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Kyoto Morning Tour - Golden Pavilion & Kyoto Imperial Palace from Osaka

Osaka, Japan
Book online or call: (888) 651-9785(888) 651-9785

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7 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
Offered in: English


Experience the top cultural highlights in the ancient city of Kyoto during this half-day tour departing by train from Osaka. Head out with a local guide to explore two UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites, including Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-Ji (also known as the Golden Pavilion). Spend additional time visiting Kyoto’s regal Imperial Palace. This guided excursion of Kyoto includes round-trip JR rail ticket from Osaka to Kyoto and all admission fees.
  • Half-day tour of top Kyoto highlights like Nijo Castle and the Golden Pavilion
  • Ride the JR rapid transit rail round-trip from Osaka
  • Explore one of Japan’s most well-preserved cities by coach with a knowledgeable local guide
  • Photograph the maple leaves of autumn or the cherry blossoms of spring
  • Tour Kyoto Imperial Palace
Discover the sublime scenery and fascinating history of ancient Kyoto during this half-day exploration of the city’s top sights departing from Osaka. Enjoy several of Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples and its beautiful palaces, all set against the city’s ever-changing natural backdrop of forests that change colors with the seasons.

Start your excursion to Kyoto in the early morning, where you’ll head to Osaka station for the short ride to Kyoto by train. Soon you arrive in this historic Japanese town, an urban center that once served as the country’s capital and home to its emperors between 794 and 1868.

Hop aboard your coach for the ride to your first attraction, the massive Nijo Castle. This UNESCO World Heritage site was home to the Tokugawa shoguns for close to 200 years after its construction was completed in 1603. Admire the castle’s imposing stone walls and large defensive moat, before heading inside to view its beautiful murals of gold leaf. A number of fantastic photo opportunities will be available at the castle, thanks to the complex’s photogenic groves of plum and cherry trees. When Nijo Castle is closed, the tour will visit Ryoan-Ji Temple instead.

Head next to the elaborate gardens and beautiful buildings at Kinkaku-Ji Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage site. After checking out this amazing structure, also known as the Golden Pavilion, you’ll move on to the Kyoto Imperial Palace for more sightseeing. This elegant palace, once home to Japan’s Imperial Family until the capital was moved in 1868, emphasizes the Japanese interior design philosophies of simplicity, tranquility and purity. You’ll also have a chance to see Shishinden imperial state chamber, where the country’s enthronement ceremonies once took place. When the Kyoto Imperial Palace is closed, the tour will visit Kitano Shrine (Kitano Tenman-gu) instead.

This famous religious monument, dedicated to the god of study, is a frequent site of patronage for many Japanese students, who pray for luck in passing exams by touching the site’s statue of ‘Ushi-san’ (Mr. Cow) representing the virtues of scholarship.

The tour ends with a return ride to Osaka by train, at which point you will make your own way back to your hotel.

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39 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
Nice tour, if not a little rushed
, Oct 2018
This was enjoyable if you're looking for a short taste of Kyoto. The problem, however, is that other tourists on the tour were late and didn't stick to timelines, which cut short our time at the next destination. The first delay was picking up a group, who were more than 20 minutes late. At another point, a small group was 15 minutes late. The tour company should be clear that if you're late you are left behind - because it ruins the experience for the rest of the people on the tour. Ignoring the behaviour of the other people on the tour, the guides are very friendly and knowledgeable - an enjoyable experience.One thing to note is that people who sign up for the half day tour do NOT get the lunch that is mentioned in the description of this tour. What happens is the people on the half day tour are taken back to the train station while people who are on a whole day tour are taken to the restaurant. I personally did not mind, however the tour does state that lunch is included so I want to let other people know in case that's a deal breaker for them.
Got to see a lot of stuff, I...
Kathryn M
, Dec 2017
Got to see a lot of stuff, I especially liked going to the Golden Pavilion. The trip was planned out very well and I had no issues figuring anything out because it was super easy to follow and understand.
The tour guide was very...
Willliam R
, Nov 2017
The tour guide was very knowledgeable and informative but we felt very rushed throughout the tour. The tour description stated that the tour included shopping at the Kyoto gift exchange and an optional lunch but when asked about this was informed that if we wanted to do this we were responsible for our own travel back to Osaka. We were very disappointed that the tour description was different then what we actually were offered. Because of this would not recommend this tour.
Great Tour. Well organized and...
Michael Y
, Oct 2017
Great Tour. Well organized and great value but that's Japan. A great way to see few nice spot of Tokyo get to go on the Bullet train. Great value as the 1 way bullet train cost alone is probably half of the tour cost. Lunch was good too as we opt to include lunch if you like Japanese food.
The inside of Nijo Castle was...
Luca C
, Oct 2017
The inside of Nijo Castle was beautiful. Kyoto Imperial Palace was majestic. Kinkakuji Temple was amazing, the walk around the grounds was breath-taking.
Place was serene and very beautiful...
Barbara G
, Aug 2017
Place was serene and very beautiful. The gardens were beautiful
Very good tour. A guide met us at a...
, Jul 2017
Very good tour. A guide met us at a hotel in Osaka and accompanied us on the JR Special Rapid train to Kyoto Station. At Kyoto Station we joined up with the tour guide and more participants in the Kyoto Morning Tour. The tour bus left from Kyoto Station. We took the morning tour on a Sunday morning. This was good as we were able to avoid the crowds at the three major attractions.
Although this was by design a short...
James T
, Feb 2017
Although this was by design a short, half-day trip, it definitely covered some of the must see locales in Kyoto. Our itinerary had us staying in Osaka, but we were advised that Kyoto would provide some better sights and history, so we signed up for this trip, which had us take a bus to Kyoto and a train back--that said, we actually had a tour guide with us for the train back, so there were no issues finding our train which would have been relatively straightforward anyway--Japanese train stations can be daunting, but are well-signed with plenty of English-speakers to assist wayward travellers. All 3 specific locations visited were amazing, and the guide was extremely knowledgeable and spoke English fluently--a marvelous time!
More drive by than tour...
Joseph L
, Feb 2017
More drive by than tour Review of Kyoto Morning Tour by Sunrise tours. Tommy met me at the Hilton Osaka hotel on time. He walked me over to the HOTEL GRANVIA inside Osaka station. This was the gathering point for all the guests. As I waited briefly, he explained the day and provided train tickets to be used to get to Kyoto and back. When I arrived at the gathering point, he had everything laid out for each guest. Needless to say, the first impression was excellent. Unfortunately it went downhill once on the tour. Tommy'was there simply to meet guests and get us to Kyoto. We Left the gathering point about 720am. We catch the 735am train to Kyoto. 805am, Arrive Kyoto station. It's a short walk to a tour bus. There's an opportunity to use the bathroom prior to leaving Kyoto station. When we board the bus, there's people already in it waiting. It's a coach bus that sits about 40. The bus is the funnel point for all the Sunrises tour groups to converge on. My tour has about 30 people. 830am. Leave the bus stop for the first stop, Nijo-jo Castle. Arrive about 845am. The Guide Jessie wants us back on the bus by 10:05. From where the bus parks to the entrance to the castle is about a 10 minute walk. Inside the castle a little before 9am. Start the Tour Ninomaru Palace a little after 9am. The guide walks the group of about 30 through the Palace. When we walk out of the palace, it's about 935am. This gives you MAYBE, 15 minutes to look around by yourself before the long walk to the bus. Barely enough time to look around. You feel rushed. I have enough time to walk into the gift shop, make a quick purchase and use the bathroom. That's it! On to the next stop of the Kinkakuji Temple. This place is PACKED! It's about 1030 when we get there. The guide says be back on the bus by 1105. Really?! We walk into this PACKED place. Forget trying to listen to the guide. Again, you feel rushed. More of a drive by than tour. You have enough time to snap a few pictures and then head to the bus. No time to visit gift shop or look around. Boo!!! Bathrooms there if needed. Back on the bus at 11:05. Oh, some people are late. Imagine that! On to the next stop, which is Kyoto Imperial Palace. This place is empty. The guide walks is thru and gives a tour. Again, rushed. I wander ahead to explore on my own. Yet, the gaggle catches up to me. There were still areas to explore yet we rush thru the Castle and it's back on the tour bus again. At this point we drive to where those doing a full day tour stop for lunch. I'm on the morning Kyoto tour, so I stay on and it's back to Kyoto station, where Tommy meets me and we ride the train back to Osaka. I'm back in Osaka a little after 1pm. Overall impression now?? What a waste of money!! Sure, you visit three different places in Kyoto, but there is no extra time to truly appreciate them. I feel rushed the entire time. I figured I had a total of: 45 minutes at Nijo Castle 35 minutes at Kinkakuji Temple 30 minutes at Kyoto Imperial Palace THAT'S IT! And I started my morning at 655am and was back to my hotel a little past 1pm. It really was a disappointment, feeling rushed at each stop. I wished I had saved my money and gone to Kyoto myself so I could appreciate the sites more.
Efficient way to visit 3 places of...
Boon Kok C
, Sep 2016
Efficient way to visit 3 places of interest in half a day with a very good and knowledge guide. Recommended for people with limited time but wants to visit these 3 places of interest

Product code: 2142OSA_P840

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