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This was a great afternoon tour, if you only have a short period of time in Kyoto. Our tour guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. The Todaiji Temple with the largest Buddha and other guardians were incredible. The massive amounts of deer in the area was equally enjoyable. We must have feed them 5-6 packs of biscuits which you can buy on the premises, as they provided a lot of great photo ops and were friendly to pet. Kasuga shrine was a great experience and were amazed by the sheer volume of the lanterns in the area, as well as more deer roaming freely around. Great Tour.
Very nice tour. The Kyoto morning tour was very informative and hospitable. I actually enjoyed the tour despite the heavy rain. After that we were dropped off on the first restaurant for the transfer for the Nara afternoon tour. The tour guide, Ms. Itsuko, was very enthusiastic in delivering the tour from Todaiji to the Kasuga Shrine. Sunrise tours also dropped us off at our hotels. Plus points for customer service.
Good quality tour with a fantastic tour guide. He kept the trip up and back entertaining with stories, information and a few jokes. The crowds were large so photos and getting around inside the Todaiji temple were difficult but that's what peak tourist season is about. The deer park was fun and the deer can be aggressive if they sense you have food. Be prepared for a few nips if you're not careful. The Kasuga Shrine was very peaceful and the crowds weren't too bad by the afternoon tour time. Not sure if they are better or worse in the morning. Definitely recommend and hop you get a good guide.
This was a great trip. Todaiji Temple is spectacular. Kasuga Shrine is OK. On the whole, a great afternoon. As first time visitors to Kyoto area we enjoyed this. Tour guide was very knowledgeable.
Alexander L USA
Words can't sum up the almost eerie beauty of Kasuga Shrine and how amazing Todaiji temple and its statues and buddha all are! Our guide went at a good pace not too slow but not too fast either and ..well... Nara is beautiful. Both of my travel companions and I agreed that Nara was the best part of our trip beautiful forests, deer.
We took the tour bus from Kyoto south to Nara, a trip of about an hour. The bus parked in the lot for the Todaji Temple and the Great Buddha Hall. Along the path to the temple are lots of people and lots of deer looking for treats. There are a couple of stands selling deer food, so the deer were not going anywhere. They ignore you unless you have food, then they come running. Some have their antlers removed so they can't hurt you, but a few still have small antlers. They don't go up the steps into the temple, however. The guide was very knowledgeable about the temple. In addition to the huge Great Buddha inside the hall, there are smaller gilded Buddhas on either side and models of the hall before and after the hall was reconstructed after fire. Going back to the bus, you go through the deer again, but they don't bother you unless you have food - they just ignore you.
After the temple we went to the Kasuga shrine. This is a shrine of the Fujiwara family, which is related to the emperor by marriage, so it is very popular to buy lanterns to put here, and there are thousands of stone lanterns lining the steps going up the hill to the shrine. The shrine is larger than many, and has shrine maidens to keep it clean.
This was a nice opportunity to see the Japanese countryside and the Great Buddha - a good excursion.
1. The trip first by train and then by bus was enjoyable.
2. The guide told us many local stories on the way, my son still remembers the story of the warlord who proposed to the mother, but ended up marrying her daughter!!!!!!
3. We had a little over an hour at the Deer Park and both my kids enjoyed feeding the deers for more than half hour..... it was their best memory of our Japanese vacation.
4. The sanctity of the Kasuga shrine can not be described in words, our guide told us all about its importance and its place in the emotions of the locals especially the sea-farers.
Trip was very good, but I would prefer to spend more time in Kasuga Shrine.
This is a good way to visit the Todaiji Temple from Kyoto. Our visit to the Kasuga Shrine was rushed however, and it would have been nice to have at least half an hour in Nara itself!
Margaret T Australia
Our tour to Nara was very good, and the the visit to the Kasuga Shrine was a highlight despite the many thousands of school children who were visiting. Our tour guide was very informative and took time to make sure we could all hear his commentary. We especially liked the deer wandering around the park in the Todaiji Park. What a beautiful spot!
If you don't want the hassle of figuring out how to get to Nara from Osaka or Kyoto where we stayed, this tour gets you there with no hassles. Not a lot of time to walk around and explore the two sites on the tour - the Giant Buddah Temple/Deer Park and Kasuga-Taisha Temple but you also don't have to figure out parking and driving either - a trade-off. Overall, the tour guide was OK.
Excellent tour guide who have provided lots of information. However, the tour was quite short for the price paid.
Did not spend much time in the Kasuga Shrine at all (only 15-20 mins). Couldn't go inside the shrine due of the new year preparation.
Myron L USA
The bus had a compromised air conditioning system on a day where it hit the high 90sF with humidity in the high 90s. We enjoyed Todaiji and Kasuga and personally, the paths around Deer Park had way too many deer droppings for us to pleasantly enjoy the animals on an extremely hot and humid day. The content of the tour was OK, we couldn't hear her half the time. It would have been nice to receive some of the cultural background on each of the sights inside the bus where we could hear better. Overall, it was OK. Very rushed but the sites were beautiful.
Monica P Australia
The Todaiji and Kasuga Shrine were interesting, and the tour guides comments helped us understand the background and meaning of some features. But it's difficult to avoid the fact that a significant proportion of the total tour time was sitting on the bus, despite the interesting information being passed on by the guide.
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