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Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) Tours

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Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
With its gleaming gold tiers reflected in the lake below and a backdrop of forests and twisted pines, Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion) is an enchanting sight. Dating back to the 14th century, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Kyoto’s most popular attractions and among Japan’s most visited temples.
 
The Basics
You can’t enter the pavilion itself, but crowds come to admire its stunning architecture, enjoy views of the temple across the mirror pond, and stroll around the temple gardens.
 
Tours of Kyoto’s shrines and temples stop at the Golden Pavilion. A temple tour generally includes a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, Sagano Bamboo Forest, and Kyoto Cultural Forest. Alternatively, take the scenic route on a bike tour, visit with a professional photographer guide to maximize your chances of capturing postcard-worthy shots, or combine it with Kyoto attractions, such as Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle. It’s also possible to visit on a day trip from Osaka or Nara, or as part of a multi-day Japan itinerary from Tokyo.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • There is an admission fee to enter the temple grounds.
  • Plan between 30 minutes and an hour to admire the temple, take photos, and explore the gardens.
  • A traditional Japanese teahouse is in the temple grounds, and souvenir shops, food vendors, and restaurants are just outside the gates.
  • The temple grounds and walkways are wheelchair accessible.
 
How to Get There
The Golden Pavilion, at the foot of Kinugasa Hill in northwest Kyoto, is a short taxi ride from downtown Kyoto. Bus 100 and 205 run there from Tokyo Station, and it’s a brief bus or taxi ride from the closest subway, Kitaoji Station (Karasuma Line).
 
When to Get There
The Golden Pavilion can get extremely crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Get there before tour buses show up or before closing for the best chance of a crowd-free view. For the best photos, avoid the midday sun, visit in autumn for a colorful and interesting backdrop, or be there on one of the year’s coldest days to snap a shot of the snow-covered temple.
 
Golden Pavilion Architecture
The Golden Pavilion began as shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s 14th-century villa and transformed into a Zen Buddhist temple after his death. Numerous wars over the years have burned down and destroyed it, but the current temple, rebuilt in 1955, retains unique architectural details. Each floor showcases a different style: the Shinden-style first floor, the Bukke-style second floor, and the Chinese Zen hall-inspired top two floors.


Address: Kita-ku Kinkaku-ji-cho, Kyoto 603-8361, Japan
Admission: Varies
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78 Tours and Activities to Experience Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

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Golden Pavilion Kinkaku-ji Temple Tour with Nationally-Licensed GuideHistorical & Heritage Tours

Golden Pavilion Kinkaku-ji Temple Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide

star-3.5
Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) is one of Kyoto's most recognizable landmarks and a must-see, but you will have a must richer experience by visiting it with a guide who can provided detailed historical context to the much-photographed temple.
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  • 1 hour
From  
US$24.37 
Price varies by group size
From  
US$24.37 
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  • 1 hour

Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from KyotoDay Trips

Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto

star-4.5
Discover the history and religions of ancient Japan during this full-day exploration of Kyoto and Nara. See Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kinkaku-ji and Nijo Castle, along with its Imperial Palace. Then drive from Kyoto to Nara to explore its own World Heritage Site, Todai-ji Temple (including Great Buddha Hall), plus Kasuga Shrine. You also visit Nara’s deer park and sample a Japanese and Western-style meal for lunch. Your Nara and Kyoto visit also includes a guide, coach transport, and all entrance fees.
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  • 11 hours
From  
US$148.25 
From  
US$148.25 
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  • 11 hours

Kyoto Highlights 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Kiyomizu Temple from KyotoFull-day Tours

Kyoto Highlights 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Kiyomizu Temple from Kyoto

star-4
Immerse yourself in the captivating culture of Kyoto on a full-day sightseeing tour. See the tranquil Kiyomizu Temple amid its verdant surroundings; absorb the Imperial majesty of Kyoto Imperial Palace; and stroll amid the botanical beauty of Kinkaku-ji Temple. Behold the beguiling beauty of the Fushimiinari Taisha Shrine and enrich your knowledge of Kyoto’s rich historical heritage with commentary from an informative guide. Moderate levels of fitness are advisable for this tour, on which a lot of walking occurs.
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  • 10 hours
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US$124.49 
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  • 10 hours

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Kyoto Morning Tour - Golden Pavilion and Kyoto Imperial Palace from KyotoHalf-day Tours

Kyoto Morning Tour - Golden Pavilion and Kyoto Imperial Palace from Kyoto

star-4
Marvel at the some of the top UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples and palaces of ancient Kyoto on this half-day tour. This quick introduction to the sights of Kyoto covers Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), and the Japanese Emperor’s former Imperial Palace—a perfect way to see the city if you’re short on time. Your guided morning Kyoto excursion includes entrance fees and transport between sites by coach.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
From  
US$67.47 
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes

Kyoto Cultural Forest, Shrine and Temple Tour with OptionsDay Trips

Kyoto Cultural Forest, Shrine and Temple Tour with Options

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This guided tour helps you discover lots of Kyoto’s dispersed temples, shrines, and cultural attractions in one day. Save time researching and planning your trip, by having the itinerary organized for you. Travel in an air-conditioned coach for a hassle-free day. Highlights include Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Sagano Bamboo Forest, and Tenryuji Temple.
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  • 9 to 11 hours
From  
US$136.46 
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  • 9 to 11 hours

Kyoto Early Bird TourHalf-day Tours

Kyoto Early Bird Tour

star-5
Kyoto is one of Japan’s most popular travel destinations and with over 50 million annual visitors, it can get busy. This tour makes an early start so you can avoid the crowds and cram much more into your day. Stroll around the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove before the tour groups arrive, visit Kinkaku-ji temple (Golden Pavilion) right as it opens, and walk through the torii gates of Fushimi Inari (Shrine) before the midday heat.
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  • 5 hours 15 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$128.30 
Price varies by group size
From  
US$128.30 
Price varies by group size
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  • 5 hours 15 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Kyoto Private Custom Walking & Sightseeing TourLuxury Tours

Kyoto Private Custom Walking & Sightseeing Tour

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Take control of your Kyoto sightseeing and visit only the sights you wish to see on this private walking tour. Ideal for first-time visitors, this tour lets you customize a half-day or full-day itinerary. Opt to visit the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), Fushimi Inari Shrine, and Nijo Castle, or to stray from the beaten path to see an alternative side of Kyoto. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included.
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  • 2 to 8 hours
From  
US$157.00 
per group
From  
US$157.00 
per group
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  • 2 to 8 hours

Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Bus TourDay Trips

Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Bus Tour

star-3.5
Sightsee through Kansai’s most scenic areas, seeing iconic landmarks in Nara and Kyoto in one day, without the hassle of changing trains or getting lost. With pickup times in either Osaka or Kyoto, board a convenient tour bus to visit the 1000 vermilion gates of Fushimi-Inari Shrine, scenic Nara Park, beautiful Arashiyama, and more.
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  • 9 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$87.52 
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  • 9 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe from OsakaDay Trips

Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe from Osaka

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Spend a day exploring historic neighborhoods, visiting temples, and shopping on a full-day tour from Osaka to Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. Explore the Arashiyama district, tour the Kinkaku-ji Temple and Nara Park, and take in the stores at Kobe MOSAIC. This tour includes Kinkaku-ji entrance fee, as well as pickup from Kyoto Station, Umeda, Nippombashi or Namba. Opt for a buffet or shabu shabu lunch and/or a Kobe steak or an all-you-can-eat shabu shabu dinner.
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  • 12 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$90.57 
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  • 12 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

5 Top Highlights of Kyoto with Kyoto Bike TourBike & Mountain Bike Tours

5 Top Highlights of Kyoto with Kyoto Bike Tour

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Kyoto’s traditional neighborhoods and scenic parklands are ideal for exploring by bike. On this tour, save time by cycling around the city and visit five of Kyoto’s most popular attractions in one day. Enjoy stunning views of the Golden Pavilion and the Kiyomizu Temple; pose for photos by the red torri gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine; and hop off to stroll around the Bamboo Forest and explore the geisha district.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$171.06 
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  • 7 to 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

8 hours tour in Kyoto with a local: private & personalizedFull-day Tours

8 hours tour in Kyoto with a local: private & personalized

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This personalized full-day Kyoto tour with a local is ideal for first-time visitors to the "City of Temples". You won’t waste a moment visiting places that don’t interest you as this tour is fully customizable based on your interests. Choose the neighborhoods you’d like to visit, and see many of Kyoto’s top sites. Exploring the city with a guide means you won’t get lost, and you'll learn lots of local tips that you wouldn’t discover otherwise.
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$158.39 
Price varies by group size
From  
US$158.39 
Price varies by group size
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  • 8 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Hidden Kyoto E-BikingBike & Mountain Bike Tours

Hidden Kyoto E-Biking

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Cycle past a mix of Kyoto’s most-famous sights and its lesser-known secrets during this half-day ‘Hidden Kyoto’ bike tour. Take a 4.9-mile (8-kilometer) ride that starts by winding past iconic Kyoto temples and shrines like Kinkakuji, Koto-in, and Kitano Tenmagu. You’ll continue ‘off the beaten path,’ discovering intimate Zen gardens and charming backstreets known only to locals.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$97.47 
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation

Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto and Nara from OsakaDay Trips

Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto and Nara from Osaka

star-4
Take a deep dive into traditional Japanese culture and history during this full-day trip to Kyoto and Nara from the center of Kyoto or Osaka. Enjoy the atmosphere of Kyoto’s Arashiyama district and admire the beautiful grounds of the Kinkaku-ji temple. Then head to Nara and see the wild deer of Nara Park. Multiple pickup points and lunch upgrade options are available.
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  • 9 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$70.44 
From  
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  • 9 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

One Day Tour : Enjoy Kyoto to the fullest!Full-day Tours

One Day Tour : Enjoy Kyoto to the fullest!

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Take in the highlights of Kyoto in one day with a guide who shares insights into the city’s history and culture. Stroll through the picturesque Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and visit three important temples and shrines: Kinkaku-ji temple (Golden Pavilion), Ryoan-ji temple—known for its Zen garden, and Fushimi Inari shrine—known for rows of bright orange torii gates. You’ll also walk into the Gion district where you might see a geisha.
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$155.34 
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From  
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Kyoto Arashiyama & Golden Pavilion One day Fulfilling TourDay Trips

Kyoto Arashiyama & Golden Pavilion One day Fulfilling Tour

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In this tour, you will enjoy Japanese nature including animals and landscape at the foot of Mt. Arashiyama which is located on the west side of Kyoto and famous for its scenic beauty. Once this district was open only to the nobles. Located not so far from central Kyoto, this natural environment has been very well maintained up to the present day. That’s why you can interact with wild monkeys very closely. In the afternoon, you will visit the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji Temple), one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan that you won’t forget for the rest of your life.
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  • 7 hours 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$133.05 
Price varies by group size
From  
US$133.05 
Price varies by group size
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  • 7 hours 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation

Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto from OsakaDay Trips

Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto from Osaka

star-4
Enrich yourself with the fascinating history of Kyoto’s numerous UNESCO-listed temples and shrines during this day trip from Osaka. Explore the seemingly endless ‘torii’ gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, visit Kiyomizu-dera temple, and explore Kinkaku-ji temple. Customize your trip by adding on a deluxe or standard Japanese style lunch, and select from four pickup points.
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$70.44 
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US$70.44 
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  • 8 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Personalized Half-day Tour in Kyoto for your family and friends.Day Trips

Personalized Half-day Tour in Kyoto for your family and friends.

star-5
This tour is for those want to visit Kyoto within half a day. We will use the public transport like bus, subway and train. Your itinerary can be customized according to your preference and interest. Moreover, I'm pleased to help you make your itinerary plan in the afternoon. Sample Itinerary 1 - North-East Kyoto : ・Heian Shrine, Nanzenji temple, Philosopher’s path, Eikando temple, Ginkaku-ji temple Sample Itinerary 2 - South-East Kyoto : ・Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Tofukuji-temple, Kiyomizu temple, Yasaka shrine, Gion District Sample Itinerary 3 - Gion walk : ・Yasaka Shrine, Kohdaiji temple, Gion District, Kenninji temple, Miyakawa-cho District
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  • 6 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$123.54 
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  • 6 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Kyoto Platinum Early Morning TourFull-day Tours

Kyoto Platinum Early Morning Tour

star-4.5
Kyoto is the most famous tourist destination in Japan with plenty of wonderful sights to see. Here we offer a luxurious tour early in the morning that enables you to visit six of the most iconic tourist attractions in Kyoto comfortably and efficiently while avoiding the crowds.
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$133.05 
Price varies by group size
From  
US$133.05 
Price varies by group size
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  • 8 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

The right way to know Kyoto Day Trips

The right way to know Kyoto

star-5
We are a small group of people who specializes in private and personalized tours in Kyoto. Our aim is to help our customers to utilize best their precious time in Kyoto by offering specially crafted tours covering Kyoto's top attractions. When it comes to a trip, we know that you have your goals and preferences. We would love to hear about them and help you have a unique an unforgettable Kyoto experience. Postgraduate students with Ph.D. or MA- level scholar graduated from Japanese universities, our guides have vast knowledge about Japanese history and culture because they have been living here for several years and are experts in their fields. Their high academic level makes them proficient not only on everything Kyoto but also on the way of life in Japan and its rich history.
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$461.04 
per group
From  
US$461.04 
per group
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  • 8 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

North Kyoto in a Nutshell: Backstreet Bike Tour w/Lunch!Bike & Mountain Bike Tours

North Kyoto in a Nutshell: Backstreet Bike Tour w/Lunch!

star-5
Active travelers will love the opportunity to explore the northern parts of Kyoto by bike. Your local guide will make sure you don’t get lost, and will show you to back alleys and hidden corners that you might miss otherwise, as well as some of the famous attractions that shouldn’t be missed. Cycle on comfortable bike, and enjoy an authentic Japanese lunch to refuel.
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  • 5 to 6 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$99.91 
From  
US$99.91 
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  • 5 to 6 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

One Day in Kyoto: The Ultimate Kyoto Bike Tour!Bike & Mountain Bike Tours

One Day in Kyoto: The Ultimate Kyoto Bike Tour!

star-5
For those short on time and high on energy, join us for a one day all-you-can-Kyoto bike tour! Experience the tranquility of one of world's largest wooden buildings, learn about the history of Kyoto at the Imperial Palace Park, reflect on life at the stunning Golden Pavilion, enjoy a traditional sit-down lunch, capture the essence of Kyoto in the Gion geisha district and discover the majesty of the mighty Fushimi Shrine. Our shop is a 2 minute walk from Kyoto central station, our groups are small, our bikes are top quality 'Giant' hybrids, and our guides are relaxed, bilingual, experienced and safe! Sit back and let Cycle Kyoto show you around town!
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  • 6 to 7 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$119.89 
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US$119.89 
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Half Day KYOTO Custom Tour with Private Car and Driver Half-day Tours

Half Day KYOTO Custom Tour with Private Car and Driver

Private VIP Tour in KYOTO allows you to “Customize Your Itinerary” to fit your specific travel expectations. You have your own private car and driver who can speak English for approximately 5 hours. Our team assists you to manage the tour, give recommendations, make reservations and check information. <<< You customize your own Half Day Trip in KYOTO>>> STEP1: We propose list of famous destinations while you share with us your travel desires and special requests. STEP2: With careful communication and planning, we share and exchange our draft detailed itinerary. STEP3: We revise/finalize the itinerary. ***You can always change the itinerary even on the day while traveling on the van. Please feel free to reach our team and driver for recommendation at any time. ***1 FREE pocket wi-fi to be used on board. ***Extra charges will be applied for over time service.
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  • 5 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$649.40 
per group
From  
US$649.40 
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  • 5 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Half Day Tour of Nijo Castle and Golden Pavilion in KyotoHalf-day Tours

Half Day Tour of Nijo Castle and Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

star-4.5
Explore two of Kyoto’s most famous attractions, Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-ji, during this 4-hour excursion to these two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Relive the era of the Japanese ‘shoguns’ (military leaders) in the 17th century during an hour-long visit to Nijo Castle. Continue on to Kinkaku-ji Temple, the beautiful ‘Golden Pavillion’ constructed in the 14th century by the Ashikaga clan. Your guide, entrance fees and round-trip hotel transport are also covered.
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  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$180.56 
per group
From  
US$180.56 
per group
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  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Private Highlights of Kyoto TourFull-day Tours

Private Highlights of Kyoto Tour

star-4.5
Immerse yourself in the cultural and architectural splendor of Kyoto on this private tour, ideal for first-time visitors. Choose from two different routes, both of which cover major Kyoto attractions including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple, and explore the city with a personal guide. On the northwest-bound route, you’ll visit the Golden Pavilion, Nishiki Food Market, and the bamboo groves of Arashiyama Park. Alternatively, the southeast course covers the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, and the Gion area. Receive undivided attention from your guide on this private tour. 
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  • 7 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$217.48 
Price varies by group size
From  
US$217.48 
Price varies by group size
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  • 7 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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What's the best way to experience Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)?

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