Receive a morning pickup from either Umeda’s Nishi-Umeda Hearton Hotel or the JR Namba “OCAT,” after which you’ll transfer by bus to Kyoto.
Begin your exploration of this UNESCO-recognized capital of Japanese culture in the city’s Arashiyama district. Visitors who arrive in this striking area in April will be treated to the visual feast of blooming cheery blossom trees, while those who arrive in November are likely to experience the area’s fiery fall colors. During the summer months you’ll be able to observe locals participating in cormorant fishing. Another pleasant option for your time in Arashiyama is the Sagano Bamboo Forest, where you can enjoy a 328-foot (100-meter) walk along the edge of Tenryuji temple.
Take a break around mid-day for lunch. Guests who have paid for the lunch option will enjoy either a “Torisuki” set or a buffet featuring more than 60 different Kyoto dishes. Following your meal, continue to Kinkaku-ji temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) where you can admire this elegant complex’s collection of serene gardens and neatly-manicured grounds and learn about its construction by Ashikaga Shogun Yoshimitsu.
Leaving Kinkaku-ji, continue to Nara, where you’ll have time to explore the Todaiji temple, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire this important temple’s Nandaimon Gate and check out the giant Buddha statue inside, known to be the largest in Japan. After the temple visit, you’ll proceed to Nara Park, a preserve known for the 1,200 wild deer that freely roam its grounds. Visitors can purchase “senbei” snacks to feed the animals for 150 Yen per stack. Following your trip to Nara Park, you’ll return by bus to your original departure point in either Umeda or Namba.