Kyoto (Osaka), Japan
Duration 8 1/2 hrs
Discover the gracious spirit of Old Japan on this full-day tour to three of Kyoto's most alluring sites. The imperial capital of Japan for over a thousand years, Kyoto is the cultural and artistic heart of the nation, best known for its Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, beautiful gardens and historically priceless buildings.
Following an approximately 90-minute scenic drive to Kyoto, you arrive at the magnificent Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Kyoto's world-renowned and most photographed temple and garden. Built in 1394, the original Kinkakuji was a retirement villa for a former Shogun. The three-story Chinese-influenced Golden Pavilion has delicately curving roofs, with the walls and eaves of the second and third stories covered in shimmering gold leaf.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll visit Nijo Castle, with its immense walls and moat. Completed in 1603, the castle is famous for its nightingale floors, designed to detect the footsteps of ninja assassins and warn the residents of invaders. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nijo Castle is one of the world's great historical buildings.
Another stop in your tour is Sanjusangendo, famous for its 1,001 12th-century statues of the Buddhist deity Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. Sanjusangendo translates to hall with 33 bays and the 33 alcoves display 1,000 awe-inspiring statues and a single gigantic sitting image of Kannon. Carved from Japanese cypress and painted with gold leaf, each of the multi-armed figures stands five and a half feet tall, and has subtle differences in expression and accoutrements, testimony to the skill and originality of the Momoyama wood carvers.
- Adult from: £166,15 GBP
- Child from: £129,87 GBP