Discover the gracious spirit of Old Japan on this full-day tour to three of Kyoto's most alluring sites. The imperial capital of Japan for over a thousand years, Kyoto is the cultural and artistic heart of the nation, best known for its Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, beautiful gardens and historically priceless buildings. Following a two-hour drive from Kobe, arrive at the magnificent Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Kyoto's world-renowned and most photographed temple and garden. Built in 1394, the original Kinkakuji was a retirement villa for a former Shogun. 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. Continue to Nijo Castle, with its immense walls and moat. Completed in 1603, the castle is famous for its nightingale floors, designed to detect the footsteps of ninja assassins and warn the residents of invaders. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nijo Castle is one of the world's great historical buildings. Following lunch at a local restaurant, drive to Sanjusangendo, famous for its 1,001 12th-century statues of the Buddhist deity Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. Sanjusangendo translates to "hall with 33 bays" and the 33 alcoves display 1,000 awe-inspiring statues and a single gigantic sitting image of Kannon. Carved from Japanese cypress and painted with gold leaf, each of the multi-armed figures stands five and a half feet tall, and has subtle differences in expression and accoutrements, testimony to the skill and originality of the Momoyama wood carvers. Following your day in Kyoto, reboard your motorcoach for the return drive to Kobe.
Please Note : This tour includes approximately 4-5 hours of walking with number of steps to negotiate. There are 30 steps at the Kinkakuji Temple. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. Casual clothing and comfortable, flat walking shoes are recommended. We suggest passengers obtain local currency for shopping.
Photography and video are not permitted inside Nijo Castle (Ninomaru Palace) and Sanjusangendo.
Shoes must be removed to enter Nijo Castle (Ninomaru Palace) and Sanjusangendo. Nijo Castle is under a 20 years restoration project therefore some part of castle may be closed. The order of sites visited may vary.