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!
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.
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!
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.
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