Kyoto
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Our most recommended Kyoto Food & Drinks

Kyoto: Traditional Townhouse Lunch & Kimono Tea Ceremony

1. Kyoto: Traditional Townhouse Lunch & Kimono Tea Ceremony

Do you know what a Japanese old townhouse (machiya) is? It is a house built in the Meiji period (1868-1912) that is three times as deep as the length of the building facing the passageway. Japanese people in the past built culture, business, and family here. What is the structure like inside it? First of all, after you arrive, a kimono made of authentic silk will be quickly fitted for you. If you wish, you will also be taught how to behave in kimono. After that, the tour will take you to the mysterious three storehouses, the six tsuboniwa gardens where you can feel the flow of seasonal winds, the tea ceremony room "Rakuju", and the detached tatami room where Noh plays were performed. Please feel the lifestyle that cultivated the spirit of the Japanese people here. Tea is an inseparable part of Japanese culture. You will hear an explanation of the tea ceremony in the tea room and watch a tea ceremony performance. Feel as if you were transported back in time to the Meiji period and experience the spirit of Wabi-Sabi. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional bento box lunch served in a tatami room that has continued for 100 years. Using Kyoto vegetables, fish, beans, miso, and tofu, all carefully and elegantly prepared with Japanese tastes. If you prefer, you can make it vegetarian or vegan. Please feel free to take as many pictures as you like during your stay. We hope you enjoy your stay and experience Japanese culture to the fullest.

From Osaka : Private Full-day Tour to Kyoto

2. From Osaka : Private Full-day Tour to Kyoto

Start the tour with pick up from central Osaka and travel to historic Kyoto. Over the course of the day, you'll be presented with a balanced view of this historic city and its surroundings. The Arashiyama district is the first stop, and it is here where you'll be introduced to Japanese garden and temple design. Tenryu-ji Temple has one of the most outstanding, timeless examples of Japanese gardens surrounding it's simple-but-majestic temple buildings. Then it's time for a walk up through the famous bamboo grove - a photo opportunity not to be missed - before arriving at the entrance to luxurious Okochi Sanso. Here you will try some matcha (Japanese green tea), before exploring the winding paths that connect the buildings, views, and garden areas. Afterwards, you'll enjoy a stroll alongside the river, then have free time for lunch and even a bit of shopping, if you wish. Next, enjoy the atmospheric streets of the Goin district, complete with a gurgling stream and rows of traditional tea house and restaurant buildings.  Not far from the Gion is Fushimi Inari-taisha, arguably the most famous Shinto shrine complex in the entire region. After having a look around you'll end your tour with a visit to the famous Torii gate.

Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

3. Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

You will take you place on the tatami, the traditional Japanese floor mat and be met by your English-speaking host, who is a licensed tea master from Urasenke, the biggest school of tea ceremony in Japan. Watch as the host carries out the ceremonial preparation of matcha, powdered green tea. Then, you will have the chance to make tea yourself, while the host informs you about the history and spiritual role of the tea ceremony and the effects each tea-making method has on its flavor. Afterwards, savor some traditional Japanese sweets Once the ceremony has come to a close, you will have the chance to take photos and see examples of kimonos and beautiful woven textiles made in the Nishijin district of Kyoto. If you'd like to wear a kimono during the experience, you can select it as an add-on during booking and take photos to remember the experience.

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

4. 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.

From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

5. From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

Visit some of Kyoto's most famous cultural sites on this day-long bus tour from Osaka. Hop aboard a comfortable coach and drive to Japan's ancient capital to see the brilliant torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the UNESCO-listed Kiyomizu-dera temple, and the golden pavilion of Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto is filled with ancient historic sites dating back to the 6th century. Get dropped off first at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Spend time wandering the brilliant paths before heading to your next destination. Arrive at Kiyomizu-dera, one of the most iconic temples in Japan. Take ample time to wander through the temple. Walk across the impressive wooden stage, which juts out from the hillside and was constructed without the use of a single nail. Next, stop at Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion due to the fact that it's covered in gold leaf. Wander through the immaculate gardens surrounding the temple, admiring the original Japanese designs that have been preserved since Ashikaga's time. Finish the day in Arashiyama, which has been a popular nature-viewing destination since the Heian Period. Take a stroll through the cool Sagano Bamboo Forest and listen to the distinct rustle of bamboo leaves as you walk. In the late afternoon, hop on the bus back to Osaka.

Kyoto Matcha Green Tea Tour

6. 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: Tea Ceremony Ju-An at Jotokuji Temple

7. Kyoto: Tea Ceremony Ju-An at Jotokuji Temple

Start your tea ceremony experience by entering through the main gates of the Jotoku-ji Temple. You will pass the entrance to the Grand Tearoom on your left and a shop next to it and meet at the nearby red benches where your guide awaits. Whilst walking through the temple you are free to admire the architecture and stand by the purification fountain. Weather permitting, you are free to sit at the red benches and for a break. In the event of rain you can stand outside under the gable of the shop or wait in the Grand Tearoom. Once you have finished perusing the temple or sitting on the red benches taking in the atmosphere you are able to enter the Grand Tearoom where your instructor waits for you.  Start your tour of the Temple with a traditional purification ritual, a completely unique and insightful experience for Western visitors. Afterwards you will remove your shoes at the entrance of the Grand Tearoom and in your group, proceed inside to take your seat. Get the chance to sample matcha tea at its best. The Tea Master will guide you throughout, showing and explaining every step of the way. Throughout the ceremony you will be taught the fine art of drinking matcha tea and learn about the importance of the ceremony.

Kyoto Nishiki Market Food Tour

8. Kyoto Nishiki Market Food Tour

Your experience will include stops at family owned stalls and shops which have stood the test of time. At a few of the stops sample specialty products like tsukemono (vegetables from the surrounding mountains preserved in vinegar), yuuba (the world’s smoothest sashimi tofu made from the world famous Kyoto mountain water), Kamaboko (seafood preserved in fish paste), Tako (Octopus with quail egg) and Macha Warabi Mochi (a special traditional sweet covered in ground tea leaves). During the tour learn detailed information about the ingredients of different Japanese dishes, how their food is prepared and what is used to eat it. Your experience will do more than just give you a chance to taste Kyoto’s delicious food but will also give you a sense the history and atmosphere of the Nishiki Market experienced by the Japanese for generations. You will be consumed with physical and visual stimuli every step of the way and enjoy stories from the past told directly from shopkeepers and families you will spend time with. After your market exploration walk to a nearby restaurant and have a course lunch featuring beautiful and delicious local dishes.

Kyoto: Private Tea Ceremony with Japanese Tea & Sweets

9. Kyoto: Private Tea Ceremony with Japanese Tea & Sweets

This activity includes two kinds of powdered green tea (thick tea and light tea), fresh sweets and dried traditional sweets. All are made by shops of long standing in Kyoto. Especially, Japanese fresh sweets are really artistic. Hear the beautiful name of the sweets which reflects seasons in Japan. Thick tea is typical in tea ceremony, rare to see in Japanese cafes. The way of tea is a little different from the light one. It’s more elegant and rare to see also. But if you would like a host to make light tea instead of thick tea, it's possible. Also, learn about the history of Japanese flower arrangement and the difference between western arranging. You can take photos for free. It is recommended to keep tranquil atmosphere during the way of tea, but if you would like to take photos, it’s up to you because it’s private session. Also in the next waiting room, you can take photos with kimono or Nishijin textiles before or after the tea ceremony experience. All explanation is given in fluent English by a lecturer of Urasenke, one of the biggest tea schools in Japan. You can make good light tea of good quality at home after taking this class. If you have problem with your legs or hard to sit on tatami, please use little chairs suit to tatami room for free. Do you want to wear a Kimono? Wear a kimono (traditional cloth in Japan) during the tea ceremony and take photos to remember the experience. 

Kyoto: Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class

10. Kyoto: Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class

Experience an authentic Japanese food tradition and prepare your own bento box at a morning bento cooking class in Kyoto. Learn about typical Japanese dishes, such as sushi, tempura and miso soup, and hear about the cultural background of the well-known Japanese "bento" takeaway meal. Traced back to the late Kamakura Period (1185 to 1333), the bento box has now become a staple of Japanese cuisine. Arrive for your 2.5 to 3-hour class and collect your ingredients, apron and utensils. Then, watch and follow your chef as they demonstrate the art of bento and explain the tricks to making beautiful Japanese dishes often found in a bento box. Once you have finished cooking your dishes, enjoy the fruits of your labor and tuck into your bento lunch.

Frequently asked questions about Kyoto Food & Drinks

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto

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What people are saying about Kyoto

Mardi was right on time on a crisp Christmas evening with a cheery demeanor and a pleasant smile, even though we both wore COVID masks. She had an exhaustive knowledge of Japanese history and culture, including local landmarks from temples to tea houses to brothels. My favorite tale was the creation of a local shrine to the tenuki spirit that dragged people into the nearby river. She also picked excellent places to grab some refreshments. The cheese and tofu soup was the highlight of the trip. I totally recommend Mardi's tour of the Gion and surrounding area if you find yourself in Kyoto.

My partner and I really enjoyed this experience, the guide was personal and provided an experience we were interested in. If he didn't know the answer to a question he would research it and get back to us. Overall we found it lovely to learn about Kyoto and have someone take control for 8 hours (no more maps or wondering where to go next). For these reasons I would recommend the tour even if you've been to Kyoto before.

very nice cooking class with a perfect english speaking teacher. all meals were very very delicious, the best food we ate in japan yet. if you don't like any of the ingredients, you can choose an alternative. also got insider tips from our teacher, thanks for that! :) we highly recommend this class if you are staying in kyoto or the area around.

The experience was excellent! it was amazing to experience some traditional Japanese culture, it was very tranquil, and the tea was delicious!

Great tour guide! Niall was professional and very helpful with providing a pleasant tour.