• Location: Osaka, Japan
  • Duration: 6 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 86.99 View price calendar

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Experience the top cultural highlights in the ancient city of Kyoto during this 6-hour 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). Then spend additional time visiting Kyoto’s regal Imperial Palace before browsing for authentic souvenirs at the Kyoto Handicraft Center. This guided excursion of Kyoto also includes pickup from select hotels in Osaka, round-trip JR rail ticket from Osaka to Kyoto and all admission fees.


  • 6-hour tour of Kyoto highlights
  • 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
  • Visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Nijo Castle and the Golden Pavilion
  • Photograph the maple leaves of autumn or the cherry blossoms of spring
  • Tour Kyoto Imperial Palace and shop at the Kyoto Handicraft Center
  • Hotel pickup from selected Osaka hotels included

What You Can Expect

Kyoto Morning Tour of Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace from Osaka

Kyoto Morning Tour of Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace from Osaka

Discover the sublime scenery and fascinating history of ancient Kyoto during this 6-hour 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 with a pickup from select hotels in the early morning, proceeding to a central meeting point where you’ll head to Osaka station for the short 30-minute 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.

Finish your Kyoto excursion with time for a buffet lunch (at your own expense) as well as some time at the Kyoto Handicraft Center, affording you an opportunity to purchase some traditional souvenirs. The tour ends with a 30-minute return ride to Osaka by train, at which point you will make your own way back to your hotel.

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Customer Reviews

Sandy H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

great short trip

Michael Y

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 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.

Luca C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 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.

Barbara G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2017

Place was serene and very beautiful. The gardens were beautiful

Rawdhah Saleh s

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2017

This tour was amazing!

James T United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 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!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

This tour was amazing!

Charles W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

We enjoyed this tour from beginning to end!
The tour employees were with us every step of the way.
Their English was great. We understood everything they said.
In hindsight we should have booked with Viator in Toyko
instead of the Holland America Cruise Line tour.
It was very disappointing.
Next time we will certainly look into the Viator tours first.

Janet Lee T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Comprehensive and complete trip. We were well taken care of.

donaldducks Hong Kong

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2015

Lots to see in the morning. Staff were friendly and informative. Very professional. Only problem was too little time at the 3 shrines.

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