After breakfast at your hotel you will have the chance to explore the former imperial capital of Japan and its World Heritage Sites, using the local bus network guided by your expert Backyard Travel guide.
You’ll begin your investigation at Nijo Castle which was built by the first shogun of the Edo Period, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The castle remained in the family until the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1867 upon which time it was used as an imperial palace.
The palace and its castle keep now exist as the best example of architecture during Japan’s feudal era and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 partly because of its stunning surrounding gardens.
Once you’ve explored the sliding doors, Momoyama architecture and painstakingly manicured gardens, you’ll next move on to Kinkakuji, also known as ‘Golden Pavilion Temple’.
Kinkakuji is a Buddhist temple with elegant, breathtaking Muromachi period gardens and was originally belonged to Saionji Kintsune, a powerful statesman circa 1397. The building was bought by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu but upon his death the villa was converted into a temple, as it still stands today.
To finish your morning excursion you will visit the Daitoku-ji Zen temple complex. Originally a small monastery, the temple was founded around 1319 by a monk called Shuho Myocho and comprises a main temple and 22 sub-temples. You’ll pay visit to Daisen-in sub-temple with one of Japan’s most famous Zen rock gardens.
In the afternoon you will go to visit the Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto, renowned as a haven for foodies, the narrow five-block-long stretch of more than 100 shops and stalls is known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’ and specializes in seasonal produce and all-things food related.
You’ll be guided around the market, learning about local Japanese produce, while buying ingredients and building up a hunger for your Japanese cooking class.
As you emerge from the market, bedazzled by the sheer amount of produce on sale, you’ll then be guided through the back streets of Kyoto to visit a former sake brewery for a tour and tasting of Japan’s iconic beverage.
You’ll then move on to a traditional wooden townhouse for a Japanese cooking class where you will learn how to prepare your own sushi, miso soup, and seasonal dessert.
After devouring the fruits of your labor, explore Kyoto at your own leisure. Feel free to inquire with your Backyard Travel guide as to popular places nearby to go, or simply lose yourself in the narrow lanes of the local neighborhood around your hotel.
Overnight in Kyoto
Meals included on this day: Breakfast