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Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace: Our most recommended tours and activities

Kyoto: Private Tour with Local Licensed Guide

1. 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.

Kyoto: Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle Guided Walking Tour

2. 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.

Welcome to Kyoto: Private Walking Tour with a Local

3. Welcome to Kyoto: Private Walking Tour with a Local

Transform the way you travel and make it as much about the people you meet as the places you see. Get a welcome to Kyoto from a local host eager to share all the tips and tricks to help you make the most of your stay. Meet at your hotel or accommodation and get familiar with your local neighborhood. Learn about the best places to eat, buy groceries and the easiest ways to get around. Alternatively, arrange to meet at a central landmark or intersection to start your walking tour. Hear about the top things to do, customized to your interests. By the end of the tour, you will feel more comfortable navigating the city on your own with all the information you need.

Kyoto: Private Walking Tour [Customizable]

4. Kyoto: Private Walking Tour [Customizable]

Explore the historic city of Kyoto and its temples and shrines. This private tour allows you to choose your own itinerary like this sample. Follow your guide to Kinkakuji Temple, Golden Pavilion or Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. After that, head to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a famous spot due to the thousands of Torii gates. Take a photo of the god of agriculture enshrined in Fushimi Inari Shine. Stop for lunch before visiting Kiyomizu temple, and experience the atmosphere of Kyoto's most famous district as you meander through Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka. Afterwards, if you have time, visit the Gion district, the famous geisha area. The tour ends at your hotel, or a location of your choosing.

Kyoto: 3.5-hours Historical Highlights Cycling Tour

5. Kyoto: 3.5-hours Historical Highlights Cycling Tour

Go on this cycling tour and explore the peaceful side of Kyoto.  Start this activity by learning about Nijo Castle. At Seimei Shrine you can find out how to pray at a Japanese shrine. Check out the Golden Pavilion and get ready to take great photos at Kamishichiken, the oldest geisha district in Japan.  After seeing the magical Golden Pavilion continue to cycle for a nice downhill ride to the Imperial Palace. Your guide will give you some insights into the history of this place.  At a traditional Japanese restaurant, you can discover the local cuisine with a variety of Soba dishes, as well as desserts with matcha and mochi. Feel free to visit a beautiful Japanese garden and a souvenir shop next door.  After this break, the tour will continue cycling back a relaxing ride along a beautiful route through the city. Finish your tour at the Kamogawa river and immerse yourself in this unique atmosphere while watching the locals enjoying their time.

Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto Imperial Palace

Want to discover all there is to do in Kyoto Imperial Palace? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Kyoto Imperial Palace

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 285 reviews

A lovely stroll through astonishingly sprawling garden grounds, and carefully tiptoeing across the nightingale floor of a majestic castle (despite the crowds). Calling Mardi our guide felt like a disservice. She was more of an erudite friend, full of interesting facts across a breadth of topics from history to architecture, food to culture. Mardi happily made a few tweaks to our tour, prompted by what we thought were just throwaway suggestions. “Since you said you were interested in <x>, let’s go this way.” Slight diversions opened up new paths, some small and some large. While we followed an overall itinerary it felt like the whole trip was subtly catered towards us. But trip didn’t just start in Kyoto, I need to add. The founder, Kevin, kicked it off at the point of booking with helpful emails and detailed communication before we even stepped foot in Japan. Easily one of the best tour experiences we have had. (We had a second tour booked with them as well!)

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!

Noriko was wonderful. She knows so much about Japanese culture and history. Her English was very good. 4 hours went by so quickly. I wish I had more time in Kyoto. I highly recommend Noriko to any tourist visiting Kyoto!

Kazu was really nice and knowledgeable about the area. He also went beyond his time to show us more places. I really appreciate his time and made our trip so much meaningful in Tokyo.

Kazuo San is a very experience tour guide. He provided lots of information and extremely attentive to the details.