This tour is recommended for the first timers to Kyoto. Kyoto had been the capital of Japan for 1000 years and has many old temples and shrines to visit. You can visit three famous and popular sightseeing spots in Kyoto. All of these three places are registered as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites.
At your hotel (lobby)(in Kyoto)
This castle was built as a residence for shogun where he visited and stayed in Kyoto in the 17th century. You can see the authority of Tokugawa shogunate in this castle. The Ninomaru Palace in this castle has 33 rooms and 800 tatami mats. Mannequins displayed in the largest room (this room was actually used on the last day of Tokugawa shogunate) shows you how they looked like in those days. The corridor of Ninomaru Palace has a special security system called 'Nightingale Corridor' which creaks noises when someone walk on the corridor. You can also see many wonderful wall paintings. Please note that nobody is allowed to take pictures inside of the building.
In spring, you can enjoy walking around in the garden with stunning cherry blossoms.
You may have seen the picture of this pavilion in the book about Japan or Kyoto before. This temple is well known as 'Golden Pavilion' covered with pure gold leaves. 200,000 pieces, 20 kilo grams of the gold leaves are used for this 3-storied pavilion! It was first used as the villa of retired shogun in the 14th century. Gorgeous golden pavilion stands in the pond gives you such a stunning world! I will take good pictures of you here!
This temple is a 'Must see spot in Kyoto.'
This temple is very famous for its Zen rock garden. There are 15 rocks in the dry landscape garden, however, the last 15th rock is said to be seen only when you attained spiritual enlightenment. In this temple, you can also enjoy walking in its strolling type garden. In spring, you can enjoy many beautiful cherry blossoms in this garden. This temple became famous after Queen Elizabeth visited. This temple will give you the peaceful Zen time. Please enjoy its ultimate Zen spirit.
This tour ends at Ryoanji Temple, however, I can tell you how to go back to your hotel.
Nijyojo Castle: This castle was built in the 17th century and used as the place where the shogun stayed when he visited Kyoto and to watch the Imperial family who lived in Kyoto in those days. You can see the power of Tokugawa shogunate.
Kinkakuji Temple: This temple was built as the villa for the shogun during the 14th century. (Today's structure was rebuilt.) It became a Zen temple and it's a must-see spot in Kyoto.
Ryoanji Temple: This temple was built in the 15th century. You can see the dry landscape garden which doesn't use any ponds or small rivers. It became famous after Queen Elizabeth visited. Please find its ultimate Zen spirit.
Guide fee, hotel pick up in Kyoto area
Transportation fee (you and your guide)
Entrance fee: Nijyojo Castle, 600 Japanese yen
Kinkakuji Temple, 400 Japanese yen
Ryoanji Temple, 500 Japanese yen
Please note that you cannot see the inside of Ninomaru Palace every Tuesday in December, January, July and August, and between January 1-3, and December 26-28.
Especailly in spring (end of March to middle of April) and in autumn (middle of November to beginning of December), around Kinkakuji and Ryoanji, we have heavy traffic jam and buses are not serviced as scheduled, so, in such cases, you may need extra hours.
Please note that we use public transportation.
Tomoe was absolutely AMAZING! She has great communication and provided above and beyond service. She would message me to keep me informed on weather and things to look out for. During our time she was flexible and a true expert in the Kyoto area. She even brought us Japanese snacks! She has such depth of knowledge and passion for her work. Don't miss out and book her! THANK YOU TOMOE for an unforgettable experience in Kyoto & Osaka!
Dear Alba, Thank you sooo much for such a warmhearted review! You're the first guest for me after 2 and a half years' blank due to COVID-19. Even since you booked me, 'Japanese regulations for travelers from abroad' has been changed and we have exchanged so many mails before meeting (about 60 mails!). You are such an attractive person and that's why I was able to spend unforgettable time with you. Thank you so much for choosing me as your guide in Kyoto and Osaka, and letting me share the precious time with you. You are AMAZING! I miss you all, Alba, Eddie, Daniel, Jane, Karina and Jody. Please come to Kyoto again! TOMOE
Tomoe has been super patient with our accidental change of plans for the day (and there were 14 of us so you can well imagine!) and managed to save our day with helping translate a few things with our driver. She took us around for more than we bargained for (since the accident had almost brought our plans to a halt!) and introduced us to the places we visited very clearly. Meals were well planned for and the ambience was fantastic. I highly recommend her to tourists of Japan who require a caring and good guide who speaks good English. We will definitely ask her to guide us around again when we return to Japan. Sunn and 13 others in the family
Dear Sunn, Thank you very much for your warmhearted review. I was moved that you always think of your family and do a lot for your family. Because of the accident, we lost 3 hours, however, I'm glad that you were able to enjpy lunch and visit places in Kyoto. I had a really good time with you, such a big and nice family. Please come back to Kyoto again! TOMOE
My daughter and I spent 2 lovely days with Tomoe. She is thoughtful, detail oriented and very sweet. We can’t asked for a better tour guide. Thank you so much Tomoe-San Hope to see you very soon ?
Dear Angelica, Thank you very much for your warmhearted review! I'm very happy to start 2020 with such nice people like you. (As I wrote you, and told you, the first three days of the New Year's Holiday are the very special days for Japanese people, and I'm very glad that I was able to spend such wonderful time with you on those days.) You are so nice and inspired me a lot as a woman, as a wife and as a mother! Please come to Kyoto again! I miss you a lot. Thank you very much for booking me as your guide! TOMOE
Tomoe did an excellent job. Not only got us to the planned sightseeing locations and provided insightful information but also took the time and effort to help with some train arrangements. She is a very personable person and enjoyed visiting with her as much as seeing the sights. She only left us when we were securely on the train back to our hotel. As an aside, Nara is a great city to visit.
Dear Ron, Thank you very much for your warmhearted review. I'm glad that you enjoyed Nara on such a nice day in winter. I enjoyed talking with you and your sons, too. Thank you so much for finding me and giving me such a wonderful encounter! There are more nice places to visit in Kyoto. I hope that you will come to Kyoto again. TOMOE