Kyoto Prefecture
Night Tours

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Our most recommended Kyoto Prefecture Night Tours

Night Walk in Gion: Kyoto's Geisha District

1. 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.

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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.

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Kyoto: 3-Hour Guided Food Tour in Gion at Night

3. Kyoto: 3-Hour Guided Food Tour in Gion at Night

Meet your guide at the Izumo no Okuni statue at Gion Shijo Station, then set off for a tasty 3-hour tour of local restaurants and street food vendors. The tour has been specially designed for you to experience the most authentic side of Kyoto and takes you to places that are normally hard to find for tourists. Throughout the night your guide is on hand to advise what you should order and how to order. Head to the first location of the night and admire Gion's picturesque streets and alleyways full of traditional Kyoto-style buildings with Machiya architecture along the way. Arrive at the restaurant and dine on a selection of meat or vegetables that have been simply but perfectly seasoned to create a pure and flavorsome eating experience. At the next stop, enjoy mouth-watering tempura skewers or traditional sushi, paired with authentic and unique matcha beverages. The final stop is a quirky standing sake bar, where you can taste a selection of sake drinks. This tour is an unforgettable opportunity to see and experience Kyoto nightlife like a real local, and visit bars and restaurants that most tourists miss.

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Lonely Planet Experiences: Kyoto Evening Tour with a Local

4. Lonely Planet Experiences: Kyoto Evening Tour with a Local

Experience the best travel stories for yourself! Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems on this Lonely Planet Experience. Immerse yourself in the drama of Kyoto at night and walk the lantern-lit wooden streets. Get a feel for the nightlife scene with the help of a local guide. Go to the Minamiza Theatre in the famous Geisha district of Gion and keep a look out for the geiko and maiko. Escape the crowds and venture through the backstreets to arrive at Yasaka Shrine. Marvel as it is brought to life by the bright lights and buzzing crowds. Continue to the north part of Gion to find narrow streets lined with smaller and more modern clubs and bars that contrast with the Old Town. Cross the Kamo River and get a sprawling view of the restaurant district before entering the entertainment district of Pontocho, lit by traditional Japanese lanterns. Go to the Teramachi arcade, where merchants sell everything from Manga comic books to statues of ancient gods and high-quality sushi knives. End with a visit to the Nishiki food market to check out a tachinomiya (stand-up only bar) popular with the locals.

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Kyoto: 2-Hour Gion Geisha District Tour

5. 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.

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Kyoto: Luxury Sake, Whiskey, and Cocktail Tour

6. Kyoto: Luxury Sake, Whiskey, and Cocktail Tour

At the heart of Kyoto are the “Flower Districts” around Gion and Pontocho. These are the city’s most famous entertainment districts and the center of traditional culture and nightlife. We will start our tour strolling around a more hidden flower-district. Flower-districts are the historic name for areas with tea houses featuring music and dance performed by Kyoto’s famous geisha. As dusk falls we will explore the alleys and back streets and make our way to a hidden cocktail bar that has been awarded for their amazing bartenders and gold-star original drink creations. At our first stop we will try local snacks paired with a delicious cocktail of your choice. This hidden gem bar has a few special features– you can even order a drink based on your “mood” just talk to the bar staff and they will make something special just for you! As the evening deepens we will make our way around the small side streets and see some of the best views of Japan’s ancient capital. Our next stop will be a restaurant in a family home that dates from over 100 years ago. The host of this delicious riverside gem will be sure to entertain us with stories and specialty food. Try a local Kyoto sake and learn about sake (rice wine) and why Kyoto is one of Japan’s best regions for brewing this famous beverage. At this spot we will try the proprietor’s famous “appetizer surprise box” and two small plates- dishes featuring mochi used in surprising ways. You will surely enjoy the signature Kamo tasting dish — the chef’s playful Kyoto take on Peking Duck. Our final stop is a whiskey tasting at a posh bar in the Pontocho district. Have a chance to try your choice of Japanese whiskies and see why they have become famous the world over. Non-whiskey drinkers can enjoy other beverages. We will pair our final drink with your choice of sweets or bar snacks and finish up the tour with an atmospheric stroll through this lively nightlife district.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto Prefecture

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What people are saying about Kyoto Prefecture

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 628 reviews

Mardi was right on time on a crisp Christmas evening with a cheery demeanor and a pleasant smile, even though we both wore COVID masks. She had an exhaustive knowledge of Japanese history and culture, including local landmarks from temples to tea houses to brothels. My favorite tale was the creation of a local shrine to the tenuki spirit that dragged people into the nearby river. She also picked excellent places to grab some refreshments. The cheese and tofu soup was the highlight of the trip. I totally recommend Mardi's tour of the Gion and surrounding area if you find yourself in Kyoto.

She conveyed the mystery and enchantment of Gion. She was well prepared and was excited to point out special sightings on our way. Familiar with the history of the culture and made a rainy night enjoyable.

Great tour guide! Niall was professional and very helpful with providing a pleasant tour.

Mie was knowledgeable and engaging. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour.

Very interesting! The guide was really nice and prepared! Love it!