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Discover the history and religions of ancient Japan during this 10-hour 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’ll 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, all entrance fees and pickup at select hotels.


  • Full-day sightseeing tour of the ancient sites of Kyoto and Nara
  • Visit Kyoto’s top cultural attractions: Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji (home to the Golden Pavilion) and Kyoto Imperial Palace
  • Travel to the city of Nara to see the Great Buddha of Todai-ji temple complex
  • Admire the 3,000 bronze lanterns in the Kasuga Shrine, and feed the wild deer in Nara Park
  • Pickup and drop-off from select Kyoto hotels included

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

See the best that the historic cities of Kyoto and Nara have to offer during this full-day, 10-hour tour of the cities’ top temples and sights. It’s a great introduction to the culture and traditions of ancient Japan, along with some time at a nature park thrown in for good measure.

Begin your excursion in the morning at one of four hotels in Kyoto. Proceed after pickup on an exploration of the historic environs of Kyoto, the country’s former capital and one-time residence of the Japanese emperor between 794 and 1868. The city’s wealth of ancient history have earned a collection of its religious and political sites as the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

Stop by two of Kyoto’s most important highlights with your guide, starting with 50 minutes at Nijo Castle, which was the home of the Tokugawa Shogun until the mid-1800s. This World Heritage-listed site, constructed in 1603, is renowned for the contrasts between its intricate interior and solemn exterior façade.

Head next to Kinkaku-ji, the city’s most popular religious site and what is considered by many to be one of the world’s most elaborate Japanese gardens, for 45 minutes. Check out the temple’s Golden Pavillion, a three-story building sheathed in gold leaf and situated beside a picturesque pond, where you can take some great photos.

Move on next to Kyoto’s Imperial Palace for 40 minutes, where you’ll have a chance to see the Shishin-den, a key site for important state ceremonies, before wandering the palace’s beautiful grounds.

Pause your tour for lunch, then re-board your bus for a 1-hour drive south to Nara, where you’ll stop by two of the temples and shrines that form the city’s own UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit Todai-ji, a religious complex known for housing one of the world’s largest statues of the Buddha (Great Buddha Hall) before continuing to the adjacent Nara Park.

Make your next stop of the day at Kasuga Shrine for 40 minutes, renowned for the more than 3,000 lanterns lining its interior. Finish your excursion at Nara’s Deer Park, a famous section of Nara Park with free-roaming groups of deer. Feel free to hand-feed these tame creatures with the special food for sale on site. Depending on time and traffic, you may also visit a souvenir stand to pick up a memento or two before heading back to Kyoto.

Customer Reviews


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

We were so IMPRESSED by the guide, she is extremely knowledgeable and very experienced in tour guiding ! This is a very very compact tour, in a short amount of time we got to see a lot of sights, the group size seems a bit big 40 people and a bit rush but nevertheless we enjoyed it and learnt a lot !!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

Well organised tour with a half day in Kyoto and then a trip to Nara. Nara is totally worth doing, but I don't think you need more than half a day, so this is perfect. So glad we picked this tour.

Delia Teresa G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

It was a wonderful tour. I strongly recommend it for everyone.

Paige T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

Amazing tour!

george s

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

Even with mobility issues, accommodations were readily available and the tour guides Superior. The in-sight, knowledge, and direction shared by the am and pm guides enriched our experience. The morning tour seemed rushed, too much to see, not enough time. Nara in the afternoon wonderful.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

A great tour, highly recommended.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Our tour guide was very nice, funny, and knowledgeable. You get to see so much for the cost.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

This was a very comprehensive tour. We felt like we really got to know about the culture and history of Kyoto in one day. It was exhausting, but our guide seemed to be aware of that.

Karin M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Very meaningful day. We were met promptly, had a knowledgable guide, and visited several temples, all different, as well as the Imperial Palace. Have used Viator many times around the world, and they are reliable and take you to the best sites.

Catharine J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Our tour guide was excellent, informative, kind and patient. We thoroughly enjoyed the day.

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