Osaka, Kyoto Highlight Tour
8.5 HoursModerateDining | Culture | UNESCO | Walking | Sightseeing
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 famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The temple was founded in 1164 and rebuilt a century later after the original structure had been destroyed in a fire. Also the temple hall, measuring 394 feet, is the longest Japanese wooden structure. Next you will go 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. The Chinese-influenced Golden Pavilion has delicately curving roofs, with the walls and eaves of the 2nd and 3rd 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. You will have lunch at a local restaurant and then head to nearby 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.
After touring Nijo Castle, you'll return to the pier in Osaka.
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. We suggest guests obtain local currency for shopping. Photography and videos are not permitted inside Nijo Castle 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.