Kyoto
Sightseeing Walking Tours

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Our most recommended Kyoto Sightseeing Walking Tours

Kyoto: Traditional Townhouse Lunch & Kimono Tea Ceremony

1. Kyoto: Traditional Townhouse Lunch & Kimono Tea Ceremony

Do you know what a Japanese old townhouse (machiya) is? It is a house built in the Meiji period (1868-1912) that is three times as deep as the length of the building facing the passageway. Japanese people in the past built culture, business, and family here. What is the structure like inside it? First of all, after you arrive, a kimono made of authentic silk will be quickly fitted for you. If you wish, you will also be taught how to behave in kimono. After that, the tour will take you to the mysterious three storehouses, the six tsuboniwa gardens where you can feel the flow of seasonal winds, the tea ceremony room "Rakuju", and the detached tatami room where Noh plays were performed. Please feel the lifestyle that cultivated the spirit of the Japanese people here. Tea is an inseparable part of Japanese culture. You will hear an explanation of the tea ceremony in the tea room and watch a tea ceremony performance. Feel as if you were transported back in time to the Meiji period and experience the spirit of Wabi-Sabi. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional bento box lunch served in a tatami room that has continued for 100 years. Using Kyoto vegetables, fish, beans, miso, and tofu, all carefully and elegantly prepared with Japanese tastes. If you prefer, you can make it vegetarian or vegan. Please feel free to take as many pictures as you like during your stay. We hope you enjoy your stay and experience Japanese culture to the fullest.

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.

Kyoto: All-Inclusive 3-Hour Food and Culture Tour in Gion

3. 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.

Kyoto: Japanese Gardens Private Customizable Tour

4. 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

Night Walk in Gion: Kyoto's Geisha District

5. 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.

Kyoto: Family Friendly Personalized Tour

6. Kyoto: Family Friendly Personalized Tour

Get to know your local host who can give you advice and recommendations for things to see and do with your family. 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. They will also suggest family-friendly restaurants where the locals eat that serve the kind of food you all like. Explore the temples, gardens, and places in Kyoto that make the perfect backdrop for your family day out. Visit world famous attractions where your kids can learn and explore, parks to run off any extra energy, and interactive exhibits at the Railway Museum to get hands-on. Explore the unique and exciting aspects of Kyoto’s magical culture. Explore the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which is a great temple for children and adults. You can also visit Tainai-Meguri if none of your party are claustrophobic or afraid of the dark. Jishu-jinja and Otowa-no-taki Spring are other temples you can explore. The Sannen-Zaka and Ninen-Zaka preserved neighborhoods are beautiful lanes lined with restaurants, teahouses, and souvenir stores which the kids will also enjoy. At Maruyama-koen Park you can see some of the famous Kyoto rickshaw pullers and the carp and turtles in the pond. Shoren-in Temple is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto and has a beautiful garden that the kids can explore with a bamboo forest.  Head to downtown Kyoto for lunch where you will be surrounded by restaurants. Your host will recommend a place that is to your taste. Kyoto Railway Museum is a great museum for the kids to explore. Nishiki Market is Kyoto’s best food market and it is fun to check out all the mysterious items on offer.

Kyoto: 1.5-Hour Nishiki Market Tour with a Local Guide

7. Kyoto: 1.5-Hour Nishiki Market Tour with a Local Guide

Meet your friendly guide outside the Super Hotel Shijyo Kawaramachi then walk to the nearby Nishiki Market. Located in Downtown Kyoto, the market has a rich history and is steeped in tradition, it is the perfect place to experience local culture first-hand and to taste a variety of the city’s famous delicacies. Spend 1.5-hours wandering around the market with your guide, and receive recommendations about which stalls are the best for quality and price. Your guide provides a unique local perspective and knowledge, which many tourists miss out on when they come to Nishiki Market. Throughout the tour, learn about Japan’s intriguing food culture, chat with the vendors about their products, and taste the flavors of regional cuisine. At the end of a short but unforgettable experience, get tips and tricks from your guide to enhance your stay in Kyoto.

Kyoto Nishiki Market Food Tour

8. Kyoto Nishiki Market Food Tour

Your experience will include stops at family owned stalls and shops which have stood the test of time. At a few of the stops sample specialty products like tsukemono (vegetables from the surrounding mountains preserved in vinegar), yuuba (the world’s smoothest sashimi tofu made from the world famous Kyoto mountain water), Kamaboko (seafood preserved in fish paste), Tako (Octopus with quail egg) and Macha Warabi Mochi (a special traditional sweet covered in ground tea leaves). During the tour learn detailed information about the ingredients of different Japanese dishes, how their food is prepared and what is used to eat it. Your experience will do more than just give you a chance to taste Kyoto’s delicious food but will also give you a sense the history and atmosphere of the Nishiki Market experienced by the Japanese for generations. You will be consumed with physical and visual stimuli every step of the way and enjoy stories from the past told directly from shopkeepers and families you will spend time with. After your market exploration walk to a nearby restaurant and have a course lunch featuring beautiful and delicious local dishes.

Kyoto: 3.5-Hour Small Group Cultural Walking Tour

9. Kyoto: 3.5-Hour Small Group Cultural Walking Tour

See the temples, shrines and gardens that make Kyoto Japan’s capital of culture on this unique tour of the city. Founded as the national capital more than 1,200 years ago, Kyoto originally developed as a center of aristocratic culture and is most famous for its Zen gardens and Geisha traditions. On this Kyoto tour, you'll discover some of the magic of the city through cultural explorations and local experiences. First head to one of the city’s must-see sights, the Tofukuji Temple. Originally built in the 13th century, and famous for its traditional, yet modern, Zen garden, this is a great place to escape to a relaxed atmosphere in the city. Learn about the origin and inspiration for the garden, and what it means to the Monks who continue to live and study here. Next walk through a nice local residential neighborhood to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Home to a seemingly endless stretch of iconic red torii gates spread across a thickly wooded mountain, this shrine is a world unto itself. Walk through snaking corridors of red gates, made famous in the film "Memoirs of Geisha", stopping to admire the shrines and many fox statues. Major photo opportunity alert! As the sun begins to set on the Toriis, leave behind the foxes and head to Gion, famously known as Kyoto’s Geisha district. This area was the model for Memoirs of Geisha, and it comes alive with people and lights in the evening. Stroll past the 17th-century traditional restaurants and teahouses, many of which are still exclusive establishments for Geisha entertainment, see the theaters and traditional shops, and soak up the atmosphere of this historic quarter. This iconic neighborhood makes for the ideal end to this Kyoto city tour, and is sure to leave you completely enthralled with this dynamic city.

Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera Temple Guided Walking Tour

10. Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera Temple Guided Walking Tour

Discover one of Kyoto’s most popular sites, the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, on a comprehensive guided tour. Learn about Japan’s history and culture as you explore the temple grounds with an experienced local guide. Kiyomizudera is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan. It is best known for its wooden balcony that juts out from the main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. Admire the scenic views of Kyoto in the distance, and numerous cherry and maple trees that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall.

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What people are saying about Kyoto

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,244 reviews

This was an amazing step into the world of Kyoto’s Geiko and Maiko district, Gion. I was simply shocked by how much I didn’t know about the it! Luckily, my guide Ayu was super helpful and knowledgeable about the subject of the tour and honestly about anything I asked about concerning Kyoto and Japanese culture. It was a great time that I can’t recommend enough if you want to know about the area and Kyoto in general.

A well thought out tour around some beautiful parts of Gion that tied in very well with the history our guide shared with us. Ayu-san has excellent English and was able to answer a variety of questions very well. The tour was well paced and not overly taxing. A few stairs to climb around the temple, but no steep hills to navigate.

The local Tour was amazing! Really made me feel like a local. An impossible task but one he really tried to accomplish. Helped me understand how Kyoto works from the ground up. Great experience and a great visit!!

Loving it...it was a very well organized and informative tour. Our tour guide Ayu was very knowledgeable and patient to answer all of our questions.

A very interesting and informative tour. The guide was very knowledgeable.