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Kyoto Walking tours

Our most recommended Kyoto Walking tours

Kyoto: All-Inclusive 3-Hour Food and Culture Tour in Gion

1. Kyoto: All-Inclusive 3-Hour Food and Culture Tour in Gion

Explore the Gion district by night with an experienced English, German, French, or Spanish-speaking tour guide who knows everything there is to know about the area. The tour starts near Kamo river, where you’ll learn about how the tradition of Geishas came to be. After a short stroll along a busy commercial street, you’ll slip into a calm, quiet area to visit the Yasaka Jinja shrine. After that touch of education, it’s off to the Gion.   The Gion has secrets and history scattered across its narrow streets, but this is also a modern entertainment district—so it’s time for a deep dive into what goes on here. Your guide will keep it light and fun, and explain some of the more interesting cultural mores of these parts. Step into a restaurant and graze from a multitude of small plates at a sort of Japanese-style tapas experience. Enjoy a drink as well before continuing on.   Between restaurant stops, there will be an exploration of Kiyamachi, Ponto-cho, and some other commercial and nightlife streets. Your guide will show you both modern and historical Kyoto, painting a well-rounded picture that gives you a real sense of the place. This tour keeps the groups small and includes your food and drinks, so that you can have a carefree night like you’re simply hanging out with someone who knows the neighborhood. A delicious Kobe (or nearby sourced) Beef option is available on top of the usual food and drink. This option is for bookings at least 10 hours in advance.

Kyoto: Private Tour with Local Licensed Guide

2. Kyoto: Private Tour with Local Licensed Guide

Discover Kyoto’s historical sites, favorite local spots, and hidden gems on a private walking tour with a nationally licensed guide. Choose from a 6 or 4-hour tour, whose itinerary can be customized to fit your interests. See both the modern and traditional sides of this dynamic and ancient city as well as some of the best sightseeing areas, restaurants, and shops. Visit places like the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for the Torii Gate Corridor. Explore the filming location for the film “Memoirs of a Geisha”, displaying a colorful crimson scenery with a mysterious atmosphere. Walk through the shrine’s corridors that were erected as a symbolic continuing gate from the current world to the world of the dead inhabited by the gods. Go to the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), which was given its name from the golden color of its reliquary hall. Admire its simple yet bold structure that features beautiful mountain views in the background. Enter the ancient Kiyomizu-dera temple to get panoramic city views from its large veranda. Walk from the path from the temple to Gion, to find many Kyoto-esque shops filled with unique souvenirs. Grab a snack or enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in the Gion district. Your guide will give you dining recommendations that are sure to delight your palate.

Night Walk in Gion: Kyoto's Geisha District

3. Night Walk in Gion: Kyoto's Geisha District

Experience one of the most popular walking tours in Kyoto, joined by nearly 5,000 guests annually. This 100-minute guided walk is led by a licensed English-speaking guide and takes you through nighttime Gion. The tour begins at Gion Omoide Museum, connected to a traditional pastry shop. Walk down the classic cobblestoned streets next to the Shirakawa River, and admire the scenery that was featured in the book and film, Memoirs of a Geisha. As you walk beside this beautiful stream, the guide will tell you about the history of geisha and give you a detailed explanation in regards to their kimono, hairstyle, traditional rules, and what their daily life is like. Although it is not guaranteed, during the walking tour guests often encounter geisha walking along the street.

Kyoto: 2-Hour Gion Geisha District Tour

4. Kyoto: 2-Hour Gion Geisha District Tour

Explore Gion, the centuries-old entertainment district of Kyoto, which truly comes alive at night. With your guide, learn about the customs of the geisha and the apprentice maiko. You may catch a glimpse of a few of the women in full costume.  Walk through the narrow streets with the lanterns flickering on the wooden buildings. Enjoy a night visit to a Shinto shrine, with a beautifully lit pagoda. Wander through the grounds of a Zen temple in the tranquil calm of the night. Learn more about the modern history of the entertainment district from your guide.

Kyoto Matcha Green Tea Tour

5. Kyoto Matcha Green Tea Tour

The green tea and matcha (powdered green tea) produced in Uji are famous for their quality not only in Japan, but also all over the world. While visiting Uji you will also get to see the gorgeous and famous Byodoin temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  During the tour you will sit down for a fantastic lunch, and have a chance to experience making and drinking tea. If you find teas that you like, you will have time to choose, purchase and take home some delicious memories of your tour.

Kyoto : 3-Hour Bar Hopping Tour in Pontocho Alley at Night

6. Kyoto : 3-Hour Bar Hopping Tour in Pontocho Alley at Night

Meet your guide at the Izumo no Okuni statue at Gion Shijo Station, then set off for an exciting bar crawl through some of Kyoto’s best venues and hidden gems. The tour focuses on the vibrant Pontocho Alley, famous for its exhilarating nightlife and bursting with local bars offering specialty drinks and tasty dishes. Throughout the tour your local guide will ensure you have the most exciting and authentic experience. All tour guides have either grown up in Kyoto or spent extensive time living here, meaning they know everything there is to know about the area and its nightlife. The first stop is at a local tavern known as an ‘izakaya’ bar where you can try unique drinks such as matcha/green tea beer, matcha sake, and a Kyoto style tempura. Next, head onto the second and third spots of the night which you will decide upon as a group depending on your interests and your guide’s knowledgeable recommendations. At the bars, taste more traditional Kyoto beverages and delicacies, as well as soaking up the unique atmosphere of Pontocho Alley and mingling with the locals.

Kyoto: Ginkaku-ji, Philopher's Path and Nanzen-ji Tour

7. Kyoto: Ginkaku-ji, Philopher's Path and Nanzen-ji Tour

Enjoy a 3-hour walking tour covering some of central Kyoto's best-kept secrets in the Higashiyama area. First stop is Ginkaku-ji temple, which dates back to the 15th century and was restored 10 years ago. The temple was constructed with heavy wooden beams, and has an elaborate roof and typical Japanese sliding wooden doors with rice paper. You’ll then explore the surrounding gardens. Experience the starkness between carefully raked stones, moss, and then more elaborately presented grasses, plants, and trees. Learn about Buddhism from your guide and how its teaching are linked to the design of the temple and its gardens.  Next, head down a quaint, traditional shopping street that lead to the Philosopher's Path, or "Tetsugaku-no-michi" in Japanese. You’ll walk approximately 2 km (about 1.25 miles) down this gently winding, flat path that mostly runs along a lovely stream and beneath a canopy of trees.  During the brief cherry blossom season, this scene is particularly gorgeous, but the relative solitude of the path makes for fine walking any time of year. As you walk down the path, the guide will tell you stories about Japan, and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions.  You’ll then arrive at Nanzen-ji, a smaller temple and gardens. Walk around the complex that includes an imposing wooden gate tower, temple spaces, a bridge and other peaceful areas.

Kyoto: Sake Tasting and walking around sake town with guide

8. Kyoto: Sake Tasting and walking around sake town with guide

At a nostalgic Kyomachiya that was a former sake brewery, you will hear about how sake is made and experience various sake. Kyoto,especially fushimi is well known for sake brewing. Fushimi has many breweries and restaurants where you can enjoy the local sake. That's because there is a lot of mellow water rich in minerals as spring water for a long time. Enjoy yourself to a fun booze while interacting with the local people in the sake town. Nearby, there is also the famous Fushimi Inari Taisha and Uji City, which is famous for tea, so you can continue sightseeing further. Or we will guide you to your favorite restaurant where you can end this tour.

Kyoto: Private 2.5 Hour Historical Walking Tour

9. Kyoto: Private 2.5 Hour Historical Walking Tour

Meet up in the west gate (red gate) of Yasaka Shrine. At first, the guide will tell you about the history of Kyoto with a map of Kyoto. Start the tour with the explanation about Yasaka shrine. In Yasaka shrine, the guide will explain how to worship at a shrine.  Next, going through Maruyama Park, located next to Yasaka Shrine, you will find a busy street whose name is Nene-no-michi. Nene is the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a political leader in Japan in the late 16th century. Entokuin is a temple associated with Nene. Entokuin is a Zen temple, with beautiful dry landscape gardens, famous pictures depicted on sliding doors of the rooms in the temple. You can see  traditional Japanese rooms. You can enjoy the serene atmosphere of the temple. After going out of the temple, you will find a narrow street called Ishibe-koji. Walking further, you will find red ornaments hung from the eaves of the  entrance of shops and restaurants. The ornaments are the dolls of monkey, a divine messenger of Koshindo. Koshindo is a place of folk religion, which originated in  Asian countries.   A five-storied pagoda, commonly called Yasaka-no-to(pagoda), is located close to Koshindo. You will see the pagoda from outside. Zuigudo is a sub-temple of Kiyomizu Temple. You will get into the basement floor of the temple which symbolizes the womb of Bodhisattva. Wooden balls symbolizing a rosary will lead you to the bottom of the temple. When you get out, you will feel as if you were reborn. The final destination, Kiyomizu temple is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto. It was originally built in the 8th century. The temple has five million visitors a year from all over the world. The main object of worship is Kannon Bodhisattva. You can see Buddhist statues, including Kannon Bodhisattva. There is a wooden stage attached to the main hall. The stage is a wooden structure without the use of nails. The scenery from the stage is magnificent. From the stage you can see a three storied pagoda. It is called Koyasu Pagoda, or lliterally  pagoda for easy birth.  Women visit the pagoda praying for easy birth. Kiyomiozu literally means "pure water". The stream of water, running down from the mountain behind the temple, has never been dried up.  A lot of visitors stand in line to drink the water. There are an iron stick and iron clogs in the precinct.. They are donated items to the temple. The iron stick is very heavy. Why don't you try to lift it up?  After getting out of the main hall, the tour ends. Before ending the tour, the guide will explain something about Jishu Shrine, a shrine for match making.

Kyoto: Walking Tour in Gion with Breakfast at Nishiki Market

10. Kyoto: Walking Tour in Gion with Breakfast at Nishiki Market

Start out the tour by enjoying the fresh, morning air while walking through Gion. A local tour guide will show you around the calm and quaint morning of Kyoto.  Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere which is a big contrast to the vibrant energy at night. After a healthy little walk, you will visit a shrine that is loved by locals. Once arrived at the market savor a one of a kind Japanese breakfast along with tasting 4 to 5 exquisite dishes selected by your local guide. Nishiki Market has over 400 years of history and has been loved by locals as the "Kitchen of Kyoto" for a long time. The name implies that Nishiki Market is rich with the famous gourmet cuisine of Kyoto. Your local and knowledgeable guide will provide you with valuable information that you cannot get from an ordinary sightseeing tour. During the tour, you are welcome to ask any questions about the history and culture of Kyoto. Your local guide is happy to answer all of them.

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Frequently asked questions about Kyoto

What top attractions are a must-see in Kyoto?

The must-see attractions in Kyoto are:

What are the best day trips and excursions from Kyoto?

The best day trips and excursions from Kyoto are:

Arashiyama

Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto

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What people are saying about Kyoto

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,244 reviews

Loved our tour around Gion with Diana! She took us around many different places and told us some interesting tidbits of information about many streets and areas we passed by. My husband and I felt that it truly enriched our stay in Kyoto since you learn things you normally wouldn't without a tour. We were able to see some geishas and maikos which was super cool! An added bonus, we had a great tour group whom we made friends with and had dinner with after the tour. Overall, an awesome experience!

Keiko was an excellent tour guide who was very kind and so accommodating and flexible based on our changing needs and preferences. She had good historical knowledge and knew her way around kyoto like the back of her hand. We are so thankful to have had her take us around and see the beautiful sights of Kyoto!

Brilliant Super choice of "small dishes" With an instructive visit of the city as a bonus Nothing to say it was perfect The guide is very nice and the group we were with was too, the two places where we ate had a great atmosphere In short I warmly recommend

Philippe was an amazing guide! He was extremely knowledgeable about the area and history. We enjoyed hearing about the Geiko and even got to see one out and about! I would highly recommend this tour.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. Overall a really informative and affordable tour