Kansai Religious & spiritual activities

Our most recommended Kansai Religious & spiritual activities

Nara: Private Tour with Private Guide

1. 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.

Himeji: Private Customized Tour with Licensed Guide

2. Himeji: Private Customized Tour with Licensed Guide

Explore Himeji in your own way with a private licensed guide. Choose the 6 or 4-hour option depending on what fits with your schedule. Let the guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly. All guides hold the nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification. It is issued by the Japanese government and requires a good understanding of Japanese culture and history. This tour features a morning pickup at your hotel in Himeji, then a visit to any number of possible sites. You can customize your itinerary according to the places you want to visit. See a suggested itinerary below: The first stop is Himeji Castle, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Himeji Castle dates back to 1333, and has survived natural disasters, WWII bombing, and the wear of the weather. In 2015, it underwent restoration works, which helped return its facade to a brilliant white. Visit the castle with a local knowledgeable guide and learn about the castle's architecture. Next is Mt. Shosha, a picturesque temple area located in the mountains behind Himeji Castle. Take the ropeway cable car up to Mt. Shosha. Alternatively, if you’re feeling extremely energetic, you could hike up the mountain in an hour or less. Then stop by the Engyo-ji Temple. With so much to explore on the temple grounds, plan to spend around an hour here to see the main structures. The trails that lead through the grounds reveal Mt. Shosha's gorgeous flora, and little details that create a magical atmosphere. For lunch, you enjoy delicious local food around Himeji Station, such as amen, gyoza, tonkatsu, and sushi. The local shopping street arcade is another charm of Himeji, and your guide will pick out the best shops for you to visit.  Other popular places to visit on this tour could be the Himeji City Museum of Literature, the Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, or the Hiromine Shrine.

From Tokyo: Day Trip to Coastal Kamakura

3. From Tokyo: Day Trip to Coastal Kamakura

Meet your guide in Tokyo and take the train to the laid-back beach town of Kamakura. Just an hour south of Tokyo, this beach-side town offers ample opportunity to learn more about Japan’s heritage and feudal history. 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. Follow your guide as you navigate through the intricate architecture of the area, past flame-colored torii gates marking entrances to shrines, and magnificent Buddhist temples. See the most notable attractions, including the spectacular Great Buddha and Hokokuji Bamboo Forest. Kamakura was the ancient feudal capital of Japan and had a vital role in spreading Buddhism across the country. The crown jewel of the town is the Amida Buddha at Kotoku-in, forged from bronze. See the modern side of the town by heading over to the local surf shacks and eyeing up the waves. Finish your day with a hike up to the peaceful local forest.

Kumano Kodo: Private Full-Day Pilgrimage Trip

4. Kumano Kodo: Private Full-Day Pilgrimage Trip

Embark on an adventure to see all the key sights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site in a single trip. Admire all three shrines and pause at the beautiful Nachi falls to watch water crashing down from 133 meters in the air. After pickup from your hotel, start with a visit to the Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine. Learn about the sun goddess Amaterasu at a location which is the head of over 3000 Kumano shrines across Japan. Admire the biggest torii gate in the world which, at 33 meters tall, dwarfs visitors passing under it. Next, head to the Kumano Hayatama Taisha, located in Shingu City. This shrine has occupied the same spot on the Kumano Riverbank since at least the 12th century. Learn about the Shinto creation myth which claims how three deities descended to earth nearby. Head back in the vehicle for the drive to Kumano Nachi Taisha, located near the coastal hot spring Katsuura. Admire the fusion of Buddhist and Shinto influences that is particular to the Kumano region. Finish your pilgrimage with a stop at Nachi Falls, Be awed by Japan's tallest waterfall with a single uninterrupted drop of 133 meters. Feel the power of a sacred site where a ton of water drops down the cliff every second.

Nara: City Highlights Shared Group or Private Bike Tour

5. Nara: City Highlights Shared Group or Private Bike Tour

Embark on a guided cycling tour around the city of Nara. Discover some of its significant landmarks including Nara Park, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Tōdai-ji, and the Oshikien Garden. Meet your guide in Nara and after a short introduction and safety briefing, you will be ready to set off. Put your helmet on, jump on your bike and head off to discover the beauty of the city.  Admire the beautiful scenery of Nara Park as you ride along at a relaxed pace. See the friendly deer who roam freely within the park and take in the views of the beautifully maintained surroundings. Stop at the Todai-ji Temple and learn more about Buddhism and Shinto culture with your guide. Stroll through its grounds and gaze in awe at the 15-meter-tall giant Buddha statue. Next, head to the Kasuga Taisha Shrine to see its thousand lanterns. Then, continue to the Kikuichi store, a high-end Japanese cooking knife retailer, before heading back to the starting point.

From Kyoto or Osaka: Private Walking Tour through Nara

6. 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.

Nara: Nara Park Private Family Bike Tour with Lunch

7. Nara: Nara Park Private Family Bike Tour with Lunch

Embark on a private cycling tour around Nara and have a fun day out with all the family. Explore Nara Park, pet and feed the deers cookies, and enjoy a delicious morning snack and lunch to keep your energy up while getting your daily dose of exercise. Meet your local guide at the meeting point in Nara and after a short introduction and safety briefing, you will be ready to set off. Put your helmet on, jump on your bike and head off to discover the beauty of Nara. Admire the beautiful scenery as you ride along at a relaxed pace. Your first stop is the Todai-ji Temple which you will explore with your guide. Stroll through its grounds and gaze in awe at the 15-meter-tall giant Buddha statue. Next, head to the Kasuga Taisha Shrine to see its thousand lanterns. You will also pause for a Western or Japanese-style lunch at a local restaurant during your tour. Enjoy a private and relaxed experience throughout your tour which can be adjusted according to your preferences.

Other Sightseeing Options in Kansai

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What people are saying about Kansai

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 97 reviews

Great tour with personable guide. This bike tour is particularly recommended on hot days, as you can reach all the important sights quickly and easily. It also gets high quality bikes. A very nice idea was that the guide took pictures of the whole tour, which he then made available to me. Great tour, full recommendation!

Yamaguchi was an amazing guide. He was thoughtful, prompt, polite and informative. We very much enjoyed our time with him and would highly recommend!