Japanese food stalls and outdoor seating at night

A Taste of Japan & South Korea

Trip code
TJK001

Balancing the subtlety of Japanese kaiseki haute cuisine with the heat and bombast of saucy Korean BBQ, this itinerary is a tasting menu in vacation form.

In Japan and Korea, food isn’t just about flavor and texture (though the Japanese do reportedly have 400 words for the latter). It’s about how what you eat changes with the season; the huge variety between different regions; the ritual and etiquette surrounding eating. Which is more delicious? We’ll leave that one to you.

Pricing

Price based on 3* accommodation
From
$6,400
pp
Price based on 4* accommodation
From
$7,100
pp
Price based on 5* accommodation
From
$10,900
pp

Key facts

15 days / 14 nights
Get stuck into the cuisines of both countries with an array of foodie experiences, including an izakaya evening, cooking class, street-food tour, kaiseki feat and tempura meal in Japan — then two nighttime street food tours and a food-themed drumming performance (yep, really) in Korea
Compare Japanese and Korean history with a full-day tour of Kyoto’s temples, then a half-day tour of Gyeongju and its UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Take in the scenery on a countryside cycle tour of Takayama in Japan, then contrast it with a full-day tour of beautiful Busan in Korea, including multicolored Gamcheon and Haedong Yonggungsa sea temple
Get to know the world's biggest city on a full day tour of Tokyo
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DAY 13-15 SEOUL DAY 10-11 BUSAN DAY 12 GYEONGJU DAY 1-3 TOKYO DAY 4-5 TAKAYAMA DAY 7-8 KYOTO DAY 6 KANAZAWA DAY 9 OSAKA

With lots of destinations spread between the two countries, travel will include a mix of high-speed bullet trains, buses and private transfers — with a connecting flight to link the two (not included).

What's great

You’ll get to taste and compare the unmissable highlights of each country’s cuisine

There’s a great variety of destinations, including big cities, mountain towns and historic villages

Experience culinary culture from a variety of angles with cooking classes, market tours, included meals and even a food-themed theater show

Things to consider

Covering eight destinations in 15 days, this is a very busy trip with lots of experiences included. If you’d like to take it a bit slower, we can easily trim it down

Not all of the included food experiences are suitable for those with dietary requirements, but we’ll be happy to adapt the itinerary to cater to you

The experience

This trip puts food front and center, but it’s just the start of what we can do. Let us know where your interests lie and we’ll design an itinerary just for you.

Day 1-3

Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo: the city with the most Michelin stars in the world, and a paradise for gourmands of all stripes. There’s no time to lose, so get right out there and start exploring. You’ll have a full day with a private guide to learn the ropes, whether you’re after tranquil gardens, art galleries and wooded shrines, or something more manic — perhaps the crazy youth fashions of Harajuku or the non-stop neon of buzzing Shinjuku. Wherever you go, the food’s incredible — but we definitely recommend sushi-sampling at the city’s famous fish market. Finally, an evening exploring the city’s izakaya pubs with one of our fantastic tour leaders is a surefire highlight.

Fish on display at fish market in Tokyo

Highlights

Explore Tokyo with a local guide who’ll tailor the day to your interests and wishes

Ask your guide to take you to Tokyo’s world-famous fish market, where a single bluefin tuna can snag over three million US dollars at auction

Go izakaya-and-bar-hopping to try the city’s best bites and get to grips with food etiquette

Asakusa temple at night

Day 4-5

Takayama

One of the great joys of eating in Japan is the regional variation, and the alpine town of Takayama, with its wood-paneled streets crammed with craft shops, is a great example. Begin your stay with a kaiseki feast at your traditional ryokan inn, then head out for a day in the Hida countryside with a guided cycling tour. Along the way, you’ll get to meet the locals, cycle through farming villages, and sample some alpine specialties — including strawberries, fragrant sesame goheimochi, beef buns or hoba miso grilled on magnolia leaf (depending on the season). Then, return to town and go sake brewery-hopping — or settle in for a dinner of melt-in-the-mouth Hida beef (Kobe’s unsung cousin).

Table of Kaiseki food in Takayama

Highlights

Spend two nights at a traditional ryokan inn, sleeping on a futon laid out on tatami mats

Enjoy an elaborate, beautifully presented kaiseki feast prepared with local, seasonal produce

Cycle through the rice paddies and timewarp towns of the Hida countryside with a local guide

Bicycle parked outside house in Takayama

The finer detail

  • Breakfast every day
  • Four full-day experiences: guided tours in Tokyo, Kyoto and Busan; a day of food and cycling in Takayama
  • Three half-day experiences: Kanazawa cooking class; guided tours in Gyeongju and Seoul
  • Seven evening experiences: izakaya insider tour; evening Gion walk; restaurant reservation at Tempura Endo; Osaka evening street food tour, Busan night market tour; Seoul evening street-food tour; Nanta drumming performance
  • Portable Wi-Fi device
  • Preloaded T-money transport card for local transport in South Korea
  • Preloaded IC transport card for local transport in Japan
  • Seven-day Japan Rail Pass
  • All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
  • All internal transport & accommodation

Day 1:

Car transfer from Narita/Haneda airport to Tokyo (30-90 minutes depending on airport)

Day 4:

Train transfer from Tokyo to Takayama (4 hours)

Day 6:

Bus transfer from Takayama to Kanazawa (2 hours 45 minutes)

Day 7:

Train transfer from Kanazawa to Kyoto (2 hours)

Day 9:

Train transfer from Kyoto to Osaka (15 mins)

Day 12:

Car transfer from Busan to Gyeongju (20 minutes)

Day 13:

Car transfer from Gyeongju hotel to Singyeongju station (30 minutes)

Train transfer Gyeongju to Seoul (2 hours 10 mins)

Day 15:

Car transfer from hotel to Incheon airport (50 mins)

  • International flights & connecting flight between Japan and Korea
  • Any meals not mentioned
  • Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
  • Tips for guides & porters