K-pop VS J-pop,
Seoul Tower VS Tokyo Tower,
Bibimbap VS Sushi.
You know that both countries are the perfect destinations for holiday trips – alluring cultures, unbelievable food and breathtaking views – yet still unique in their own ways. Almost like two sides of the same coin. Which will you choose: Heads or Tails; Korea or Japan? It’s time for a coin toss.
The South Korean capital is a bustling metropolis and an attractive destination for tourists. Yet despite its technological advancements, traditions and culture still run strong. One of the best things to do is to immerse yourself in South Korea’s history. The Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul maintains a 600-year-old Joseon Dynasty cultural village. Exploring the narrow alleys is a personal favourite activity of many, stumbling upon beautiful walkways and admiring the designs of the hanok (traditional houses).
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Busan, a port city, is located at the Southeast tip of South Korea. The beaches, mountains and temples draw people to her like the cover of a good book, and the stunning scenery brings a fairy tale to life before your very eyes.
Haedong Yonggungsa is one such example. This Buddhist temple faces the sea, rewarding visitors with a picturesque view of the horizon. Staring out at the sea with a light breeze in your hair and taking in the sights of nature; it makes you feel small. Busan is just one of those destinations.
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Another name for Jeju Island is the “Island of the Gods”, and it’s clear why. These dol hareubang, or “grandfather statues”, have mushroom-shaped stone tops and are only found on Jeju. Surrounded by flourishing nature, the statues seem to resemble mystical relics of Jeju’s history that have withstood the test of time.
The Kimnyoung Maze Park is a good place to have fun on your trip to Jeju. Have a competition with your buddies to see who could get out of the maze the quickest, or work together to solve this life-sized puzzle. At the end of the maze, you could even grab ice-cream from an ice-cream store located there.
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Daegu isn’t usually highlighted on travel itineraries but there are some interesting sights to see here. Spanning back in its rich history in the Joseon era when it acted as a transportation center, many historical and cultural artifacts have been preserved and are now on display in numerous museums around Daegu.
In the photo is Donghwasa, a huge Buddhist temple located in the North of Daegu. The sheer size of the temple is unbelievable. It houses one of the largest Buddha statues in Asia, that is said to hold two bones from Buddha himself. The temple is easily accessible by bus, and is definitely worth a stop.
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Japanese shrines give us some insight into the cultures that are still present in Japan today. Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, and it is huge. The enormous size of the temple entrance makes you feel like Buddha is watching. The interior is equally grand.
Another shrine to visit is Meiji Jingu, located next to Yoyogi park. A relaxing walk through the park brings you straight to the entrance of the shrine. Have your fortune read for fun, or write your thoughts on a wooden panel and hang it up to show that you were there. Donations can also be made at the temple, in hopes that the kami (Shinto spirits) point some luck your way.
Flash Sale to Tokyo from $342 →
In the past Osaka was the capital of Japan, which is why Osaka Castle stands tall and proud at Chūō-ku. The huge castle grounds has many photo opportunities for your trip. If you are travelling in Spring, the sakura blooming alone would be worth the trip.
If you fancy nightlife, Dotonbori won’t disappoint. The long street is concentrated with neon lights and shops to meet your every need. A gentle canal runs along Dotonbori and makes for a pleasurable walk during sunset. There’s also the famous Glico man who will be lit up at night. Many stop by and strike his pose, with two arms straight into the sky.
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The white sand beaches of Okinawa stretch out as far as the eye can see, warm under the soles of your feet but not burning. The ocean is almost as blue as the sky, gently washing upon the shore. It’s hard not to feel that Okinawa has some of the best beaches in the world. Water activities like snorkeling and diving are available for your pleasure.
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In Winter, Sapporo is famous for the annual Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, or Snow Festival, where enormous ice and snow sculptures are created for display. Up to a dozen large snow sculptures and a hundred smaller snow sculptures are put on display at Odori Park, ready to blow your mind at how they can be so skillfully sculpted. The next Snow Festival will be held during 6 - 12 February 2017.
If you enjoy Sapporo Beer, there is also a beer museum for you to visit. At the end of the tour you can even try some of the different beer flavours available at their cafeteria.
Flash Sale to Sapporo from $543 →
Still can’t decide?
Are Korea and Japan are both so awesome that you can’t choose between them? Well, you could get the best of both worlds with this week’s Flash Sale! All destinations mentioned are on sale until Friday midnight. Check them out here! You could also get up to 6% rebate on flights if you pay with OCBC.
Visit the places mentioned in this blog post and share your travel photos with us on Instagram! We hope you have a great ZUJI holiday! For more itinerary ideas to Seoul and Tokyo, check out our other blog post here.