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Travel in a comfortable, climate-controlled vehicle as a guide leads you around lovely Kyoto sights. Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital for over 1,000 years is loaded with extravagant Temples, legendary Shrines, and stunning Zen gardens. Firstly, journey to Arashiyama in western Kyoto, location of the famed Bamboo Grove. The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights with its soaring bamboo trees, making you feel as if you are in another world.
Next, venture off to the serene ambience of Kinkaku-ji Temple, an elegant ecclesiastical Golden structure, declared Kyoto’s most popular temple – also known as the “Golden Pavilion”.
Wander through the exquisitely beautiful Japanese gardens, gander at its ponds, then admire the celebrated Golden Temple. Off then to Nijo Castle, an aesthetically impressive structure that harbors a magnificent interior.
Explore the lavishly decorated Castle chambers and relish in the opulent tones as your guide offers tales of the building’s rich history, such as the nightingale wooden floor that makes a chirping noise when walked on, alerting its residents of possible intruders.
Drive north to Kamigamo Shrine, an important Shinto sanctuary on the banks of the Kamo River, first founded in 678. The Shrine grounds are impeccably kept, boasting spectacular outdoor temple-like free flowing wooden meditation structures. It is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan at which various deities are venerated.
Next, its over to Shimogamo Shrine, another important Shinto sanctuary in the Shimogamo district of Kyoto. As well as being a Unesco World Heritage Site, it is historically linked with Kamigamo shrine, as one in the group of the “Kamo Shrines” of Kyoto. The famous annual Aoi-Matsuri Festival (1 of Japan’s big 4 Festivals) has become famous due to the influence and creativity of the Shimogamo Shrine’s Priests, mentioned several times in the classic Heian-period Japanese epic, “Tales of Genji”.
After that, depart for Ginkakuji Temple, otherwise known as the Silver Pavillion. The temple construction represents the Higashiyama Culture of the Muromachi period with an elegant 2-storied Hall as its main structure. Ginkakuji Temple was originally built to serve as a place of rest and solitude for the Shogun who sat peacefully in the pavilion, contemplating the calm and beauty of the gardens even during a time of war when Kyoto was eventually burned to the ground, around the mid-1400’s. Continue the journey into Gion, central Kyoto where Geisha and Maiko can be seen walking along lovely cobblestone streets lined with weeping willow trees.
Here, take some breathtaking photos at Shimbashi and Hanaminokoji with unique views of traditional Machiya tea houses.
Finally, take pleasure in the sight of cultural wonders in southern Kyoto at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. One of Kyoto’s oldest shrines that was founded in 711 AD, it is the most revered of Shinto shrines. It serves as the headquarters for all the 40,000 shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan.
Fushimi Inari is most well known for its remarkable sight of 10,000 torii (shrine gates) that arch over a long path up the mountain behind the shrine. It takes about two hours to walk along the whole trail, and there are wonderful views of Kyoto from the top.
Marvel at panoramic vistas of cityscapes in comfort and enjoy a relaxing ride back to your accommodation.
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