Monday, March 11, 2013

Kyoto Tour

The Kyoto Tour is a fully guided Level 2 walk suitable for anyone who is an occasional walker and can walk for more than one to two hours in comfort. Read more on tour levels below.
A two day (Two night's accommodation included only if booking the tour with accommodation. Please see below) city tour. Each tour day is fully guided and starts, depending on the day’s itinerary, at either 8:30 or 8:45 and finishes at 5 pm. The maximum group size for this tour is 12 ~13 persons.
Walk Japan's two day Kyoto Tour takes us through the city's rich history while exploring in depth some famous and some less well-known areas that were instrumental in making Kyoto the cultural capital of Japan. A fully guided, unique look into Japan's old capital, its history, arts, crafts and people.
Kyoto was originally known as Heian-kyo, the capital of peace and tranquility, and modelled on Chang-an, the great capital of the Chinese Tang empire. Kyoto remained the home of the imperial court for eleven centuries before it was removed to Tokyo in the late 19th Century. Over 1100 years as the imperial home, Kyoto justly became one of the great cities of the world. At times it experienced turbulence and violence but, and often at the same time, it was where some of the most distinct and exquisite arts and one of the greatest cultures of the world were cultivated. This was so to the extent that today to talk of the culture of Kyoto is often to talk of Japan’s as a whole. Our gently paced, walking tour unveils Kyoto’s importance at the heart of Japanese culture and history in typical Walk Japan style, inimitable and fascinating.

2000 temples and shrines, 17 of which are listed by UNESCO as world heritage sites, together with many gardens and other sites of interest make for an overwhelming number of places to visit in Kyoto. Of these, Walk Japan’s Kyoto Tour visits some of the famous and not-so-famous to provide a coherent and fascinating experience for an understanding of how the city came to nurture such arts as Noh Theatre and chado, the Way of Tea. We learn of the colourful historical personalities such as the Ashikaga Shoguns Yoshimitsu and Yoshimasa, the Tea master Sen-no-Rikyu, Haiku poet Basho and great samurai warriors, Kiyomori and Nobunaga.
We will learn how much of the beauty that resides in Kyoto and Japanese culture developed in spite of internecine warfare, treachery and murder, combined sometimes with Nero-like indifference to the surrounding mayhem by its rulers. We will also enjoy a hands-on experience of chado, also known as the Tea Ceremony, in the company of a expert tea master that penetrates to the heart of this often misunderstood art.
Day 1 of Walk Japan’s Kyoto tour has a focus on tea and the refined culture, which imbues much of all Japanese culture and customs to this day, that developed around it. We will learn how chado developed through Kyoto’s pivotal Higashiyama Culture and reached its apogee with the great master Sen-no-Rikyu. The day culminates when we make a cup of tea for each other, in the chado style.
On Day 2 we ‘stroll’ through Kyoto’s Kitayama culture, which was centred on what is possibly the most recognisable icon of Japan, the Golden Pavilion at Rokuon-ji temple. Here the arts of Noh Theatre, Kyogen – a comical theatre, andsuiboku ink and wash painting developed and flourished. A distinct contrast follows as we visit the subtle Ryoan-ji temple, which is synonymous with its mysterious rock garden that is justly considered the example, bar none, of its type. We then travel to Arashiyama on the western-edge of the city. Here we go a little off the beaten path for a stroll through a park and elegant bamboo groves, an enduring image of Kyoto, to some of Kyoto’s lesser known attractions including Rakushi-sha, where the itinerant haiku poet Basho once stayed, and a small but exquisite temple set in a moss garden.
Walk Japan’s Kyoto Tour consists of a two day itinerary. However, it is possible to join the tour for one day only. On both days we meet at the day's starting point as indicated in the itinerary. Walk Japan provides detailed instructions on how to get to the start point. Please note that Kyoto’s transport system is very comprehensive and easy to use. Taxis, in particular, are reasonably priced and the drivers honest and, most often, very helpful.
Each day ends at 5 pm in central Kyoto. The Walk Japan tour leader will help arrange onward travel to your accommodation or other desired location. Please note, that after 5 pm on Day 1 the tour leader will also be available to introduce some of the myriad and excellent local restaurants, which are often less accessible for travellers from overeas.
Price: JPY59,000 (JPY= Japanese Yen) per person with two nights' accommodation, single person supplement JPY5,800; JPY35,000 per person without accommodation, single person supplement not applicable. Please use the currency converter on the right-hand side of this page to find the current rate in your local currency.
For customers joining our Nakasendo WayWinter Nakasendo Way and Summer Nakasendo Way tours we offer the Kyoto Tour at the special prices of: JPY47,000 per person  with two nights' accommodation , single person supplement JPY5,800;  Or, tour without accommodation JPY26,000  per person, single person supplement not applicable. Please use the currency converter on the right-hand side of this page to find the current rate in your local currency.
For customers joining the Nakasendo Way tour
Please note that the two nights' accommodation included with the Kyoto Tour is on the night prior to the start of the tour and the night on Day 1 of the tour. Accommodation on Day 2 of the Kyoto Tour is not included because it is included in the Nakasendo Way tour. The Kyoto Tour finishes at 5pm on Day 2 and the Nakasendo Way starts at 6pm the same day.
For customers joining our Winter and Summer Nakasendo Way tours
As for the Kyoto Tours prior to the Nakasendo Way (see above), the included two nights' accommodation is only for the night prior to the start of the Kyoto Tour and the night on Day 1 of the Kyoto Tour. As the night of Day 2 of the Kyoto tour is not included in either the Kyoto Tour nor the Winter or Summer Nakasendo Way tours, please let us know if you would like us to book accommodation for you at the tour hotel in either Kyoto or at a hotel near Nagoya Station, where both the Winter and Summer Nakasendo Way tours start.
For customers not joining a Nakasendo Way tour including the Winter and Summer versions.
Please advise us if you require additional accommodation for Day 2 of the Kyoto Tour.
What is included and not included? A fully guided tour including local travel from tour meeting point to finishing point as noted in the itinerary. Entrance fees and 1 lunch are also included. For tours with accommodation both breakfast and accommodation for 2 nights are also included. Dinner and drinks are not included. For tours without accommodation all breakfast and all eveniing meals, 1 lunch, drinks and accommodation are not included.
Group size: The maximum group size is 12~13 people. We have no minimum size. If we accept a booking we guarantee to run the tour.
Please see the Itinerary for this tour and Tour dates for dates and availability. To coincide with the Nakasendo Way these tours start on a Tuesday and finish on a Wednesday (early March to mid-June; and early September to mid-November); to coincide with the Winter Nakasendo Way these tours usually start on a Tuesday and finish on a Wednesday; and to coincide with the Summer Nakasendo Way usually start on a Thursday and finish on a Friday.


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