With over 2000 temples and shrines scattered across the landscape of Kyoto, it’s hard to know where to begin. Let us help get you started with this half-day or full-day guided tour around a varied selection of the city’s greatest treasures.
Begin your morning with Nijo Castle – built as the home of the first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu – a shining example of an Edo-period palace fortification. More ornamental than functional, the feudal residence features beautifully decorated fusuma (sliding doors) and unique architectural touches. Next, head to Ryoanji – a peaceful temple displaying a famous Zen stone garden – where you will learn more about the mysterious design, and contemplate it’s meaning for yourself. Nearby, the iconic and photogenic Kinkakuji – or Golden Pavilion – offers a spectacular opportunity to get up close to one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the whole of Japan. Covered in gold leaf, the temple seems to shimmer and radiate, even during the greyest of days – a sight to behold, for sure.
The rest of the day can be spent exploring on your own, or continue after lunch with your expert guide on hand to discover further. Perhaps head to the tourist hot-spot of Kiyomizudera, with it’s grand wooden stage looking out upon the surrounding hills and countryside, and the busy, climbing streets of the Higashiyama district that surround it?
You can choose to take on the sights of Kyoto today on two-wheels if you feel up to it, an energetic way to visit the key attractions around the city. We would recommend a cycle around the verdant district of Arashiyama this afternoon- with it’s bamboo groves, the gently-flowing Katsura River, and a number of wonderful temples, this area really shines with the seasonal colours of autumn and spring.