South Korea & Japan Highlights

13 Day Package from Seoul to Kyoto

From the preserved, historic village of Yangdong, to the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, East Asia is an experience unlike anywhere else on earth. See for yourself on this 13-day vacation. With hotel accommodations, private guided sightseeing, transportation, and daily breakfast coordinated for you, Monograms makes it easy to explore South Korea and Japan. Plus, we provide you with a Local Host®, who can provide suggestions about what to see and do during your stay.

Your vacation begins when you arrive in South Korea, as we can pick you up at the airport and take you to your chosen hotel. Your Local Host will greet you with a warm welcome and a set of materials to familiarize you with Seoul and help get you settled. The next morning, after an included breakfast, you will embark on a private guided tour of the city, starting at Gyeongbokgung Palace, the former residence of the royal family during the Joseon Dynasty. You will visit the National Folk Museum to learn more about Korean culture and to see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, and take a walking tour through Bukchon Hanok Village where you will be able to see hundreds of hanoks (traditional Korean houses). This afternoon and the following day are yours to explore Seoul.

Then, you will take a high-speed train to Gyeongju, the former capital of Silla, the kingdom that ruled the Korean Peninsula for three centuries. Visit Tumuli Park to see tombs from the Silla period, Anapji Pond, where the Silla royal family spent their free time, and the Gyeongju National Museum.

Next, you’ll visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Yangdong Folk Village, one of the best preserved historic villages, and Bulguska Temple. The complex is home to Seokguram Grotto, one of Asia’s finest Buddhist shrines. You will then continue on to South Korea’s second largest city, Busan, where you will visit the Jagalchi Fish Market, Korea’s largest and most famous seafood market. Experience the Un Cemetery, honoring soldiers from 16 countries that were killed in the Korean War and take a walking tour through Gamcheon where you will see colorful, hillside homes, art galleries, and cafes.

Hop on a short flight from Busan to Tokyo. The next morning, after an included breakfast, hop onto the subway for a private guided tour of the city. You will see the Meiji Shrine, a 20th century Shinto monument built within a man-made forest, the Samurai Museum where you can learn about Japanese history and see authentic swords and armor, visit the bustling Nakamise Shopping Arcade, and one of the city’s most colorful temples, the Asakusa Kannon Temple. Enjoy the afternoon and the following day at your leisure. Your Local Host will have suggestions about what to see and do during your stay. Perhaps take an excursion out of the city to Mount Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the country’s most iconic landmarks.

A thrilling bullet train (Shinkensen) ride brings you to Kyoto. The “cradle” of Japan’s cultural heritage, Kyoto, the “City of Ten-Thousand Shrines,” was the country’s capital and residence of the emperor from the 8th until the 19th centuries. Monograms take you on a guided sightseeing tour that includes a visit to Nijo Castle, home to the Tokugawa Shogun. Also visit Sanjusagendo Temple and the beautiful Temple of the Gold Pavilion. Built on a lake and surrounded by a thick forest, the image of the temple’s reflection in the water is a must-take photo. In your free time, join a Japanese cooking class, visit nearby Nara, attend a sake tasting, or indulge in some of the country’s finest Japanese cuisine.

Between the transportation we’ve arranged, sightseeing we’ve included, and the hotels we’ve booked, all the details are taken care of. With all the time and hassles saved and the comfort of knowing you’ll have a Local Host to help you during your vacation, you simply relax and enjoy!


Always Included:

Your Choice of Hotels

We've carefully screened and selected the right hotels in the heart of the destination and you can choose your accommodations to match your style and budget.

Local Host

In each city

Meals Included

American breakfast daily4 lunches

Sightseeing & Activities

Private guided sightseeing with your Local Host as outlined in the day-by-day itinerary; inside visits, and special features are shown in UPPERCASE

Baggage Handling

Monograms has taken care of porterage at your hotel, so feel free to let the bellman help get your luggage to your room with no tipping required.

Day-By-Day 2017 / 2018

FEATURED HIGHLIGHT

With Monograms, we make your journey easy, because we’ve included private guided tours of Seoul, Gyeongju, Busan, Tokyo, and Kyoto with a host of inside visits to the must-see sights, ensuring your visit to South Korea and Japan is the best it can possibly be!

DAY
1
Arrive Seoul, South Korea

Welcome to South Korea’s capital city. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.

DAY
2
Seoul

Your PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING starts at GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE, built in 1395 during the Joseon Dynasty that ruled the country for five centuries. Gyeongbokgung was the primary residence of the royal family and considered the most magnificent of the “Five Grand Palaces” built in Seoul. The palace complex was razed by the Japanese invasion of 1592. It sat abandoned for nearly 300 years until the mid-19th century when the complex was rebuilt and expanded. You will also stop at the NATIONAL FOLK MUSEUM to learn more about Korean culture. Before leaving the complex, watch a re-enactment of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. Next, take a WALKING TOUR through BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE. Here, you can see hundreds of hanoks (traditional Korean houses) dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. Walk along the quiet alleys lined with restaurants and tea houses. Travel to nearby Insadong for lunch at a local restaurant featuring Korean cuisine. A highlight is bibimbap, a signature dish of warm rice topped with sautéed vegetables, sliced meat, chili paste, and a fried egg. Afterward, stroll along Insadong Street, a center for traditional arts and crafts. The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.

DAY
3
Seoul

Enjoy a full day at your leisure to explore this exciting city.

DAY
4
Seoul–Gyeongju

This morning, board a HIGH-SPEED TRAIN bound for Gyeongju, capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, which ruled much of the Korean Peninsula from the 7th to 9th centuries. Upon arrival, a PRIVATE GUIDED TOUR features TUMULI PARK to see several tombs from the Silla period, including King Michu. Also visit ANAPJI POND, where the Silla royal family spent their leisure time, and GYEONGJU NATIONAL MUSEUM, which houses artifacts found around the pond during renovations.

DAY
5
Gyeongju–Busan

Today, visit two fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites during your PRIVATE GUIDED TOUR. Start at YANGDONG FOLK VILLAGE, one of the best preserved historic villages dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. The village features clusters of houses with mud walls and thatched roofs, faces a river, and is surrounded by forested mountains and open fields. Next, visit BULGUSKA TEMPLE with its ancient wooden pavilions and pagodas built on lush, forested hills. Within the temple complex is stunning SEOKGURAM GROTTO, one of Asia’s finest Buddhist shrines, with its large Buddha statue looking out over the Sea of Japan. Continue to Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city.

DAY
6
Busan

Your PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING starts at JAGALCHI FISH MARKET, Korea’s largest and most famous seafood market. Here, most of the vendors selling fish are Jagalchi Ajumma, meaning middle-aged or married women. Afterward, visit UN CEMETERY which honors soldiers from 16 countries that were killed during the Korean War. Next, take a WALKING TOUR through GAMCHEON with its colorful homes built on a hillside. Originally founded by refugees of the Korean War, this neighborhood has been transformed into an artistic center with galleries and cafés. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.

DAY
7
Busan–Tokyo, Japan

Fly to Tokyo, Japan’s capital city.

DAY
8
Tokyo

Today, hop on Tokyo’s subway system for a PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR of the city. First, stop at MEIJI SHRINE, a magnificent 20th-century Shinto monument set in a man-made forest. Next, stop at the SAMURAI MUSEUM to learn about their history and see authentic period-specific swords, armor, and helmets (kabuto). You will even have the chance to have your picture taken wearing a helmet and armor! Lastly, visit bustling NAKAMISE SHOPPING ARCADE and ASAKUSA KANNON TEMPLE, the oldest of their kind in Tokyo. The remainder of the day is at your leisure for independent activities.

DAY
9
Tokyo

Today, enjoy a full day at your leisure. Your Local Host will have suggestions.

DAY
10
Tokyo–Kyoto

Today, transfer to the train station and board your BULLET TRAIN to historic Kyoto, former capital of Japan. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

DAY
11
Kyoto

This morning, your PRIVATE GUIDED SIGHTSEEING starts at NIJO CASTLE, built in 1603 as the official residence of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Then, visit stunning Kinkakuji or TEMPLE OF THE GOLD PAVILION, covered with shimmering gold leaf. Continue on to SANJUSAGENDO TEMPLE, famous for 1,001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Flanking the main statue are 1,000 life-sized statues, covered in gold leaf, with 40 arms said to have the power to save 25 worlds. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.

NOTE:
The Nijo Castle will be closed on Tuesdays in January, July, August & December. Guests will visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine instead.

DAY
12
Kyoto

A full day at leisure to explore more of Kyoto’s historic temples and shrines. You may consider an excursion to nearby Nara to visit Todaiji Temple, which houses the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha.

DAY
13
Kyoto

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. Homebound flights from Kansai International Airport in Osaka should not depart prior to 11 am.

Included Hotels

*The "STARTING AT" price is based on December 1, 2017, which is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is per passenger based on double occupancy and does not include airfare; additional fees/charges are not included. Pricing may vary on this date due to hotel availability. If a price is crossed out, the new price includes a limited time promotional offer(s) – please review current promotions or deals for additional information. Some packages require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Monograms).

Seoul
Gyeongju
Busan
Kyoto

Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeongdong

78 Namdaemun-ro, Jung-gu
Seoul, South Korea

Check-in - 14:00
Check-out - 12:00

The Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeongdong is conveniently located in the heart of the city. It is the perfect base for exploring Seoul and features 280 contemporary style rooms, a restaurant, sauna, and gym.

Location & Highlights

Located in the heart of the trendiest shopping district in Seoul, near department stores, restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs.

Room Amenities

  • Disabled Access / Rooms
  • Air Conditioning
  • Phone
  • In-Room Safe
  • Climate Control
  • Iron/Ironing Board
  • Desk
  • Cable/Satellite
  • Internet Access
  • Coffee Maker
  • Television
  • Pay Movies
  • Wake-Up Calls
  • Non-smoking Rooms
  • Hair Dryer

Hotel Amenities

  • Elevator
  • Business Center
  • Parking/Valet
  • Restaurant On-Site
  • Bar/Lounge
  • Fitness Room
  • Free WiFi
Rooms are modern and cozy, with a comfortable bed, complimentary Wi-Fi access, air-conditioning, and desk.

Other Hotel

Monograms offers an impressive choice of hotels pre-selected for their location, amenities and service. When booking your package check to see what other hotels are available for your dates. Some hotels may not be available for this package.

Seoul
Gyeongju
Busan
Tokyo
Kyoto

Tmark Hotel Myeongdong

15 Chungmu-ro, Jung-gu
Seoul, South Korea

Check-in - 14:00
Check-out - 12:00

The Tmark Hotel Myeongdong is a modern hotel complete with a restaurant, bar, and lounge.

Location & Highlights

Located in Myeongdong, Seoul's most popular shopping area with easy access to all the city has to offer.

Room Amenities

  • Phone
  • Mini-bar
  • Coffee Maker
  • Climate Control
  • Air Conditioning
  • Desk
  • Television
  • Hair Dryer
  • In-Room Safe
  • Complimentary Toiletries
  • Internet Access

Hotel Amenities

  • Free WiFi
  • Restaurant On-Site
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Bar/Lounge
  • Parking/Valet
  • Business Center
  • Concierge desk
  • Elevator
Modern and urban style designed rooms include bottled water daily, complimentary internet access, 32" LED TV, and more.

The Westin Chosun Seoul

106 Sogong-ro, Jung-gu
Seoul, South Korea

Check-in - 14:00
Check-out - 13:00

The Westin Chosun Seoul promises to maintain its century of tradition, while providing unparalleled service and warm hospitality. Choose from a selection of restaurants featuring a variety of world cuisine, or take advantage of the fitness center, pool, sauna, and spa services.

Location & Highlights

The hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the thriving, fast-paced world of downtown Seoul. Within walking distance are renowned historic landmarks and trendy shopping malls.

Room Amenities

  • Non-smoking Rooms
  • Room Service
  • Mini-bar
  • In-Room Safe
  • Air Conditioning
  • Internet Access
  • Disabled Access / Rooms
  • Window Opens
  • Coffee Maker
  • Television
  • Cable/Satellite
  • Voicemail
  • Phone
  • Iron/Ironing Board
  • Complimentary Toiletries
  • Climate Control
  • Pay Movies
  • Desk
  • Hair Dryer

Hotel Amenities

  • Hot Tub
  • Business Center
  • Elevator
  • Parking/Valet
  • Bar/Lounge
  • Gift Shop
  • Currency Exchange
  • Spa Services
  • Concierge desk
  • Pool
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Beauty Salon
  • ATM
  • Fitness Room
  • Restaurant On-Site
Each room is designed with guest comfort in mind featuring the Westin Heavenly® Bed and top-quality anti-allergy carpet. A compact, self-serve espresso premium coffee machine is included, as well as Wi-Fi access. Bathrooms feature separate showers and bathtubs, as well as a range of amenities.

Activities & Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased).

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)

Seoul
Tokyo
Kyoto

Seoul

DMZ & the 3rd Tunnel Tour

Travel to Paju to visit the Demilitarized zone and the third tunnel.

Price Range: $$$$

N Tower Tour

Explore Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul.

Price Range: $$$$

Tokyo

Mount Fuji & Hakone with lunch

Enjoy a full-day Mount Fuji sightseeing excursion, including a cruise on Lake Ashi.

Price Range: $$$$

Kyoto

Nara Afternoon Tour

We'll introduce you to some of Japan's oldest Buddhist temples and most ancient treasures when you travel to Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan during the 8th century, on this wonderful afternoon excursion.

Price Range: $$

Kyoto Afternoon Tour

The imperial capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, Kyoto is celebrated today as the "City of Ten-Thousand Shrines." In the company of an expert Local Guide, head out to explore and photograph some of the city's most iconic landmarks.

Price Range: $$

Insider

Seoul
Busan
Tokyo
Kyoto

Seoul

Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Seoul, South Korea. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Seoul and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Seoul, South Korea insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.

Meet one of your Local Hosts in Seoul, South KoreaMeet a Local Host®

Hi, my name is Ines, and I'm from Seoul. During my career, I have shared our rich Korean culture with many people from around the world, and still there are many more stories to tell. From modern treasures to ancient traditions, my goal is to make your visit unforgettable.

Shinsa-dong & Hapjeong-dong

Shinsa-dong and Hapjeong-dong are two of the hottest neighborhoods in town, loved by both locals and international visitors, as they represent the latest trends in fashion and dining. While not originally intended to be fashion streets, their reputation has been built thanks to continual innovative designs and urban concepts. See the old transformed, where worn-down factories are now cool, vintage shops and gallery-like spaces.

Bugaksan Trail

There are several trailheads surrounding Seoul that offer interesting hiking options. One favorite is Bugaksan, which stretches across downtown Seoul and further into the mountainside of Gyeonggi-do. While this hiking trail runs a total of 44 miles (71.8 km) in length, and connects forest paths and villages along the foothills of Bukhansan Mountain and Dobongsan Mountain, you are welcome to do just a portion of it in a day trip.

Foot Tall Ice-cream

Ready for a little Korean culinary fun? Why not do as the locals? Share a 1 foot tall soft serve ice-cream cone with a friend while in Myeongdong.

Samchongdong-gil

Samchongdong–gil runs through the middle of the city, but is a peaceful, quaint area. The street is lined with cafes, museums, antique shops and famous art galleries. While shopping take note of the unique architectural designs of each of the gallery buildings.

Cable Car up Mt Namsan

Enjoy incredible views of the city at the top of Mt Namsan; or head even higher to the N Seoul Tower’s observatory. Looking for a challenge? Choose to hike up, otherwise rest your feet and take the cable car.

Cheonggyecheon Stream

Head more than 15 feet below street level to find some serenity and perhaps romance with your loved one along the Cheonggyecheon stream, complete with small waterfalls and numerous bridges. Dip your toes in the refreshing water for a little respite on a hot day.

Street Food

Visit traditional markets and try eating Korean style. Spicy rice cakes, fish cakes, sweet Korean pancake, spicy kimchi dumplings, Korean style maki sushi (gimbap) and Korean style tempura under cozy pojangmacha tents makes for a culinary adventure.

Busan

Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Busan, South Korea. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Busan and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Busan, South Korea insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.

Meet one of your Local Hosts in Busan, South KoreaMeet a Local Host®

Hi, I am Grace and love working as a tour guide in Busan and Gyeongju. I was born and raised in Busan, and am delighted to be able to introduce you to my hometown and help you explore all the incredible things there are to do and see here.

Haeundae Beach

As one of the country’s most popular beaches, Haeundae Beach is a great spot for lounging in the sun and for views of the glittering cityscape at night.

Yongdusan Park

Situated at the heart of Busan, Yongdusan Park offers respite from the bustling city and panoramic views of the city below. If you visit in early spring, don’t miss the beautiful camellia trees in full bloom.

Haedong Yonggungsa Seaside Temple

While most temples in Korea can be found in its mountainous regions, the Haedong Yonggungsa Seaside Temple offers visitors a rare treat - a temple along the shoreline. On New Year’s Day, arrive early and join the locals who make a wish for the New Year as they watch the sun come up. For picturesque views cherry blossoms in full bloom, schedule your visit in April.

BIFF Square

What once started as a pair of cinemas built over 50 years ago, Busan’s modern movie district, known as BIFF Square, is now a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Window shop, try some street food, or grab a spot in a café.

Gukje Market Food Street

This restaurant street is steeped in history. The street dining and open seating typify the traditional marketplace that could be found here over 60 years ago. Located on Arirang Street in Gukje Market, one can sample delicious Korean cuisine such as noodles, gimbap, and sundae (steamed cow intestines stuffed with various ingredients).

Busan Museum

The Busan Museum opened in 1978 and is respected for its leading role in preserving and educating scholars and the community of Busan’s traditional culture. Visitors can view a wealth of artifacts acquired during excavation efforts, generous donations and strategic purchases.

Tokyo

Meet Nobuko, one of your Local Hosts in TokyoMonograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Tokyo. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Tokyo and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Tokyo insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.

Meet a Local Host®

Hi everyone! I'm Rumi and am proud to work as a tour guide in Tokyo, the coolest city in the world. I'm excited to help you discover all there is to this incredible city. I am quite confident that you will enjoy traveling in Tokyo.

Sensoji Temple

Founded in 628, Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple. According to legend, two brothers found a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, while fishing. They returned the statue to the river, but it in turn kept returning to them, so they built the temple for the worship of Kannon. Consult the oracle inside the temple to have any question answered!

Edo-Tokyo Museum

The Edo-Museum celebrates the history and culture of Edo-Tokyo and creates a vision of the city and life in the future. The permanent exhibition, showcasing original objects and replicas, offers visitors a journey through the 400-year history of Edo-Tokyo since Tokugawa Ieyasu entered Edo.

Tokyo Fish Market

This massive market may have meats and flowers, but the main attraction is the estimated 2,000 tons of seafood handled each day. Arrive early (around 5 am) to see restaurant purveyors and chefs engage in the tuna auction, which ends at 6:15 am. Make sure you try some of the freshest sushi you’ll ever find at one of the on-site restaurants.

Ginza

Shopping the Ginza is a unique experience—massive department stores, futuristic products, and gracious service are all trademarks. It’s worth a half-day’s stroll around this eye-opening area, even if you don’t plan to buy —particularly on weekends, when a large section is closed to cars.

Shinjuku

One of the 23 wards that make up Tokyo, Shinjuku thrives around Shinjuku Station, the busiest train station in the world. This large entertainment, shopping, and business area is a great place to walk around and soak in the atmosphere, do some shopping, or get a birds-eye view of Tokyo at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Center. Here you can ascend to the 45th floor of either the North or South observatory for sweeping views of the city, for free!

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Wandering (or lying on a blanket) in a Japanese landscaped garden is a unique experience. From the rush of modernism in mostly urban Tokyo, you’ll suddenly find yourself in a tranquil area filled with countless trees and carefully manicured gardens. In the spring, flowers abound, and you might even catch the short blooming season of the cherry trees.

Akihabara

Akihabara or “Akiba” is known for the hundreds of electronic stores around Akihabara Station and lining Chuo Dori. From large shops on the main drag to small shops on the side streets selling anything from the newest camera’s to secondhand electronic junk, this is a fascinating area to visit, especially for techies! Although many shops offer goods that will only work in Japan, you can find English-speaking shops that offer goods for use overseas. If you do plan to buy, bring your passport and shop duty free for larger purchases.

Kabuki

The traditional Japanese theater form called kabuki began in 1603 and continues to this day. While you may not speak the language, the themes—such as love and revenge—are usually universal enough to understand. You’ll want to see the elaborate costumes and the skill of the performers, who often sing and dance. Shinbashi Enbojyo is the perfect theater to witness this fascinating art form.

Sekirei

With an expansive beer garden that feels more like a backyard, this bar is the perfect place to relax after a long day. Sekirei is popular with the happy hour crowd, and you may want to join them to escape the throngs of the city. Enjoy a drink beneath a pine tree as dancers in kimonos perform on the lawn. Prices are very reasonable, especially considering the upscale atmosphere.

Kyoto

Meet Kyoko, one of your Local Hosts in KyotoMonograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Kyoto. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Kyoto and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Kyoto insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.

Meet a Local Host®

My name is Kyoko, and I am a Local Host in Kyoto. I have almost 30 years of experience showing visitors all this wonderful city has to offer. As your Local Host I would like to show you the most charming points of the city and some of Japan’s greatest treasures.

Gion

This is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district and is highlighted by traditional machiya-style merchant houses, which are narrow and long. The area is infused with ochaya (teahouses where geisha entertain), shops, and restaurants—making it the perfect place for shoppers and foodies to explore. One of the highlights is a stroll along the Shirakawa Canal by night. The canal is lined with willow trees, and when illuminated, it is a beautiful sight. Keep in mind that the chances of seeing a geisha walking around increases at night, but it is still a rare occurrence. Your best bet is to take in a show or visit an ochaya for tea.

Higashiyama

Located in the eastern part of Kyoto, Higashiyama is one of Kyoto’s eleven wards featuring charming restaurants and shops. It is a great place to buy local pottery, candy, or regular souvenir items. The highlight of the area is Kiyomizudera “Pure Water” Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in 780 AD, by one of the oldest Buddhist sects in Japan. Taste the spring water that gives the temple its name and enjoy sweeping views of Kyoto from the famous wooden terrace.

Zen state of mind

Kyoto is famous for its Japanese Rock “Zen” Gardens. The most famous is the karesansui (dry landscape) rock garden at Ryoanji Temple. Here the simple use of moss-covered boulders representing waterfalls and raked gravel representing waves make for a calm space to lose your mind in thought. Lesser known but equally impressive is the garden at Saihoji Temple, also known as Kokedera (Moss Temple). This UNESCO World Heritage site is a fine display of the other Japanese garden-style called tsukiyama “hill garden,” which typically consists of a hill with a stream and pond. Here you can meander through the paths and admire the beauty surrounding you.

Nishiki-Koji Market

This covered street market is where the local residents, restaurants, and hotels buy their food. Here you will find traditional Japanese cooking ingredients such as pickled daikon, mushrooms, and octopus as well as savory foods to eat like baby squid, fish cakes, and sushi. You will also find other items for sale, including dishes, cooking utensils, and clothing. It is best to go in the morning before things pick up and the locals do their shopping. Hours of operation vary, but shops are typically open from 9 am to 6 pm and closed on either Wednesday or Sunday.

Mount Hieizan

Located to the northeast of Kyoto, Mount Hieizan is home to Enryakuji Temple, one of the most important religious sites in Japan. Originally built by Buddhist monks of the Tendai sect in 788 to protect Kyoto from evil spirits, it eventually grew into a monastery complex with both size and power. In fact, it had so much power that in 1571, the mountain was invaded, and every building was burned to the ground. The complex was rebuilt in the 17th century when new rulers came to power. Ride a cable car up the mountain and explore the temple and other buildings in a beautiful mountain setting.

Ginkakuji Temple

This “Temple of the Silver Pavilion” was built by the grandson of the man who built the “Temple of the Gold Pavilion” with the intention of covering it in silver leaf. Don’t expect to see the glimmer though as unfortunately his plans were never carried out. Nonetheless the temple stands as a monument of simplistic Japanese design and has lovely gardens so it is definitely worth a stop.

Kiyomizudera Temple

The “Pure Water Temple” is the most popular Buddhist temple in the city. For over 1200 years, pilgrims have climbed the slope to pray to the temple’s 11-headed Kannon image and drink from the sacred spring. The main hall which is a Japanese architectural marvel is made with no nails and offers wonderful views of Kyoto.

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*The "STARTING AT" price is based on December 1, 2017, which is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is per passenger based on double occupancy and does not include airfare; additional fees/charges are not included. Pricing may vary on this date due to hotel availability. If a price is crossed out, the new price includes a limited time promotional offer(s) – please review current promotions or deals for additional information. Some packages require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Monograms).

Prices based on double room occupancy and a minimum of two travelers. For singles traveling alone, a supplement
will be quoted at the time of booking. Single rooms are available at a supplement; triple rooms are available at a
reduction.

2018 departures are subject to itinerary and price modifications. Details will be available in August 2017.

* The "Starting at" or listed price is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is per passenger based on double occupancy and does not include airfare; additional fees/charges are not included. Pricing may vary on this date due to hotel availability. If a price is crossed out, the new price includes a limited time promotional offer(s) – please review current promotions or deals for additional information. Some packages require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Monograms).