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Excellent value for the money. We covered a lot of ground in one morning: the Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle, and Imperial Palace. It was a bit hectic, but we were on a tight schedule and this was the only way to fit in so many sights. It would have been much more difficult and confusing to do this on our own, as we don't speak Japanese. However, the guide's English was very good and his explanations added a lot to the tour, as English signage was limited. Very worthwhile.
Fabulous tour especially the visit to the Golden Pavillion and the Imperial Palace a highlight. Tour was well organised and our guide was excellent also. Highly recommended.
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.
Overall this tour was worth it, below are some key points of the two tours morning and afternoon.
1. The tour guide was awesome. She made jokes all morning and had lots of useful information. I learned a lot from her, not only about the tour locations we went to but about Kyoto while we drove around.
2. The tour was only slightly rushed in the morning, and only due to the Imperial Palace having strict arrival and departure rules. Overall we moved at a comfortable pace.
3. Every location we went to was worth the visit. None of the areas were too packed with people.
The lunch was a good Japanese meal. It wasn't the most amazing meal I have had, but It surpassed my expectations for a meal that was included in a tour. I left full and satisfied, the meal was prepared well and tasted good.
1. The tour guide for the afternoon tour was different then the morning. She was good, but I preferred the morning tour guide because she seemed to have more fun with jokes and interacting with us. The afternoon tour guide was friendly and knowledgeable. She kept us on schedule and informed with history of the areas we were in. She also taught us the correct way to enter temples and shrines.
2. The locations we visited in the afternoon seemed to be more full with tourists. I am not sure if that was due to the later in the day schedule or the locations.
3. Pacing was perfect. Never felt rushed and we covered a lot of ground.
If I had to choose between the morning or afternoon tours, I would select the afternoon one. The locations we covered were more interesting to me personally and the pacing perfect. The morning one is very much worth it though, so if you have time to do the full day tour I suggest it.
Excellent no hassle tour - wonderful Buddhist palaces, very good tour guide Michiko and time for personal exploration
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.
Fantastic tourguide and the only chance to see Imperial palace to be on the safe site
Yes it was amazing and enjoyed the nipping live reindeers.
I wish to have been able to visit one if the interiors of the Imperial Palace and not only the garden.
My second time to Nijo castle and enjoyed it
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.
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 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.
Diana S USA
This tour was great. We got to see the Imperial Palace and a lot of deer! I never knew deer could be so at one with humans. Lots of history and informative. Definitely one to see.
This was an excellent morning tour to visit 3 of Kyoto's main attractions. Tammy was an entertaining guide with terrific local knowledge and experience. We were lucky to visit the Imperial Palace during one of there two 'open weeks' of the year and Tammy's expertise came to the fore. The Handicraft Centre was well worth the visit. I enjoyed creating my own woodblock prints with a one to one teacher. I even went back the following day to purchase two professionally made woodblock prints.
Very good tour. Palace was closed and option was good. Buffet lunch was very good and very traditional
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.
The tour guide was very knowledgeable and kind of funny which I thought was his strong point. It's bad that we weren't able to visit the Imperial palace it closed on weekend. But if you want to understand a bit of Kyoto history with a guided tour I recommend this one
Really enjoyed this tour until the visit to the last shrine where we were caught up in so much traffic from other tour buses trying to get in and out of the car park . Would happily have given this visit a miss - but the other stops - Ninjo Castle, Imperial Palace , Sanjusangen-do Temple were amazing ! The guide was very knowledgeable and kept us under control ! The lunch was also very good . Would never have seen so much if trying to do by myself .
Excellent tour! The tour guide was knowledgeable, funny and easy to understand. The bus was clean and well presented. The sites visited were amazing.
Taking the tour made one day of our trip a little less stressful.
Sometimes felt a little rushed, but understandable given that the tour had to be at the palace at a specific time.
Only the outside of the palace was visited - again, understandable, but not mentioned anywhere.
The food provided at lunchtime might not be to everyone's liking - certainly not a western style buffet!
The trip was nice however it was quite disappointing not being able to see Kyoto Palace. It was understandable though. I would suggest to those planning to go to Japan not to do any tours towards the end of the year since there are a lot of places closed in preparation for New Yeat.
Tour was good for an overview of Kyoto. Enjoyed: Nijo Castle, Golden Pavilion, Sanju-Sangendo Hall, and Kiyomizu Temple. Disappointed with Imperial Palace since only got to walk on the outside. Would have skipped Heian Shrine and used that extra time at Kiyomizu Temple instead. Didn't have enough time at Kiyomizu Temple to really enjoy it. Lunch wasn't filling enough. Tour guides were great and friendly.
Interesting places, quick stops at each but still felt like enough time - helped by guides knowledge and commentary. Easy way to see the palace without the hassle of arranging it in advance yourself with passports etc. Lunch was very tasty on the full day trip. Great
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.
Excellent guide with a great sense of humour! Tour started on time and run on clock work precision. Lunch was ok, although nothing special. The only negative side to the tour was the non-inclusion of the Imperial Palace. The guide mentioned the Palace was closed in preparation for some "open-day" it'll be hosting the following day. Im pretty sure this was public knowledge and notice was made well in advanced as this was an annual event. The tour operator should have informed those booking the tour so we could have the option to pick a different day.
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