By Bonson Lam
A thousand years ago, only the wealthy could travel by carriage, whether man- or horse-powered. It was a luxury to travel around the city, or the country, especially in times of extreme heat, cold, or wet.
These days, people may brave the #205 to Kinkakuji, but often it is a long wait to get on a crowded bus at JR Kyoto station, especially on a weekend or public holiday. What’s more, the many stops may mean that you spend a lot of time idling on the bus. Then you may encounter the classic lost-tourist-with-a-map syndrome: Standing on an intersection with an upside-down map folded out, trying to balance your guide book and wondering where the Golden Pavilion is.
So why not experience some comfort and luxury on Doi taxi and licensed English tour guide, the modern equivalent to the Imperial carriage. Live the Kyoto lifestyle as it is meant to be, in the city of royalty and aristocrats. These days, the people of influence include presidents, movie stars and business leaders, and Mr. Doi has had the honor of being their personal guide and driver around Kyoto. With more than 20 years’ experience and more the 8,000 happy customers, Mr Doi knows the multi-layered city like the back of his hand. No matter how obscure your request may be; chances are that he will know the perfect place to fulfill it. While you may come across some taxi drivers who can guide, Mr Doi has a tour guide license from the Government, so you are getting both a chauffeur and a licensed guide, for just the price of a taxi! He doesn't just drive you around, but will walk and talk through all the sights of Kyoto that you wish.
Formerly the imperial capital for more than a thousand years, there are many state secrets to Kyoto that even locals don’t know. What’s more, this is a city of introductions. Whether you wish to meet a geisha, take tea in a secluded garden, or to view the scenes chosen for the film, “Memoirs of a Geisha”, Kyoto is about knowing people with the right connections. Mr. Doi, with his extensive network of contacts, may be just the right person to open doors that you always dreamed about, ones that are elusive as well as mysterious.
As Kyoto is a large city with different personalities throughout the year, and indeed during the course of the day, detailed planning pays handsome rewards in showing the city at its best. Let Mr. Doi do that for you. Simply advise him of your preferences and wishes in advance, and he will work with you to tailor made your perfect day. Whether you are in Kyoto for your honeymoon, your twentieth anniversary, to impress important guests, or just to take in the lovely city with minimum downtime, Mr. Doi won’t disappoint.
Rates start from 6,100 yen per hour/van (for up to six passengers). If a group of six would like to share an itinerary over five hours, you can have a personalized tour, at your own pace, for the same if not less than one of those 50-person coach tours where you are at risk of being shepherded around the usual spots in quick succession.
Now everyone can enjoy Kyoto in the luxury of Mr Doi's modern carriage, the air conditioned limousine private taxi van and licensed guide service.
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