Add dates

Kyoto Small group activities

Our most recommended Kyoto Small group activities

Kyoto: Tea Ceremony Ju-An at Jotokuji Temple

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

2. 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 Samurai Class: Become a Samurai Warrior

3. Kyoto Samurai Class: Become a Samurai Warrior

Study the art of the samurai warrior class that ruled ancient Japan for centuries. Practice the stylized movements that make up the samurai technique as you handle a sword and uncover the discipline of Kenbu. Watch a 4-minute film about the basics of the samurai. Then, suit up and take hold of your samurai sword. Learn how to bow before your sword training begins. Discover how to draw it and replace it in its protective scabbard. Get a short photo shoot in your samurai suit, and then discover how to show respect to your opponent with the sword. And with a respectful bow to your instructor, grab your souvenir photos and certificate of achievement before leaving.

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

4. 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 Nishiki Market Food Tour

5. 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: 2-Hour Maiko Makeover and Photo Shoot

6. Kyoto: 2-Hour Maiko Makeover and Photo Shoot

On this special 2-hour activity, learn about the life and art of the maiko, or apprentice geiko. Maiko are female performing artists who wear traditional makeup, hairstyles and costumes. They work in the Gion area and perform various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance and games. The maiko are apprentices and are between 15 and 20 years old. You don’t have to be in this age range to participate in the Yumeyakata Maiko Makeover project, however! The professional staff will apply your makeup, use a wig, and dress you extravagantly to look like the real thing. They'll also show you the proper maiko poses for beautiful pictures.  The package includes studio photography, so you’ll have souvenir photos to show your family and friends.

Kyoto: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

7. Kyoto: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

Join an afternoon Izakaya cooking class to enjoy a great way to immerse yourself in Japanese dining culture as well as learn authentic Japanese foods that are eaten at home and in local restaurants. The cooking course consists of two parts. First, you will cook 2 or 3 dishes together with your chef and enjoy them. Then you will return to the kitchen and learn 2 or 3 more dishes before eating once more. As in many Izakaya (over the counter) restaurants, be ready to talk with your chef while cooking and eating at the same time. 

Kyoto: Nishiki Market and Gion Cultural Walking Food Tour

8. Kyoto: Nishiki Market and Gion Cultural Walking Food Tour

Start at the vast 400-year-old Nishiki Market, nicknamed 'Kyoto's Kitchen,' where over 130 food shops and stalls will beckon your taste buds. Stroll through the Market and learn about its history and taste the various dishes unique to Kyoto including: Tofu Skin, Sesame Cracker, Japanese Pike Conger Eel, Sake, and etc. Then, rest your appetite by visiting a nearby shrine dedicated to the God of Education. Head for Pontocho Street by crossing through Teramachi Street, Shijo Street, and Kiyamachi Street- all of which will enable you to immerse yourself in modern Japanese culture. Pontocho street is very special, even for locals, because it is one out of the five Geisha districts in Kyoto. From here, you will walk across the majestic Kamo river and taste local sweets. The final section of the tour will lead you to Gion district (which is also another Geisha district). The guide will take you out of mainstream hustle and bustle of the crowded streets and into the more photogenic and hidden spots. Not only will you be educated about the Geisha tradition, you may even meet one. The tour finishes in Gion District on Shijo Street. From the finishing point, you can easily access Kiyomizudera which is most famous temple in Kyoto known for its stage with a great view.

Kyoto: 3-Hour Cycling Tour

9. Kyoto: 3-Hour Cycling Tour

Kyoto is a city that is best explored by bicycle. Your guides have carefully curated a selection of tours that focus on showing you the beautiful contours of this ancient capital. More than just visiting the busy tourist sites, these journeys are crafted on leisure, scenery, and culture, while uncovering some of the best-kept secrets in Kyoto. You begin with stops at World Heritage temples and shrines, and gradually make your way along cozy backstreets to quieter, more intimate Zen garden settings. You will be taken to places rarely seen by the average Kyoto dweller, tranquil environments carefully hidden from the hustle and bustle of the urban landscape. Treat yourself to a new and unique understanding of Kyoto, put down the guidebook, and allow us to give you a truly unforgettable experience. 

Kyoto: Rent a Kimono for 1 day

10. Kyoto: Rent a Kimono for 1 day

Explore the picturesque streets of Kyoto while wearing a traditional Japanese kimono, and you will leave with many beautiful photos and memories. Kimonos can be rented both for men and women. The package includes the kimono itself, the sash belt (obi), the Japanese clutch, the Japanese sandals, and the Japanese socks. Don't worry about hair styling, because that is also available (additional cost), as are accessories and make-up (also for an additional cost). Discover Kyoto in a fun and traditional way with this unique opportunity to try the clothing used at formal Japanese occasions such as weddings.

  • Guided tours
  • Workshops & classes
  • Other experiences
  • Adventures
36 activities found
Sort by:
Page 1 of 3

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

Want to discover all there is to do in Kyoto? Click here for a full list.

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!

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.

Para alem dos ritos da cerimonia, foi uma experiência sobre a história e os valores da cultura japonesa. A instrutora é extremamente elegante e gentil. Vale à pena!!!

My son and I had such a great time at this workshop. It was a highlight of our short trip to Japan! Tsutomu and Yoko were great teachers and so inviting.

Equipe profissional, relax, divertida. A experiência em si vale mais do que a foto.