Highlights of Kyoto
Duration: 6 1/2 hours
Tour Code: KBE-005
Explore two of Kyoto's marquee attractions: the impressive Golden Pavilion and formidable Nijo Castle, a quintessential example of Momoyama architecture, which flourished 400 years ago.
Depart from the pier and drive inland toward Kyoto, an immensely historical city renowned for spectacular architecture, which includes thousands of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Upon arrival,you'll have an exterior visit of Kyoto's most famous landmark, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion). Built by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu as a villa in 1397, the three-story home was converted to a temple by Yoshimitsu's son. The Golden Pavilion follows the Shinden style of the Heian Period by being positioned at the edge of a tranquil pond. The three-story Chinese-influenced Golden Pavilion has delicately curving roofs, with the walls and eaves of the second and third stories covered in shimmering gold leaf. View the exterior of the pavilion and walk through the peaceful gardens, marveling at the mirror reflection of the temple on the still pond.
More history awaits you at nearby Nijo Castle, a fortification of cypress wood built in 1603 as the residence of the Tokugawa clan. An esteemed UNESCO World Heritage site, the castle is protected by a moat, stone walls, and ingenious nightingale floors, which chirp like a bird when walked upon to alert the guards of potential intruders.
Despite its defensive elements, the castle was primarily a home. It's adorned with wooden carvings, artistically painted sliding doors and expansive tatami rooms, decorated in the traditional style at the time. After touring Nijo Castle, you'll return to the pier in Kobe.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of moderate walking and there are a significant number of steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual, weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses, and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Guests will be required to remove their shoes to enter Nijo castle. The castle is undergoing a lengthy restoration and some areas may be closed to visitors. Photography and video are not permitted inside the castle. It is suggested that participants bring along local currency for any purchases as U.S. currency is not widely accepted and many merchants cannot take credit cards. The drive between Kyoto and Osaka is approximately 90-minutes and is subject to traffic delays. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.