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Kyoto Tours and Activities

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Kyoto Full-Day Sightseeing Tour including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple

Kyoto Full-Day Sightseeing Tour including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple - Kyoto, Japan
Star Rating

Duration: 9 hours
Location: Kyoto, Japan

From USD
$124.54

Discover tranquil temples, Imperial palaces and ancient shrines on this 9-hour full-day Kyoto sightseeing tour. Explore top city attractions such as Nijo Castle and the ornate gardens of Kinkaku-ji Temple ... More info ›

Discover tranquil temples, Imperial palaces and ancient shrines on this 9-hour full-day Kyoto sightseeing tour. Explore top city attractions such as Nijo Castle and the ornate gardens of Kinkaku-ji Temple. Visit the Kiyomizu Temple and the Kyoto Imperial Palace, once home to the Imperial family. Marvel at the Heian Shrine and behold the Thousand Armed Kannon at Sanju-Sangendo Hall. This tour is ideally suited to those short on time keen to explore Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage. Please note there’s quite a lot of walking involved.

Following a morning pickup from your Kyoto hotel, meet your guide and hop aboard your air-conditioned coach to begin your city tour. Widely considered to be the cradle of Japan's cultural heritage, Kyoto was the country’s capital and the Emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. Today it stands as Japan’s seventh largest city, with a population of 1.4 million people and a modern face which belies its status as Japan's most traditional city.

Head first to Nijo Castle, noted for the stark contrast between its solemn appearance and beautiful interior. Built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogun, Nijo Castle is a joy to explore. Wander past the inner walls to Honmaru Palace and its garden, and hear of their history and heritage from your guide. Discover Ninomaru Palace with its five connecting buildings made of cypress — lavishly decorated in gold leaf — and admire the kitchens, guard house and extensive gardens.

Continue on to the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Kyoto's most popular temple. Explore the authentic and exquisite Japanese garden — widely considered to be the most authentic and exquisite of its kind in the world — and the celebrated Golden Pavilion.

Follow your guide on a walk through the Kyoto Imperial Palace, where the Japanese taste for simplicity and calmness can best be appreciated. (Please note that before entering the Kyoto Imperial Palace you will be required to fill out a form with personal information such as your full name, sex, age, and nationality.) The palace was the residence of the Imperial family until the capital was relocated to Tokyo in 1868, and its history is fascinating. Marvel at the Shishinden Imperial state chamber — where enthronement ceremonies took place — and gain valuable insight into ancient Japanese royalty.

Admire the brightly colored Heian Shrine, then visit the Buddhist temple of Sanju-Sangendo Hall — where famous deity the Thousand Armed Kannon sits in wait — and marvel at the 1,000 life-size statues flanking the grand hall.

Follow your guide along a quaint old lane lined with pottery shops to conclude your tour at the Kiyomizu Temple, and enjoy panoramic views over the entire city of Kyoto from your vantage point on its lofty terrace.

After approximately nine hours exploring Kyoto’s many top attractions, return to your original departure point with your guide to conclude your tour.

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    Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

    Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle - Kyoto, Japan
    Star Rating

    Duration: 10 hours
    Location: Kyoto, Japan

    From USD
    $138.38

    Explore the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara on this full-day tour from Kyoto. In the morning, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-ji, as well as Kyoto Imperial Palace ... More info ›

    Explore the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara on this full-day tour from Kyoto. In the morning, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-ji, as well as Kyoto Imperial Palace. Then travel to Nara to visit World Heritage–listed Todai-ji temple complex (including Great Buddha Hall) and Kasuga Shrine. Plus, see the famous wild deer that roam Nara (you can even feed them!) and enjoy a Japanese and Western-style lunch buffet. It's a packed day, but by the end you'll have seen some of Japan's most important ancient landmarks.

    Your day trip starts with morning pickup for the Kyoto sightseeing portion of your tour. Known as the cradle of Japan's cultural heritage, Kyoto was the country’s capital and home of the Japanese emperor from 794 until 1868. Thus, it boasts many important temples and other sites, several of which make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site.

    With your guide, visit some of the highlights of this ancient city, starting with Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogun until the mid-1800s. This World Heritage–listed castle was built in 1603 and is noted for the contrast of its solemn appearance with its gorgeous interiors. You have about 50 minutes here to explore.

    Next, visit Kyoto's most popular temple, Kinkaku-ji, another World Heritage site and the home to what is perhaps the world's most exquisite Japanese garden. It’s also home to the celebrated Golden Pavilion, a 3-story structure covered in gold leaf and extended out over a pond. Make sure your camera is ready because it makes a great photo op. Spend about 45 minutes here.

    Continue your tour to Kyoto Imperial Palace, the former residence of the emperors of Japan. During your 40 minutes here, visit the Shishin-den, where important state ceremonies took place, and get a feel for the Japanese aesthetic of purity, simplicity and calmness as you explore the palace grounds.

    Take a break from sightseeing for lunch, and then re-board your coach for the 1-hour drive south of Kyoto to Nara, where you’ll visit two of the temples and shrines that make up the UNESCO World Heritage site the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.

    Start at Todai-ji, a temple complex famous for being home to one of the world’s largest bronze statues of the Buddha, housed in the Great Buddha Hall. You have about one hour here to explore the temple grounds and surrounding Nara Park.

    Then head to colorful Kasuga Shrine, famous for the 3,000 bronze lanterns that line its interior. You have 40 minutes here before continuing to a section of Nara Park, aka Deer Park, where tame sika deer roam freely and can be hand-fed (special food can be purchased from vendors, if you wish). If time and/or traffic conditions permit, you will also stop at a souvenir shop before heading back to Kyoto, where your day trip ends.

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    Nara Afternoon Tour of Todaiji Temple, Deer Park and Kasuga Shrine from Kyoto

    Nara Afternoon Tour of Todaiji Temple, Deer Park and Kasuga Shrine from Kyoto - Kyoto, Japan
    Star Rating

    Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
    Location: Kyoto, Japan

    From USD
    $70.11

    Venture to Nara from Kyoto for the afternoon. Due to its past as the first permanent capital of Japan, Nara remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest Buddhist temples ... More info ›

    Venture to Nara from Kyoto for the afternoon. Due to its past as the first permanent capital of Japan, Nara remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest Buddhist temples. Accompanied by your local guide, you'll visit the Todaiji Temple to see Japan's largest Buddha, Deer Park - home to hundreds of freely roaming deer, and Kasuga Shrine - Nara's most celebrated shrine.

    Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara. As the influence and political ambitions of the city's powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784.

    Nara is located in the Kinai plain, less than one hour from Kyoto. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest Buddhist temples.

    Visit the Todaiji Temple, constructed in the 8th century, is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples. In it's huge precincts are various national treasures of Japan. The Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall) is one of the world's largest wooden buildings. One of Japan's best-known temples, it enshrines a gigantic bronze statue of Buddha. A wonder of religious architecture.

    See over 1,000 tame deer roam freely in the verdant 1,250 acres peaceful park. If you wish to feed the deer, they will gladly eat from your hand. Special deer food is available for sale in the park grounds.

    Tour concludes with a visit to Kasuga Shrine, the most famous and beautiful Shinto shrine in Nara, it features some 3,000 antique stone and bronze lanterns.

    Travel by return coach to Kyoto.

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    Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle

    Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle - Kyoto, Japan
    Star Rating

    Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes
    Location: Kyoto, Japan

    From USD
    $60.89

    Soak up temple and palace sights on this half-day guided city tour, great for those who want to see Kyoto’s top attractions in a short time. Travel by coach in the morning and visit UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle and the gold-covered Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) with an informative guide ... More info ›

    Soak up temple and palace sights on this half-day guided city tour, great for those who want to see Kyoto’s top attractions in a short time. Travel by coach in the morning and visit UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle and the gold-covered Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) with an informative guide. Then wander through the Kyoto Imperial Palace — home to the emperor until 1868 — and see how royalty lived.

    After pickup from select locations in Kyoto, your first sightseeing stop is Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. With your guide, spend almost an hour exploring the former residence of the Tokugawa Shogun, built in 1603.

    Noted for the contrast of its solemn appearance and gorgeous interiors, the complex contains the ruins of Honmaru Palace as well as Ninomaru Palace with its five connecting buildings made of cypress. See living quarters lavishly decorated in gold leaf and tour the kitchens, guardhouse and several gardens.

    Next on your itinerary is Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Kyoto's most popular temple. During 45 minutes here, your guide points out perhaps the world's most authentic and exquisite Japanese garden as well as the celebrated Golden Pavilion.

    Continue to Kyoto Imperial Palace, which was the residence of the imperial family until the capital was relocated to Tokyo in 1868. View the Shishinden Imperial state chamber where enthronement ceremonies took place, and admire the Japanese taste for simplicity and tranquility. When the tour concludes, you will be dropped off at the location where you were picked up.

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    Kyoto Afternoon Tour: Heian Shrine, Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizu Temple

    Kyoto Afternoon Tour: Heian Shrine, Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizu Temple - Kyoto, Japan
    Star Rating

    Duration: 4 hours
    Location: Kyoto, Japan

    From USD
    $56.28

    Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of Kyoto on an afternoon guided tour through the former capitol’s vibrant shrines and temples. Admire the alluring green and red Heian Shrine ... More info ›

    Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of Kyoto on an afternoon guided tour through the former capitol’s vibrant shrines and temples. Admire the alluring green and red Heian Shrine. Stroll Sanjusangendo Hall with its 1,001 Kannon statues and the Kiyomizu Temple where you’ll enjoy sweeping city views from the large terrace. All entry fees are included.

    Your tour begins in the afternoon with an introduction to your guide who will lead you to the different stops and inform you of their cultural and religious significances and histories. Kyoto was Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868. Now the country’s seventh largest city with a population of 1.4 million people, Kyoto has a distinct dichotomy of traditional and modern offerings.
 Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its historic value, the city was not chosen as a target of air raids during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.


    Next is the dramatic and colorful Heian Jingu Shrine. Admire this brightly colored shrine, with its vermilion pillars and green roof, and its enchanting inner gardens and ponds that reflects the elegance of life in the ancient Japanese court. Please note the tour will not enter the shrine’s Shin-en garden.

    Explore Sanjusangendo Hall in eastern Kyoto during your first stop. At 120 meters long (394 feet), this wooden hall is the longest in Japan and houses all of 1,001 statues of Kannon, Bodhisattva, that date back to the 13th century.


    Stroll the quaint old lane lined with pottery shops leading up to the famous Kiyomizu Temple, also known as Kiyomizu-dera. Listen to your guide explain the history of this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Enjoy a sweeping view of the entire city of Kyoto from its lofty terrace and grand walkways that meander through the Higashiwama mountain’s foothills.

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    Kyoto Cooking Class, Sake Tasting and Nishiki Food Market Walking Tour

    Kyoto Cooking Class, Sake Tasting and Nishiki Food Market Walking Tour - Kyoto, Japan
    Star Rating

    Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
    Location: Kyoto, Japan

    From USD
    $128.53

    Explore the Nishiki Food Market and learn how to make a home-cooked Japanese meal on this Kyoto culinary walking tour. With a knowledgeable guide, learn about typical Japanese ingredients at the food market, and go off the beaten path with a walk through the city's back streets, filled with interesting shops ... More info ›

    Explore the Nishiki Food Market and learn how to make a home-cooked Japanese meal on this Kyoto culinary walking tour. With a knowledgeable guide, learn about typical Japanese ingredients at the food market, and go off the beaten path with a walk through the city's back streets, filled with interesting shops. Visit an old sake brewery for a tasting, and then prepare your own sushi, soup and salad at a 1.5-hour cooking class. This tour is limited to seven people, ensuring you enjoy a small-group experience.

    Your Kyoto afternoon adventure begins at Daimaru Kyoto department store, where you’ll meet your guide and head out on a 2-hour walking tour.

    At the famous Nishiki Food Market, your guide will introduce you to the many ingredients that may be used in your Japanese cooking class later in the day. Learn about local produce and spices, and enjoy being part of Kyoto’s bustling food scene.

    Next, travel through the back streets and shop-lined lanes of Kyoto to a former sake brewery, now a museum, where you can enjoy a sake tasting as you learn how this iconic Japanese beverage is produced (if the museum is closed on the day you visit, you will receive an admission ticket to use at a later date). Then make your way to a machiya, a traditional wooden townhouse typical of Kyoto, for your cooking class.

    Your cooking class lasts approximately 1.5 hours; when it’s over, you’ll know how to prepare a classic Japanese dinner to wow your friends back home. Learn how to roll your own sushi, make miso soup, put together a cooked salad and pick out seasonal fruit for dessert.

    After sitting down to enjoy your meal, you have the rest of the evening free to explore Kyoto on your own. If you want to return to your hotel after the class, your guide can help you find transportation.

    Note: Click the ‘View additional info’ link below to see a map of the meeting location.

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