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You cant ask for more! The Kyoto tour was very good! I am amazed at the effortless experience these tour operators provide us with meticulous planning!! The full day tour included the most important places out of the innumerable historical places in Kyoto. English speaking enthusiastic guide gave basic information of Japan and Kyoto in a lighter vein. We had 45 mins stop for most places that included Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Buddhist temple of Sanju-Sangendo Hall and the Kiyomizu Temple that offered panoramic views of Kyoto. Kiyomizu being the last stop, we left the tour to soak in the environment. I would have liked more time in each place but that is the compromise you need to do.
Great way to see many of the sites in Kyoto in one day. I would have liked more time at the Golden Pavilion and Nijo Castle in the morning, but the time was sufficient to get great photos. More than enough time at lunch.
Excellent value for the money. We covered a lot of ground in one morning: the Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle, and Imperial Palace. It was a bit hectic, but we were on a tight schedule and this was the only way to fit in so many sights. It would have been much more difficult and confusing to do this on our own, as we don't speak Japanese. However, the guide's English was very good and his explanations added a lot to the tour, as English signage was limited. Very worthwhile.
Jesse United States of ...
Even though this was my second time on this tour, this was again a really great second tour, lots of visits to historically significant sites such as the Kyoto Imperial Palace and other sites visited. Had great tour guides who were all very knowledgeable regarding past and current historical facts related to the beautiful Kyoto Imperial Palace, the Golden Pavilion, and Nijo Castle. I would recommend this tour to anyone having an interest in the rich history in the Kyoto area.
Must stop sites to see and explore. While you can't go into Nijo Castle, it was still magnificent to see this building along the small lake. Just gorgeous.
This was quite a busy and full on day, not helped by the heat in Kyoto on this day! The trip to Nijo Castle was highly informative and interesting, but the icing on the cake was the trip to visit the deer in Nara! There is a huge temple which we took the time to be shown around, but feeding the deer and getting them to bow to you was loads of fun.
You can buy deer biscuits for 100 yen, which contain natural ingredients and made me feel much better about feeding them.
It was a long day, probably not advisable for young children as there was a fair amount of walking involved but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
We enjoyed visiting the locations, and the tour guide was so much fun to be with.
The Imperial Palace was closed on weekend so it was replaced by a Temple visit instead. The Golden Pavilion is so magnificent, that i wished i could go back to photograph it during all four seasons. Nijo Castle was rich with the Samurai heritage, learned many historical facts about the castle and its Shogun.
I really liked this tour. Our tour guide was really funny and still informative and even kept her calm when half of the group run away to make photos with pretty kimono girls. The most beautiful spot was the Golden Pavilion, the most interesting the Nightingale floor of Nijo Castle.
Miko and Yoishi were fantastic tour guides.
Our tour was on Tuesday - Nijo Castle is closed on Tuesdays - so they substituted it with a trip to the Ryoanji temple. It worked out perfectly (Nijo Castle is relatively easy to find on our own because it was on 2nd street and Kyoto is a grid) because Ryoanji is actually harder to get to. So it was almost like a bonus.
Anyway - the guides were knowledgeable and super sweet. I asked Yoishi for some extra guidance on other temples and he pointed out a gorgeous path from the Yasaka Temple to the Kiyomizu Temple - we would never have found it without him!
Yes it was amazing and enjoyed the nipping live reindeers.
I wish to have been able to visit one if the interiors of the Imperial Palace and not only the garden.
My second time to Nijo castle and enjoyed it
This was an amazing tour and well worth cost. Nijo Castle was very interesting to tour and the Golden Pavillion was beautiful in the sunlight the day we toured. The Japanese gardens are outstandingly beautiful!
Jesse United States of ...
This was a really great tour, lots of visits to historically significant sites such as the Kyoto Imperial Palace and other sites visited. Had great tour guides who were all very knowledgeable regarding past and current historical facts related to the beautiful Kyoto Imperial Palace, the Golden Pavilion, and Nijo Castle. I would recommend this tour to anyone having an interest in the rich history in the Kyoto area.
Kyoto totally rocks and is definitely a must see. With 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, doing a full day tour in the summer (and it is boiling hot, typically over 30 degrees Celsius) is physically taxing. By afternoon most of the people in my tour group had lost the will to live. I strongly suggest doing two half day tours on separate days. Top of the list are Nijo Castle which recaptures the story of Shogun and the subsequent loss of power to the Japanese Emperor, the Golden Pavilion whose stunning beauty will mesmerise you and Eikan-do for its beautiful grounds.
Our tour guide was perfect: friendly, knowledgeable, had great command of English and had a good sense of humour. The tour bus departed on time, was clean, climate controlled and comfortable. Buffet lunch was just ok, but could have been better given how amazing Japanese food can be.
We went on the tour in september. There are several stops in the tour. The golden pavillion, imperial palace, nijo castle, nara. You get just enough time at each spot. All interesting in different ways. The tour guide was very nice and always gave clear directions and good explanations on each attraction.
There is no way you could do so much in such a short period of time without doing a tour such as this. Highly recommend if you are short in time in beautiful kyoto.
Lucinda K USA
This trip is a must do if your time in Kyoto is limited. One of the highlights was walking on the "Nightingale Floor" in the Nijo Castle. Something I use to tell my students about!
The guide was knowledgeable and congenial. We did not go to the Imperial Palace. We were told it was closed since the day before was a holiday Sports Day. We took a tour bus to Nijo Castle, which was the former center of the shogun's rule before he returned power to the emperor in 1866. It has several buildings and extensive gardens. The buildings are known for the artwork inside on the walls, ceilings, and sliding screens. The building is also know for the nightingale floors, which chirp when walked on. With a tour group, the was a lot of chirping. No photos were allowed inside. We had to take off our shoes as well. My husband wears special orthopedic shoes, so he toured the gardens while we toured the castle. We later found out he could have used shoe booties like shower caps for shoes. The castle was undergoing renovations, but it did not affect the interiors or the gardens. We were able to buy a booklet with photos of the interiors. Next the bus took us to another temple Nishi Honganji, I think, then to Kinkaku-ji Buddhist Temple Golden Pavilion. The bus parking was near the lake. Across the lake is the temple, so you can admire its reflection on the lake. Then we walked around the lake to the other side where the temple was, but it was not open for visitors, so we continued around the lake and through the greenery to a pathway to a small shrine and then back to the parking lot.
The bus then took us to the Kyoto Handicraft Center where we were able to browse until lunch. The Center has two buildings. The first building has armor, ornamental swords, fans, dolls, jewelry, and more. Upstairs is where lunch was provided, in two shifts. The second building has books, postcards, and souvenirs. Lunch was cafeteria style and included fried chicken, a hot dog/sausage without bun, French fries, noodles, rice, soup, and soft drinks.
The afternoon tour took us to the Heian Shrine Shinto Shrine first. This is a place where people go to ask the spirits for good fortune. It was built as a replica of the Kyoto Imperial Castle, so the architecture is beautiful and it has gardens around it. Next we went to Sanju Sangendo Buddhist Temple, which has the 1,000 life size statues of Sanju Kannon Buddhist deity. Each statue has 40 arms and each arm has 25 eyes in the hands, so they each have 1,000 ways of seeing. There is an 11-foot tall Sanju Kannon in the middle and there are 28 statues of guardian deities. No photos were allowed inside and we had to take our shoes off, but here we were provided with shoe booties for my husband. We were able to buy a booklet with photos of the inside. Then we went to Kiyomizu Buddhist Temple. The bus parked in a lot at the foot of the street leading to the temple. The street goes uphill to the temple steps and was jampacked with people, with stores lining both sides of the street all the way to the temple steps and several shrines. Once at the temple steps, the crowds were less. The temple is open to anyone and has a vista over Kyoto. Behind the temple is a terrace with steps leading downhill to a waterfall and eventually a pagoda, but we didn't have time to go there. After leaving the temple, the bus took us back to our starting point next to Kyoto Station.
We enjoyed both tours. Some places we would have liked to linger for longer, but in a quick tour like this there really isn't time. The lunch was good and the Handicraft Center was an interesting place. Not knowing much about Kyoto, we found it helpful to pick up booklets along the way to help fill in the gaps - otherwise we would have a hard remembering which place was which.
The morning tour guide for Kyoto was informative and helpful. His knowledge made the Nijo Castle more meaningful.
Great way to see some of the best sights of Kyoto when you're short on time. We were only in Kyoto for a day and this made it easy to get to some sights that were at the top of our list without the hassle. We got on the bus right near Kyoto station and the tour was well coordinated from start to end. Our guide spoke English very well and was well informed giving us interesting tidbits of both the sights as well as Japanese culture itself.
Of course, it's a bus tour so of course there will be a large group that you're travelling with and at times it can be hard to hear the guide especially because the sights themselves are crowded with tourists and local Japanese students on field trips. It's a half day tour, so you're at each site for about an hour, which was was more than enough time for us. Kyoto is full of shrines, but Golden Pavilion was by far the most beautiful that we saw. Nijo Castle was also a great sight to visit and get a sense of the world under Samurai rule. If you're short on time, can't beat this. Imperial palace was also interesting to see and it seemed like it would be somewhat difficult to get to see as an individual tourist as there was more security protocols at the sight and it seemed to only be pre-arranged tour groups that were there when we were walking the grounds. All in all, an easy way to get to a few of the sights that would be difficult and more time consuming to try to venture to on your own.
We enjoyed this 4 hour tour. The visit to Nijo Castle was very informative and our guide certainly knew her history. The visit to the Golden Pavilion was absolutely packed which is apparently normal. However you still get a decent opportunity to take photos. It was raining the day we went and navigating the swarm of umbrellas added an extra layer of mayhem but still worth the visit.
This tour was really good, with the best part learning about the culture and history of Japan through the landmarks that we visited. We learnt about the shoguns and the civil wars in Japan, and it was great to be able to walk inside some of the original residences of the shoguns. Nijo castle had a lot of history, and it was great learning about the nightingale floors and the meaning of each room as we walked by it. It's a great learning experience.
The tour was broken up by the morning tour and afternoon tour. The morning tour was probably better with more known landmarks, but the afternoon tour we visited an incredible place Sanju-Sangendo Hall that housed 1000 buddha statues. You can't take photos of the inside but trust me when I say - it is definitely worth visiting.
Tour was good. I liked the variety of places and it was very beautiful and interesting. It's definitely worth it! Our tour guide was Yukio. She was very sweet and funny, I just wish she told us more information about the places we visited. She kept asking if we want to know about certain things....well of course we do, we paid for the tour. If I wanted just to look at places I would of just came without a tour. She told us a lot about Nijo castle but not much for the golden Pavilion or the place with the plum blossoms. Overall I greatly enjoyed the tour and I definitely recommend it.
Really good tour. Our guide, Mariko, had strong English which was really helpful. Construction going on in Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu at the moment which while unavoidable was a bit of a shame. Tour was enjoyable and would recommend it as one of the easier ways to see what Kyoto has to offer. Bear in mind though, it felt rushed at parts so if you have two days in Kyoto it might be worth doing the tour on the first and using the second to go back to the places that you liked.
Tour was good for an overview of Kyoto. Enjoyed: Nijo Castle, Golden Pavilion, Sanju-Sangendo Hall, and Kiyomizu Temple. Disappointed with Imperial Palace since only got to walk on the outside. Would have skipped Heian Shrine and used that extra time at Kiyomizu Temple instead. Didn't have enough time at Kiyomizu Temple to really enjoy it. Lunch wasn't filling enough. Tour guides were great and friendly.
Our guide was excellent. The highlight was Nijo castle. The Golden Pavilion was extremely crowded and a stunning sight but little else to see. The Kyoto palace had very little to see due to being all exteriors and over controlled.
We were late for our tour (15mins), but there was an attendant patiently waiting for us at the hotel. He provided a taxi for us to catch up with the group but we had to pay for the taxi fee. Our tour guide was informative and had good English. Overall tour was a great experience, we saw Nijo Castle and the Golden Pavilion.
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