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Jesse United States of ...
Even though this was my second time on this tour, this was again a really great second 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.
Loved this tour. In total I think we visited 6 temples but the most amazing is the Golden Temple pictured. This is simply stunning and to top it off when we got off the bus it started to snow. Tour guide's speak great English and very informative. Would highly recommend this tour.
We enjoyed visiting the locations, and the tour guide was so much fun to be with.
The Imperial Palace was closed on weekend so it was replaced by a Temple visit instead. The Golden Pavilion is so magnificent, that i wished i could go back to photograph it during all four seasons. Nijo Castle was rich with the Samurai heritage, learned many historical facts about the castle and its Shogun.
Britt B USA
Best time of the year to see the Golden Pavillion surrounded by snow. Lots of people but well organized. Our tour guide was a well of information and made us laugh with her great sense of humor. It was a long day visiting various Temples, however well worth it. Since Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Olympics, there is a lot of renovation going on. Some temples are partially covered up due to restoration. The lunch made for a nice break in between the morning and afternoon tour.
I really liked this tour. Our tour guide was really funny and still informative and even kept her calm when half of the group run away to make photos with pretty kimono girls. The most beautiful spot was the Golden Pavilion, the most interesting the Nightingale floor of Nijo Castle.
Kyoto is a wonderful place with many interesting sites. The Golden Pavilion is spectacular. All sites are well worth visiting. The tour guides were very nice, professional and knowledgeable.
Pacheco Ohana USA
This was our third Viator tour on this trip. We were picked up in Kyoto at the hotel we stayed at (New Miyako); again, very convenient. Our tour guide, Yoshi, was the best of the trip...very knowledegable and funny. Niho Castle was the highlight of the tour and it worth the trip--awesome. Heian Shrine was next and was a very spiritual place, again, worth the visit. From there, we visited the Golden Pavilion and got some great pics and good luck charms. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant (part of the tour) and had a great traditional lunch, shabu-shabu style. After this, we got back on the bus but were again plagued by the bus' inadequate AC, as it got hot and humid outside. The entire tour group resorted to opening the windows and braving the stickiness rather than the oven it had become inside. Our next stop was the imperial palace replica. It was immense and provided stunning pics and memories. Kiyomizu temple was out last stop. The shopping on the road up to the temple was another major attraction, here. At the conclusion of the tour, we were returned to our hotel at approx. 5pm, so we still had time to walk around Kyoto! Don't miss this one--imo its a good investment in time and money for what you get--experience this important area's major sites, explained by an expert, eat great local food, excellent shopping opportunities, and convenient pickup/drop-off. We'll do this one again, someday.
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!
Jesse United States of ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alana H Australia
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.
Jason S USA
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.
John P Australia
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.
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!
Robin T United Kingdom
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.
Margaret T Australia
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.
Christina S USA
Golden Pavilion is a must-see.
Roberta W USA
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.
We enjoyed this 4 hour tour. The visit to Nijo Castle was very informative and our guide certainly knew her history. The visit to the Golden Pavilion was absolutely packed which is apparently normal. However you still get a decent opportunity to take photos. It was raining the day we went and navigating the swarm of umbrellas added an extra layer of mayhem but still worth the visit.
This tour was a whirlwind but it was very organized. I had three kids so it limited sometime at the destinations however it was very informative and the east of getting tickets, coordinating the entry and the guided tours was worth it. The lunch at the midpoint was good even though it was a mass buffet style. Additionally the prices of the goods at the cultural center were good in reference to some prices in Tokyo. Highly recommend at least the half day with the Golden Temple.
This company has very nice buses and our guide was filled with information and energy. The only downside for this tour...which is common for most tours of this kind is there's not enough time at each place. I suggest you read up on each place you'll visit for the basic information so you can take time to get great pictures in each place...because there really isn't any free time. Any time at the end of the guided portion of the tour in each spot will easily be consumed just walking back to the bus, grabbing a drink, or using the restroom. Also, you should know it's required to remove shoes for the Gion Palace tour. The Golden Pavilion is the highlight not only of this tour but quite possible of any visit to Japan. Pictures there will be amazing. I suggest doing some homework and then leaving your guide right away and getting photos...because with the crowds it's almost impossible to hear the guide anyway. Also, just the time it takes to walk the route around the Pavilion back to the bus will suck up most of the allotted time there.
This tour was quite good, the Golden Temple was magnificent.
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