Enjoy the unrivaled charm of Nara and Osaka, two of Japan's most historic cities, on this full-day tour. Following a two-hour drive, visit Nara, the oldest capital of Japan (710-784), and the cradle of Japanese arts, literature and crafts with temples and shrines that pre-date those found in Kyoto. Modeled after Changan, capital of Tang Dynasty China, the exquisite city of Nara is home to eight World Heritage Sites, and numerous art and architectural relics classified as National Treasures and Important Cultural Assets by the Japanese government. See the incredible Todaiji Temple, founded in 752, and best known for its Daibutsu, a colossal statue sitting 49 feet tall, making it the world's largest Buddha statue. The eighth century statue is housed in an all-wood building, the Daibutsu-den, considered the largest wooden building in the world. After touring the Daibutsu, stroll through Nara Park, commonly referred to as Deer Park. The tranquil park covers 1,295 acres of woodland and is home to over 1,000 free roaming deer. Considered messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, Nara's deer are a symbol of the city and are designated a National Natural Monument. Then visit the impressive Kasuga Garden Shrine has 1,800 stone lanterns lining the walkway to its entrance, and another 1,000 bronze lanterns suspended from the eaves of corridors. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, drive to Osaka, with a stop at the imposing Osaka Castle. One of Japan's most famous castles, see the massive stone foundations, wing-tipped roofs with gilded decorations, and comprehensive museum displaying Osaka's most significant historical and cultural artifacts. Return to Kobe and the ship following your guided tour of the castle.
Please Note: This tour includes approximately 4-5 hours of walking with number of steps to negotiate. There are many steps at the Kasuga Shrine (no slope). 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. Motorcoach parking lot at Osaka Castle is approximately a 15 minute for the castle. Photography and video are not permitted inside Osaka Castle (3rd & 4th floors).
The order of sites visited may vary.