4.5 star rating: Recommended 100 Reviews

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  • Location: Osaka, Japan
  • Duration:  11 hours (approx.)
See the main sights of both Kyoto and Nara in one day! This day trip from Osaka takes you on a morning tour of Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine. After a Japanese lunch, visit landmarks in nearby Nara, home to Kasuga Shrine and the impressive Great Buddha of Todai-ji Temple. Upon hotel pickup, your guide will accompany you by motor coach, JR Rail and Kintetsu Rail, and inform you about the cultural treasures in each historical capital.

Highlights

  • Kyoto and Nara full-day tour from Osaka
  • Experience the historical treasures of Japan’s former capitals with a professional English-speaking guide
  • Visit Nijo Castle, Golden Pavilion and Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto
  • View Kasuga Shrine and Todai-ji Temple in Nara
  • Enjoy a typical Japanese lunch and find souvenirs at Nara Nagomikan
  • Travel by coach, JR Rail and Kintetsu Rail
  • Hotel pickup from selected Osaka hotels

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Kyoto and Nara Day Tour Including Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Osaka

Kyoto and Nara Day Tour including Golden Pavilion and Todaiji Temple from Osaka

Meet your guide upon hotel pickup and head to JR Osaka Station. Board the JR Special Rapid Service or Rapid Service (non-reserved seating) to Kyoto, Japan's former capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. Now the country's seventh largest city, modern Kyoto remains steeped in traditional culture. Your morning tour of the city’s main highlights includes approximately 45 minutes at each site.

Start at Nijo Castle, a former residence of the Tokugawa Shogun. Completed in 1626, Nijo Castle is noted for the contrast of its solemn appearance and gorgeous interiors. (Note: When Nijo Castle is closed you’ll visit Ryoan-ji Temple instead.)

After touring the castle, head to nearby Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto's most popular Zen Buddhist temple. Home to perhaps the world's most authentic and exquisite Japanese garden, the temple features the celebrated Golden Pavilion whose wooden structure is completely covered in gold leaf.

Next, visit Kyoto Imperial Palace, which clearly demonstrates the Japanese taste for purity, simplicity and tranquility. With your guide you’ll gain exclusive access to the former residence of the Emperor of Japan before the capital moved to Tokyo. When the Kyoto Imperial Palace is closed, the tour will visit Kitano Shrine (Kitano Tenman-gu) instead. This famous shrine, known as the god of study, has been designated a national treasure and is particularly worth seeing for its Japanese plum blossoms and colored leaves.

Enjoy a Japanese set meal for lunch (vegetarian option available) before you’re off to Nara, located in the Kinai Plain less than one hour from Kyoto. Due to its past as the first permanent capital of Japan, established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara remains full of iconic sites.

See Todai-ji Temple, one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples, constructed in the 8th century. In its huge precincts are various national treasures of Japan. Step foot in the Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall), one of the world's largest wooden buildings, before a stop at Kasuga Shrine. This most famous and beautiful Shinto shrine features some 3,000 antique stone and bronze lanterns.

Before your day trip ends, your guide will take you to Nara Nagomikan, Nara’s biggest souvenir shop where you’ll have the opportunity to browse for about 20 minutes. Here, you’ll find a variety of food products, sweets, and goods exclusive to Nara. Afterward, head to Kintetsu-Nara Station for the rail ride back to Osaka-Namba Station on the Kintetsu line (non-reserved seat) with your guide. Upon arrival back in Osaka, you'll make your own way back to your hotel.

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Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2014

It was my 1st viator tour/trip to osaka! Myself and mum truly enjoyed this 1 day kyoto/nara tour. The Eng guide was professional and informative. The only neg feedback is the pickup guide - she is friendly and helpful but she walks too fast! Should be mindful if there is oldie in the tour.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2014

The tour was exceptionally well planned. The tour overview says that the guide will collect particpants from their respective hotel, but the reaility is that you have to get to the Granvia hotel. We had two guides: one for the morning and one for the afternoon. The one in the afternoon was a little difficult to understand at times; their knowledge was excellent and very engaging in their style. The pace was brisk, but I never felt rushed and it's great when points of interest are identified and an insightful commentary given. The return trip was largely on the subway and required a change of line which is a bit daunting because most of the signs are in japanese. However, the guides were excellent and went above and beyond to ensure that the group stayed together and even escorted me to the right exit in Osaka station. I have no hestitation recommending this tour to anyone. Overall, excellent and great value for money when you consider that the cost of train tickets (apart from the final leg of the subway journey wich cost JPY240), coaches and entrance to the sites.

From USD $ 151.24

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Tour code: 2142OSA_P910

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