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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.
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.
Must stop sites to see and explore. While you can't go into Nijo Castle, it was still magnificent to see this building along the small lake. Just gorgeous.
This was quite a busy and full on day, not helped by the heat in Kyoto on this day! The trip to Nijo Castle was highly informative and interesting, but the icing on the cake was the trip to visit the deer in Nara! There is a huge temple which we took the time to be shown around, but feeding the deer and getting them to bow to you was loads of fun.
You can buy deer biscuits for 100 yen, which contain natural ingredients and made me feel much better about feeding them.
It was a long day, probably not advisable for young children as there was a fair amount of walking involved but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
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.
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.
Miko and Yoishi were fantastic tour guides.
Our tour was on Tuesday - Nijo Castle is closed on Tuesdays - so they substituted it with a trip to the Ryoanji temple. It worked out perfectly (Nijo Castle is relatively easy to find on our own because it was on 2nd street and Kyoto is a grid) because Ryoanji is actually harder to get to. So it was almost like a bonus.
Anyway - the guides were knowledgeable and super sweet. I asked Yoishi for some extra guidance on other temples and he pointed out a gorgeous path from the Yasaka Temple to the Kiyomizu Temple - we would never have found it without him!
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
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.
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.
Lucinda K USA
This trip is a must do if your time in Kyoto is limited. One of the highlights was walking on the "Nightingale Floor" in the Nijo Castle. Something I use to tell my students about!
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 really good, with the best part learning about the culture and history of Japan through the landmarks that we visited. We learnt about the shoguns and the civil wars in Japan, and it was great to be able to walk inside some of the original residences of the shoguns. Nijo castle had a lot of history, and it was great learning about the nightingale floors and the meaning of each room as we walked by it. It's a great learning experience.
The tour was broken up by the morning tour and afternoon tour. The morning tour was probably better with more known landmarks, but the afternoon tour we visited an incredible place Sanju-Sangendo Hall that housed 1000 buddha statues. You can't take photos of the inside but trust me when I say - it is definitely worth visiting.
Tour was good. I liked the variety of places and it was very beautiful and interesting. It's definitely worth it! Our tour guide was Yukio. She was very sweet and funny, I just wish she told us more information about the places we visited. She kept asking if we want to know about certain things....well of course we do, we paid for the tour. If I wanted just to look at places I would of just came without a tour. She told us a lot about Nijo castle but not much for the golden Pavilion or the place with the plum blossoms. Overall I greatly enjoyed the tour and I definitely recommend it.
Really good tour. Our guide, Mariko, had strong English which was really helpful. Construction going on in Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu at the moment which while unavoidable was a bit of a shame. Tour was enjoyable and would recommend it as one of the easier ways to see what Kyoto has to offer. Bear in mind though, it felt rushed at parts so if you have two days in Kyoto it might be worth doing the tour on the first and using the second to go back to the places that you liked.
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.
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.
We were late for our tour (15mins), but there was an attendant patiently waiting for us at the hotel. He provided a taxi for us to catch up with the group but we had to pay for the taxi fee. Our tour guide was informative and had good English. Overall tour was a great experience, we saw Nijo Castle and the Golden Pavilion.
Nijo Castle was really interesting and well worth a visit, as was the Golden Pavilion which was really beautiful. I would not want to visit the Imperial Palace again. The tour group had to split into four lines and had to wait in the hot sun until we were told we could go inside the grounds. Not that much to see and there was a female security officer keeping within a short distance of us at all times.
The kyoto morning tour is always on a rush. we spent so little time in each destination and we feel pressured. the nijo castle does not allow photography and all we got was the exterior. The nara tour is better, it was laid back and i had a great time with the deers of Nara park. Seeing the UNESCO world heritage sites at Nara was a pleasure. Our tour guide Ms. Miko is very knowledgeable and was able to answer our queries.
Overall, my family enjoyed this tour even if it was raining hard. We found Nijo Castle and Todaiji Temple amazing! We got to see the interiors of Nijo Castle and my daughter really enjoyed feeding the deer at the Todaiji Temple. The statues inside the temple were all massive it was awesome. The part I like least about the tour was the terrible lunch (part of the food was cold and did not really taste good) and how we were rushed during the tour of the Imperial Palace. We were not really given time to take photos. If you linger a bit (5 min or so) for picture taking, you miss out on the explanation from the tour guide. She was rushing from one building to the next and did not really wait until the whole group was nearby before giving the history of the place. Same with the tour guide in the afternoon. He was really nice but I wish he would wait for the whole group before he gives his spiel. It would help if the tour guides inform us ahead of time the itinerary for the place - i.e. stop at the gate to get tickets, then see the temple for explanation, then 20 minutes free time (shopping, feed the deer), etc... so we know where to go and when we can take photos of the place.
We were disappointed to miss out on the Imperial Palace in Kyoto but Nara was definately a highlight. We were there during Golden Week, so everything was quite crowded and there was a lot of traffic. This may have been what cut into our time at each location. Our guide was very soft spoken and difficult to understand and hear but when we did, she was very informed and interesting. An extra 15 minutes would have been so appreciated at Golden Pavilion and Nijo Castle for pictures and the opportunity to feed the deer and souvenier shop. If we did that, we wouldn't have heard anything the guide said.
Very good tour. Loved seeing Kinkakuji, Nijo Castle and Kiyomize Temple again. Didn't understand why Heian Shrine was included. Aren't there more historical sites? Also didn't understand why Kiyomizu was in the afternoon when it was the hottest time of day.
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