Enjoy the unrivaled charm of Nara and Osaka, two of Japan's most historic cities, on this full-day tour.
Following a 1 1/2-hour drive, you arrive in Nara, the oldest capital of Japan (710-784), and the cradle of Japanese arts, literature and crafts with temples and shrines that pre-date those found in Kyoto. Modeled after Changan, capital of Tang Dynasty China, the exquisite city of Nara is home to eight World Heritage Sites, and numerous art and architectural relics classified as National Treasures and Important Cultural Assets by the Japanese government.
Visit the incredible Todaiji Temple, founded in 752, and best known for its Daibutsu, the world's largest Buddha statue, sitting 49 feet tall. The eighth century statue is housed in an all-wood building, the Daibutsu-den, considered the largest wooden building in the world. Nara Park, commonly referred to as Deer Park, surrounds the temple. The tranquil park covers 1,295 acres of woodland and is home to over 1,000 free roaming deer. Considered messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, Nara's deer are a symbol of the city and are designated a National Natural Monument.
Kasuga Shrine, Nara's most celebrated, is dedicated to the city's protector and is also in your itinerary. It is famous for its lanterns, which have been donated by worshipers though the years and are only lit during two Lantern Festivals, in the months of February and August.
Following lunch at a nearby restaurant, you'll drive to Osaka, with a stop to visit famous and imposing Osaka Castle. See the massive stone foundations, wing-tipped roofs with gilded decorations, and comprehensive museum displaying Osaka's most significant historical and cultural artifacts.