4.5 star rating: Recommended 250 Reviews

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  • Location:Kyoto, Japan
  • Duration:10 hours (approx.)

Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

Explore the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara on this full-day tour from Kyoto. In the morning, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-ji, as well as Kyoto Imperial Palace. Then travel to Nara to visit World Heritage–listed Todai-ji temple complex (including Great Buddha Hall) and Kasuga Shrine. Plus, see the famous wild deer that roam Nara (you can even feed them!) and enjoy a Japanese and Western-style lunch buffet. It's a packed day, but by the end you'll have seen some of Japan's most important ancient landmarks.


  • Full-day sightseeing tour of the ancient sites of Kyoto and Nara
  • Visit Kyoto’s top cultural attractions: Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji (home to the Golden Pavilion) and Kyoto Imperial Palace
  • Travel to the city of Nara to see the Great Buddha of Todai-ji temple complex
  • Admire the 3,000 bronze lanterns in the Kasuga Shrine, and feed the wild deer in Nara Park
  • Pickup and drop-off from select Kyoto hotels included

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

Your day trip starts with morning pickup for the Kyoto sightseeing portion of your tour. Known as the cradle of Japan's cultural heritage, Kyoto was the country’s capital and home of the Japanese emperor from 794 until 1868. Thus, it boasts many important temples and other sites, several of which make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site.

With your guide, visit some of the highlights of this ancient city, starting with Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogun until the mid-1800s. This World Heritage–listed castle was built in 1603 and is noted for the contrast of its solemn appearance with its gorgeous interiors. You have about 50 minutes here to explore.

Next, visit Kyoto's most popular temple, Kinkaku-ji, another World Heritage site and the home to what is perhaps the world's most exquisite Japanese garden. It’s also home to the celebrated Golden Pavilion, a 3-story structure covered in gold leaf and extended out over a pond. Make sure your camera is ready because it makes a great photo op. Spend about 45 minutes here.

Continue your tour to Kyoto Imperial Palace, the former residence of the emperors of Japan. During your 40 minutes here, visit the Shishin-den, where important state ceremonies took place, and get a feel for the Japanese aesthetic of purity, simplicity and calmness as you explore the palace grounds.

Take a break from sightseeing for lunch, and then re-board your coach for the 1-hour drive south of Kyoto to Nara, where you’ll visit two of the temples and shrines that make up the UNESCO World Heritage site the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.

Start at Todai-ji, a temple complex famous for being home to one of the world’s largest bronze statues of the Buddha, housed in the Great Buddha Hall. You have about one hour here to explore the temple grounds and surrounding Nara Park.

Then head to colorful Kasuga Shrine, famous for the 3,000 bronze lanterns that line its interior. You have 40 minutes here before continuing to a section of Nara Park, aka Deer Park, where tame sika deer roam freely and can be hand-fed (special food can be purchased from vendors, if you wish). If time and/or traffic conditions permit, you will also stop at a souvenir shop before heading back to Kyoto, where your day trip ends.

Customer Reviews

Brittany T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Truly an outstanding way to see major highlights of Kyoto and Nara in a limited amount of time! My only needs improvement comment pertained to the lunch, which was far and away the worst meal of my 10 day stay in Japan cannot remember when I ate worse. Much better to simply let people off the bus in a commercial area with different options for lunch and pay their own way, rather than do the buffet that was offered.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Excellent tour guide. A lot packed in a day, couldn't have done it without a packaged tour. Nara was the best part.

Ella T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Highly recommend this tour! You could never see and do this much in one day yourself. The guide was very informative - nice buffet lunch. The deer park was a standout with deer roaming around and interacting with people. Amazing shrines too.

Mariateresa T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Great tour guide very funny and knowledgeable

Elisha P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Great day and a wonderful lunch in the heart of Kyoto. This tour covers a lot of ground that might otherwise be difficult to pack into a day trip yourself. Highly recommended

John H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Full day tour with knowlegeble and helpful tour guide


5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Great trip! The temples and shrines were spectacular. The deer park was quite entertaining and along with the the awe inspiring bronze Buddha, were the highlights of the tour. Buy food at the deer park, it makes for some amazing pictures!

Katherine A Q

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

This tour was perfect if you want to see a lot with limited time. It also worked well when you travel with an older 77 person and a bus will take you from place to place.

Samantha A Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

I highly recommend this tour. It was very well organised and our tour guide Marie was fantastic! She was funny and energetic and had heaps of information to tell us about life in Japan. The sites were amazing, the view from the top of the mt in Hakone were stunning. DO THIS TOUR! Will not disappoint!

Elizabeth R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

All the places we went to were interesting, and I felt there was an adequate amount of time at each location. I would have preferred some more free reign instead of mostly having the group stay all together, but people would always wander to take pictures and then come back anyway so it was ok.

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Tour code: 2142KYO_N110


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