In the morning, we will be visiting Nara, the ancient capital city of Japan before Kyoto. In the afternoon, we will move to Osaka, the vibrant center of Western Japan.
You can feel two different faces of Japan, old and new in one day. Experience ancient history during the day and enjoy vibrant commercial atomosphere of the urban life in the late afternoon / early evening.
Check out what we are going to do.
Feel free to personalize this offer.
At your hotel in Osaka (It is possible to start the tour from Kyoto or Nara as well.)
In Nara, Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine and Nara Park (We can also go up to February Hall or Nara Prefecture Office for the view of the city.).
In Osaka, Kuromon Fish Market, Doguya-suji Kitchen Utensil Street, Hozenji Alley and Dotombori (We can peek through the Street of Nerds and Pachinko Parlours if you wish).
We will visit one major Buddhist Temple(Todaiji) and Shinto Shrine(Kasuga Taisha), so you can understand two different religions in Japan living in harmony for 1,500 years. You have a lot of time feeding deer, messengers of Kasuga Shrine in Nara Park. We can also visit Isuien Garden or Yoshigien Garden provided we have enough time.
In Osaka, we stroll around the labyrinth of shops and arcades filled with busy noise of people and pachinko parlours. You can nibble grilled scallops and octopus balls or dine at okonomiyaki or kobe beef restaurant with a nice glass of craft beer.
guide fee, guide's transportation
transportation fee (you and guide), lunch, entrance fee
The entrance fee of Todaiji Temple is ￥600 per person.
If you have a JR Pass, it is possible to use it from Osaka to Nara. But I would advise you we take Kintetsu Line from Namba Station especially if you are staying in the southern part of Osaka. It will cost ￥560, but much more convenient.
It will at least require 8 hours to visit both Nara and Osaka. (I can do the tour in two separate days if you prefer.)
It will involve a lot of walking. Please let me know if that is a problem, so I can make other plans.
We have just returned from a 12 day trip to Japan. This was our first trip to Japan so I hired 4 different guides in 4 different cities. Toichi was by far the best guide our entire trip. By the time we got to him in Osaka we had done 2 tours and were exhausted. It seems Japanese culture is very structured and keeping to the structure and on time is a priority. While I can appreciate that, it is also a vacation so it must be enjoyable and allow for some flexibility. Ichi first recommended the hotel we stayed in which was a big help. When he met us there he was so friendly and enthusiastic. He took us to Nara and Osaka. He always took our needs into consideration, even taking us to a book store and helping our daughter find the Anime she had been looking for. He made the train rides interesting by teaching us how to fold an origami crane and how to speak Japanese as well as write our names. He made me feel like we were hanging out with a friend who was showing us around. (I did not get this feeling from any of the other guides). His joy is infectious and I would definitely recommend him as there is not a better guide.
Dear Janet, Thank you very much for taking a time to write a long review while you must be busy after returning to the States. I try to be my clients’ first friend in Japan, but I am sometimes not sure whether I am doing the right thing. So, your overwhelming comments make me assure that I can continue to keep on working as a professional guide. Thank you very much. I hope you will be interested in Japan more now, and maybe you decide to visit Japan again in the future. best regards, Toichi Nakata (Ichi) your guide and your friend in Japan
Ichi was a joy to have as a guide. He was super organized and friendly, and an excellent communicator in English. We had told him about our interest in seeing a Bunraku Puppet performance at the National Bunraku Theater and I had bought tickets online ahead of time for us and him to attend a performance. In messages back and forth, he helped us figure out the train schedule and logistics of train stations to make sure we arrived in time at our hotel to meet him and get to the performance on time. Ichi was very organized about the schedule and set of neighborhoods, fish market, shopping areas and historic sites that we could see during the day. At the same time, he was flexible about adjusting the schedule when needed, and catering to our interests. When we let him know of our interest in crafts and ceramic ware and my husband and I became immersed in looking at ceramic ware at one shop, Ichi did a great job of keeping our teenage son interested in other things rather than impatiently waiting for us. He taught him how to play a wonderful local game with a wooden toy and taught him to fold a crane with origami paper. He also taught our son how to write his name in Japanese. We went through a number of interesting neighborhoods that he told us the history of, and he told us interesting stories about other events and places in Osaka. We were especially interested in history and politics and we enjoyed learning about Japanese history and culture from his insights. Finally, Ichi went to great lengths to help us understand transit routes on the train and helped us get our tickets for our next day's trip to Koyasan; his explanation of the transit options for the subsequent day proved invaluable in helping us make the early train to start that trip. Ichi is friendly, has a great sense of humor and keen insights, and a can-do, upbeat, pragmatic attitude. We would be glad to work with him again when/if we visit Japan in the future.
Dear Susan, Thank you very very much for your detailed overwhelming review of the tour! I had also enjoyed every minute of a day with you, and I am glad to hear the rest of your trip in Japan also went well. By the way, in a way you were lucky with the weather because Japan became excruciatingly hot after you left. I was walking all day under the screamingly hot sun today, and I thought I was going to pass out. You are a lovely family, and I sincerely hope we as the world can provide the great future for such a lovely son you have. Keep smiling and Good Luck!!!
Toichi surpassed expectations! Beyond a guide, he taught us history, currently culture, and language. Not an easy task while covering miles of ground and thousands of years of history. I can not recommend him highly enough.
Dear Evan, Thank you very much for your exceptional review. We had a lot to move from Kyoto to Himeji and then walking around Osaka. Thanks very much for putting up with my fast walk, and I hope your legs are OK today. It is going to be very hot for the next few days, so try to drink a lot of water not to dehydrate yourself. Hope you can make a lot of good memories you can share with Zoe and some stories to tell to your wife back home.
One word describes Ichi. Excellent. As we were stopping off at Himeji on our way to Kyoto, I thought it would be good to book a guide to get us to the Castle and back in quickest time and with minimum fuss, but what we got from Ichi was 100 times more than that. He was waiting on us right at the door of our train, helped us find lockers for our suitcases. We got a lesson in how to count in Japanese, he gave us the history of the Castle along with a history lesson of Japan. We got an origami lesson to make a paper crane. We also managed to visit the Gardens next door. He was informative, funny, friendly and we just had the best experience. He actually had a bad cold, but that did not hold him back in way. We bought some food eat to on the train and Ichi ran off, came back and surprised us by buying us a dessert for our lunch as a gift. If you get the chance book this “guy” (he will understand why “guy”,1 he will not disappoint you.
Dear David, Thank you very much for your overwhelming review. I am sorry I kept on coughing during the tour, but I am glad you had a good few hours in Himeji under the glittering sun. Thank you very much for a nice card and a present from Scotland as well. Please tell my regards to Audrey and Kieran and hope your trip will give you wonderful memories and experiences to last for a long time. best regards, Ichi