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Kyoto Food & drinks

Our most recommended Kyoto Food & drinks

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: 2-Hour Gion Geisha District Tour

2. 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: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

3. 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 Evening Gion Food Tour

4. 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

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: Sake Tasting and walking around sake town with guide

7. 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: Walking Tour in Gion with Breakfast at Nishiki Market

8. 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.

Kyoto: Authentic Japanese Art Sushi Roll Lesson

9. Kyoto: Authentic Japanese Art Sushi Roll Lesson

Make sushi rolls that look like a beautiful flower during this fun and crafty lesson with local experts. Made using rice vinegar, sugar, sesame, ginger, vegetables, and nori (seaweed), you will learn about the essential history and trivia of sushi rolls. Wear a beautiful komono and enjoy fresh Japanese tea and water during the class. Japanese sushi rolls were first created between 1750 and 1776 during the Edo period (1603-1868) when the popular culture blossomed. At that time, sushi made using sake and vinegar spread and a wide variety of foods became popular. In the early 1800s, sushi that could be made quickly using vinegar became mainstream. In the Showa period, sushi rolls began to made in a more complicated pattern. Using special recipes and ingredients, you will acquire the skills to continue making beautiful sushi rolls at home.

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.

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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

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!

Niall, my tour guide tonight truelly was one of the best. His knowledge of the area was delivered with ease, he certainly knows his stuff. Answered all our questions & took his time with us. If you have a few hours spare in Kyoto, Niall is who you should spend it with

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

Bring with a local and experiencing places we would never have found ourselves, let alone known how to order, was priceless. The information that Anna provided to us was interesting and informative. Highly recommended.

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.