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Kyoto ATTRACTIONS See all

Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)

The Golden Pavilion, or Kinkaku-ji,  is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto, and a major highlight of any visit to the city. The three-story pagoda gleams with gold leaf, though it is a 1955 replica of the original 1397 temple, which was ... 

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Certified reviews by travelers like you.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2014

This was an amazing tour and well worth cost. Nijo Castle was very interesting to tour and the Golden Pavillion was beautiful in the sunlight the day we toured. The Japanese gardens are outstandingly beautiful!

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2013

This was a really great tour, lots of visits to historically significant sites such as the Kyoto Imperial Palace and other sites visited. Had great tour guides who were all very knowledgeable regarding past and current historical facts related to the beautiful Kyoto Imperial Palace, the Golden Pavilion, and Nijo Castle. I would recommend this tour to anyone having an interest in the rich history in the Kyoto area.

Doing what: Kyoto Morning Tour - Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2013

Kyoto totally rocks and is definitely a must see. With 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, doing a full day tour in the summer (and it is boiling hot, typically over 30 degrees Celsius) is physically taxing. By afternoon most of the people in my tour group had lost the will to live. I strongly suggest doing two half day tours on separate days. Top of the list are Nijo Castle which recaptures the story of Shogun and the subsequent loss of power to the Japanese Emperor, the Golden Pavilion whose stunning beauty will mesmerise you and Eikan-do for its beautiful grounds.
Our tour guide was perfect: friendly, knowledgeable, had great command of English and had a good sense of humour. The tour bus departed on time, was clean, climate controlled and comfortable. Buffet lunch was just ok, but could have been better given how amazing Japanese food can be.

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2013

For an all-day tour this is definitely something you should look into. Kyoto and Nara have a lot of places to see and this tour lets you see all the major sites.

The tour guides were happy to answer any questions and were very informative.

The only draw-back was that I wish we had spent more time in some places rather than others (we only spent about 20 minutes at the Golden Pavilion).

Overall I was very pleased. Would definitely recommend it.

Doing what: Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2013

Kyoto has a lot of very interesting and beautiful places to see. This full day tour may not cover all of them but it includes most of the must-see places. Lunch is included which is just ok. Our tour guide for the afternoon tour, Yuki, was very knowledgeable and fluent in English. My only complaint is that we were all in a rush especially the morning tour, and it seemed that we didn't have enough time to take in the beauty of the places we've been to. One family who was part of our tour group was left behind in the Golden Pavilion and had to take the taxi to rejoin the group in the Imperial Palace. The pacing of the afternoon tour was better, we even had time to buy some souvenirs in the shops near the Kyomizu Temple.

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2012

We went on the tour in september. There are several stops in the tour. The golden pavillion, imperial palace, nijo castle, nara. You get just enough time at each spot. All interesting in different ways. The tour guide was very nice and always gave clear directions and good explanations on each attraction.
There is no way you could do so much in such a short period of time without doing a tour such as this. Highly recommend if you are short in time in beautiful kyoto.

Doing what: Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

Alana H
Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2010

Get the best of both worlds Kyoto and Nara!!! A fantastic trip, my highlights were the Golden Palace in Kyoto and the Big Buddha in Nara. Just be mindful read the small print, if you book the trip for a Saturday you miss out on the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.

Doing what: Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2010

Very nice overview of Kyoto. The morning was jam-packed and very tight on schedule. Rushed right through the Golden Pavillion. Buffet lunch was decent and had plenty of free time afterwards to browse the many floors of gift shops at the craft center. After lunch we were on a different bus with a different tour guide. This is dependent on with afternoon tour you chose. Much more relaxed with free time to take pictures and explore.

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

John P
Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2010

This was our first internet tour booking and I was apprehensive, but everything worked perfectly. The hotel pick up was fine, but not the weather. However it cleared as the day progressed and provided some interesting photos opportunities. Our tour guide "Miki" as in "Mickey Mouse" he jovially stated, was informative and humourous, but was also caring and was there to assist me on steep stairs I'm 78 and not as mobile these days. By the time we reached the Golden Pavilion in Nara the weather was clearing and a hazy sun played on this magnificent building, to the delight of the hundreds of photographers there, -many of them young students dressed in kimonos. I have visited many parts of the world, but Japan is very high on my "Must return" list and I would have no hesitation in booking the Viator Kyoto-Nara Tour again, -as well as looking at other Tours elsewhere in Japan.

Doing what: Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

tls242
Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2010

This was a great tour! My husband and I are very sceptical of organised tours, and usually just travel and do things ourselves. But we only had one day in Kyoto, and from our research we could see that the things we wanted to see were fairly spaced out around the town. Then we saw that viator did a tour to the three main things we wanted to see in kyoto PLUS nara as well! The guide was great! So informative! Knew everything! WE had enough time at all the places. Longer might have been nice - but only about 20 mins longer just so we were a little less rushed - but I would rather hurry along a little and see more than be bored. We stopped for lunch at the Handicraft centre. This place is great for souvenirs! And compared to tokyo prices quite good. Unfortunaley we only had an hour here which included our lunch eating time, so we were rushed. I recommend coming back to this place if you can as there are floors of cool things to buy to go through. If your after typical japanese souvenirs THIS IS THE PLACE! Luch was pretty good, buffet so you can fill up.Just dont expect 5 star food. Its really just a bit of this and a bit of that and pile it on your plate. But tasty none the less. The golden pavillion was amazing! and the budda at todajii was unbelievable! I highly recommend this trip! I have always checked out viators website before travelling for ideas, but this was the first time i have actually booked a tour with them. From now on i think i will book many more tours! Everything was seamless - from pickup to drop off!

Doing what: Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

Robin T
United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2009

All of the the sights were extremely good, and the Golden Pavilion was amazing. The visits were very well organised and the guide was informative and helpful.

Doing what: Kyoto Morning Tour - Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle

Margaret T
Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2008

The Golden Pavilion shone in the sun and with the lake in the foreground to give a reflection in the water -- it was a photographer's delight. Our guide told us of the purpose of each room in the Niji Castle which gave meaning to what we were seeing. Of course the the 1,000 images at Sanjusangendo was impressive. The serenity of the Kiyomizu Temple and its surrounding gardens made me feel I could stay there forever it was the most beautiful place.

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2007

Golden Pavilion is a must-see.

Doing what: Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2007

Golden Pavilion is beautiful and Todaiji in Nara is an amazing structure. Lunch was wonderful with terrific variety. Tons of deer in Nara. Our Nara tour guide, however, did not adequately keep the group together or make sure everyone knew what to do when. He disappeared before we exited Todaiji. I've taken many tours, through Viator and others and never had this happen before. We made it back to the bus just fine, however, and I would still recommend the tour in general.

Doing what: Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

4 star rating: Recommended
May 2014

Our guide was excellent. The highlight was Nijo castle. The Golden Pavilion was extremely crowded and a stunning sight but little else to see. The Kyoto palace had very little to see due to being all exteriors and over controlled.

Doing what: Kyoto Morning Tour - Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle

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