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One thing you can say with confidence about Japan is you will never run out of things to see and do. It really does offer an endless stream of new experiences and fascinating sights. Everything you will see and experience is culturally unique and distinct from anywhere else in the world. Even a trip to Macdonalds in Japan is quite an eye opener. Teriyaki tofu burger anyone?

We have collected together some sightseeing experiences you may like to add to your Fully Tailored Trip or to one of our Self-Guided Adventures. Whether you would like to gain a little extra insight through the company of a private guide for a day, or fancy seeing the Tokyo skyline from the very different perspective provided by a helicopter, we have something for you.

We are always adding new experiences so if you do not see your interest listed in our experiences section please let us know.

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Kyoto's Imperial Villas


Kyoto is rightly famed as the capital of Japan for over 1000 years and the historical home of the Emperor. The two Imperial Villas in the city make for a truly wonderful visit as you stroll through stunning Japanese gardens unchanged through the centuries.

However, you can not just turn up. Visits to the Imperial properties are by appointment only and places are strictly limited. InsideJapan Tours are delighted that we can make these appointments for you and supply a professional English speaking guide to take you around the sites.

Shugakuin Imperial Villa (Rikyu)
This imperial villa was built in the mid-17th century for the retired Emperor Gomizuno-o. Situated in north-east Kyoto, this is a place of stunning beauty, both the classical Japanese buildings and the immaculate Japanese garden set against a backdrop of paddy fields and mountains - a view that has remained unchanged for hundreds of years. The Lower Villa features a wooden tablet with calligraphy by the Emperor Gomizuno-o himself.

Katsura Imperial Villa
Designed to be the perfect example of a Japanese Villa, Katsura Rikyu in the south-west of Kyoto is a magical place to visit. The villas and tea houses were constructed by the most skilful master craftsmen in the middle of the 17th Century and the expansive gardens with exotic trees, bridges and lakes affords beautiful views from anywhere within the premises. Although visitors are not permitted to enter the main buildings they can be viewed from the exterior as well as video providing a tantalising glimpse of the interiors.


Visits to the Imperial Villas are available year round on weekdays. Saturday visits are also available during peak seasons. The villas are also closed to the public on national holidays and any days when Imperial Court functions are scheduled. Places are strictly limited so please let us know well in advance if you wish to include one of the Imperial properties as part of your stay in Kyoto.

The Imperial sites in Kyoto are dotted arund the city. The most central is the Imperial Palace. Shugakuin is to be found in the north-east of the city whereas Katsura-in is in the the south-west. It is best to only include one of these during a day of sightseeing.

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Plan your trip

Many thanks for taking the time to browse our web-site. We very much hope you are enjoying the site we have put together and that it has inspired you to contact us and take the first steps towards your holiday in Japan!

There are many things to consider when planning your Japan trip: time of year you wish to travel; how long you have available; where in Japan you want to go; the things you wish to experience; what budget you have available to name but a few.

Our Tailored Trip Enquiry Form is designed so we can get as clear an idea as possible as to what will make the perfect Japan trip for you.

After we have received your enquiry, one of our Japan-expert travel consultants will get in touch to discuss your trip in more detail so as we can out together a proposal for you. We donít ask for any money upfront to put together a quote and most importantly, every quote we do is 100% tailored for you.

Click for the Tailored Trip Enquiry Form

Donít have time to fill in our Fully Tailored Trip form? Submit a quick Email Enquiry instead.

Inside Japan Tours - Independent British Travel Awards 2011 - Best Tour Operator To East and Central Asia
The Guardian, The Observer - Travel Awards 2010 Winner - Best tour operator (small)
Inside Japan Tours - Silver at the British Travel Awards 2009