Kyoto
Workshops & Classes

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Our most recommended Kyoto Workshops & Classes

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.

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Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

2. 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.

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Kyoto: Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class

3. 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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Kyoto: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

4. 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. 

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Kyoto: Traditional Tea Ceremony & Make Your Own Matcha Tea

5. Kyoto: Traditional Tea Ceremony & Make Your Own Matcha Tea

Take part in a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. Meet at in Nakagyo Ward of Kyoto, and enter the venue for the tea ceremony. Originating in China, the Tea ceremony, or sado, is a ritual which explores the Zen Buddhist principles of hospitality, simplicity, and harmony in the imperfect. Don a kimono and begin your ceremony by admiring a hanging scroll. As you enter the venue, your Omotesenke (host), will guide you through the steps of the ceremony. Admire the gentleness and grace of the Omotesenke as the hot water is slowly poured into the green tea powder. Slowly sip your green tea. Taste adorable small Japanese sweets representing the 4 seasons. Appreciate the traditional flower arrangements. Learn about the significance of each step from your Omotsenke as you take part in a meaningful ritual.

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Kyoto: Authentic Japanese Art Sushi Roll Lesson

6. 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.

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Kyoto: 2-Hour Maiko Makeover and Photo Shoot

7. 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.

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Kyoto Samurai Class: Become a Samurai Warrior

8. 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 Kembu. Watch a 3-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 wield the sword against a potential opponent. End with a respectful bow to your instructor, grab your souvenir photos and certificate of achievement before leaving.

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Kyoto: Morning Ikebana Class (Japanese Flower Arrangement)

9. Kyoto: Morning Ikebana Class (Japanese Flower Arrangement)

Your Ikebana lesson will be hosted by a master of Ikebana from the Mishq school, one of the most famous flower-arranging schools in Japan.   Your instructor will explain the history of Ikebana in English before showing you how to cut the flowers and trees at the correct angles for the arrangement. See how the flower arrangements differ from those in Western culture.  You may also take part in a tea ceremony after with a master craftsman after your Ikebana lesson. 

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Kyoto: Traditional Bookmaking Workshop

10. Kyoto: Traditional Bookmaking Workshop

Select your own kimono fabric and make your own book to take away with you. Be taught all the techniques and choose from a regular, advanced, or Temple Stamp bookmaking class. Visit the family-run studio of a traditional bookmaker in the Kitano Hakubaicho district near the Golden Temple. Feel welcomed in a location surrounded by local gardens in one of the few original geisha entertainment districts. Learn techniques like page stitching, sizing, and cover creation, as well as how to press a book. Select your favored patterns from kimono textiles and fabrics to design your item. The bookbinder will guide you as you glue, arrange, and assemble your own traditional Japanese book. Choose from a regular, advanced, or Temple Stamp bookmaking class. Temple Stamp books are used in Japan as passport-like proof of pilgrimage to a temple, while advanced classes will also teach embossing.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto

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What people are saying about Kyoto

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 86 reviews

As a man, this was such a fun experience. When I checked in, I think the (male) receptionist was a bit shocked to see it was only me, but he handled it with care and I didn't feel embarrassed at all. The photoshoot itself only lasted about 10 minutes, but they do offer to take some personal pictures with your cell phone. (So you don't only get the professionally shot photos advertised!) They also have an option to go to a private shoot in a home, but the cost was like $400 or something. Something to consider if you really want to have an extra special experience.

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!

Was super nice plaze! The hoste was super nice and we had a great time!

The guide speaks good English and is very knowledgeable.