at Minato Mirai 21 and The Hakone Open-Air Museum. For shopping fun, head to Pola Museum of Art or Takeshita Street. Change things up with a short trip to Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine Singu in Hakone-machi (about 1h 55 min away). And it doesn't end there: wander the streets of Odaiba, examine the collection at Edo-Tokyo Museum, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sensō-ji, and shop like a local with Asakusa.

For other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Tokyo sightseeing website .

You can drive from Takayama to Tokyo in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In August, daytime highs in Tokyo are 88°F, while nighttime lows are 76°F. On the 31st (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Shopping Museums

Side Trips

Hakone-machi, Minato Mirai 21
Find places to stay Aug 24 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Ginza ©
Ginza
Odaiba ©
Odaiba
The Hakone Open-Air Museum ©
The Hakone Open-Air Museum

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