12 days in China, South Korea & Japan Itinerary

12 days in China, South Korea & Japan Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Asia trip planner
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1
Beijing, China
— 2 nights
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2
Shanghai, China
— 2 nights
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3
Seoul, South Korea
— 2 nights
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4
Kyoto, Japan
— 3 nights
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5
Tokyo, Japan
— 2 nights
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Beijing, China — 2 nights

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.
On the 3rd (Mon), see Mutianyu Great Wall and then enjoy breathtaking views from Bell and Drum Towers. On the 4th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: get engrossed in the history at The Palace Museum, then appreciate the history behind Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang), and then take an in-depth tour of Lama Temple (Yonghegong).

To see ratings, maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Beijing trip planner.

London, UK to Beijing is an approximately 13-hour flight. The time zone changes from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to China Standard Time (CST), which is usually an 8 hour difference. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from London in April; daily highs in Beijing reach 26°C and lows reach 9°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) so you can fly to Shanghai.
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Historic Sites · Museums · Trails · Outdoors
Find places to stay Apr 2 — 4:

Shanghai, China — 2 nights

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.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Wed): admire the natural beauty at Yu Garden (Yuyuan), go for a walk through The Bund (Wai Tan), enjoy breathtaking views from Shanghai World Financial Center, then take in panoramic vistas at Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu), and finally take some stellar pictures from Jin Mao Tower. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see the interesting displays at Shanghai Museum (Shanghai Bowuguan), don't miss a visit to Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road), then pause for some photo ops at Jade Buddha Temple, and finally walk around Fuxing Park.

For other places to visit, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Shanghai itinerary planner.

Traveling by flight from Beijing to Shanghai takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. Traveling from Beijing in April, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Shanghai, with lows of 15°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) so you can fly to Seoul.
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Museums · Shopping · Historic Sites · Parks
Find places to stay Apr 4 — 6:

Seoul, South Korea — 2 nights

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.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Fri): take a stroll through Insadong, then admire the natural beauty at Namsan Park, and then get great views at N Seoul Tower. Keep things going the next day: get to know the fascinating history of Cheonggyecheon Stream, then take in nature's colorful creations at Changdeokgung Palace, and then take an in-depth tour of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Plan a Seoul trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

You can fly from Shanghai to Seoul in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, ferry, and subway; or do a combination of car and ferry. The time zone difference moving from China Standard Time (CST) to Korean Standard Time (KST) is 1 hour. Traveling from Shanghai in April, things will get slightly colder in Seoul: highs are around 20°C and lows about 9°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sat) to allow time to fly to Kyoto.
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Historic Sites · Parks · Neighborhoods · Museums
Find places to stay Apr 6 — 8:

Kyoto, Japan — 3 nights

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.
Kyoto is known for historic sites, sightseeing, and shopping. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: contemplate the long history of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, explore the historical opulence of Osaka Castle, make a trip to Nijo Castle, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Sanjusangendo Temple.

To see photos, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Kyoto online route planner.

Traveling by flight from Seoul to Kyoto takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and ferry; or do a combination of car and ferry. In April, daytime highs in Kyoto are 22°C, while nighttime lows are 11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Tue) early enough to fly to Tokyo.
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Historic Sites · Neighborhoods
Side Trip
Find places to stay Apr 8 — 11:

Tokyo, Japan — 2 nights

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.
On the 12th (Wed), make a trip to Meiji Jingu Shrine, take in nature's colorful creations at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, then take in panoramic vistas at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, and finally admire the landmark architecture of Tokyo Tower. On your second day here, take a stroll through Akihabara, have some family-friendly fun at Owl Cafe Akiba Fukurou, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Senso-ji Temple.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Tokyo trip itinerary maker site.

You can fly from Kyoto to Tokyo in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. In April, daily temperatures in Tokyo can reach 22°C, while at night they dip to 12°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) so you can catch the flight back home.
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Neighborhoods · Parks · Historic Sites · Fun & Games
Find places to stay Apr 11 — 13:

China travel guide

4.4
Landmarks · Observation Decks · History Museums
With well over 1.3 billion residents, China represents the most populous country in the world, considered by many the cradle of civilization thanks to its history spanning many millennia. While a single trip to China rarely satisfies curious travelers, a well-organized tour reveals a land of awe-inspiring natural scenery, ancient monuments, and giant cities, where the diverse population includes almost 60 different ethnic groups speaking dozens of distinct languages. While many Westerners may know China mostly for its centuries-old tradition of martial arts, discerning travelers visit this vast nation for its outstanding cuisine, pristine landscapes, epic train journeys, and small towns of hardworking and genuinely hospitable people.
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South Korea travel guide

4.2
Shopping · History Museums · Parks
Land of the Morning Calm
Though it boasts a history spanning thousands of years, South Korea ranks among the world's most urbanized and modernized countries, with nearly half of its population living in high-rises concentrated in the national capital. In this land of pristine mountain scenery, many South Korea vacations involve some form of winter sports--not surprising for the country that won the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Curious travelers wishing to get to know South Korea's heart and soul spend only a small part of their holiday in big cities like Busan and Seoul, devoting much of their attention to the tranquil countryside that seems largely untouched by the 21st century.
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Japan travel guide

4.3
Sacred & Religious Sites · Landmarks · Historic Sites
Land of the Rising Sun
Part of a volcanic archipelago that encompasses over 6,800 islands, Japan remains one of Asia's most fascinating tourist destinations, where a blend of modernity and tradition creates a look and feel completely different from any other place in the world. A tour of Japan lets you discover big cities filled with ancient temples and innovative skyscrapers, as well as quiet country landscapes dotted with castles, perfectly manicured gardens, cherry orchards, and primeval forests seemingly untouched by the hand of mass tourism. Many tourists on vacation in Japan devote lots of time to the country's unique cuisine, prepared with painstaking attention to detail and a genius for simple yet effective presentation.
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