Today, we will explore more of the wonders of Kyoto then take an afternoon train to the coast city of Kobe. During the tour, we sometime walk between sites, so comfortable shoes and light clothes are recommended.
Begin our tour with a visit to Nijo Castle
, Kyoto's largest and best preserved castle. This ornamental castle, surrounded by stunning gardens, was built by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) as his Kyoto residence. It shows the power that the Shoguns wielded over the emperors throughout the Edo Period.
After that, visit Kinkakuji
, or the Golden Pavilion, a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. It was originally built in 1393 as a retirement villa for Shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga (1358-1409). After his death, his son converted the building into a Zen temple of the Rinzai school named Rokuonji, in accordance with Ashikaga's wishes.
Our next stop will be at Heian Shrine
, one of the most important and visually impressive Shinto shrines in Kyoto and home to one of Japan’s largest Torii gates. Inside, there is a decent garden that you must pay to enter behind the main hall. In April, it is one of the best cherry blossom spots in Kyoto. Then visit Kiyomizu Temple
, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the atmospheric Higashiyama district and Sanjusangendo Buddhist temple which is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.
In the late afternoon, take an hour train to the KOBE
. Its port was among the first to be opened to foreign trade during the Meiji period (1968 – 1912) alongside the ports of Yokohama, Nagasaki, Hakodate and Niigata. Because of this, foreign culture has flourished in Kobe, making the city the home to one of the first foreign settlements in Japan. Upon arrival in Kobe, check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure.
In the evening, you can visit to Kobe Chinatown
(Nankin-machi), the center of the Chinese community in Kansai region and one of the only three Chinatowns in Japan. Here, you can enjoy a wide array of Chinese dishes and sweets.
Overnight in Kobe.