“DAY TRIP TO NARA AND KYOTO”
We travelled as a family of 5 in mid Dec 2019.
Because of timing and schedule, I decided to do a private tour to maximize the experience for the family.
I contacted Taka San who referred me to Nobu san because the latter's vehicle would better accommodate us.
The initial communication with Nobu san was pleasant - he was very clear about his charges which made it easy for me to think through what I hoped to achieve within the given time.
He was also forthcoming with suggestions, which again helped to concretize my itinerary.
On the day of the tour, Nobu san was very punctual.
His car was clean, spacious and comfortable.
Nobu san himself was knowledgeable, articulate and funny (he had a really infectious laugh).
We managed to cover Fushimi Inari, Nara (Todaiji), Kinkakuji and Gingakuji within 8 hours.
We made it to Gingakuji just before it closed (it closed at 4.30pm because of winter) and he persuaded the staff to let us explore the place a bit.
He squeezed in lunch for us at Coto Coto, a restaurant in Nara that specialized in using local produce.
The food is farm-to-table, all sourced locally, from the organic vegetables to the Yamato beef and pork, local sake and microbrews.
They offer a choice of two simple plate lunches, with vegetarian option (which was important because we had a vegetarian in our midst).
The restaurant was cozy and quite minimalist, but the food was so so good!
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal; we would not have been able to find the place unless we were familiar like Nobu san or were locals.
Back in Kyoto, Nobu san also helped us spot a Geisha on her way to work.
He got us to Kyoto station in good time for our Shinkansen ride to Tokyo. My kids, ranging from 12 to 21, found Nobu san's tour to be informative and interesting.
While the tour was not cheap (actually I found his prices to be reasonable, having compared several similar sites, especially since he was a licensed guide as well), we agree it was worth every yen we spent. Two thumbs up!
From Debbie in Singapore
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Tour course: Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Todai-ji Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple and Ginkaku-ji Temple.