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Nara Excursion

Like nearby Kyoto, Nara was once the Japanese capital and a source of enormous cultural and religious outpourings. Unlike its more celebrated neighbor, however, Nara has survived relatively untouched by modern advances and remains a relaxed town dotted with temples, shrines and parkland.

From the fifth and sixth centuries onward this region was Japan's cultural heartland, and successive rulers displayed their devotion to the recently introduced Buddhist faith by building splendid temples and commissioning grand works of art. Many of these remain today, including the most famous, Todai-ji Temple, home to the great bronze Buddha housed in Japan's largest wooden structure.

Also worthy of a visit are the Kofuku-ji and Horyu-ji temples nearby. The parkland at the eastern end of town boasts the greatest number of these temples and is a pleasant area to stroll at leisure.

Nara is also home to several tame deer roaming through the park area. You are able to buy food for them at various kiosks. The deer can be quite frisky and will try to nibble items of clothing, but are generally friendly.

Nara is only a short 45 minute train-ride from Kyoto, and makes for a pleasant day trip or overnight stay if time allows.

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Other experiences in Kyoto

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

  • Dinner with Maiko Performance
    A Maiko and a Geiko during the Geisha Night at the Gion Hatanaka

    Dinner with Maiko Performance

    Dinner with Maiko Performance

    Maiko are trainee Geisha (Geiko in Kyoto dialect) who train for six years before becoming fully fledged Geisha. They learn skills such as dance, singing, instrument playing as well as how to entertain guests with conversation.

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  • Geisha District Walk
    Romon Gate, Fushimi Inari, Kyoto

    Geisha District Walk

    Geisha District Walk

    Explore around the Gion district and other parts of Kyoto to help shed some light on the exclusive and mysterious world of the Geisha and other aspects of Japanese culture.

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  • Kyoto Cultural Experience
    Ikebana flower arrangement

    Kyoto Cultural Experience

    Kyoto Cultural Experience

    Take the opportunity to learn more about a traditional Japanese pastime of your choice. These courses are instigated and run by the Women's Association of Kyoto and you will visit the home of one of the members.

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  • Traditional Kyoto Cuisine Walking Tour
    A 'saka' or slope in Kyoto

    Traditional Kyoto Cuisine Walking Tour

    Traditional Kyoto Cuisine Walking Tour

    Enjoy a day of culinary delights with trips to Kyoto's Nishiki Market, Horino Sake Museum to learn all about sake production, and then a traditional machiya (teahouse) for a Japanese cooking class.

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Experience it for yourself

You can enjoy this activity as part of the suggested tours below, or we can weave it into a trip shaped entirely around you.