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This large, bustling port is the starting point for tours to the ancient cities of Kyoto and Nara, the cultural fountainheads of classical Japan. Kyoto’s Old Imperial Palace and the shogunal Nijo Castle remain glorious symbols of the power the city held for over 1,000 years. Until 1868, Kyoto was the capital of Japan, filled with elegant timber buildings and, perhaps more than any other Japanese city, imbued with Kami, the divine spirit. You’ll sense it everywhere, for there are hundreds of Shinto shrines and over a thousand Buddhist temples, as well as sacred treasure-houses of religious sculpture, painting and exquisite gardens. Nara, City of the Seven Great Temples, lies in an idyllic setting.

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