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    Enjoy the sights of Kyoto on a sightseeing tour to Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Kyoto Handicraft Center. You’ll learn about Kyoto’s rich history and culture from your guide as you take in some of the city’s favorite landmarks, then get a hands-on experience of traditional Japanese crafts during a workshop with a professional craftsman at Kyoto Handicraft Center. Your tour includes an expert guide, lunch, transportation, and hotel pickup at selected hotels in central Kyoto.After morning pickup from selected hotels, travel by comfortable coach to your first stop, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nijo Castle. As you make your way there, your guide shares informative commentary about Kyoto’s history and significance to the nation.

    Nijo Castle was constructed in 1603 for the Tokugawa shogun. Note the contrast between the castle’s solemn exterior—with massive gate, stone walls and moat—and brightly decorated interiors that shimmer with gold leaf. Hear about the squeaky ‘nightingale’ floors, designed to make noise that warned residents of intruders.

    Continue to the second World Heritage site on your tour, Kinkaku-ji Temple, the most popular temple in Kyoto. Learn from your guide about the history of the temple as you view its exquisite Japanese gardens and breathtaking Golden Pavilion.

    Next up, head to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, where the imperial family lived from 794 until 1869 when the capital moved to Tokyo. As you hear about its fascinating history, your guide shows you around the stunning palace, including the Shishinden, considered one of the most important buildings on the grounds. Imperial coronations and other royal ceremonies have taken place in the Shishinden.

    Take a break from sightseeing for a delicious Japanese-style lunch, then travel by coach to the Kyoto Handicraft Center.

    At the Handicraft Center, experience the Japanese arts firsthand during a workshop on traditional crafts. Choose to make either a woodblock print or cloisonné pendant with a staff artist who teaches you about the craft and provides the necessary materials. Afterward, take your artwork home with you as a souvenir of your time in Kyoto.

    Your tour ends after the craft-making workshop. You may want to browse in the Handicraft Center’s excellent gift shop before making your own way back to your hotel.

    Temple Closures:

    • Nijo Castle, will be closed every Tuesday in January, July, August and December. Instead you’ll visit Ryoan-ji Temple, famed for its zen gardens and temple.
    • Kyoto Imperial Palace is closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Instead you’ll visit Kitano-tenmangu Shrine, one of Japan’s most important shrines honoring the Shinto god of education and scholarship.
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