Kyoto Fushimi & Sake Brewery Excursion
Head by train or car to Fushimi, located in th suburbs of Kyoto, with a local guide. Fushimi is alive with historical charm. Visit the spectacular Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is renowned due to its 10,000 red Tori Gates that line a path up a winding trail to a mountaintop temple, and was featured in the noteworthy movie, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. All that walking will allow you to fully appreciate a visit to a traditional sake brewery. Learn about the finer points of crafting Japan’s national drink as you tour the brewery with an expert. Sample an entire selection of five types of sake! We highly recommend you eat before the sake tasting. If you wish, you can purchase your own sake at the brewery store so that you have a liquid memento of your Japan adventure!
(Half Day, Morning Afternoon Tour; Duration: 4 hrs; Both public transport & private transfer options; Travel Time: 15 minutes from Kyoto; Shared activity in group of max. 7 people. Sake tasting only permitted for those aged 20 years and above; Fitness Level: Moderate; Please wear comfortable shoes)
Highlights Of Kyoto
Revel in the traditional sights, smells and sounds of feudal Japan’s best preserved city, in the company of your local guide. Visit the many UNESCO World Heritage sites dotting Kyoto, beginning with the Kinkakuji Temple, originally built for the Shogun. At his request, the Shogun’s villa was converted into a Buddhist Temple after his death. Discover the magnificent 15th century Nijo Castle with its splendidly preserved medieval gardens from Japan’s Edo period. Admire the many details and typical architectural features of the old monument, before walking down to the bustling Nishiki Market. Eat your heart out at this food street, also known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, lined with innumerable restaurants and traditional eating houses! Try out typical local delicacies such as pickles, dried fish and sushi. Visit the famous Kiyomizu Temple which offers panoramic views of the city from its high veranda!
(Full Day; Private activity & transfers; Duration: 8 hrs. Please wear comfortable walking shoes).
Calligraphy Class At Local Master’s House
Learn the fascinating art of calligraphy with a local master. Discover the journey of the beautiful Kanji—or traditional Chinese script—from ancient China to Japan. Learn all about the three parallel Japanese scripts of Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana from your master who will gently guide you and explain the cultural significance of this artform, before you try your hand at this ancient art for yourself. Attempt a few tentative brush strokes under the master’s expert supervision, and learn the secrets of how to hold the calligraphy brush in the proper manner. Finally, find the confidence within to draw out bold lines, before you carry your best work back home!
(Duration: 1.5hrs; All materials provided; Some traditional houses have steep, narrow stairs)
Uji Tea Experience
Compact but captivating, Uji is famous for its high quality green tea. Located a short distance from Kyoto by train, take a half day tour of this historical city, which offers great sightseeing experiences. More importantly, you will love sipping delicious tea at the traditional tea ceremony conducted in Uji’s many teahouses. Of great cultural significance, some of the finest Japanese teas are produced in the city. With your guide as translator, discover the intricacies of kneading and drying tea leaves from local experts. Afterwards, stroll down Uji’s scenic streets to sample tea from local vendors. Ancient temples and marvelous gardens add to the charm of this picturesque destination. Enjoy a midday meal at one of several Japanese restaurants. You may wish to take back some exquisite green tea as a memento, before taking the train back to Kyoto!
(Half day; Group Activity of up to 5 people; Includes a 20 minute return train ride from Kyoto to Uji)
Dinner With A Geisha
Your host of this evening will be Peter Macintosh. Peter has lived in Kyoto almost 20 years, and is considered to be the foremost Western expert on geisha. He was married to an ex-geisha, studies Japanese arts and is a lecturer on Geisha Studies at a Kansai University. The evening will begin with a Walking Lecture through some of Kyoto’s geisha districts. Peter will explain about the geisha’s world – past, present and future.If you are lucky you will have the chance to see a geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha) as they head to the first appointment of the evening. After the walk, you will enjoy a sumptuous Japanese dinner in the private room of a traditional restaurant with free flow drinks. Enjoy dinner and drinks with an hour of private maiko or geisha entertainment consisting of conversation and dancing accompanied by the shamisen (Japanese stringed instrument). You will also have a chance to ask questions about the geisha and their world (translated into English by Peter), as well as play traditional drinking games. This is a special night of food, drink, traditional entertainment, and great photo opportunities.
Excursion To Nara
One of Japan’s most rewarding destinations, consider Nara for a half day trip from Kyoto. History aficionados will have an inspiring time exploring the cultural legacy of the city. Nara takes sightseeing to an exciting new level, thanks to the presence of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Given the compact size of the city, you can easily cover many popular attractions in half a day. Start with the impressive sight of Daibutsu (the Great Buddha). Proceed to catch glimpses of the marvelous Todai-ji Temple Complex and Kasuga Shrine. Second only to Kyoto’s repository of important ancient landmarks, Nara offers many enchanting experiences, such as feeding the wild deer that roam around in the Nara Park. Stop by for a Japanese-Western-style buffet, or indulge in some souvenir shopping before you head back to the hotel.
(Half Day; Private activity & transfers; Duration: 3.5 hrs. Please bring comfortable shoes. Please don’t carry food items in your bag.)