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Nagano Prefecture

Meet the locals

Our most recommended Nagano Prefecture Meet the Locals

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

1. 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: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

2. Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

You will take you place on the tatami, the traditional Japanese floor mat and be met by your English-speaking host, who is a licensed tea master from Urasenke, the biggest school of tea ceremony in Japan. Watch as the host carries out the ceremonial preparation of matcha, powdered green tea. Then, you will have the chance to make tea yourself, while the host informs you about the history and spiritual role of the tea ceremony and the effects each tea-making method has on its flavor. Afterwards, savor some traditional Japanese sweets Once the ceremony has come to a close, you will have the chance to take photos and see examples of kimonos and beautiful woven textiles made in the Nishijin district of Kyoto. If you'd like to wear a kimono during the experience, you can select it as an add-on during booking and take photos to remember the experience.

Nara: Half-Day UNESCO Heritage & Local Culture Walking Tour

3. Nara: Half-Day UNESCO Heritage & Local Culture Walking Tour

Meet your knowledgeable guide at the meeting point and begin your cultural half-day walking tour of Japan's first historical capital. As you walk by the shopping arcade, explore a Japanese old town extremely different from a metropolis like Tokyo. Walk between the historical buildings, and go inside a traditional merchant's house to see how people around here live in the past. Next, take a break from walking to observe the mysterious pyramid-shaped structure in the middle of the quiet town. Admire the view of the city of Nara from the hill, then visit Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Learn about the distinct Japanese religious culture as you see a huge temple with a great Buddha statue, then explore a beautiful shrine housing hundreds of lanterns. In this area, meet and feed the wild deer living in Nara Park. For over 1,200 years, locals have believed that deer are sacred divine messengers. Interact with them and see how polite they are. At the end of the tour, savor a delicious Japanese lunch dish made only using local Nara vegetables and fresh meat.

Kyoto: Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class

4. Kyoto: Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class

Experience an authentic Japanese food tradition and prepare your own bento box at a morning bento cooking class in Kyoto. Learn about typical Japanese dishes, such as sushi, tempura and miso soup, and hear about the cultural background of the well-known Japanese "bento" takeaway meal. Traced back to the late Kamakura Period (1185 to 1333), the bento box has now become a staple of Japanese cuisine. Arrive for your 2.5 to 3-hour class and collect your ingredients, apron and utensils. Then, watch and follow your chef as they demonstrate the art of bento and explain the tricks to making beautiful Japanese dishes often found in a bento box. Once you have finished cooking your dishes, enjoy the fruits of your labor and tuck into your bento lunch.

Welcome to Osaka: Private Tour with a Local Host

5. Welcome to Osaka: Private Tour with a Local Host

Experience Osaka like a resident on a private walking tour with a local host. Get tips on what to see and do, and learn the best ways to get around. Benefit from pick-up at your accommodation and get familiar with your local neighborhood. Discover where to buy groceries or where the best local places to eat are located and much more. Alternatively, meet at a central landmark or intersection to start your walking tour. Venture beyond the usual tourist sites and discover places you would never read about in the guidebooks. Avail of an itinerary that can be tailored to your interests and specific needs. Ride on the public transportation system, at your own expense, if you prefer. Chat with your guide about life in the city and its many traditions. Feel more confident getting around and exploring on your own by the end of your experience.

Otaru: Private Guided Walking Tour with Local Guide

6. Otaru: Private Guided Walking Tour with Local Guide

Discover Otaru’s historical sites, favorite local spots, and hidden gems on a private walking tour with nationally licensed guide. Choose from a 6 or 4-hour tour, whose itinerary can be customized to fit your interests. Be introduced to some of the best spots, restaurants, and sweet shops in Otaru, a famous historical city and a popular vacation spot in Hokkaido Take a relaxing stroll through the footpath of the Otaru Canal, the most famous sightseeing spot in Otaru, running through the central area of the city. Taste fresh seafood at Otaru Sankaku Ichiba, a historic triangular market established in 1957. Get a unique souvenir at Otaru Music Box Museum, featuring a brick-clad main building that exudes a nostalgic atmosphere. Feel and touch Otaru craftsmanship at Kitaichi Glass. See the impressive glasswork created here and learn about the company’s history and the important role it played in the city’s fishing industry.

Tokyo: Off the Beaten Path Private Guided Tour

7. Tokyo: Off the Beaten Path Private Guided Tour

Explore Tokyo in your own way with a private licensed guide. Let the guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly. All guides hold the nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification. It is issued by the Japanese government and requires a good understanding of Japanese culture and history. If you want to experience authentic local life, the backstreets of Yanaka, Shibamata, Fukagawa, and Asakusa are recommended. This tour feature a morning pickup at your hotel in Tokyo, then a visit to any number of possible sites. You can customize your itinerary according to the specific places you want to visit. See a suggested itinerary below.  First stop is the Shibamata neighborhood, where many historical shops can be found. Some have even been there for over a hundred years. It’s a great place to sample some classic Japanese snacks and street food, such as senbei, soy sauce crackers, and chewy rice balls. Next, head to the Yanaka Ginza neighborhood. Even among locals, it’s a lesser-known area that retains its old-Japan charm. Edo-era shops and restaurants line a small shopping street. Though the shops include modern 100-yen stores, there are many handicrafts, ceramics, and street food stores too. If you’ve become a fan of Japanese food during your travels, Kappabashi Street is a place to bring home something to cook or serve your own Japanese food with. Kappabashi is a long street lined with kitchen shops, plus the occasional kitchen clothing or fake food store. Other popular places you could visit on this tour include the Nezu and Sendagi areas, the Fukagawa Edo Museum, and the Asakusa district.

Hakodate: Private Customized Guided Tour

8. Hakodate: Private Customized Guided Tour

Explore Hakodate in your own way with a private licensed guide. Choose the 6 or 4 hour option depending on what fits with your schedule. Let the guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly. All guides hold the nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification. It is issued by the Japanese government and requires a good understanding of Japanese culture and history. Hakodate has a long history of international trade and is home to European-style buildings, churches, and red-brick warehouses, as well as nostalgic streetcars that makes their way around the city. Meet up with your guide at your hotel or anywhere convenient for you in Hakodate. First visit Goryokaku park to get in touch with Japanese history. This popular tourist attraction is a star-shaped fort that became famous as the final battleground in the civil war about 150 years ago. From Goryokaku Tower you have a great view of not only Goryokaku, but also the mountains and the strait between Hokkaido and Honshu. Stop for lunch at Hakodate Morning Market. Also known as Hakodate Asaichi, this market boasts approximately 250 stores offering seafood and souvenirs. Try the mouth-watering "seafood rice bowl", a local specialty. The final stop on the tour is Mount Hakodate, which you can reach by cable car. Admire the incredible views of the city and the sea far below.

Hiroshima Cycling Peace Tour with Local Guide

9. Hiroshima Cycling Peace Tour with Local Guide

In Hiroshima City, there are many heritage sites in the suburbs in addition to the Peace Memorial Park, each with a story connected to the atomic bombing. While at the heritage site of the bombing, we will introduce you to the power of the atomic bomb and the situation at the time. 70 years after the war, the destroyed Hiroshima has been dramatically revitalized, and now you can see it full of greenery. You can get a real sense of it through your own eyes, and cycling is the best way to do that. With the guidance of our local staff, who grew up in the city, come and experience the real Hiroshima that you can't experience through photos and books. <About the route> [11:00 / 15:00] Meeting up [11:05/15:05] Peace Memorial Park What is the Peace Memorial Park? Learn about the memories contained in the monuments and the Atomic Bomb Dome and what happened 70 years ago. [11:30/15:30] Sendamachi, Miyukibashi Bridge, Kyobashi River, etc. The guide will show you the actual townscape of Hiroshima in the suburbs away from the touristic area. You will find beautiful Hiroshima vigorously revived from the tremendous damages by the atomic bombing while visiting numerous A-bomb heritage sites and listening to the episodes handed down in Hiroshima. [13:00/ 17:00] The tour finishes at the meeting point. *You will be given data of the photos taken on the day. *If you wish, we can also guide you to the Atomic Bomb Museum. (Additional hour, plus 1,000 yen cash payment on the day. Not possible when combined with other guests, only from 11:00 to 13:00) *The timetable may change depending on the situation on the day.

Kyoto: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

10. Kyoto: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

Join an afternoon Izakaya cooking class to enjoy a great way to immerse yourself in Japanese dining culture as well as learn authentic Japanese foods that are eaten at home and in local restaurants. The cooking course consists of two parts. First, you will cook 2 or 3 dishes together with your chef and enjoy them. Then you will return to the kitchen and learn 2 or 3 more dishes before eating once more. As in many Izakaya (over the counter) restaurants, be ready to talk with your chef while cooking and eating at the same time. 

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What people are saying about Nagano Prefecture

Overall rating

3.0 / 5

based on 2 reviews

Andy was a terrific guide!! Incredibly personable. I was actually staying nearby the spots he took us on and he truly did take us to hidden locations I never would have sought out on my own. He gave some history and pointed out some interesting facts about the area. We even got to play some of the games at the shops in the area. I traveled to Osaka alone so this was a nice chance to be social! PS it is A LOT of food so come hungry!

Nice and beautiful place, very close to Kyoto's famous golden temple Kinkakuji temple... Guide/tea host was very knowledgeable, introducing tea ceremony in well spoken English, yet did not reduce the original Japanese ambience... We rented the kimono, and it was soooooo beautiful 100% i would recommend this one to other visitors expecting local experience (E&C-Indonesia)

I did the tea ceremony and it was a really lovely experience! The instructed was super friendly and very experienced in the tea ceremony so it was interesting to learn more about it from her!

Amazing experience. We learned so much about japanese cooking that we will bring home with us.

The tour was amazing. Kevin was wonderful and very kind.