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Approximately 9 Hours
Your tour begins as you board your motorcoach for a narrated drive through Osaka. Once you're out of the city, you'll travel 100-120 minutes to Kyoto. Originally the seat of Japan's imperial court from 794 to 1868, Kyoto today remains the cultural capital of Japan. As you make your way through the countryside, you'll pass such notable landmarks as Toji Temple, which at 180 feet, is the tallest pagoda in Japan; and the Kyoto Tower, Kyoto's tallest modern structure.
Your first stop is Nijo Castle which was completed in 1626 as the Kyoto residence for Tokugawa Ieyasu, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle was built for his residence and not as a fortress. The Donjon of the Caslte was destroyed by fire. But the Ninomaru (Second inner Palace) remains. The Ninomaru Palace was built to impress visitors with the shogun's power and wealth. Built almost entirely out of cypress, the extravagant interiors are lavished with gold leaf and elaborate wood-carvings. For the shogun's protection, the builders constructed what's known as "nightingale" floors; if an intruder entered the corridors, the floors would squeak like birds. Some of the rooms in the castle also feature special doors and secret rooms where bodyguards would hide. The gorgeous carvings and screen paintings are most elaborate. In the large hall "Ohiroma" for the Shogun to greet warriors and visitors in superb and colorful. You will also have a chance to visit Japanese garden which is considered a Shoin-zukuri style garden, representing the world of Chinese mythological immortals.
Your next destination is a photo stop at the Kinkaku-Ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Special Historic Site, the Pavilion is one of the most popular attractions in Japan. Built in 1397 as a shogun's retirement villa and converted to a Zen temple upon his death, it sits in the center of a magnificent garden with a wooden pavilion that extends over a reflecting pond. But the most notable feature is its glimmering exterior - gold leaf gilds the upper two stories.
Next, enjoy a lunch at a local hotel.
After lunch, your tour concludes with a drive along the same scenic route back to your ship.
The drive between Kobe and Kyoto is approximately 100 minutes each way. Traffic delays are possible. Photography and video are not permitted inside Nijo Castle (Ninomaru Palace). Shoes must be removed to enter Nijo Castle (Ninomaru Palace). There are around 40 minutes walking at Kinkaku-ji Temple. 30 steps are required to negotiate to get through the path in the Kinkakuji Temple. This tour is not recommended for passengers with walking difficulties. Japanese Yen is required for additional purchases