Kobe, Traditional Kyoto
9 HoursModerate-StrenuousSightseeing | Walking | Dining | UNESCO | Essentials Collection
Explore three of Kyoto's marquee attractions: the impressive Golden Pavilion, Sanjusangendo and formidable Nijo Castle, a quintessential example of Momoyama architecture, which flourished 400 years ago. Depart from the pier and drive inland toward Kyoto, an immensely historical city renowned for spectacular architecture, which includes thousands of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Your first visit is Sanjusangendo, which is the popular name for Rengeo-in, a temple in eastern Kyoto which is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The temple was founded in 1164 and rebuilt a century later after original structure had been destroyed in a fire. The temple hall, measuring 394 feet (120 meters), is the longest Japanese wooden structure. Next is Nijo Castle, a fortification of cypress wood built in 1603 as the residence of the Tokugawa clan. An esteemed UNESCO World Heritage Site, the castle is protected by a moat, stone walls, and ingenious nightingale floors, which chirp like a bird when walked upon to alert the guards of potential intruders. Despite its defensive elements, the castle was primarily a home. It's adorned with wooden carvings, artistically painted sliding doors and expansive tatami rooms, decorated in the traditional style at the time. After having lunch, you will be headed to Kyoto's most famous landmark, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion). Built by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu as a villa in 1397, the 3-story home was converted to a temple by Yoshimitsu's son. The Golden Pavilion follows the Shinden style of the Heian Period by being positioned at the edge of a tranquil pond. It has delicately curving roofs, with the walls and eaves of the second and third stories covered in shimmering gold leaf. View the exterior of the pavilion and walk through the peaceful gardens, marveling at the mirror reflection of the temple on the still pond.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3 hours of walking with a number of steps to negotiate. There are 30 steps at the Kinkakuji Temple. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. Casual clothing and comfortable, flat walking shoes are recommended. Bring local currency for shopping. Photography and video are not permitted inside Nijo Castle (Ninomaru Palace) and Sanjusangendo. Shoes must be removed to enter Nijo Castle and Sanjusangendo. Nijo Castle is under a 20-year restoration project therefore some parts of castle may be closed. The order of sites visited may vary.