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Kyoto tours and excursions

Kyoto tours

Taxi Tours

Several taxi companies offer private sightseeing tours that can be tailored to interests and time constraints. The company Kyoto MK suggests day long, chauffeur-guided outings that take in temples and mountain scenery and provides English-speaking guides.

Tel: +81 75 778 4145
Website: http://www.mktaxi-japan.com

Bus tours

Kyoto Sky Bus is a hop-on-hop-off bus service that takes sightseers to different areas of the city. Stops include Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Nijo-jo Castle, as well as the Gion geisha district. GPS-based voice guidance in English is available.

Tel: +81 75 744 0973
Website: https://skyhopbus.com/kyoto/en/

Kyoto excursions

Osaka

Step aboard a futuristic Shinkansen (high-speed train), and in the space of half an hour, Kyoto’s history-drenched streets can be exchanged for the ultramodern skyscrapers of Osaka. This neon-lit port city is famous for its dining scene, with hundreds of restaurants cramming streets around the Dōtonbori Bridge. Vibrant nightlife and some interesting sights, including the impressive Osaka Castle, add to the city’s appeal.

Website: http://www.osaka-info.jp/en

Nara

Less than an hour south of Kyoto is the ancient city of Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan and one that remains adorned in cultural riches. Day-trippers should head straight for Todaiji Temple, one of the city’s three UNESCO sites and home to a bronze Buddha of epic proportions. Those staying longer can visit the celebrated Kasuga Shrine and Kofuku-ji Temple, full of treasured Buddhist artefacts.

Website: http://www.narashikanko.or.jp

Takahama

Japan is the first Asian country to obtain the Blue Flag award for its beaches, one of which is Wakasa Wada Beach in Takahama town, just a short two-hour train ride away from Kyoto. The surrounding translucent waters are best explored on a kayak or a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP).

Website: http://www.wakasa-takahama.jp
A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Hyatt Regency Kyoto

A leader for luxury in Kyoto, the Hyatt Regency is superbly located next to the Sanjūsangen-dō Temple, with the Kyoto National Museum across the road and the Gion district within walking distance. The 178 rooms and suites are tastefully decorated with natural tones and traditional Kyoto fabrics. There are various in-house restaurants and bars, a Japanese garden, a relaxing spa and yoga studio.

Hiiragiya Ryokan

The Hiiragiya is one of the most exclusive ryokans in Kyoto. Since the mid-19th century it has hosted the rich and famous in its exquisitely decorated rooms. There are two wings – the oldest is full of traditional aesthetic charm and the more modern (completed in 2006) is a compliment of modern Japanese design. The service is impeccable and truly an experience in itself.

Shunkoin Temple Guest House

For a sacred night's sleep, Shunkion is located within the Myoshin-ji temple complex in the northwest of the city. Its eight simple and serene rooms are decked out with tatami mats and offer shared kitchen facilities; some have en suite bathrooms. The real draw is that guests can enjoy morning meditation classes and strolls in the temple by night. There's also free bicycle rental on offer.

Hotel Mume Kyoto

Set in a sleek four-story building in Gion, this warm and welcoming boutique stay has seven rooms decorated around the nature-inspired concept of 'ka-cho-fu-getsu' (flower, butterfly, wind, moon). In Flower, guests gaze up at cherry blossom karakami ceiling panels, Butterfly is defined by sumptuous red antique furniture, Wind is bright and breezy and Moon plays on a lunar theme with monochrome tiling.

Hotel Granvia Kyoto

A well-designed hotel for both business and leisure, Hotel Granvia Kyoto is conveniently located in the JR Kyoto Station building. The hotel is spread across 15 floors with 545 tastefully decorated rooms, an indoor pool, sauna, and fitness room as well as 12 different restaurants and bars. Local artwork is on display in the lobby and guest rooms.

Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa

Snap up an early-bird discount for a great value stay at this large modern hotel found within walking distance of an array of historic landmarks restaurants and nightlife spots. Its 355 well-equipped rooms appeal to both business and leisure guests with high-speed Wi-Fi tea stations and comfortable beds. The restaurant has buffet-style lunch and dinner and a Western and Japanese breakfast spread.