Kyoto Prefecture
Garden & Park Tours

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Our most recommended Kyoto Prefecture Garden & Park Tours

Kyoto: Japanese Gardens Private Customizable Tour

1. Kyoto: Japanese Gardens Private Customizable Tour

Explore the many gardens of Kyoto on this customizable tour with a private guide. Let the guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly.  Visit various styled gardens and experience traditional Japanese spirits which are represented in plants, rocks, and the entire design. Relax at both, artistic landscape gardens with seasonal plants and dry landscape gardens at Zen temples. Learn about the meaning and the history of the gardens from your knowledgeable guide. Most popular places to visit for this tour: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Kinkakuji Temple Ginkakuji Temple Ryoanji Temple Honen-in Nanzenji Temple Tofuku-ji Temple Kyoto Imperial Palace Shugakuin Imperial Villa Daitoku-ji Temple Kokedera Suzumusidera Katsura Imperial Villa Kyoto Botanical Garden

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Kyoto: Nijo-jo Castle Guided Walking Tour

2. Kyoto: Nijo-jo Castle Guided Walking Tour

Explore Niji-jo Castle with a licensed and experienced multilingual guide, who will introduce you to sides of Japan that ordinary tourists do not usually get to discover. Learn why this monument's feudal-era castle architecture is so significant in terms of history, culture, and art history. Hear all about the 400-year old castle and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its significance in the history of Japan.

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Kyoto: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Walking Food Tour

3. Kyoto: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Walking Food Tour

Start the tour from the JR Saga Arashiyama station. The Arashiyama district, located west of the Kyoto city center, has long been a scenic leisure spot. Many ancient aristocrats had their villas here 1000 years ago and enjoyed writing literature and poetry. Today, the area is one of the most popular tourist sites in Kyoto.  First, explore the Bamboo Forest and quiet Sagano District, a peaceful neighborhood known for its beautiful maple trees. Then, visit Tenryu-ji temple which was built in 1339 by the Shogun Ashikaga in memory of the Emperor Go-Daigo and was a complex of more than 100 buildings. They were mostly destroyed by fires and civil wars over the years, but the traditional garden remains in its original form, designed by the monk Muso. Enjoy walking in the landscaped garden. After walking, taste Japanese croquette, leek pancakes, and sweet potato. Then, head over to the Togetsukyo bridge which, as the area’s landmark, dates back to the 9th-century and provides a good photo taking spot for visitors today. At the end of this half-day tour, have a nice sweets. If you like, you can enjoy shopping around after the tour because the this tour finished in a district where you can find many souvenirs.

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Kyoto: Cultural and Spiritual Tour with Zen Meditation

4. Kyoto: Cultural and Spiritual Tour with Zen Meditation

Stumble upon Nonomiya Shrine, a sacred site for the purification and preparation of the priestesses of the Ise Grand Shrine. Wander through pretty Kameyama Park and stop on Togetsukyo Bridge, from where you can admire the swooping cormorant birds. During the summer months, trained cormorants are used in a method of fishing called ukai, where the birds catch the fish for the fishermen. Continue your way up the ancient stone steps of Daihikaku Senkoji Temple, located on the side of a scenic mountain with panoramas of the Hozu River valley, Arashiyama area, and Kyoto City on the horizon. Here you will have the unique opportunity to engage in an authentic Zen meditation under the guidance of a resident monk. Partake in a traditional matcha green tea ceremony, one of the hallmarks of Zen Buddhist culture. Head back along the Hozu riverside to the lively main road of Arashiyama where your tour ends, outside the Randen Keifuku Arashiyama station. The station area provides an assortment of eating and shopping options for you to indulge in. There is also a glowing display of beautiful Kimono fabric patterns in transparent tubes, known as the Kimono forest. We also recommend the foot spa, where natural spring water can soothe your weary feet.

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Kyoto: 3.5-Hour Small Group Cycling Tour

5. Kyoto: 3.5-Hour Small Group Cycling Tour

Discover the real Kyoto while cruising the streets of Japan’s cultural capital on this half-day Kyoto bike tour. With a history spanning over 1,200 years, the city streets have a lot to say, so make like the locals and jump on a bike to discover it all. Start the day cycling along the Kamo River, taking in the views of the city’s downtown and passing the wealth of traditional riverside restaurants. Call by the Heian-Jingu Shrine, built in 1894 to commemorate the 1,100 anniversary of the foundation of the capital. Next, weave your way along quaint canals to reach the impressive Nanzenji Temple. Admire the temple’s spacious grounds with a surprising feature: a scenic aqueduct, with the Higashiyama Mountains as their backdrop. This is one of the most important Zen temples in all of Japan, so soak up the surrounds before jumping back on your bike and heading off down the Path of Philosophy. Arguably the most popular walking path in Kyoto, the Path of Philosophy is shaded by hundreds of cherry trees that erupt into bloom every April. It's a spectacular sight to see then, but it's rather beautiful the rest of the year as well. It's a great place to contemplate the tranquillity and beauty of the area, just like Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan's most famous philosophers, did when he named this route on his daily commute to Kyoto University. Cycle back towards Kyoto Station, along a beautiful canal with old teahouses and traditional bathhouses among the cherry trees and traditional narrow backroads. We'll end this Kyoto city tour back at the city's buzzing station.

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Kyoto: 3-Hour Cycling Tour

6. 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. 

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Kyoto: Private World Heritage Temples and Shrines Tour

7. Kyoto: Private World Heritage Temples and Shrines Tour

Meet your guide at Kyoto station to start your experience. Take a bus to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, where students come to pray from all over Japan. Continue to Hirano Shrine, famous for its beautiful cherry trees. Walk to Kinkaku-ji, the famous golden temple, and learn its history from your local guide. Stop for lunch at a popular soba noodle restaurant before relaxing in the gardens at Ninna-ji, another world-heritage listed temple. Ride the bus to your last stop, Ryoan-ji, also a World Heritage site. Admire the stone garden that makes this temple special.

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Kyoto: 3-Hour Fushimi Inari Shrine Hidden Hiking Tour

8. 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.

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Kyoto: Ginkaku-ji, Philopher's Path and Nanzen-ji Tour

9. 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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Kyoto: Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle Guided Walking Tour

10. Kyoto: Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle Guided Walking Tour

Experience a 3-hour immersive experience filled with unforgettable sights and stories on this walking tour in Kyoto.  First stop is the Imperial Palace. Enjoy a brief stroll around the gardens before entering the Palace’s grand buildings. As you walk around the complex, your guide will tell you stories about the palace’s history and design.  After leaving the Imperial Palace, feel like a local as you cross the Takeyamachi area, where an interesting mix of traditional Japanese homes, modern buildings, and locals shops and cafes come together. After a casual 15-minute stroll, you’ll reach Nijo Castle.  Nijo Castle dates back to the early 1600s, and consists of two palaces. The first is Ninomaru Palace, where you'll relive the days when the Shogun held court and conducted affairs from this imposing complex. After leaving the Ninomaru Palace's interior, you will continue to the second palace of the development, the smaller Honmaru Palace. Here a fortified wall and other defensive features remain, as well as a peaceful garden. Combining the Imperial Palace with Nijo Castle allows you to take a closer look at some of Kyoto's most valuable treasures, while also affording you lots of time to spend the rest of the day as you please.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto Prefecture

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What people are saying about Kyoto Prefecture

Overall rating

4.1 / 5

based on 127 reviews

The tour basically enters the Fushimi Inari shrine area from the back, meaning the crowds are pretty thin at first and you have a moment there to yourself. But first we paused at a bamboo grove that was otherwise empty of visitors. The path through the shrine itself was inspiring and scenic. Our guide Suzy explained the significance of statuary, rituals and other significant sights along the way. We stopped for some coffee and a hardboiled egg each, served beneath a canopy along the stone-paved trail and tucked next to shrines. It was a fun experience made better by our knowledgeable and patient guide.

Fantabulous way to see the natural beauty of Kyoto even though it is winter time! Blessed to have sunny weather. I like the nature and the eco-friendly way of viewing the city. Glad to have an experienced guide, Ryo, so we didn't get lost and heard anecdotal stories of the various places. It was a pleasant ride by the river, along the small streets of Gion, and a gradual ascend to the top to the many scenic shrines and temples. I didn't feel that I was going uphill because Ryo directed us in zigzag manner upwards. Thoughtful of her.

Warm, friendly, informative guide. Beautiful walk through woods, bamboo forest, and small shrines leading up to Fushimi Inari Shrine. Great way to see the area without entering with the masses of new year's visitors from the front entrance. Thank you.

The tour up the other side was great even after a rainy day. There was hardly any visitors to the shrine at the first part which was great. The whole experience was well informed and great hidden scenery for all selfie takers.

Guide was excellent. Route was really nice and the level of information given was just perfect. Didn't feel overloaded with facts at any time.