Your guide has been living in Kyoto for over 30 years, with an extensive background in Japanese history and culture, and working with the World Monuments Fund and the Freeman Foundation, he has been directly involved with renovation and restoration of traditional architecture in the city. (see more information below)

Travel Season
4 or 8 Hours
Family Friendly?
Yes, but children should be older
Booking info
This experience can be arranged as part of a custom trip in Japan designed by TravelStore. Experiences are valid when posted and are subject to change and availability. Some of the special experiences cannot be booked on their own and are only available when booked in combination with other travel services. (IJ)

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More about Kyoto architecture tour

The first visit this morning is to the World Heritage Site, Sanjusangendo. This is the longest wooden structure in the world and repository for an eye-popping 1,000 life-size statues of the Kannon deity dating from the pivotal Kamakura period (1185-1333). Sanjusangendo is one of only a handful of buildings to survive the Onin War of the late 15th century, when virtually the entire city of Kyoto was reduced to ashes in an inconclusive war of succession. Next, head to the center of the city to inspect a traditional merchant house, or machiya. Choie, as it is named, was completely restored to its original state with assistance from the New York-based World Monuments Fund. The restoration is beautifully documented in a 15-minute recording available for viewing during our visit. This will be followed by a walk-through of the elegant Shiorian, former residence of the Kawasaki family first built in the Edo period (1600-1868). You’ll be able to experience first-hand the remarkable confluence of Japanese and Western architectural styles so prevalent among the upper-class around the turn of the 20th century. The remainder of the day will be spent exploring the Arashiyama area on the western edge of the city. Our walk will take us through an architecturally preserved neighborhood featuring country thatched-roof inns, traditional storehouses, and a noteworthy assortment of residential houses that highlight the finest aspects of Japan’s architectural heritage. Following is a special private viewing of the Nakahara residence. This family has been purveyors of kimono and obi to the Imperial family for over 10 generations. Their ever-evolving garden, surrounding a sukiya-style gallery, offers a rare opportunity to see a “borrowed scenery” landscape at its very best. Time permitting, we’ll walk through the famed “chikurin” bamboo grove and the historic Tenryuji monastery. Our architectural tour finishes back in central Kyoto at Rokkakudo, the mesmerizing hexagonal temple believed to have been established prior to the founding of Kyoto city and, in its present incarnation, an architectural tour de force of Edo period temple architecture.This city holds a plethora of architectural marvels, and we’ve only scratched the surface.

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