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Japan/Korea two week double header 2019


Girth
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Hello all

Ideally looking to pack in Japan/South Korea in two weeks in Jan 2019...

Now, aside from Tokyo and Seoul - which other islands/cities/towns would you recommend? 

I want to pack in as much as humanly possible. 

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1 hour ago, Girth said:

Hello all

Ideally looking to pack in Japan/South Korea in two weeks in Jan 2019...

Now, aside from Tokyo and Seoul - which other islands/cities/towns would you recommend? 

I want to pack in as much as humanly possible. 

A week's not going to get you far outside Tokyo.  If you've only got two weeks, pick Japan or Korea.

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I'm going to Japan for about 12 days in October. Haven't decided where to go yet but there's a thread on here with loads of good advice. Either getting a rail pass or will make use of discounted internal flights through One World as I'm flying BA/JAL. I'll probably head south for the good weather. Want to find one or two places to get to know well rather than bombing about all over.

Edited by welshbairn
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1 hour ago, welshbairn said:

I'm going to Japan for about 12 days in October. Haven't decided where to go yet but there's a thread on here with loads of good advice. Either getting a rail pass or will make use of discounted internal flights through One World as I'm flying BA/JAL. I'll probably head south for the good weather. Want to find one or two places to get to know well rather than bombing about all over.

I'm sure the good people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima will thank you for that.

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1 hour ago, welshbairn said:

I'm going to Japan for about 12 days in October. Haven't decided where to go yet but there's a thread on here with loads of good advice. Either getting a rail pass or will make use of discounted internal flights through One World as I'm flying BA/JAL. I'll probably head south for the good weather. Want to find one or two places to get to know well rather than bombing about all over.

I'd suggest Okinawa and Ishigaki Island in particular my friend.

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I did the same thing about a month ago. I Spent four days in Seoul then two weeks in Japan but obviously you need far, far longer if you want to do both properly.  A lot of people I met in Seoul were  there because it was hundreds of pounds cheaper to fly from the UK to Seoul and then on to Tokyo so Seoul was essentially a free trip.  I had flown in from New Zealand, but I'm pretty sure it was still quite a bit cheaper to do it this way.

I did next to no research into where to go so I pretty much just went to places I'd heard of in Japan so only managed Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima, although I went during the cherry blossom so places like Kyoto were off limits as I just couldn't find budget accommodation  for the dates I needed.

Are you solo-travelling? If you're backpacking and looking to stay in cheap(ish) hostels then I can maybe point you to some decent places.

 

One thing I would definitely recommend is getting one of these pocket wifi boxes from the airport when you land in Jappan. Public wifi hotspots are surprisingly few and far between for a country so technologically advanced with even Mcdonalds and Starbucks (usually the world's best friend when you need internet access) not always supplying a working connection.

 The Tokyo metro system can be a bit of a mind-f**k if you're in a rush and don't have a lot of time to work out what connection you need to make. Likewise, the Japanese building address system is absolutely fucked so having  fully functioning Google Maps would make things less stressful. My lack of research meant I didn't get one of these boxes and just struggled though, which I suppose was an experience in itself, but you'll get more out of the limited time you have available if you know exactly where to go and how to get there.

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The ferry between Fukuoka and Busan is a good laugh at weekends.Basically young Japanese taking the 4 hr crossing to go and get smashed in the much cheapness conpared to Japan, city of Busan and that means its a lively spot at weekends.Im assuming you will be doing a green line tour to see the border between north and south or if your feeling adventurous you can get a tour in North Korea with https://koryogroup.com/ but obviously this will take a lot of prep work from yourself

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I found to metro system very straightforward and easy to use,

1)Shinjuku to Shibya for the blade runner experience Ginza for classy shops n restaurants.

2) a trip in the fastest bullet train first class, just pick the shortest trip.

3) Golden Gia, crap, better off going down little alleyways and side streets for real Japanese bars n food.

4) some etiquette, wash and wear Bo spray as Westerns smell to the Japanese. Be quite in crowded places, learn ,hello, thank you and good bye.

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17 hours ago, doulikefish said:

The ferry between Fukuoka and Busan is a good laugh at weekends.Basically young Japanese taking the 4 hr crossing to go and get smashed in the much cheapness conpared to Japan, city of Busan and that means its a lively spot at weekends.Im assuming you will be doing a green line tour to see the border between north and south or if your feeling adventurous you can get a tour in North Korea with https://koryogroup.com/ but obviously this will take a lot of prep work from yourself

Cheers for that, getting towards a plan. Fly to Tokyo, take £35 Peach Airlines connection to Fukuoko, couple of days then ferry to Busan for a night or two. Back to Fukuoko, start 7 day rail pass with trip to Nagasaki, maybe stop a night. Bullet train to Osaka for a night or so, continue on to Tokyo and flight home. Only got 10/11 nights so might spend more time in Fukuoko if I like it and forget about the rail pass. You can get a refund for the rail pass if you don't use it, minus 15%

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Guest JTS98

I live in Korea and have been to Japan. Korea is basically a really rubbish version of Japan.

Seoul is ok for a couple of days. Nothing special, really. Get yourself along for a Koren barbecue, which is pretty decent, and maybe head to one of the bath houses. It'll be really, really cold, so you'll want to find indoor things to do.  Other cities in Korea are more or less the same as Seoul. Busan is like Seoul but has a beach. Pohang is like Seoul but has a big port. Daegu is like Seoul but a bit more dull. Daejeon is like Seoul in almost every respect, but smaller and with fewer foreigners. Jeonju is not bad. A bit more cultural.

January will be absolutely freezing cold and you're too early for any K-League action.

I like Japan. Tokyo is a much more interesting city than Seoul. Kyoto is well worth a visit, as is Kobe. The food is better in Japan too.

EDIT: Just read your update. Bath houses and barbecues should be easy enough to track down in Busan. That's about your lot in Korea.

There's not much to do in Osaka itself, but Kyoto and Kobe are both nearby. Both much better and easy to get to on the train from Osaka.

Edited by JTS98
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We did a week in Japan about 7 years ago and felt like we managed to fit loads in. Three nights in Tokyo then got the bullet train (2nd fastest one as it was quite a bit cheaper) to Kyoto and had a few nights there. Back on the train to Hiroshima, absolutely loved it there, found a few cool bars and had a hotel overlooking the Peace Park - got out to the Itsukushima Shrine (the one that looks like it is floating on the water).

Because the trains are so reliable we booked one that took us straight to Narita airport for 2or 3 hours before our flight - never any danger of it being late.

Japan might still be our favourite country we have visited, the culture is very interesting and you have no hope of understanding it (my friend lived there for 3 years and was none the wiser). One thing that can be tough (ish) is there isn't much signage in English - didn't bother us too much but made things interesting.

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I found there to be plentiful signage in English, although obviously sometimes you'll have to walk into a place just assuming it's a restaurant before blindly ordering something from the menu and hoping for the best. 

I imagine the amount of signage in English has dramatically increased since Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics back in 2013.

Edited by Barry Ferguson's Hat
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  • 4 weeks later...

I enjoyed Seoul. Not as straight laced as Tokyo; neither has a bevvy culture. I also felt that Tokyo is not really a "tourist" city....which might be a good thing. But the busyness of the place makes it an exciting place to visit. I'll go back to both.

Best place I visited in Seoul was the Samsung museum. The Koreans do their museums pretty well and your spoilt for choice re royal palaces.

Nara is close to Tokyo and can be done with Kyoto. Both are packed with Japanese and foreign tourists but you might only be there once. I would go for Nara if you have to choose.

Both Japan and Korea have bullet trains and should be sampled. The Tokyo underground is mad...but worth experiencing.

I mixed with the locals a bit (being Scottish is a novelty - they will often assume you're American) and that helped make the trip.

Sent from my SM-A310F using Pie and Bovril mobile app

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On 11/06/2018 at 12:01, Hampden Diehard said:

..neither has a bevvy culture.


 

Really? I lived in Korea back in the 1990s, and there was certainly a 'bevvy culture' back then. I've visited since, and I suppose things have changed a bit, but they still like a drink.

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Really? I lived in Korea back in the 1990s, and there was certainly a 'bevvy culture' back then. I've visited since, and I suppose things have changed a bit, but they still like a drink.

They love a bevy......sojoe being the firewater of choice

 

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Seoul is quality. I enjoyed it almost (almost) every bit as Tokyo.  Only shite thing about Seoul is the amount of American soldiers who are generally bellends but they are mostly in Itaewon. Myeongdong is a cool area with a lot going on although it's more shops and restaurants than bars if that's what you are after. 

In Japan Osaka is a cracking city and the food is tremendous. If you have limited time I would visit Kyoto on a day trip from Osaka, maybe stay 1 night at a push. Nice city but very quiet compared to Tokyo and Osaka. Lots of temples and traditional architecture which is nice. I have been up to Hakone and down to Kobe too but tbh thought Kobe was a bit shit. 

Tokyo is just like a little mini planet of it's own. Back in November, can't wait. 

Edited by Mr Gandosaur
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Guest Pampered Adolescent

I agree with the poster immediately above regarding the US military people.

In 2005 & 6 I did several business trips to both Japan and S Korea. A long time ago, however something possibly not mentioned further up the thread.....

We were visiting Iksan around four hours south of Seoul, and staying in the 'best' hotel in town, The Iksan Hotel, I think. We were staying for three days and on check-in, the desk lady queried "Three DAYS?" as if we had arrived from another planet. "Yes, three DAYS" was our reply.

When I got up to my room, it was obvious why the lady required confirmation of our duration, as there were about six or so neon-lit buildings with titles such as "Love Inn", etc. Even though we were in the town's top hotel, it was clearly mainly aimed at the hourly rent market.....

For Chinese October week 2012, I did a trip to both Seoul and Jeju. I found the peninsular Koreans by far the most xenophobic people in east Asia, such that BBQ restaurants loaded at 30% occupacity refused to serve me on my own. Whereas there's nothing truly spectacular, there's probably three days worth of sights in Seoul. I didn't plan to visit the DMZ as N Korea was on my future plans, which I did visit the following year.

The people in Jeju, though, were very welcoming, and I enjoyed a chilled few days in the south, within walking distance of the stadium built for the 2002 World Cup.

For myself, Korea BBQ is amazing, and I could literally eat this every single day. There are several different types of hob/hotplate design, the best being wood-fired 'toadstool' version where you rub pork fat at the top, and let it drizzle downwards. I only saw these in Jeju, they truly are phenomenal. 

Hite was the only beer I tried in Korea, essentially a re-branded Heineken. Enough said. I therefore plumped for the house soju with my meals. 

 

 

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