4 star rating: Recommended 112 Reviews

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  • Location: Kyoto, Japan
  • Duration:  4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Best Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.

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4 star rating: Recommended
June 2007

This tour turned out even better than I thought it would be. The guide was very eloquent and had a great sense of humor and I felt that I learned a lot about Japan and the places I was seeing that I would have never known about otherwise, considering I don't speak Japanese. It really helped me appreciate what I was seeing and feel fortunate to be in such an amazing country. Totally worth it! I will always book tours with Viator every time I travel from now on.

Monica P
Australia

4 star rating: Recommended
June 2007

Nijo Castle was the highlight. While the grounds of the Imperial Palace were interesting, and probably difficult to do except with a tour group, the level of regimentation necessary to gain access to the palace was excessive.

4 star rating: Recommended
March 2007

Great way to get in some of the highlights of Kyoto especially when you first arrive. Efficient and knowledgeable guide who did a good job of hustling the large group through. Be aware that the Imperial Palace is from the outside only. Not for the tourist who wants to leisurely savor each and every site.

3 star rating: Worth doing
June 2015

Great choice of attractions, but tour was too rushed and had too many people. Good tour guide and convenient meeting area.

3 star rating: Worth doing
June 2015

It was okay. Nothing special. Our guide was hard to understand and she should have worn a microphone so everyone could hear her.

3 star rating: Worth doing
June 2015

Difficult to hear guide. Worth tour just to access imperial palace
otherwise give a miss.

3 star rating: Worth doing
May 2015

There were too many people in our group I think, as we couldn't hear our guide's commentary for most of the day. We were a bit rushed at Nijo Castle and the Golden Pavilion, which were both well worth visiting. The Imperial Palace was okay, but not worth all of the fuss - but if you want to go and see it, you have to be in a group, so this tour's a good way to do it.

3 star rating: Worth doing
April 2015

Was very crowded in the hotel to check in which we didn't find out for quite a while that we had to that and that was inside the hotel foyer we had to go.

Other wise the tour guide was great and the tour was well worth it! Learnt lots of interesting things, and saw a lot of beautiful architecture.

3 star rating: Worth doing
April 2015

Our guide was fantastic, but everything was rushed. I didn't feel like I had time to appreciate everything. We would also stop just to take photograph at specific picturesque locations at the sites, but otherwise we were discouraged from taking photos because we were in such a rush, which was very frustrating for me as a photographer. Furthermore, the sites were jam packed with people. Of course, that's not to the fault of Sunrise Tours, but it was still a downer.

Overall, I enjoyed the tour very much, and would recommend it especially because it's hard to go see the imperial palace any other way but I take note that you may not have as much time as you thought you would to enjoy the sites, and they will likely be very busy but that would be true regardless of whether you go on the tour or not.

3 star rating: Worth doing
December 2014

We were very lucky to get into this tour at the last minute. The guide was very happy and helpful and the three sites were very interesting. However we wished we had a little more tim

3 star rating: Worth doing
January 2015

This was great to experience for our first morning in Japan. Nijo Castle was great as we actually were taken through the building and our Guide provided great background history to it's construction.
The Golden Pavilion was okay to see but was disappointing due to the large swarms of local school-kids but it was a bright sunny day which made the gold shine well.
The Imperial Palace was rather disappointing as we couldn't go inside the building structures, we could only walk around the outside of the Palace Grounds before we were quickly ushered to the bus because they impose strict timings for tourists. (And only Tour Groups are allowed entry).

Overall, for the first morning in Japan, rather than stumbling around looking for things to do, this gets you out seeing the three top attractions.

3 star rating: Worth doing
August 2014

The tour guide was great! We did a shrine instead of the Imperial Palace because it was closed but were not notified about the change until we were already on the bus.

3 star rating: Worth doing
May 2014

The organisation and the tour guide were both excellent. It became difficult for us as we were with our 2 and 4 year old children who got very bored and uncooperative after the second stop. Could there be more family friendly tours that maybe have a third stop at somewhere child friendly e.g. A play park. Not very historical I know but at least everyone would be catered for !

3 star rating: Worth doing
April 2014

A little rushed, but overall worth the trip.

3 star rating: Worth doing
April 2014

A standard bus tour but covers the sites well

3 star rating: Worth doing
March 2014

if you're time poor, this is the tour that will take you to the most famous sites. Our host was very knowledgable, and the tour allows for enough time to explore. Regardless, it is still an organized bus tour, so you don't have as much flexibility as an independent traveller.

3 star rating: Worth doing
September 2013

In terms of a well organised, friendly and efficient arrangement this tour was great. Unfortunately we had non-stop rain for the entire morning tour and it would have been nice for some of the other less prepared tour-goers to have been offered an umbrella. They were soaked through and unable to carry their cameras out with them... the pace was quite fast also and restricted us from fully absorbing the amazing destinations on this tour.

3 star rating: Worth doing
May 2012

My favorite of all was the Golden Pavilion. We were a bit rushed around and maybe because there were too many people around us.

3 star rating: Worth doing
April 2012

Interesting but you need IMAGINATION because you don't see very much, especially in a large group

3 star rating: Worth doing
April 2012

This was an OK tour to get a quick intro to Kyoto's 3 most popular attractions. Unfortunately the tour felt rushed and the guide was not very enthusiastic. The tour does not add too much value over visiting the venues on your own.

3 star rating: Worth doing
December 2011

Very large tour group. Were forced to stay behind when my wife didn't return to the bus on time and were unable to rejoin the rest of the tour due to palace rules.

3 star rating: Worth doing
September 2011

It was like speed dating--a great way to have an idea of where to go back and spend time.

3 star rating: Worth doing
January 2011

So many tour buses, so many tourists. All the buses seemed to be on the same schedule, so each of the venues was packed with tourists. I saw some things (and learned some things) that I might not have on my own, so that was good, but I didn't enjoy the tour as much as the smaller-group (van rather than bus) day tours I've taken in other parts of the world. Also, at the end of the half-day tour, I was dropped off at the handicraft center instead of back where I started. There was apparently a shuttle van available, but only if I waited an hour and a half (leaving few options but to pay for my lunch at the tourist trap, or to ride the city bus out of there, which I did)

3 star rating: Worth doing
January 2011

Our tour guide was fantastic!! He was very entertaining and educational. The tour was well organised but a little difficult to really follow the dialogue with such a large group. The locations are beautiful! The Handicrafts centre has many gorgeous things for sale.

3 star rating: Worth doing
February 2010

This was a very nice tour. It would have been nice to have brochures at the beginning of each of the shrines and temples that we visited so that we could refer to them. We were given the Golden Pavillion brochure after the tour. While the tour guide was knowledgeable about the sites we saw, the group she had was very large and we had a lot of difficulty hearing her. The Handicraft Centre was great. We managed to pick up all our souvenirs there.

From USD $ 53.79

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Tour code: 2142KYO_N270

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