Spend a full day discovering the best sights Kyoto has to offer, including grand castles and sacred temples. These spectacular attractions make your time in Kyoto an unforgettable experience.
Proceed first to Nijo Castle, where you detect the notable contrast between its solemn exterior appearance and gorgeous interiors. Be sure to pass through its beautiful gardens, whose floral diversity displays vibrant colors.
Continue your journey with a stop at Kinkaku-ji—also called the Temple of the Golden Pavilion—a Buddhist Japanese temple with a famously exquisite Japanese-style garden. Founded in 1397, the top 2 levels of this elegant structure are adorned with intricate gold-leaf gilding that is sure to dazzle.
Travel next to the ancient Kyoto Imperial Palace, the home of the imperial family for over 1,000 years, which has been preserved since the time of Japan’s ancient dynasties. Break and enjoy a delicious buffet lunch.
At the Heian Shrine, immerse yourself in the history of age-old gates and buildings dedicated to the 1st and last emperor who reigned from Kyoto. Observe the craftsmanship of the interior and relax in the amazing garden, which takes up nearly half of the grounds.
Stop and view the Goddess of Mercy to see a collection of 1,001 statues of this important figure that date from the 13th century. Finally, walk down a charming old lane filled with local retailers that leads to Kiyomizu-dera—the Pure Water Temple—and enjoy spectacular views before heading back.