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Kyoto Neighborhood tours

Our most recommended Kyoto Neighborhood tours

Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

1. 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

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: Private Tour with Local Licensed Guide

3. 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

4. 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 Samurai Class: Become a Samurai Warrior

5. 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: Rent a Kimono for 1 day

6. 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.

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. 

Higashiyama | Kyoto: Sakura Season Private Rickshaw Tour

8. 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: 3-Hour Fushimi Inari Shrine Hidden Hiking Tour

9. Kyoto: 3-Hour Fushimi Inari Shrine Hidden Hiking Tour

Take the only tour at Fushimi Inari that goes off paved paths and onto actual forest trails. Avoid the crowds of tourists trying to get a good photo and enjoy a personal hiking experience in a small group. Discover hidden bamboo groves, secluded trails that lead to old and hidden altars, and the beautiful evergreens around Fushimi Inari Shrine and its thousands of red torii gates. The tour begins at Tofukuji Station. From there, wander into a quiet neighborhood and visit small shrines on the way to the mountain. Then, take a trail to see a wonderful bamboo grove, and connect to the main path filled with the famous vermilion torii gates. Reach the summit of the mountain, which is covered in the shrine altars, then venture back down the mountain on a forested trail, visiting smaller shrines on the way to another bamboo grove. This will lead you to the most famous area of Fushimi Inari, perfect for a memorable photo. Finally, finish at the main shrine at the base of the mountain, where you can enjoy some local street food before you continue your adventure in the wonderful city of Kyoto. Half of the tour is walking in the forest, so you don't get sunlight directly.

Kyoto Evening Gion Food Tour

10. 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.

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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 841 reviews

This was an amazing experience! Our host was so kind and patient. Even though the ceremony should be quiet, she made sure to answer all of our questions. The ceremony itself is very beautiful, like a dance. There are moves and steps that must be taken and each one is significant. You get to practice a bit of the ceremony before starting, participate in the actual ceremony, blend your own matcha tea, and enjoy snacks and conversation with the host. The location is very close to the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) so you should visit that site before or after the ceremony. If you go in the winter you can use the in-ground water heater for the tea ceremony! This was a really special and unique part of our trip where we could learn a lot about Japanese culture that originated in Kyoto. If you are thinking of doing a tea ceremony, you should do this one!

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

My friend and I learnt a lot about Japanese tea culture; we also wore kimono. It was a nice experience overall and we met people from different parts of the world too!

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