12 days in Japan & South Korea Itinerary

12 days in Japan & South Korea Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Japan & South Korea Itinerary

Start: Rome, Italy
Fly + Drive:  21​h 30​min
1
Matsue, Japan
— 2 nights
+3
taxi + Fly + taxi + train:  5​h 30​min
2
Takayama, Japan
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
Nachikatsura-cho, Japan
— 1 night
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  9​h 15​min
4
Gyeongju, South Korea
— 1 day
bus + Fly:  7​h 15​min
5
Miyakojima, Japan
— 1 day
Fly:  2​h
6
Ishigaki, Japan
— 2 nights
Fly:  22​h 15​min
End: Rome, Italy


Learn more about your trip

2
nights
Matsue, Japan

Matsue ©
Matsue sits on the banks of the Ohashi-gawa river, channeling its waters through a series of canals and rivers that add much to the scenic aspect of the urban area.
Appreciate the collections at Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo and Mizuki Shigeru Museum. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse and Shimane Art Museum. Venture out of the city with trips to Izumo (Former Taisha Station, Hinomisaki Shrine, & more) and Adachi Museum of Art (in Yasugi). Next up on the itinerary: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Yaegaki Shrine, examine the collection at Gogin Karakoro Museum, and wander the streets of Mihonoseki.

For reviews, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Matsue tour itinerary planner .

Rome, Italy to Matsue is an approximately 21.5-hour flight. The time zone changes from Central European Time to Japan Standard Time, which is usually an 8 hour difference. Expect a daytime high around 27°C in May, and nighttime lows around 17°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Sun) early enough to travel to Takayama.

Things to do in Matsue

Historic Sites Museums Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Izumo, Adachi Museum of Art, Mizuki Shigeru Museum
Find places to stay May 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Miho Shrine ©
Miho Shrine
Mihonoseki ©
Mihonoseki
Tamatsukuriyu Shrine ©
Tamatsukuriyu Shrine

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Mon): enjoy breathtaking views from Ogimachi Castle Old Site Observatory, get engrossed in the history at Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen, contemplate the long history of Wada House, then admire the masterpieces at Hineno Museum & Cafe, and finally appreciate the extensive heritage of Shirakabe Dozogai. Here are some ideas for day two: examine the collection at Lion Dance Ceremony Exhibition Hall (Shishi-Kaikan), steep yourself in history at Takayama Jinya, have fun and explore at Hida Takayama Retro Museum, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Daio-ji Temple, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Soyuji Temple, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Higashiyama Walking Course.

For ratings, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Takayama trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by combination of taxi, flight, and train from Matsue to Takayama takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. In May in Takayama, expect temperatures between 27°C during the day and 17°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Nachikatsura-cho.

Things to do in Takayama

Historic Sites Museums Childrens Museums

Side Trips

Hida, Shirakawa-mura
Find places to stay May 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Shirakabe Dozogai ©
Shirakabe Dozogai
Higashiyama Walking Course ©
Higashiyama Walking Course

1
night
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 8th (Wed): take in the dramatic scenery at Nachi Mitaki Falls, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hirou Shrine, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Seigantoji Temple, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kumano Nachi Taisha, and finally don't miss a visit to Daimonzaka.

For other places to visit, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, read Nachikatsura-cho travel route planning site .

Getting from Takayama to Nachikatsura-cho by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: take a train; or do a combination of bus and train. Traveling from Takayama in May, Nachikatsura-cho is a bit warmer at night with lows of 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Gyeongju.

Things to do in Nachikatsura-cho

Historic Sites Parks Nature
Find places to stay May 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Hirou Shrine ©
Hirou Shrine
Seigantoji Temple ©
Seigantoji Temple
Kumano Nachi Taisha ©
Kumano Nachi Taisha

1
day
Gyeongju, South Korea

Gyeongju ©
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the Republic of Korea, Gyeongju combines a rich cultural heritage with mountain and coastal scenery.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Thu): examine the collection at Gyeongju National Museum, contemplate the long history of Bulguksa Temple, then contemplate the long history of Yangdong Folk Village, and finally steep yourself in history at Oksan Seowon.

To find maps, ratings, and other tourist information, you can read our Gyeongju travel route planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Nachikatsura-cho to Gyeongju. Plan for a bit cooler temperatures traveling from Nachikatsura-cho in May, with highs in Gyeongju at 18°C and lows at 18°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can travel to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Gyeongju

Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay May 8 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Bulguksa Temple ©
Bulguksa Temple
Yangdong Folk Village ©
Yangdong Folk Village
Oksan Seowon ©
Oksan Seowon

1
day
Miyakojima, Japan

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Fri): kick back and relax at Yonaha Maehama Beach, snap pictures at Irabu Bridge, then take in the views from Ikema Ohashi Bridge, then kick back and relax at Sunayama Beach, and finally don't miss a visit to Boraga Limestone Cave.

For reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Miyakojima sightseeing planner .

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from Gyeongju to Miyakojima takes 7.5 hours. While traveling from Gyeongju, expect warmer days and somewhat warmer nights in Miyakojima, ranging from highs of 32°C to lows of 27°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) so you can travel to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Beaches Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay May 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Sunayama Beach ©
Sunayama Beach
Ikema Ohashi Bridge ©
Ikema Ohashi Bridge

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Sat): walk around Kabira Park, enjoy the sand and surf at Yonehara Beach, then enjoy the sea views from Cape Hirakubozaki, and finally take in panoramic vistas at Tamatorizaki Observatory. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll around Banna Park, get to know the fascinating history of Island Countryside Settlement, then take a leisurely stroll along Nishi Pier, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Kondoi Beach.

For maps, ratings, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Ishigaki travel route builder .

You can fly from Miyakojima to Ishigaki in 2 hours. In May, daily temperatures in Ishigaki can reach 34°C, while at night they dip to 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Taketomi-cho, Island Countryside Settlement
Find places to stay May 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach
Island Countryside Settlement ©
Island Countryside Settlement
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki

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