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Kyoto & Nara

Kyoto served as Japan's capital and the emperor's residence, now its your turn to experience...

Kyoto served as Japans capital and the emperors residence from 794 until 1868. It is now the countrys seventh largest city with a population of 1.4 million people and a modern face while still continuing to cherish their traditions. 
Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and spared from air raids during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today and without a doubt Kyoto is Japan’s Cultural Capital. With 17 Unesco World Heritage registered Temples, Shrines and gardens in Kyoto, you may think that Kyoto has the most Temples and shrines in Japan. However, even with over 3000 Temples and Shrines, it still only has the second most, but without a doubt Kyoto is the main attraction for Overseas Visitors while in Japan.  Kyoto is not just about Temples and traditional, but is a place that brilliantly merges tradition with modern trends and architecture.  Kyoto also offers many hand-on-experiences and if you want to get a little active, of course this is possible with hiking, rafting and even monkey parks to visit.    


 

Japans first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara. As the influence and political ambitions of the citys powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784.
Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest and largest temples and Buddhist Statues. The Deer park in Nara is also very popular with adults and children alike. Not only the central area of Nara, but if you want to be a little more adventurous, you can head further inland and reach the very rural but relaxing Yoshino area of Nara. This is a great area to come, especially if you are wanting to get away from the crowds and into nature. A popular area for the Sakura Cherry Blossom trees, but in other months you can relax with maybe not seeing any other Overseas Visitor.

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Scottie was the BEST! He kept in good contact with updates and planned our trip based on OUR needs and wants. We felt we got a great overview of Japan for our 2week trip and the Cherry Blossoms were off the charts! 10+++ As were our guides. Very good English and not your typical guide that repeats themselves over and over. That is very annoying as a tourist! The variety of all the cities and landscapes we saw. Seeing all the UNESCO sites and having my Temple book with all its stamps! only have 3 empty pages. Kanazawa - The Park was exquisite! Love the chi & feel of this city! The hotel was fabulous and we had 2 of the best meals based on their recommendations. Kyoto - having a driver for all the temples was the best! And then Scottie taking us out for the whole day to sip Whisky & Sake plus takes us to the secret temple not in any guide books was very special! (Personal remarks) 4 star hotels are not the same in the US. We would have only stayed at 4.5 and above. for the Wide view train – seats 1 are least desirable – farther back is better. Honjin Hiranoya has a free shuttle - found that out when we asked for a taxi - not sure if they will pick up guests arriving & the walk with luggage takes more like 15 minutes – TI next to station with map was very helpful. In Hakone we had no guide and communication was difficult as we wanted a driver to take us to see the temple, the lake & then to Odawara. It didn't happen but we did see Mt Fuji from the train..better than nothing. Ryokans - I thought we would be staying at a place more like a B & B than a hotel. Not as charming as I had envisioned. The one in Takayama really did a better job of creating more hominess and explaining how it all works. Osaka Hotel was in the train station which would have been helpful to know on our itinerary. Slight mix up as guide was on the platform and we assumed she would be on the other side of the exit gate. My personal thoughts - the trip should get better as it goes along and Kyoto was the main reason we even went. That hotel was only 4 star because they put a toothbrush & some cheesy amenities in the bathroom. The room was small with cheap furniture. it was disappointing after the Kanazawa experience.... READ MORE

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"A Kyoto, Mid-City lunch for that special occasion."

Scott Kent Osaka

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