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Marvel at the some of the top UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples and palaces of ancient Kyoto on this 4.5-hour tour. This quick introduction to the sights of Kyoto, covering the Nijo Castle, golden Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavillion) and the Japanese Emperor’s former Imperial Palace, is the perfect way to see the city if you’re short on time. Your morning Kyoto excursion also includes pickup from select hotels, transport between sites by coach, entrance fees and an English-speaking guide.


  • Kyoto morning highlights tour
  • Tour the UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle with a knowledgeable guide
  • Marvel at Japanese gardens and design at Kinkakuji Temple and Kyoto Imperial Palace

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What You Can Expect

Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle

Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle

Admire the incredible historical legacy of Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, as you explore the city’s top castles, temples, palaces and gardens. It’s a great introduction to this ancient city for those that have limited time during their visit.

Start your Kyoto experience with pickup at select hotels, which begins in the early morning, arriving at the Kyoto New Miyako Hotel to begin your excursion. Head out to your first stop of the day, where you’ll see the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nijo Castle. This one-time home of the Tokugawa Shogun, constructed in 1603, contains five connecting structures made of Cypress wood. The complex is renowned for its elegant design and striking interiors, including the gold leaf-covered living quarters and the home’s extensive kitchen, guardhouse and multiple gardens. Please note: on days when Nijo Castle is closed, the tour will visit Ryoanji Temple instead.

Head next to the glorious Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavillion), the most popular temple in all of Kyoto. Spend 45 minutes admiring the intricate architecture and serene Japanese gardens, along with the site’s namesake structure, the celebrated Golden Pavillion. Proceed on to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, once the residence of the Japanese Emperor before the national capital was relocated to Tokyo in 1868. View the former site of the imperial enthronement ceremonies and observe the elegant simplicity of the building’s interior design and architecture.
Please note: on days when the Imperial Palace is closed, your tour will visit Kitano Tenmangu Shrine or Nishi Honganji Temple as substitutes.

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Customer Reviews

Cheryl R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

A wonderful tour. It was a fantastic peek into Japanese history, and Yuki our guide was very informative. There was a bit of walking but it is manageable for elderly people with creaky bones. The drop off at the end of the half day tour can be at the Handicraft Centre. Another couple of hours spent perusing the three floors of gifts to take home.

Bronte E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

Our tour guide was great, gave lots of information, and took us to some amazing places, my favourite being the Golden Pavilion. Highly recommended, especially if only in Kyoto for a short amount of time, but still wanting to see some of the famous landmarks.

Kaye B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Very well organised, and a fantastic tour guide.

Kaye B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Very well organised, and a fantastic tour guide.

John B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

This tour was fantastic!!
Our tour guide was amazing, he was so knowledgeable and very funny. We would highly recommend it to anyone.

Audrey O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Amazing tour guide. Very informative and interesting. Even though it was raining, it was still very enojyable.

Lauren J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

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.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

This was a wonderful choice for us and we enjoyed it so much we signed up to continue on the afternoon tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable and helpful.

Jesse United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

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.

Megan A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Good overview of Kyoto.

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