Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto

Badge of ExcellenceKyoto, Japan
Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle
Likely to Sell Out

From USD 118.55

Select Date and Travellers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 11 hours
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Discover the history and religions of ancient Japan during this full-day exploration of Kyoto and Nara. See Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kinkaku-ji and Nijo Castle, along with its Imperial Palace. Then drive from Kyoto to Nara to explore its own World Heritage Site, Todai-ji Temple (including Great Buddha Hall), plus Kasuga Shrine. You also visit Nara’s deer park and sample a Japanese and Western-style meal for lunch. Your Nara and Kyoto visit also includes a guide, vehicle transport, and all entrance fees.
  • Full-day sightseeing tour of the ancient sites of Kyoto and Nara
  • Visit Kyoto’s top cultural attractions: Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji, and Kyoto Imperial Palace
  • Travel to the city of Nara to see the Great Buddha of Todai-ji temple complex
  • Admire the 3,000 bronze lanterns in the Kasuga Shrine, and feed the wild deer in Nara Park

What's Included

  • Professional English guide
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Lunch (If you choose "With Lunch" option)
  • Gratuities
  • Entrance to Treasures Hall and Manyo Botanical Gardens at Kasuga Shrine
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

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

    Please meet at Kyoto Avanti B1F(Sunrise Tours desk) by 8:20am, the tour departs at 8:30am.

Start time

08:30 am

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

See the best that the historic cities of Kyoto and Nara have to offer during this full-day tour of the cities’ top temples and sights. It’s a great introduction to the culture and traditions of ancient Japan, along with some time at a nature park thrown in for good measure.

Begin your excursion in the morning. Exploration of the historic environs of Kyoto, the country’s former capital and one-time residence of the Japanese emperor between AD 794 and 1868. The city’s wealth of ancient history has earned a collection of its religious and political sites as the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

Stop by two of Kyoto’s most important highlights with your guide, starting with a stop at Nijo Castle, which was the home of the Tokugawa Shogun until the mid-1800s. This World Heritage-listed site, constructed in 1603, is renowned for the contrasts between its intricate interior and solemn exterior façade.

Head next to Kinkaku-ji, the city’s most popular religious site and what is considered by many to be one of the world’s most elaborate Japanese gardens. Check out the temple’s Golden Pavilion, a 3-story building sheathed in gold leaf and situated beside a picturesque pond, where you can take some great photos.

Move on next to Kyoto’s Imperial Palace, where you have a chance to see the Shishin-den, a key site for important state ceremonies, before wandering the palace’s beautiful grounds.

Pause your tour for an included lunch, then re-board your bus for the drive south to Nara, where you stop by two of the temples and shrines that form the city’s own UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Todai-ji, a religious complex known for housing one of the world’s largest statues of the Buddha (Great Buddha Hall) before continuing to the adjacent Nara Park.

Make your next stop of the day at Kasuga Shrine, renowned for the more than 3,000 lanterns lining its interior. Finish your excursion at Nara’s Deer Park, a famous section of Nara Park with free-roaming groups of deer. Feel free to hand-feed these tame creatures with the special food for sale on site. Depending on time and traffic, you may also visit a souvenir stand to pick up a memento or two before heading back to Kyoto.

Nijo Castle

50 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Kinkakuji Temple

45 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Kyoto Imperial Palace

40 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Todai-ji Temple

1 hour Admission Ticket Included

Kasuga Shrine

40 minutesAdmission Ticket Free


20 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • 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.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • 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.
  • Participants will walk from the parking lot to Todai-ji Temple (about 15 min one-way). Thank you for your understanding. Please inform us at the time of booking if any person in your group is using crutches or a wheelchair, or has a chronic illness that makes it difficult to walk for long distances.
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • At Kasuga Taisha Shrine, the tour does not include entrance to areas requiring admission.
  • Nara Nagomikan may be omitted from the itinerary if it is closed on the day of the tour, or as a result of traffic congestion. (Nara Nagomikan is NOT included in 2024 tour dates)
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • 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.
  • When "With Lunch" option is selected, a set menu meal will be served for lunch. For those who would like a vegetarian meal, please make sure to inform us at the time of reservation. If requests are not provided in advance, same-day changes cannot be accepted. Halal, gluten-free, and other meal requests are not available.
  • For those that don't require lunch, please make a booking for the 'No Lunch' plan. The 'No Lunch' plan provides customers with free time to eat on their own in the Kyoto Station area.
  • 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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Featured review
Really fun and beautiful tour of Kyoto and Nara. The temples selected for the tour were some of the most beautiful temples we’ve seen. Etsuko was a wonderful, informative, and kind tour guide—we really enjoyed learning from her!


383 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travellers.
Showing 1-10 of 383 reviews
Jane_B, Sept 2023
We booked a day tour which turned out to be a combination of two half day tours; the morning in Kyoto and the afternoon in Nara. That meant that we had to return to the pickup point at lunch time to collect the additional passengers and we had to listen to the same introductory talk and jokes for most of the bus journey to Nara. We would have much preferred to hear more information about Japanese culture, history and religions. Lunch was barely edible. Considering the cost of the tour and the availability of reasonably priced Japanese street food, it should have been very easy to provide an interesting and satisfying meal.
All the best!!!
Trev_T, Sept 2023
Great guide! Covered all the best places in Kyoto and Nara!!! The bus was comfortable and the A/C was welcome!
Vinita_B, Sept 2023
Enjoyed the 1 day tour to Kyoto and Nara. Apart from the hot and humid weather, the whole experience was great. Be prepared to walk a lot. The guide was very knowledgeable and funny.
The Golden Pavilion.and...
Kenneth_C, Sept 2023
The Golden Pavilion.and Temples are very impressive . Trip timing is perfect. Sufficient time to look around. Not rushing.
Ver well organized
Meltem_A, Aug 2023
We had a perfecy day with my daughter. Our gıide Jun was great, she so kind, helpful, informative and enthusiastic we really learned a lot, saw a lot in such a short time🙏 I booked this online bu chance on the last day and I feel so lucky. Thank you to all the team.
Temples, temples, temples…Wow!
James_A, Aug 2023
Our guide, Yoshi, was very knowledgeable and entertaining. The sites were amazing, especially the Todai-ji Temple.
Great Experience
Lawrence_W, Aug 2023
Miyuki provided great background on the history and reasoning why things are done a certain way giving great context. Had a rain down pour in us but did the best under that circumstance.
Tour guide Casey was...
Lee_C, July 2023
Tour guide Casey was excellent, engaging and made history come alive with his narration and information!
Great guide but dont recommend the tour.
natalya_m, July 2023
The best part about this tour was the guide, she was great and very helpful. However the morning trip was underwhelming in terms of sights and there is much better way to spend time in Kyoto. When I booked the trip the description stated that Nara was a 40 minute drive one way, however the guide informed us it was a 1.5 hour trip one way. Unfortunately I was not able to take the afternoon trip and wound up wasting my money. Lunch was awful.
Great tour
Son_B, July 2023
It was a great way to view a lot in a short amount of time. Everything was organized and host was knowledgeable and kind. Would do it again.
Great tour of Kyoto and Nara!
brenda_c, June 2023
Really fun and beautiful tour of Kyoto and Nara. The temples selected for the tour were some of the most beautiful temples we’ve seen. Etsuko was a wonderful, informative, and kind tour guide—we really enjoyed learning from her!
You HAVE to go to Nara
Thu_N, June 2023
Wow. This was our favorite day in Japan. Nothing beats the beauty of Nara. Our guide, June, was the best guide we had. Such high energy, kindness, and information. She always checked on everyone, and answered all of our questions. The deer were a huge hit. The bronze Buddha was everyone's favorite site. We will never forget this day.
Great tour! Nice tour...
Odile_P, June 2023
Great tour! Nice tour guide! Would add more instructions on the meeting point please (ex. down the stairs).
You should do this
Laurie_L, June 2023
Sachiko was a wonderful and informative guide. Sangwa san drove carefully and efficiently. I was amazed with his parking skills! We walked a lot but it was well worth it. Each place we visited was amazing. The dedication to craftsmanship and detail is apparent.
Amazing Kyoto and Nara trip
amargaryan, June 2023
Great experience! Nara was highlight of the trip! Enjoyed every stop. The guide , KC , was very knowledgeable, funny and helpful! Highly recommended!
Shannon_P, June 2023
This tour company is a scam! I had difficulty using the google maps app the morning of the tour and attempted to reach out via telephone and messenger. No one picked up or responded to me, until I requested a refund through viator. They still did not reply to me, but rather to viator, who were useless as well throughout this process. Now that I know more, even if I had reached the tour company, no one speaks English, so they could not have directed me anyway. This tour went on without me. I did not stop any part of their process, yet they refuse to provide a refund or even a credit towards another tour. I am out of 135 dollars and this tour company, nor Viator cares. Please do yourself a favor and DO NOT BOOK THIS TOUR!
Recommended if you don't have much time
CarlosVinicius_B, June 2023
Very intense trip. We don't have much time to visit each place because time is scarce, but we can enjoy. If you have only 1 day to visit Kyoto + Nara I strongly encourage to enjoy this trip. But if you have more free time, I recommend you visit Kyoto in a 1-2 day trip, and Nara in a 1-day trip.
Kyoto and Nara for those in a hurry!
Jill_M, May 2023
Great whistle-stop tour of a few of Kyoto main sights in the morning with an instructive and well informed guide. The afternoon is also sold separately as a halfday tour so you will get the same patter from your guide in both sessions. The Nara visits felt a little rushed, and perhaps unnecessarily so as we returned to Kyoto much earlier than expected. There's plenty of time to have/buy lunch in the Kyoto station area. The included lunch was nothing special.
Jun was the best tour...
Bella_P, May 2023
Jun was the best tour guide ever! She had so much information to share at each place we went! The sights were beautiful, a great day tour!
A tale of 2 cities
Jason_H, May 2023
Two amazing cities that offer completely different experiences that will not disappoint. Our guide was amazing, providing insightful details about the sites we visited and interesting cultural information. Book it in!

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