Japanese Gardens & Miniature Landscapes Tour

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Duration: 3h
Location: Kyoto, Japan | Kyoto, Japan

Category: Attractions

Tour of temples & gardens at Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji & Ninna-ji
Chance to view the Mirror Pond at the famous Golden Pavilion
Sights of well-preserved Japanese temples & Zen rock gardens
Opportunity to compare the Muromachi- & Heian-period designs
Scholar-led tour around Kyoto with a maximum group size of 6

Guided tour of Kyoto
Admission fees and public transportation fees
Live tour commentary provided in English


Immerse yourself in the ultimate garden design experience with a small-group tour led by a scholar in Japanese art and history. Wander along miniature landscapes and admire the balance, precision, and beauty of each creation in Muromachi- and Heian period-influenced gardens.

Your tour begins at the Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Pavilion. Listen to the origin story of this Zen Buddhist temple, which was a private villa back in the 13th century. Stroll along lush gardens that proudly display the Muromachi style. Gaze out over the Mirror Pond with its numerous man-made islands, admiring the near-perfect integration of water and stones in the design.

After a brief trip on a local bus, explore 2 extraordinary examples of Zen rock gardens. The Karesansui Garden at Ryoan-ji is a prime example of this dry Zen garden style, giving great contrast to the water of Kinkaku-ji. Your scholar shares the philosophies of form and function, ideals that both Zen gardening and Zen Buddhism share.

Your final stop is Ninna-ji. Dating back to the Heian period, this garden allows you to compare earlier landscape designs against those of the Muromachi period by fusing all of the styles that you've just seen—both dry and wet features.

Cancellation Policy: 5 days
Know before you book: Children 12 and younger are not allowed., At least 2 people are required for this activity to take place., Maximum group size is 6 people., You must be able to walk on unpaved or uneven terrain., Check-in is 15 minutes prior to the booked tour start time.

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