Kyoto
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Our most recommended Kyoto Nature & Adventure

Kyoto: Arashiyama Customized Rickshaw Tour & Bamboo Forest

1. Kyoto: Arashiyama Customized Rickshaw Tour & Bamboo Forest

Your guide and chariot await at Kyoto’s iconic Togetsu-kyo bridge in Arashiyama, a nationally designated historic site and place of scenic beauty on Kyoto’s western fringe. Be amazed by the district’s main attraction, a towering grove of thick bamboo stalks with a pedestrian and rickshaw path cutting through it. Seeing its beauty, you’ll understand why the Japanese have a fond appreciation for nature. Admire the scenery, which is a blend of serene nature, tended gardens, and dazzling shrines, as your rickshaw driver pulls you up the mountain. Next you’ll see the beautiful Nonomiya Shrine, a Shinto site. If you’ve chosen the 45-minute tour, at this point you’ll end back at the starting point. But if you choose a longer tour, up to 3 hours and 10 minutes, you’ll continue through more of Arashiyama’s wealth of sites. Explore Rakushisya’s cottage, a rustic thatch-roof cottage that was once the home of one of Japan’s revered poets and haiku masters. Those continuing on will be pulled to spots not seen by many tourists. Explore more ancient temples, including Shinto shrines and the Buddhist Nison-in, as your guide whisks you through some amazing places before returning to Togetsu-kyo bridge. The Kyoto Arashiyama Tour is available in four different options: 45 minutes, 1 hour and 10 minutes, 2 hours and 10 minutes, and 3 hours and 10 minutes.

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Kyoto: 1 or 2-Day Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

2. Kyoto: 1 or 2-Day Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

Discover the highlights of Kyoto with a 1 or 2-day ticket for the convenient hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Admire the panoramic views from on board the open-top double decker bus, and hop on or off at any of the stops along the route. Enjoy informative audio commentary on board the bus, available in 7 languages. Choose this efficient way of exploring the must-see places and attractions in Kyoto. The bus takes you past many of the city's top attractions, including UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji, and Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. Buses run every 30 minutes, and you can enjoy unlimited rides for the duration of your ticket's validity.  Bus stops along the route:  • Kyoto Station • Karasuma Gojo • Shijo Karasuma / Nishiki-ichiba Market • Nijo-jo Castle • Nijo Station • Kitano-tenmangu Shrine / Kamishichiken • Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) • Daitokuji Temple • Kyoto Imperial Palace (Doshisha University) • Heian-jingu Shrine / Okazaki Park • Gion (Kotowa-Kyoto Yasaka) • Gojozaka (Kiyomizu-dera Temple / Gion) • Sanjusangendo / Kyoto National Museum (Hyatt Regency Kyoto)

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From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

3. From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

Visit some of Kyoto's most famous cultural sites on this day-long bus tour from Osaka. Hop aboard a comfortable coach and drive to Japan's ancient capital to see the brilliant torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the UNESCO-listed Kiyomizu-dera temple, and the golden pavilion of Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto is filled with ancient historic sites dating back to the 6th century. Get dropped off first at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Spend time wandering the brilliant paths before heading to your next destination. Arrive at Kiyomizu-dera, one of the most iconic temples in Japan. Take ample time to wander through the temple. Walk across the impressive wooden stage, which juts out from the hillside and was constructed without the use of a single nail. Next, stop at Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion due to the fact that it's covered in gold leaf. Wander through the immaculate gardens surrounding the temple, admiring the original Japanese designs that have been preserved since Ashikaga's time. Finish the day in Arashiyama, which has been a popular nature-viewing destination since the Heian Period. Take a stroll through the cool Sagano Bamboo Forest and listen to the distinct rustle of bamboo leaves as you walk. In the late afternoon, hop on the bus back to Osaka.

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Arashiyama: Bamboo Grove and Temple Tour

4. Arashiyama: Bamboo Grove and Temple Tour

For an easy day trip from the heart of Kyoto, there is nowhere more magical than Arashiyama. Discover a district tucked away in the west of the city at the foot of the Arashiyama Mountains. This enchanting area is easy to get to but the tranquility you will find in the stunning Bamboo Grove can feel like another world. Explore the enchanting forest with a local guide. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the mountainous landscape. Explore the riverbanks around the Togetsukyo Bridge and winding paths through the bamboo to discover temples and shrines hidden amongst leafy forests. Visit the Monkey Park and where you can encounter wild monkeys at close distance and enjoy watching them frolic about. Visit some of Kyoto’s most important temples and shrines and enjoy a break from the city’s bustling center. Explore the beautifully preserved traditional Saga-Toriimoto Street and see the historic temples and sacred shrines that the area is renowned for including the Tenryu-ji Temple and smaller sites like Gioji, hidden away in a secluded maple forest. Enjoy an authentic meal at a neighborhood eatery that suits your tastes and budget where the locals eat. Get tips and tricks from your guide about other areas of Kyoto to explore. Your itinerary will be fully personalized according to your preferences. Once you’ve booked, someone from the local partner's team will be in touch, so just let them know if you have any special requirements. You'll be paired with guides that are passionate about the place they call home and who choose to spend their free time sharing it with like-minded travelers matched to them. Book an early time slot if you wish to escape the crowds.

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Kansai-Hiroshima JR & Bus Pass

5. Kansai-Hiroshima JR & Bus Pass

Explore the Kansai region, the spiritual heart of Japan which is home to some of the country's most interesting cities. Once you’ve picked up your pass, you’ll be able to ride the JR West railways and buses throughout the Kansai region down to Hiroshima.  Discover the vibrant city of Osaka and its amazing food scene. Visit the ancient temples and shrines of Kyoto. See Nara's natural beauty, try the beef in Kobe, visit Himeji castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or connect with nature in the forests and waterfalls of Wakayama. Walk the UNESCO Kumano Kodo in Kishi, admire the best dunes in Tottori, relax in the Kinosaki Onsen's hot spring, or take amazing photos in the top Japanese garden of Okayama's Korakuen.  Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Atomic Bomb Dome and Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima by ferry. Take the road-less traveled and use the JR West bus network to see cities such as Kyoto, Shiga, Tsuruga, and Iga-Ueno.

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Kyoto: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Walking Food Tour

6. 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

7. 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 Sake Brewery Tour

8. Kyoto Sake Brewery Tour

The Gekkeikan Okura sake museum have been making sake since 1637, with a nearly 4 century-old process. You'll be able to see how things have been done for generations.  At the museum you will also get a chance to see the sake brewery and get a sense of the traditional brewing process which involves a combination of water, malt, yeast and steamed rice. The different cut or variety of rice plays a big part in the distinction of the sake. If a grain of rice has a little grain shaved off, it is more bitter. Generally, the more grain that is shaved, the more sweet it will taste.

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Kyoto: Kiyomizu Temple, Imperial Palace & Arashiyama Forest

9. Kyoto: Kiyomizu Temple, Imperial Palace & Arashiyama Forest

First stop will be the Kiyomizu Temple. Early in the morning before the crowds arrive, explore the temple's impressive architecture and take photos from Kyoto's most famous viewpoint  called 'the stage of Kiyomizu'. Next, walk down to the Otowa Waterfall and pray for your fortune. Your driver-guide will tell you about its history and the proper manner to drink the water. Then make a quick photo stop at the massive torii gate of the Heian Shrine.  Next stop is the massive Kyoto Imperial Palace, located in central Kyoto. Inside the palace, hear about the many different buildings and what role each one played. Explore the beautiful and tranquil Japanese garden.  You can then make a quick lunch stop at a local shopping mall, where you can choose from a variety of options. Experiencing real local life in this shopping mall, where there are few tourists. After lunch, visit Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, one of the most famous temples in Japan. Your driver-guide will take photos of you with the Golden Pavilion behind you, and explain about the different customs of the temple.  Finally head to Arashiyama in the western area of Kyoto city. This area is famous for its beautiful bamboo forest. Walk through the forest slowly to fully enjoy the serene atmosphere it has to offer. Walk past the Imamiya shrine and back up to Okochi Sanso.  After enjoying the time in the bamboo forest, walk back to the bus to head back to central Kyoto. If you wish to stay longer in the Arashiyama area to visit other places such as Monkey Park, the Tenryuji Temple or the Okochi Sanso garden, you can say goodbye to your group here. Your driver-guide will tell you how to get back to central Kyoto.

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Kyoto: 3.5-Hour Small Group Cycling Tour

10. 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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Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto

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What people are saying about Kyoto

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 441 reviews

There is no way you can see everything in one day if that's what you're thinking! Plan ahead what you want to see so you're not disappointed. Also dress appropriately as only open seats are available.

We had an absolutely wonderful experience! Our guide, Yuka, was incredibly knowledgeable, flexible to our interests, and a great photographer. would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Kyoto.

Thank you! It was great to have a reserved tour! Our two Rickshaw drivers were awesome. They were ready early and we really enjoyed our tour! Thank you for the time and attention!

Kyoto’s not too huge or traffic jammed for the busses get to the stops quickly without any trouble and they’ve chosen really great places.

Great guide with good conversation and information about the region. Lovely hike and first experience at Japanese Onsen was enjoyable!