Kinkaku-ji

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Kinkaku-ji: Our most recommended tours and activities

Kyoto: 1 or 2-Day Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

1. Kyoto: 1 or 2-Day Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

Discover the highlights of Kyoto with a 1 or 2-day ticket for the convenient hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Admire the panoramic views from on board the open-top double decker bus, and hop on or off at any of the stops along the route. Enjoy informative audio commentary on board the bus, available in 7 languages. Choose this efficient way of exploring the must-see places and attractions in Kyoto. The bus takes you past many of the city's top attractions, including UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji, and Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. Buses run every 30 minutes, and you can enjoy unlimited rides for the duration of your ticket's validity.  Bus stops along the route:  • Kyoto Station • Karasuma Gojo • Shijo Karasuma / Nishiki-ichiba Market • Nijo-jo Castle • Nijo Station • Kitano-tenmangu Shrine / Kamishichiken • Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) • Daitokuji Temple • Kyoto Imperial Palace (Doshisha University) • Heian-jingu Shrine / Okazaki Park • Gion (Kotowa-Kyoto Yasaka) • Gojozaka (Kiyomizu-dera Temple / Gion) • Sanjusangendo / Kyoto National Museum (Hyatt Regency Kyoto)

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Kyoto: Private Customized Walking Tour with a Local

2. Kyoto: Private Customized Walking Tour with a Local

Discover Kyoto like a local and see the top attractions on a 2, 4, 6, or 8-hour private walking tour. Meet your host and get insider tips on what to see and do, learn about the culture and discover hidden gems along the way. You'll be paired with guides that are passionate about the place they call home and who choose to spend their free time sharing it with like-minded travelers matched to them. Book your preferred tour duration at least 72 hours in advance so that the best experience can be created in advance. You will be contacted shortly after booking to chat about your needs and interests. A like-minded host will then be provided, along with a bespoke, but flexible, itinerary exclusive to you. Visit sacred sites like the shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha or Kinkajuki Temple, explore the cultural district of Gion or get off the beaten path in historic neighborhoods with the help of your guide. Stop for lunch at an authentic spot, recommended by your host to suit your taste and budget, or snack on street food as you walk. Get advice on how to spend the rest of your time in the city and more.

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Welcome to Kyoto: Private Walking Tour with a Local

3. Welcome to Kyoto: Private Walking Tour with a Local

Transform the way you travel and make it as much about the people you meet as the places you see. Get a welcome to Kyoto from a local host eager to share all the tips and tricks to help you make the most of your stay. Meet at your hotel or accommodation and get familiar with your local neighborhood. Learn about the best places to eat, buy groceries and the easiest ways to get around. Alternatively, arrange to meet at a central landmark or intersection to start your walking tour. Hear about the top things to do, customized to your interests. By the end of the tour, you will feel more comfortable navigating the city on your own with all the information you need.

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Kyoto: Japanese Gardens Private Customizable Tour

4. Kyoto: Japanese Gardens Private Customizable Tour

Explore the many gardens of Kyoto on this customizable tour with a private guide. Let the guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly.  Visit various styled gardens and experience traditional Japanese spirits which are represented in plants, rocks, and the entire design. Relax at both, artistic landscape gardens with seasonal plants and dry landscape gardens at Zen temples. Learn about the meaning and the history of the gardens from your knowledgeable guide. Most popular places to visit for this tour: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Kinkakuji Temple Ginkakuji Temple Ryoanji Temple Honen-in Nanzenji Temple Tofuku-ji Temple Kyoto Imperial Palace Shugakuin Imperial Villa Daitoku-ji Temple Kokedera Suzumusidera Katsura Imperial Villa Kyoto Botanical Garden

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Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

5. Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

You will take you place on the tatami, the traditional Japanese floor mat and be met by your English-speaking host, who is a licensed tea master from Urasenke, the biggest school of tea ceremony in Japan. Watch as the host carries out the ceremonial preparation of matcha, powdered green tea. Then, you will have the chance to make tea yourself, while the host informs you about the history and spiritual role of the tea ceremony and the effects each tea-making method has on its flavor. Afterwards, savor some traditional Japanese sweets Once the ceremony has come to a close, you will have the chance to take photos and see examples of kimonos and beautiful woven textiles made in the Nishijin district of Kyoto. If you'd like to wear a kimono during the experience, you can select it as an add-on during booking and take photos to remember the experience.

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From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

6. 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.

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Kyoto: Kiyomizu Temple, Imperial Palace & Arashiyama Forest

7. Kyoto: Kiyomizu Temple, Imperial Palace & Arashiyama Forest

First stop will be the Kiyomizu Temple. Early in the morning before the crowds arrive, explore the temple's impressive architecture and take photos from Kyoto's most famous viewpoint  called 'the stage of Kiyomizu'. Next, walk down to the Otowa Waterfall and pray for your fortune. Your driver-guide will tell you about its history and the proper manner to drink the water. Then make a quick photo stop at the massive torii gate of the Heian Shrine.  Next stop is the massive Kyoto Imperial Palace, located in central Kyoto. Inside the palace, hear about the many different buildings and what role each one played. Explore the beautiful and tranquil Japanese garden.  You can then make a quick lunch stop at a local shopping mall, where you can choose from a variety of options. Experiencing real local life in this shopping mall, where there are few tourists. After lunch, visit Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, one of the most famous temples in Japan. Your driver-guide will take photos of you with the Golden Pavilion behind you, and explain about the different customs of the temple.  Finally head to Arashiyama in the western area of Kyoto city. This area is famous for its beautiful bamboo forest. Walk through the forest slowly to fully enjoy the serene atmosphere it has to offer. Walk past the Imamiya shrine and back up to Okochi Sanso.  After enjoying the time in the bamboo forest, walk back to the bus to head back to central Kyoto. If you wish to stay longer in the Arashiyama area to visit other places such as Monkey Park, the Tenryuji Temple or the Okochi Sanso garden, you can say goodbye to your group here. Your driver-guide will tell you how to get back to central Kyoto.

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Kyoto: Private Car Hire with Professional Driver

8. Kyoto: Private Car Hire with Professional Driver

Hire a private car and driver to enjoy stress-free sightseeing in Kyoto. If you choose the full-day option, you will be able to visit 3 or 4 major sites, assuming you spend around 1-1.5 hours in each place and stop for lunch along the way.  The most popular places to visit in Kyoto are the Golden temple, Arashimaya Bamboo Forest, Nijo Castle, Kiyomizu Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Imperial Palace, Ryoanji, and the Nishiki Market.  After completing your booking, let the local partner know where you would live to visit to confirm your chosen itinerary. If you want a more local experience, you might like to add a stop at a local mall or supermarket. Here, you will be able to see what the locals like to buy and eat. Using a chauffeur service in Kyoto will make your trip more efficient and enjoyable, no matter what the season. In spring and autumn, which are the peak seasons for tourism, you will be able to avoid long waiting times for public transportation. And in summer or winter, you can avoid the extreme hot or cold weather.

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Kyoto: 3-Hour Cycling Tour

9. Kyoto: 3-Hour Cycling Tour

Kyoto is a city that is best explored by bicycle. Your guides have carefully curated a selection of tours that focus on showing you the beautiful contours of this ancient capital. More than just visiting the busy tourist sites, these journeys are crafted on leisure, scenery, and culture, while uncovering some of the best-kept secrets in Kyoto. You begin with stops at World Heritage temples and shrines, and gradually make your way along cozy backstreets to quieter, more intimate Zen garden settings. You will be taken to places rarely seen by the average Kyoto dweller, tranquil environments carefully hidden from the hustle and bustle of the urban landscape. Treat yourself to a new and unique understanding of Kyoto, put down the guidebook, and allow us to give you a truly unforgettable experience. 

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Kyoto: 3.5-Hour UNESCO Historical Walking Tour

10. Kyoto: 3.5-Hour UNESCO Historical Walking Tour

Start your tour at 9.00 AM in front of Uzumasa Tenjingawa Station. Meet your informative guide who will take you through the famous temples of Kyoto and will explain more about Japanese culture and history. First, explore Ninna-ji temple and learn about its heritage and its connection to the Japanese emperor. Shake hands with a Kannon deity, and explore the various halls of the temple. Next, make your way to the Zen Buddhist Ryoan-ji temple. Wander through the famous beautiful stone gardens and learn about the role that religion has played in the development of Japanese culture Marvel at the magnificent Golden Pavilion of the Kinkaku-ji temple as your local guide takes you through the surrounding gardens. Discover the devout ancient art of Sutra copying known as Shakyo. After your tour, drink some Matcha Tea with local sweets, finishing up just before lunchtime.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kinkaku-ji

Want to discover all there is to do in Kinkaku-ji? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Kinkaku-ji

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 753 reviews

There is no way you can see everything in one day if that's what you're thinking! Plan ahead what you want to see so you're not disappointed. Also dress appropriately as only open seats are available.

We had an absolutely wonderful experience! Our guide, Yuka, was incredibly knowledgeable, flexible to our interests, and a great photographer. would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Kyoto.

The guide was extremely well versed in Japanese culture as well as sights and attractions. Japanese and English was fluent. 10 out of 10 would recommend this tour guide specifically Taibi.

The experience was excellent! it was amazing to experience some traditional Japanese culture, it was very tranquil, and the tea was delicious!

Kyoto’s not too huge or traffic jammed for the busses get to the stops quickly without any trouble and they’ve chosen really great places.