4.5 star rating: Recommended 120 Reviews

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  • Location:Tokyo, Japan
  • Duration:2 days / 1 night or 3 days / 2 nights

Kyoto and Nara 2-Day or 3-Day Rail Tour by Bullet Train from Tokyo

Immerse yourself in the historical highlights and cultural delights of Kyoto and Nara on a 2- or 3-day guided tour from Tokyo. Leave Tokyo on a super-speed bullet train and begin your excursion in Nara, a city replete with sacred shrines and holy temples. Luxuriate in comfortable accommodation then spend the following day discovering the legendary landmarks of Kyoto with your accomplished guide. Opt for the 3-day option to experience a day of independent exploration in Kyoto and enjoy round-trip transportation from your hotel on both tours. 

Highlights

  • 2-day or 3-day guided tour of Kyoto and Nara with bullet train, from Tokyo
  • See majestic Mt Fuji from the Shinkansen bullet train (weather permitting)
  • Visit Nara's highlights including Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine and Deer Park
  • Witness Kyoto’s rich heritage at Kinkaku-ji Temple, Sanjusangen-do Hall, Heian Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera Temple
  • Admire the majestic architecture the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle
  • Choice of one or two nights' tourist-class or first-class accommodation in Kyoto
  • Enjoy a worry-free tour that includes an expert guide for daytime tours, transportation, and accommodation

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

If you want to make the most out of a short stay in Japan, this tour is for you. Polite and informative guides show you the highlights of the historical cities of Kyoto and Nara on a tour that's as swift and efficient as the bullet train!

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Kyoto and Nara 2-Day or 3-Day Rail Tour by Bullet Train from Tokyo

Heian Shrine Kyoto

Select from the 2- or 3-day tour of Kyoto and Nara when booking to see all of the spectacular sights of the cities with a knowledgeable guide. Luxuriate in comfortable accommodation in Kyoto at your choice of first or tourist class hotel and spend evenings as you please after sightseeing with a professional guide during the day. 

Either return to Tokyo by bullet train on the second day, or enjoy a third day of independent exploration in Kyoto, a captivating city replete with impressive monuments. Greet and bid farewell to your guide at Kyoto train station and enjoy convenient round-trip transportation from your Tokyo hotel. 

Please see the Itinerary section below for detailed information on each tour. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo – Nara – Kyoto (L)
After morning pickup at your hotel or meeting at Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal, you are transferred to Tokyo Station to catch your bullet train to Kyoto. Look out the train window and hope to catch sight of Mt Fuji, weather permitting. At mid-day, arrive in Kyoto Station where you are met by your guide. Enjoy a welcome lunch at the New Miyako Hotel before traveling one hour by comfortable coach to Nara.

The first capital of Japan was established in Nara in 710 and the city boasts numerous UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites. Your guide takes you to one of Japan’s most historically significant temples, the Todai-ji Temple, from the 8th-century. Walk through the Daibutsu-den (Great Buddha Hall) and admire the giant bronze statue of the Buddha. Continue to Kasuga Taisha Shrine, a renowned Shinto shrine that is spectacularly lit by 3,000 antique bronze and stone lanterns. Finish the afternoon by strolling through Deer Park (Nara Park) and marveling at the hundreds of freely roaming tame deer. You can even buy food for the deer if you wish!

On your way back to Kyoto, stop into Nara Nagomikan, a large souvenir shop that specializes in food products and other goods made in Nara. Have the evening free in Kyoto to spend at your leisure.

Overnight: Kyoto (tourist class: New Miyako Hotel, Rihga Royal Hotel or similar; first class: Kyoto Hotel Okura, Hotel Monterey Kyoto or similar)

Day 2: Kyoto, or Kyoto – Tokyo (L)
Get an early start for a full-day guided tour of the highlights of Kyoto. Your first stop takes you to Nijo Castle, which was built in the early 1600s for the Tokugawa Shogun. Then head to one of Kyoto’s most famous temples, Kinkaku-ji Temple, known for its shimmering Golden Pavilion and exquisite Japanese gardens. After taking in Kinkaku-ji, visit the Emperor of Japan’s former residence, the Kyoto Imperial Palace, and follow your guide around the architecturally stunning complex.

Take a break and enjoy a Japanese-style lunch. After eating, continue your city tour at Sanjusangen-do Temple, where you can take in the world's longest wooden structure, which holds 1,001 life-size Buddhist statues that date to the 13th century. Head to the stunning Heian-jingu Shrine, built in 1895 to celebrate Kyoto’s 1,100 years of existence.

Get great views over Tokyo from Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a hilltop temple with several gorgeous buildings. Water from the Otowa spring flows under the temple’s main hall and is reputed to grant a wish to anyone who takes a sip.

In the evening, you have the option of returning to Tokyo by bullet train to end your tour. Or choose the 3-day option and stay another night in Kyoto.

Overnight: Kyoto (tourist class: New Miyako Hotel, Rihga Royal Hotel or similar; first class: Kyoto Hotel Okura, Hotel Monterey Kyoto or similar)

Day 3: Kyoto – Tokyo
Spend the day exploring Kyoto at your leisure, then catch the bullet train back to Tokyo in the evening where your tour ends.

Please note: If any sites in Kyoto or Nara are closed on the day of your visit, a substitute site will be visited. Both cities have a wealth of amazing places to see.

Customer Reviews

David P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Excellent organisation throughout - train, hotel and tours - with very informative and friendly guides. We especially want to thank our guide on the Kyoto sightseeing day for his excellent and enthusiastic presentation - he made it all come to life!

esdok

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Very organized . Enjoyed the trip.

leigh m

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

hello Viator
I highly recommend this 3 day rail tour all transfers where very easy -- the pick up was on time and the tour staff walked us to the station up onto the platform and waited till the train arrived excellent service

wolfe.connie

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

This was a fantastic, highly organized tour. If you are afraid to go to a new place because of the language barrier like I was, this guided tour is an excellent option. We added the third day in Kyoto. Once we learned our way around with the tour group, we were able to successfully get to the Kyoto Bamboo Grove and to an area just east of Nijo Castle to see some art exhibitions. I would book a tour with them again if heading to another country!

George G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

This was an excellent tour for us from Tokyo prior to our cruise. We had two nights in Kyoto with a half day tour of Nara, including the fascinating deer park, when hundreds of tame deer greet the visitors. You can pet or feed them as you like. The second day includes key sites in Kyoto like the Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle, ancient Imperial Palace. After an excellent lunch, we visited Sanjusangen-do Temple and its 1001 Buddas, which is a must see in Kyoto. Also, two more temples, including the Kiyomizu-dera Temple with great views of the city. The third day we visited the Silver Pavilion and did the Philosopher's Path that day with more great sites to see. We stayed at the New Miyako Hotel, which was nice with a great location across the street from the main rail station. Great tour, highly recommend it. Japanese tour company was excellent.

Brian M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

Very well planned and thought out. Every staff member and guide was very professional. All the guides were extremely knowledgable. You definitely get to see a lot on the tours. I was almost templed out by the end of my trip!

Mika T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

Really nice 2-day tour to experience Kyoto and Nara. Everything is made really easy for the traveller. We stayed in New Miyako Hotel in Kioto which was really nice. Even when we get back to Tokyo Eki, there was private luxury taxi arrenged to us to get to our Hotel in Shinjuku. Highly recommended, worth every penny.

Francine M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Great trip nice hotel nice people

Melanie H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

A great tour and extremely enjoyable. The only thing I would have done differently is stayed an extra day or two in Kyoto as I would have love to see more of this beautiful city. New Miyako Hotel was very nice and the tour staff have a desk in the front lobby. They went above and beyond by guiding me to my seat in the Shinkansen and meeting me on the platform upon arrival both ways. Additionally, when I arrived in Tokyo, I was escorted to a pre-paid taxi and dropped off directly at my hotel, which was not on the hotel pick-up list. It was a very nice surprise!

Neal

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Very organized from hotel pickup to drop off. Delicious lunches. Their Japanese sub-contractors were the height of courtesy, foresight, and knowledge. We had minor issues with traffic in Kyoto however they made accommodations to honor their commitments. Truly first class.

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