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 the Kyoto New Miyako Hotel or your selected hotel 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.Note: When Nijo Castle is closed, Ryoanji Temple will be visited instead. 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. Note: When Kyoto Imperial Palace is closed, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine or Nishi Honganji Temple will be visited instead.Your tour ends with drop-off at the Kyoto New Miyako Hotel.