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Kyoto Guided tours

Our most recommended Kyoto Guided 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.

Higashiyama | Kyoto: Sakura Season Private Rickshaw Tour

5. Higashiyama | Kyoto: Sakura Season Private Rickshaw Tour

Explore the traditional neighbourhood of Higashiyama from the comfort of a Rickshaw with a guide and see the famous cherry blossoms. Discover why it is the favourite season among the locals. Admire the well-preserved wooden townhouses and pass through the vibrant geisha district in the Gion area. See the cherry blossoms as they paint parts of the sky and cityscape pink. Travel back in time as your guide pulls you through the historic neighbourhood, filled with traditional buildings and shops. Meet your guide at the appointed meeting place. During the day, choose from the well-rounded 70 minutes to the 120-minute tour including a stop to walk amidst the cherry blossoms at the World Heritage Kiyomizu-Dera Temple.

Kyoto: Arashiyama Customized Rickshaw Tour & Bamboo Forest

6. Kyoto: Arashiyama Customized Rickshaw Tour & Bamboo Forest

Your guide and chariot await at Kyoto’s iconic Togetsu-kyo bridge in Arashiyama, a nationally designated historic site and place of scenic beauty on Kyoto’s western fringe. Be amazed by the district’s main attraction, a towering grove of thick bamboo stalks with a pedestrian and rickshaw path cutting through it. Seeing its beauty, you’ll understand why the Japanese have a fond appreciation for nature. Admire the scenery, which is a blend of serene nature, tended gardens, and dazzling shrines, as your rickshaw driver pulls you up the mountain. Next you’ll see the beautiful Nonomiya Shrine, a Shinto site. If you’ve chosen the 45-minute tour, at this point you’ll end back at the starting point. But if you choose a longer tour, up to 3 hours and 10 minutes, you’ll continue through more of Arashiyama’s wealth of sites. Explore Rakushisya’s cottage, a rustic thatch-roof cottage that was once the home of one of Japan’s revered poets and haiku masters. Those continuing on will be pulled to spots not seen by many tourists. Explore more ancient temples, including Shinto shrines and the Buddhist Nison-in, as your guide whisks you through some amazing places before returning to Togetsu-kyo bridge. The Kyoto Arashiyama Tour is available in four different options: 45 minutes, 1 hour and 10 minutes, 2 hours and 10 minutes, and 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Kyoto Evening Gion Food Tour

7. Kyoto Evening Gion Food Tour

Starting in Kamogawa, you will stroll along the local streets and head toward Kamogawa River, with some possible seasonal food stops along the way, to gaze upon the many Japanese locals enjoying the cool of the evening, while sitting on the terraces along the water known as Kamogawa yuka noryo in Japanese.   After crossing the Kamogawa River, you'll enter into the Pontocho area, a district of Kyoto, home to many Geisha houses and traditional tea houses. In the evenings you'll be able to see Geisha walking the streets. Not long after our time in Pontocho, we will be in historical Gion, the most prominent entertainment district and Kyoto’s center of traditional arts. Gion is clad with old wooden buildings, teahouses and very exclusive Japanese restaurants, mostly by invitation only. Your guide will tell you stories about this very exquisite part of Kyoto along the way. At the end of the short journey, you will sit down to a 10-course Kaiseki dinner, prepared especially and specifically for Arigato Japan. This should be a moment in your life you will never forget, so the details will be  reserved for those who join the tour. To give you an idea, one of the 10 courses will be an ornate platter mounted with living fish, and you can enjoy the freshest sashimi straight from the bone. The other 9 courses are a mystery guaranteed to surprise and delight your culinary senses.

Kyoto Matcha Green Tea Tour

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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.

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Frequently asked questions about Kyoto

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Arashiyama

Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto

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What people are saying about Kyoto

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