Designed as a post-tour to More than Meets the Eye, this tour can be booked on its own.
In the morning, depart Osaka for Nara. Established in 710, this was Japan’s first permanent capital before it was moved to Nagaoka in 784.
After lunch in a local restaurant, visit Todai-ji, one of the world’s great wooden structures dating back to the 8th century. Amongst the many Buddhist images housed at Todai-ji is the Great Buddha, reputedly the largest wooden structures in the world.
Continue to the excellent Nara National Museum before travelling onto Kyoto.
This morning begin with a visit to the nearby Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. It has burned down numerous times throughout its history including, more recently, in 1950 when it was set on fire by a fanatic monk. The present structure was rebuilt in 1955.
Continue to the Ryoan-ji Temple, the site of Japan’s famous rock garden consisting of a rectangular plot of pebbles surrounded by low earthen walls, with 15 rocks laid out in small groups on patches of moss. A feature of the garden’s design is that from any vantage point, at least one of the rocks is always hidden from the viewer.
After lunch, enjoy a tour of the elegant Nijo-jo Castle, built by the first Tokugawa Shogun, a striking example of the splendid decorative luxury of the Momoyama period (1587–1615). Afterwards, visit the Kyoto Handicrafts Centre.
This morning visit Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion), a Zen temple at the foot of Kyoto’s eastern mountains. In 1482, shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of present-day temple, modelling it after Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). The villa was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimasa’s death in 1490. Stroll along the ‘Philosophers Path’ which follows a quiet tree-lined canal connecting Ginkaku-ji to the extensive buildings and grounds of one of the world’s largest Zen temples, Nanzen-ji.
After lunch, visit Sanjusangendo, a uniquely shaped long hall rebuilt in 1251 to house its central image of the thousand-armed bodhisattva Kannon. It is also surrounded by 1,000 gilt bronze images of Kannon.
Continue to the Kyoto National Museum (new wing) designed by the internationally acclaimed architect, Taniguchi Yoshio, for an introduction to the traditional arts of Japan.
In the morning visit to the Miho Museum nestled among the verdant Shigaraki Mountains. Designed by the renowned architect, I. M. Pei, the museum was funded and named after Koyama Mihoko, a textile business heiress and one of the wealthiest women in Japan. The museum houses the Shumei Family Collection of rare treasures from the ancient world and traditional Japanese art.
Continue to the Arashiyama-Sagano area known for its scenic beauty, narrow streets, old villas and temple compounds. It was favoured by noble classes 1,200 years ago. Enjoy a walk through the area’s vast bamboo groves.
This morning visit Saiho-ji (Kokedera), an ancient temple said to have been established by the monk Gyoki during the Nara Period (710 – 794), and later restored and converted into a Zen temple by the monk Muso Soseki, in 1339. The precincts are covered by more than 120 types of moss, resembling a beautiful green carpet, hence its other name, Kokedera, which literally means ‘Moss Temple’.
After lunch, visit the Daitoku-ji temple complex consisting of nearly two dozen sub-temples, and one of the best places in Japan to see a wide variety of Zen gardens such as Daisen-in, a Zen contemplative garden. One part of the garden is an allegory; the other is designed for meditation.
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.
Kansai International Airport (KIX) can be reached by airport bus service or express train (approx 1 hr 30 min) departing from nearby your hotel. There will be local assistance to buy tickets.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
04 August 2017
Please see terms & conditions for fitness level definitions.
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in centrally located four-star hotel with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch)
- Local English-speaking tour manager
- Transportation in comfortable air-conditioned coach
- Comprehensive sightseeing including entrance fees as per itinerary
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage
Tour price do not include
- International flights
- Items of a personal nature (i.e. mini-bar, telephone, laundry etc.)
- Airport porterage
- Travel insurance (recommended)
- Transfer on departure
# please note the post-tour to Kyoto is locally guided and requires 10 persons to proceed.
Hotel Monterey Kyoto
Combining Kyoto’s culture and Britain’s traditional heritage, the 327-room Hotel Monterey Kyoto offers practical amenities for a comfortable stay. Located at Karasuma Sanjo, in the centre of Kyoto, each guest room is equipped with both free Wi-Fi service and a LAN cable connection. The hotel facilities include a Concierge Desk, the top floor ‘Spa Trinite’, and a Chapel – St. Simon Zelotes a recreation of a church of the same name in Upper Chelsea. Dining options include French restaurant ‘Escale’, Japanese restaurant ‘Zuientei’ and café/bar ‘The Library’.
NB. Hotel of a similar standard may be substituted.