Kyoto Morning Tour - Golden Pavilion and Kyoto Imperial Palace from Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto Morning Tour Kyoto Imperial Palace Golden Pavilion Nijo Castle

From USD 56.30

Select Date and Travellers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Marvel at the some of the top UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples and palaces of ancient Kyoto on this half-day tour. This quick introduction to the sights of Kyoto covers Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), and the Japanese Emperor’s former Imperial Palace—a perfect way to see the city if you’re short on time. Your guided morning Kyoto excursion includes entrance fees and transport between sites by vehicle.
  • Kyoto morning highlights tour: see three top attractions in a short time
  • Tour the UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle with a knowledgeable guide
  • Marvel at Japanese gardens and design at Kinkakuji Temple and Kyoto Imperial Palace
  • Travel between landmarks with ease in an air-conditioned vehicle

What's Included

  • Professional English-speaking guide
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Admission
  • Gratuities
  • Food and drinks
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

    Japan, 601-8003 Kyoto, Minami Ward, Higashikujō Nishisannōchō, 31 B1F AVANTI

    Please meet up by 8:20AM at: Kyoto Avanti B1F(Sunrise Tours desk)

Start time

08:30 am

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Admire the incredible historical legacy of Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, as you explore the city’s top castles, temples, palaces and gardens. It’s a great introduction to this ancient city for those that have limited time during their visit.

After meeting your guide, head out to your first stop of the day, to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nijo Castle. This one-time home of the Tokugawa Shogun, constructed in 1603, contains five connecting structures made of Cypress wood. The complex is renowned for its elegant design and striking interiors, including the gold leaf-covered living quarters and the home’s extensive kitchen, guardhouse, and multiple gardens.

Head next to the glorious Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), the most popular temple in all of Kyoto. Spend time admiring the intricate architecture and serene Japanese gardens, along with the site’s namesake structure, the celebrated Golden Pavilion. Proceed on to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, once the residence of the Japanese Emperor before the national capital was relocated to Tokyo in 1868. View the former site of the imperial enthronement ceremonies and observe the elegant simplicity of the building’s interior design and architecture. When the tour concludes, you are dropped off at Kyoto Station.

Nijo Castle

50 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Kinkakuji Temple

45 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Kyoto Imperial Palace

40 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • At reception, please show your reservation confirmation sheet, a printout of the reservation confirmation e-mail, or show the e-mail on your mobile device screen to staff.
  • If the minimum number of participants (1) is not met by 4 days before the scheduled date, the tour on that date may be canceled.
  • The Kyoto Imperial Palace is closed to visitors on Mondays, Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday, and whenever there is an Imperial Household event. As such, the tour will visit Kitano Tenmangu Shrine instead. If the closed day falls on the 25th, the tour will visit Nishi Hongan-ji Temple.
  • Nijo Castle is closed on Tuesdays in January, July, August, and December. (Closed on the following day if Tuesday is a holiday.) If closed, Ryoan-ji Temple will be visited instead.
  • Near public transportation
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • After sightseeing at Kyoto Imperial Palace, the bus will stop by the lunch venue for the 1-day tour. After that, participants will be dropped off at Kyoto Station.
  • The order of activities and arrival times may differ depending on road conditions and congestion at destinations. Seats may not be designated.
  • Depending on the number of tour participants, transportation to be used may be other than a large bus (mid-size bus, small bus), a hired car (van, minivan - MK Co., Ltd. or Yasaka Group), or a taxi.
  • This tour promotes Environment(Eco)-friendly efforts and Cross-cultural Understanding as stated under Sunrise Tours' Sustainable Development Goals. We advocate for responsible travel, and urge one and all to become responsible travelers.
  • This is a carbon offset product where a portion of the tour booking charge is spent on renewable energy. By converting some CO2 emissions during the tour to green energy, it's possible to contribute to activities protecting the planet's future.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 44 travellers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.

Traveller Photos

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Traveller Tips

When at the site, other tour was along side of ours and listening was difficult.
We were doing a day trip to Kyoto from Osaka and this half day tour was the most perfect way to see the most sights while still reserving time to explore the city on your own.


189 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travellers.
Showing 1-10 of 189 reviews
Super Day
Walburg_R, July 2023
Great day with 3 historic stops. Transport very comfortable. Casey our guide was excellent (welcoming, energic, fun while providing lots of information) he kept the group entertained with his stories. Keep up the great work.
Misleading Advertising - beware
Alexander_A, June 2023
The reason I've booked the tour as it is offering a tour of Kyoto Imperial Palace. There was no Palace tour - total ripoff and misleading advertising. Need my money back.
Kyoto a must do tour.....
James_M, Apr 2023
Casey (KC) the tour guide was EXCELLENT....he was funny, full of details, polite and very knowledgeable about each place, the area and the history ....and the management of Sunrise Tour group was excellent too.....on time, well organized.......and offered a very nice was GREAT in all respects.....
Check Where You Are Actually Going
Faye_H, Apr 2023
I found it to be so poorly organised as I booked this excursion with my main aim of visiting the Imperial Palace. I was not notified that we could not view the Palace. When we got on the bus we were taken to the castle which I had seen the day before so a complete waste of time and money
Chipper to get taxi and spend more time in places
Marina_P, Mar 2023
Very crowded. We can hardly hear the guide speak. But bus was comfortable. Was disappointed because the imperial palace was closed and we visited another shrine instead.
Enjoyable Tour
wilbyonclyde, Oct 2019
This was a well organised trip and gave us a good insight into Kyoto. Our guide spoke very good English and was very informative. We enjoyed visiting the various attractions although unfortunately we couldn’t visit the Imperial Palace as it was closed due to the Emperors Coronation in Tokyo. We recommend this tour.
Japan trip
Thomas_M, Aug 2019
Be careful if you have to cancel your tour with Viator. We planned our Japan trip and as usual we booked tours with Viator. We became ill and had to postpone our trip. We went into the Viator website on July 30, to cancel our tours. The system indicated that the tours were cancelled but the cancellation did not register. Viator insisted on billing us almost $800 for our Hiroshima tour. BE CAREFUL WHEN TRYONG TO CANCEL YPUR TOURS WITH VIATOR.
MMQuine, July 2019
I don’t know Japanese history but the guide was very fast, it was hard to comprehend everything. She was very nice, just too fast for me.
Kyoto tour
Nam_N, June 2019
The attractions we went to was nice, nothing spectacular. It was a very quick walk through and off we go to next site. Not enough time to really soak in the sites. The tour guide’s English was hard to understand. She tried to be funny, but laughed too much at her own jokes. She was hard to understand. When at the site, other tour was along side of ours and listening was difficult. You’re hearing the other group and your own group tour guide talking at the same time equally loud. Though the other tour guide English was much better and easier to understand. Our first time taking a tour and not likely to do it again.
Amazing tour and great guide
MOEZ_J, Apr 2019
This tour cover a lot of sights. The best tour of our trip. The guide made all the difference. Very knowledgeable.
Great way to see some beautiful parts of Kyoto!
Cassie R, Mar 2019
Enjoyed the tour very much. My feet were sore from walking in other tours, and I was grateful that this one took us from place to place on a bus.
Awesome 1/2 Day Tour!
celinejaro, Mar 2019
We were doing a day trip to Kyoto from Osaka and this half day tour was the most perfect way to see the most sights while still reserving time to explore the city on your own. Jessie was our tour guide and she was fantastic and very sweet! We were traveling with a 3 year old and a 7 year old and the pace of the tour was perfect for us - not too much time spent in each place. The only improvement I can suggest is to have earpieces so that the entire group can hear what the tour guide is saying through her microphone. It was very hard to hear her especially if your lagging behind!
Really practical way to get to the...
Petros_M, July 2018
Really practical way to get to the must-see Kyoto sites.
The tour guide was very friendly and...
Bhushan_D, June 2018
The tour guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. The nijo castle and golden pavilion was amazing. The guide knew it from inside out. However the Imperial palace was closed and we were told about it on the last day. I would have expected Viator to be proactive and tell us about the closure. We could have changed our plan to adjust the closure. We were taken to a less known shrine which was no comparison to the Imperial palace. Lastly about the drop off, the tour says hotel drop off, however on that day we were told that drop off is not included. We were a family consisting of kids and senior citizens and it was highly inconvenient to arrange transport at the last moment.
Anna B, Apr 2018
WHEELCHAIR USER BE AWARE THAT THIS TOUR IS NOT FULLY ACCESSIBLE Golden Pavilion is accessible to a certain area good viewing opportunities too, but only to a certain area. Then you need to go back the way you came in to get out. Imperial Palace is flat but thick gravel everywhere difficult for wheelchair users I actually got thicker tyres on my Manuel wheelchair before my trip. A great idea. Nijo Castle if fully accessible but outside areas very gravelly. The really need a concret path
It was OK, got to see a few key...
Pete_A, Apr 2018
It was OK, got to see a few key sites. Tour guide was nice. No lunch like promised, but perhaps I misunderstood.
Beautiful city and sights. Guide was...
Rafael_O, Mar 2018
Beautiful city and sights. Guide was difficult to understand. That seems to be with every guide I had with the tour company. They are very nice, but unforuntately EXTREMELY difficult to understand.
Great tour for those short on time...
Janelle, Dec 2017
Great tour for those short on time in Kyoto. The Golden Pavilion and Nijo Castle were the highlights. Highly recommended.
Guides could have given us more...
Carissa M, Dec 2017
Guides could have given us more information about the various locations
Knowledgeable tour guides, good amount...
Nicholas_D, Nov 2017
Knowledgeable tour guides, good amount of time at each place.

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Kyoto Morning Tour - Golden Pavilion and Kyoto Imperial Palace from Kyoto


4 hours 30 minutes
Free Cancellation
USD 56.30

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