If you want to get under the skin of one of Japan’s most intriguing cities, consider a full-day tour of Kyoto. Formerly the country’s capital, Kyoto lies on the island of Honshu and is a head-spinning blend of ancient Buddhist temples, intricate shrines, elegant geisha, wooden teahouses and verdant bamboo gardens.
You’ll be guided around the city in an air-conditioned coach, with an English-speaking guide offering insider knowledge about the various sites that you visit. Gaze out over Kyoto’s impressive skyline from the lofty heights of Kiyomizu Temple, an awe-inspiring World Heritage Site and a true feat of engineering given that the main hall was constructed without the use of nails. Sanjusangendo Temple in Kyoto’s east is equally as impressive – prepare to be especially astounded by the 1001 life-sized statues that dwell inside.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of Kyoto’s most photogenic attractions thanks to over 5000 bright orange torii gates snaking the lush hills behind it, while the touristy district of Arashiyama is the perfect place for sampling local delicacies at lunch.
Spend the afternoon exploring Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – an other-worldly collection of towering emerald bamboo and one of the most-photographed attractions in all of Japan – and wander the landscaped gardens of Tenryuji Temple that remains as it was when first created centuries ago.