This incredible journey begins in the old Imperial capital of Kyoto, regarded by many as the country's loveliest city. Lying at the heart of Japanese culture and influence for over 1,000 years, Kyoto sat at the centre of events that helped to shape the destiny and history of this most fascinating of cultures. One of the only major cities to survive the extensive bombing of WWII, Kyoto can boast more than 2000 temples and shrines, many set in manicured landscaped gardens, making this captivating city the cradle of all things uniquely Japanese. Our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Kyoto at any time.
If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into Kansai International Airport (KIX) which is approximately 2 hours away, or Osaka International Airport (ITM) which takes around an hour. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, we recommend visiting one of Kyoto's many Unesco World Heritage Sites. The Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) is perhaps the most spectacular but you will have to battle the crowds to get that perfect photo. If you prefer somewhere a bit less known and with fewer fellow travellers we would recommend Toji Temple with its towering pagoda and great gardens. For impressive buildings, Nishi-Honganji Temple is hard to beat and its convenient location puts it within easy walking distance from our hotel. Slightly further afield, but still an easy train ride away, is the Arashiyama district. Here you can enjoy beautiful mountain scenery, a punt on the river, great food, beautiful gardens and even hike up to see wild monkeys. Trains leave regularly from Kyoto train station. Stay: Hotel Elcient Kyoto (Comfortable) (D)