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Kyoto UNESCO sites

Our most recommended Kyoto UNESCO sites

Kyoto: Top Highlights Full Day Trip

1. Kyoto: Top Highlights Full Day Trip

Visit some of Kyoto's most famous sites on this culture-focused day trip. Hop on board an air-conditioned coach and explore Japan's ancient capital to see the brilliant Torii Gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the UNESCO-listed Kiyomizu-Dera temple, and the golden pavilion of Kinkaku-Ji. Start your tour by discovering some of Kyoto's ancient historic sites, dating back to the 6th century. Get dropped off at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Spend time wandering the paths before heading to a restaurant for lunch to taste a standard or deluxe traditional tofu set-course menu with Japanese tea. After lunch, head off to Kiyomizu-Dera, one of the most iconic temples in Japan. Spend ample time strolling through the temple. Walk across the impressive wooden stage, which juts out from the hillside and was constructed without the use of a single nail. Later, make a final stop at Kinkaku-Ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion because it's covered in gold leaves. Wander through the gardens surrounding the temple, admiring the original Japanese designs that have been preserved since Ashikaga's time. In the late afternoon, get dropped off at Kyoto Station where your tour ends.

From Osaka: Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto and Nara

2. From Osaka: Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto and Nara

Leave Osaka in the morning aboard a bus, heading inland toward Kyoto. Before arriving in the city itself, stop in the beautiful district of Arashiyama, which has been a popular nature-viewing destination since the Heian Period. Take a stroll through the cool Sagano Bamboo Forest and listen to the distinct rustle of bamboo leaves as you walk. Later, drive through Kyoto proper and arrive at Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion. Admire postcard-perfect views of the illustrious temple reflected in the mirror-like pond it overlooks, and then wander through the sprawling garden that retains its original design from the 14th century. After Kinkaku-ji, board your bus again and head south to Nara. Take a short walk through Nara Park, famous for the 1,200 or so wild deer that live freely within the park. Within Nara Park you will find the Todai-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Following your time in the historic temple, hop aboard your bus again and make the trip back to Osaka-Namba OCAT.

From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

3. From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

Visit some of Kyoto's most famous cultural sites on this day-long bus tour from Osaka. Hop aboard a comfortable coach and drive to Japan's ancient capital to see the brilliant torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the UNESCO-listed Kiyomizu-dera temple, and the golden pavilion of Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto is filled with ancient historic sites dating back to the 6th century. Get dropped off first at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Spend time wandering the brilliant paths before heading to your next destination. Arrive at Kiyomizu-dera, one of the most iconic temples in Japan. Take ample time to wander through the temple. Walk across the impressive wooden stage, which juts out from the hillside and was constructed without the use of a single nail. Next, stop at Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion due to the fact that it's covered in gold leaf. Wander through the immaculate gardens surrounding the temple, admiring the original Japanese designs that have been preserved since Ashikaga's time. Finish the day in Arashiyama, which has been a popular nature-viewing destination since the Heian Period. Take a stroll through the cool Sagano Bamboo Forest and listen to the distinct rustle of bamboo leaves as you walk. In the late afternoon, hop on the bus back to Osaka.

Higashiyama | Kyoto: Sakura Season Private Rickshaw Tour

4. Higashiyama | Kyoto: Sakura Season Private Rickshaw Tour

Explore the traditional neighbourhood of Higashiyama from the comfort of a Rickshaw with a guide and see the famous cherry blossoms. Discover why it is the favourite season among the locals. Admire the well-preserved wooden townhouses and pass through the vibrant geisha district in the Gion area. See the cherry blossoms as they paint parts of the sky and cityscape pink. Travel back in time as your guide pulls you through the historic neighbourhood, filled with traditional buildings and shops. Meet your guide at the appointed meeting place. During the day, choose from the well-rounded 70 minutes to the 120-minute tour including a stop to walk amidst the cherry blossoms at the World Heritage Kiyomizu-Dera Temple.

Kyoto: Sagano Train and Sightseeing Day Trip with Lunch

5. Kyoto: Sagano Train and Sightseeing Day Trip with Lunch

See some of Kyoto's highlights on this guided tour. Meet your expert guide and visit Arashiyama, where you can enjoy a delicious buffet style lunch with soft drinks to prepare you for an afternoon of sightseeing. After lunch, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Kiyomizudera Temple, one of the most celebrated temples in Japan, founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall. The tour continues onto Fushimi Inari, world-famous for the thousands of Torii gates that line the entrance to the Shinto Shrine. Spend some free time exploring the mountain trails and the shrine buildings themselves, and learn about the fascinating culture of Japan. Beat the traffic and take the train with your professional guide from JR Kyoto Station to Arashiyama or Fushimi Inari Taisha (depending on the train schedule of that day). During the  journey, feel immersed in nature as you admire the beautiful blossom trees and breathtaking mountain views. The tour ends after your visit to Fushimi Inari. If the first sightseeing place is Fushimi Inari Taisha, the bus will drop you off at JR Kyoto Station. Otherwise, your expert guide will give you the train ticket at Fushimi Inari Taisha to get back to JR Kyoto Station. The meeting point is at near JR Ticket office 1F, JR central exit.

Kyoto: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Walking Food Tour

6. Kyoto: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Walking Food Tour

Start the tour from the JR Saga Arashiyama station. The Arashiyama district, located west of the Kyoto city center, has long been a scenic leisure spot. Many ancient aristocrats had their villas here 1000 years ago and enjoyed writing literature and poetry. Today, the area is one of the most popular tourist sites in Kyoto.  First, explore the Bamboo Forest and Okochi-sanso in quiet Sagano District, a peaceful neighborhood known for its beautiful maple trees. Then, visit Tenryu-ji temple which was built in 1339 by the Shogun Ashikaga in memory of the Emperor Go-Daigo and was a complex of more than 100 buildings. They were mostly destroyed by fires and civil wars over the years, but the traditional garden remains in its original form, designed by the monk Muso. Enjoy walking in the landscaped garden. During this tour, taste Matcha (japanese green tea), Negiyaki savory pancake, fried fish cake, and dango(japanese sweets). Then, head over to the Togetsukyo bridge which, as the area’s landmark, dates back to the 9th-century and provides a good photo taking spot for visitors today. At the end of this half-day tour, have a nice sweets. If you like, you can enjoy shopping around after the tour because the this tour finished in a district where you can find many souvenirs.

From Osaka: Kyoto Sightseeing Day Trip and Scenic Train Ride

7. From Osaka: Kyoto Sightseeing Day Trip and Scenic Train Ride

After pickup from one of 3 locations in Osaka, head towards Kyoto, once the former capital of Japan, on the island of Honshu. The first activity of the day is a scenic and romantic railway ride from Kameoka to Arashiyama. During the 23-minute journey, feel immersed in nature as you admire the beautiful blossom trees and breathtaking mountain views. Upon arrival at Arashiyama, enjoy a delicious buffet style lunch with soft drinks to prepare you for an afternoon of sightseeing. After lunch, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Kiyomizudera Temple, one of the most celebrated temples in Japan, founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall. The tour continues onto Fushimi Inari, world-famous for the thousands of Torii gates that line the entrance to the Shinto Shrine. Spend some free time exploring the mountain trails and the shrine buildings themselves, and learn about the fascinating culture of Japan. The tour ends after your visit to Fushimi Inari, and you’ll be dropped-off to your original pickup location in Osaka.

Kyoto: Bus Day Trip Through Kyoto and Nara with Lunch

8. Kyoto: Bus Day Trip Through Kyoto and Nara with Lunch

Start your journey with a train ride from JR Kyoto Station to Arashiyama, accompanied by your expert guide. The bamboo grove of Arashiyama has been a popular nature-viewing destination since the Heian Period. Take a stroll through the cool Sagano Bamboo Forest and listen to the distinct rustle of bamboo leaves as you walk. Later, drive through Kyoto proper and arrive at Kinkaku-ji: the Golden Pavilion. Admire picturesque views of the grand temple reflected in the mirror-like pond it overlooks, and then wander through the sprawling garden that has retained its original design from the 14th century. After Kinkaku-ji, board your bus again and head south to Nara. Take a short walk through Nara Park, famous for the 1,200 or so wild deer that live freely within the park. These deer are famously very friendly, and allow visitors to feed them by hand. Within Nara Park you will find the Todai-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Your tour guide will give you your train ticket to then go back to Kyoto Station.

Kyoto Matcha Green Tea Tour

9. Kyoto Matcha Green Tea Tour

The green tea and matcha (powdered green tea) produced in Uji are famous for their quality not only in Japan, but also all over the world. While visiting Uji you will also get to see the gorgeous and famous Byodoin temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  During the tour you will sit down for a fantastic lunch, and have a chance to experience making and drinking tea. If you find teas that you like, you will have time to choose, purchase and take home some delicious memories of your tour.

Kyoto: Private Walking Tour [Customizable]

10. Kyoto: Private Walking Tour [Customizable]

Explore the historic city of Kyoto and its temples and shrines. This private tour allows you to choose your own itinerary like this sample. Follow your guide to Kinkakuji Temple, Golden Pavilion or Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. After that, head to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a famous spot due to the thousands of Torii gates. Take a photo of the god of agriculture enshrined in Fushimi Inari Shine. Stop for lunch before visiting Kiyomizu temple, and experience the atmosphere of Kyoto's most famous district as you meander through Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka. Afterwards, if you have time, visit the Gion district, the famous geisha area. The tour ends at your hotel, or a location of your choosing.

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Frequently asked questions about Kyoto

What top attractions are a must-see in Kyoto?

The must-see attractions in Kyoto are:

What are the best day trips and excursions from Kyoto?

The best day trips and excursions from Kyoto are:

Arashiyama

Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto

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What people are saying about Kyoto

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 312 reviews

We had a great time today. Our guides were fantastic. Third visit was a bit too short to see everything there and we didn’t realise the fourth stop wasn’t a temple visit, and was just a look at the bamboo forest. We also thought we would be travelling entirely by bus, but because we were meeting at Kyoto - the first and last part of the trip was via train. Overall great day, it was an easy way to see attractions in Kyoto.

Alot to take in in one day but all sites were fantastic. plenty of free time to look around & some beautiful spots for pics. Our guide Taka was lovely with great English too

Two tour guides, Melody and Hiro were just great. Knowledge, helpful and as like all Japanese courteous and respectful.

It was on time and the meeting place was easy to find. The crew members were very kind.

Roteiro bem feito, equipe muito profissional. Excelente almoço.