Temple of the Golden Pavillion, Japan
Temple of the Golden Pavillion, Japan

Lite Tours

NEW for 2019 'Lite'

Japan ‘Lite’: Power and Spirituality in Nara and Kyoto


8 days From $0

April 6 2019

This Japan tour is one of our NEW 'Lite' Tours

This tour provides the perfect extension to our Japan: Temples Treasures and Traditions tour but can also be enjoyed as a standalone trip itself. Accompanied by an experienced local guide, explore the many cultural and archaeological delights that Nara and Kyoto have to offer, from awe-inspiring world wonders and UNESCO sites to serene shrines and zen gardens.

What's included?

  •  Local Guide / Tour Manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  Local Transport & private transfer to/from airport and group hotel
  •  Entries & Tips
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Call for availability $6,200

Deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $1,200

Tour highlights:

  • Admire some of Japan’s most impressive sights, such as the world’s largest Bronze Daibutsu (Buddha) and the famed Golden Pavillion
  • Visit Japan's first permanent capital, vibrant Nara, which houses some of Japan's oldest and largest temples and boasts eight UNESCO heritage sites
  • Stroll through Nara Park, amongst deer considered to be messengers of the gods, that are now tame due to centuries of human interaction
  • Explore the cultural delights of Kyoto, often considered the spiritual heart of Japan
  • Find serenity and zen amongst Buddhist Shrines, Japanese gardens and Bamboo Forest

Tour details

Dates April 6 2019 - April 13 2019
Duration 8 days
Cost $6,200 Deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $1,200 Balance due by January 12 2019
Activity Level Moderate
Tour code A19JAX

Call for availability

April 6 2019: Itinerary

Before departing Osaka for the culturally vibrant city of Nara, our morning takes us to Osaka Castle, one of Japan's most famous landmarks that played a major role in the unification of Japan during the 16th century. After lunch, we travel to Nara and, upon arrival, enjoy a walking tour of the Naramaci district. Many of the buildings here date to the Edo Period (or earlier) and are known as ‘machiya’ - long, narrow "townhouses" that served both as both shops and as the living quarters of the local merchants. The store-fronts of machiya were often kept narrow in order to save on taxes which used to be calculated on a property's street access rather than its total area.

All meals included

Hotel: Nara Hotel, Nara

We start the morning with a visit to the delightful Nara park, containing ancient shrines and over 1,2000 sika deer. In Shinto, deer are considered to be messengers of the gods and some of these savvy deer have learned to bow to visitors in order to solicit food. We visit Todai-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha (Daibutsu), and Kasuga-taisha Shrine, most famous for its myriad of both stone and bronze lanterns. We end the day with a visit to Manyo Botanical Garden containing over 300 species of plants as mentioned in the Man'yōshū - the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Nara Hotel, Nara

Our first stop today is the Nara National museum with its collection of various items of Buddhist art. The building itself is representative of a Western-style building of the Meiji period. We spend the remainder of the day touring Nara’s powerful and influential Buddhist temples- Kōfuku-ji, Tōshōdai-ji, Yakushi-ji, Hōryū-ji- as well as the administrative center of the Nara Period, Hajo Palace. We will admire sights including the oldest wooden structure in the world, some of the oldest statues of Buddha, and surroundings of serene nature.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Nara Hotel, Nara

Today, we travel to Kyoto. Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto is famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines, and traditional wooden houses. On route to Kyoto, we visit Mozu-Fururichi, a cluster of ancient tumuli. From the late 3rd century to the end of the 6th century, more than 200,000 tumuli (kofun) were built throughout the Japanese archipelago from the southern part of the Tôhoku region on the main island of Honshû to the southern part of the island of Kyûshû. These kofun were burial mounds for members of the ruling elite, possessing powerful political significance as monumental structures. On arrival to Kyoto, the afternoon is yours for independent exploration and leisure. You may want to discover some of Kyoto’s cultural delights, such tea ceremonies or local delicacies, or, perhaps, you may want to rest before touring continues tomorrow.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande, Kyoto

Today begins with a visit to Nijo-jo Castle where we will spend time discovering its history and the power that the Shoguns (military warlords) wielded over Japan for much of its history. Before it was donated to the city, the castle was used as an imperial palace and its architecture is one of the best surviving examples of Japan’s feudal era. Next, we visit the elegant Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) and the Chion-in Temple. The Silver Pavilion features a meditative sand garden and it is set among transcendental landscapes. Before entering Chion-in, take a moment to admire the mind-bogglingly complex craftsmanship that went into the construction of the giant san-mon gate. We then head South to Fushimi Inari Shrine, which sits at the base of a mountain and features paths with hundreds of traditional gates trailing up the hillside.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande, Kyoto

Today takes us to Tenryuiji Temple, the headline attraction in Arashiyama. This Zen temple features one of the finest gardens in Kyoto and boasts wonderful mountain views. Next, we admire the Bamboo forest, also known as Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, as it is one of the most photographed sights in the city. No picture can capture the feeling of standing among the sprawling bamboo, with the palpable sense of otherness that is unlike that of any normal forest we know of. Our day ends with a visit to the famed “Golden Pavilion,” arguably Kyoto’s most iconic sight, rising above its reflecting pond like an apparition.

All meals included

Hotel: Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande, Kyoto

We visit the Kyoto National Museum this morning where we pore over archaeological artifacts, artworks, and special collections that all reflect Japan’s rich culture and history. Next, we tour the Sanjusangen-do temple, which is revered for its 1001 golden statues of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. We also visit the Urasenke Tea Foundation Museum and Costume Museum before heading to our last stop of the day, the Kyoto Imperial Palace. This palace was the residence of Japan's Imperial Family until 1868, when the emperor and the capital were moved to Tokyo. Later tonight, we drive for approximately an hour to Osako where we will come together for our final dinner as a group and say our farewells.

All meals included

Hotel: Hyatt Regency Osaka

Today we depart Osako for home or our onward travels.

Meals include: Breakfast

April 6 2019: Additional Info

April 6 2019: Accommodation

The century old Nara Hotel features classic Japanese architecture and elegant rooms with free wired internet. Located on Nara Park’s beautiful hills, it overlooks the ancient capital’s historic sites.

The cosy rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and warm colours. They come with an LCD TV with satellite channels, a minibar and a bathrobe.

From Nara Hotel, the center of Nara Park is a 10-minute walk, Isuien Garden is a 15-minute walk and Todai-ji Temple is a 20-minute walk. Nara Station is a 10-minute bus ride away and connects to Kyoto in 45 minutes, while Kansai Airport is a 100-minute bus ride.

Guests can explore the ancient city with Hotel Nara’s rental bicycles. They can relax with a massage or browse in the hotel’s gift shop.

French cuisine can be enjoyed in a mixture of classic Japanese and French décor at dining room Mikasa, while Restaurant Hanagiku serves seasonal Japanese dishes. Guests with a dinner-inclusive plan can choose either French or Japanese dinner. Freshly baked pastry and park views are offered at the Tea Lounge. 

Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto is located just a 5-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station. The hotel is an 18-minute walk from Tofuku-ji Temple and 1.4 miles from Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This 4-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk. The property is 1.9 miles from Kyoto International Manga Museum.

At the hotel, the rooms have a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto provides some rooms with garden views, and every room comes with a coffee machine. All rooms will provide guests with a fridge.

A buffet breakfast can be enjoyed at the property. There is an in-house restaurant, which specializes in Italian cuisine.

This luxury 5* hotel is in a prime location right by the Port of Osaka and provides the optimal comfort and service expected of a Hyatt hotel.

April 6 2019: Enquiries

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