Kansai
Architecture Tours

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Our most recommended Kansai Architecture Tours

Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets Cultural Tour

1. Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets Cultural Tour

Accompanied by your tour guide, head straight to one of Nara’s top historical sites and one of the largest wooden buildings in the world, the Todaiji temple. Its famous centerpiece is the 15-meter bronze statue of the Great Buddha, Vairocana. On our way, you will be greeted by the friendly deer of Nara. The deer are divine protectors of the ancient capital living in perfect harmony with the locals. Next stop is the second of the seven great temples of Nara, Kofukuji. Make a brief stop at the Sarusawa pond, well known for its turtles and the pretty scenery surrounding it; this is considered a perfect spot for a romantic evening walk in Nara. Move forward into the quiet alleys and backstreets of Nara-machi, the well preserved former merchant's district, where you will be able to see and experience unique traditional arts and crafts. As the best way to experience a city is through its food, you will get the chance to test some of our favorite local delights. The last stop of your journey will take you to a shopping street, where you can find colorful and diverse shops, perfect for souvenir hunting. Both the JR Nara station and the Kintetsu station are within comfortable walking distance from the finishing point of the tour. Your guide will be happy to help you with directions to your hotel or to provide a restaurant recommendation for lunch. Do not forget to ask for more hints and tips on what else there is to do in Nara during your time here. 

Nara: Private Tour with Private Guide

2. Nara: Private Tour with Private Guide

Discover Nara on a fully customizable tour. Nara is in close proximity to Kyoto and Osaka, and its rich collection of traditional sites make it an ideal destination for a day trip from either of its larger neighbours. Start your day by meeting your guide at your hotel or chosen location, then choose sites you wish to visit depending on your interests. Example 6-hour Itinerary: Meet your guide at the designated meeting point you chose and let the tour begin. First visit Kofuku-Ji temple, a historic site that has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover several designated National Treasures here including the Buddhist sculpture masterpiece, the Statue of Ashura. Next, head for Todai-Ji temple, a World Heritage Site that is Nara’s most famous landmark. Admire the statue of Kongo Rikishi at Nandaimon Gate and Japan’s largest Great Buddha statue. Stroll through Nara Park which is famous for its wild deer species. Enjoy the verdant natural setting of Nara while taking part in the popular activity of feeding the deer inside the park. Then discover Kasuga Taisha temple, another World Heritage Site with an impressive red main shrine. Explore the Kasuga-Taisha National Treasure Hall which contains valuable works of Buddhist art.

From Kyoto or Osaka: Private Walking Tour through Nara

3. From Kyoto or Osaka: Private Walking Tour through Nara

Go on a private city walking tour through Nara and explore the fascinating history, culture, and food scene of this city. You'll be paired with guides that are passionate about the place they call home and who choose to spend their free time sharing it with like-minded travelers matched to them. Meet your guide in Kyoto or Osaka and take the train to Nara, the city where Shinto Buddhism was born. See some of Japan’s most significant temples and shrines. Marvel at art and architecture dating back to the 8th-century.   Walk down quiet streets and shaded paths lined with cherry blossom trees and be amazed by Nanto Shichi Daiji, the seven great Buddhist temples. Discover the magical, wood-built architecture overhung with thousands of lanterns at the fairytale Kasuga-Taisha Shrine. At the famous Nara Park, you can see the iconic tame deers that come close enough to greet you. If you are hungry this would be the perfect opportunity to check out the restaurants and cafes at Higashimuki Shopping Street. In this street, you will also find all sorts of souvenirs.  This tour can be fully personalized depending on your preferences. Your guide can provide you with tips and recommendations for the rest of your stay in Nara.

Kyoto: 2-Hour Gojo Area Walking Tour

4. Kyoto: 2-Hour Gojo Area Walking Tour

Meet your guide and walk through the Gojo area, a retro district full of treasures in the heart of Kyoto. See the ancient capital of Japan from a new perspective and marvel at the old architecture and history that surrounds you.  Your local guide will show you places that cannot be found in a guidebook. Discover an area of old teahouses reformed into cafes, unique shops, and traditional confectioneries and get some inspirations for your next break after the tour. Get great tips for locations where you can take awesome pictures, especially if you are wearing a kimono.  During the tour, you will visit the Jotokuji Temple and get some explanations about the Jizo in Buddhism, you will see the Ichihime Shrine including the Shinto female goddesses, and the Nintendo Original Building. Stroll along the Takasegawa Canal which is surrounded by old teahouses, see the Gojo bridge and the Kamogawa river.  To get a fully immersive Japanese experience you have the option to get dressed in a kimono before the tour. Additionally, you can get your hair done (woman only). A wide selection of kimono colors and patterns is waiting for you, with sizes ranging from S to 4XL. The professional staff helps you getting dressed and can assist with all the necessary items. If you choose the option that includes hairstyling, a hair artist helps you choosing a style from a catalog to match your kimono look. The hair accessories are sold separately. After the styling, you will meet your guide at the shop entrance.

Osaka City: Food Origins Exploration Game

5. Osaka City: Food Origins Exploration Game

Play a 1.5-hour exploration game in the heart of Osaka city and discover the historical changes of the city from the Edo period to the present. Explore food heaven in Osaka, follow the clues, and try delicious and peculiar dishes along the way. Follow each culinary clue on your smartphone and get exact directions to the next location so you will not need a map, GPS, or guide. Unlock the secret story of each place as you solve the problems and guess the answers. Play individually, as a group, and solve the clues together as you walk or split into smaller teams and compete against the others. Download the app, go to the starting point, and begin the adventure!

From Osaka: Himeji Castle and Arima Onsen Private Tour

6. From Osaka: Himeji Castle and Arima Onsen Private Tour

Venture out from Osaka on day trip that gives you history, relaxation, and fun, all with the comfort and luxury of a private vehicle, tour guide, and door-to-door transportation. Customize your itinerary to your preferences and discover the gems of the Kansai region. Discover the mysteries of Himeji Castle, a feat of engineering and one of Japan's most elegant castles still standing today. Let your English-speaking guide take you into the castle buildings, providing you with stories and facts that make for a much richer experience than could be obtained on your own. Learn what rooms were used for what, all about defensive strategies, the role of concubines, and of course how the castle was designed to thwart invasion. Leave Himeji Castle and take a lunch break before heading off to Arima Onsen or central Kobe for some afternoon sights and relaxation. Feel restored by the therapeutic, mineral rich waters of Arima Onsen as others have done for over 1,300 years. Sense how your mind becomes more at ease and your skin smoother after the experience. Then, take a lovely stroll around the town, with shops and food vendors pleasantly scattered about. For those not quite so interested in hot springs, opt instead to explore the coastal areas of Kobe City at no additional cost. Choose from a number of local highlights according to your interests, including a well-known sake (Japanese rice wine) producer, where you can learn how the product is made and get some free samples. See the Western-style area of Kyu Kyoryuchi with its well-preserved houses dating back to the late 1800s.

Kamakura: Private Guided Walking Tour with Local Guide

7. Kamakura: Private Guided Walking Tour with Local Guide

Discover Kamakura’s historical sites, favorite local spots, and hidden gems on a private walking tour with nationally licensed guide. Choose from a 6 or 4-hour tour, whose itinerary can be customized to fit your interests. Located 1 hour from Tokyo, be introduced to some of the best spots, restaurants, and shops in Kamakura, which is home of the samurai and of great cultural importance to Japan. Visit and enter the interior of the huge Great Buddha statue, a symbol of great importance for Kamakura. Admire the is famous gardens of Hase-dera. During the rainy season (around June), 2500 colorful hydrangeas of 40 varieties bloom all at once to create a wondrous spectacle. Go to the Zeniarai Benten Shrine where legend says that when money is washed in the holy water of the shrine’s spring you will earn more money. Head to the Hokoku-ji Temple known for its splendid bamboo forest garden. Here, sample matcha tea while admiring the view of the forest.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kansai

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What people are saying about Kansai

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 98 reviews

Really very good ! My guide spoke enough English to explain everything to me and above all she took me to little places not touristy at all (traditional house, making motchi etc.) in addition to the big sites. She was also very interested in where I came from, we talked about our two cultures, what we liked and what we didn't. Very pleasant ! I recommend !

Very nice the tour. Deer, the great Buddha and the guardians, temples, and ends in a commercial area with restaurants. 4h tour The guide very attentive and walking at our pace.

The game in Osaka was an amazing experience to do with kids. We enjoyed it a lot.

Fumiko great guide excellent person

Wonderful place and Fumiko's explanation very good