4.5 star rating: Recommended 9 Reviews

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  • Location: Kyoto, Japan
  • Duration:  90 minutes (approx.)
Learn about the art of the tea ceremony, the correct way to wear a kimono, and the architecture of old Kyoto during this introduction to Japanese culture. You'll enjoy the atmosphere of an old-style Kyoto shophouse for your tea ceremony, then take a short walk through a traditional Kyoto neighborhood. Winding up with a stop at a sake brewery to sample the local brew, this tour gives you the perfect introduction to Japanese culture with a small-group of curious travelers and friendly local guide!


  • 90-minute introduction to Japanese culture in Kyoto
  • Take in the beauty of the classic wooden shophouse called the machiya where your tour begins
  • Learn how to wear a kimono and the history of this quintessential Japanese garment
  • Participate in a tea ceremony and understand the meaning behind the ritualized art of preparing and serving tea
  • Follow your guide through a neighborhood lined with traditional buildings and hear about Kyoto’s architecture
  • Toast your new friends with a glass of sake on your final stop at a sake brewery
  • Small-group tour ensures personalized attention from your guide

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Kyoto Small-Group Tour: Introduction to Japanese Culture

Kyoto Small-Group Tour: Introduction to Japanese Culture

You’ll meet your guide and group at a machiya – a traditional wooden townhouse – where the first part of your 90-minute tour will take place.

Your guide will first take you through the machiya and point out the architectural features of these classic shophouses, in use for centuries by Kyoto merchants as home and workspace. With a shop in the front and living space in the rear, the long and narrow buildings once lined Kyoto’s streets. However, many machiya have disappeared due to modern development.

After settling into a tranquil room in the machiya, you’ll have the option to try on a kimono. Get great photos of yourself in these beautiful robes, now mostly worn only by women for festive occasions, although men may wear one for tea ceremonies and weddings.

Next, you’ll have an introduction to the tea ceremony, a quintessential part of Japanese culture that has been described as a meditative practice and a performance art. The tea master will explain the act of preparing and drinking matcha, the powdered green tea used in the ceremony, a choreographed art that requires years of study to master.

Your tour finishes with a walk through a picturesque old Kyoto neighborhood and a stop into a sake brewery. You’ll sample the sake – an alcohol beverage made from fermented rice – and learn about the brewing process. Toast your small-group and guide with a glass of sake to wrap up your taste of Japanese culture!

Click on "View Additional Info" for Machiya house location.

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Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

So much fun! The ladies were absolutely delightful and made sure that our traditional tea ceremony in our beautiful kimonos was something my daughters and I will remember for the rest of our lives.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

This was a great experience. It was small group with only 5 tourists. We had a lot of interaction with the three local women conducting the tea ceremony. We were dressed in kimonos for the occasion. After the tea ceremony we had the choice of origami or sake tasting. The only difficulty was finding the actual building for the tea ceremony. I included a photo of the front of the shop Wak Japan.

From USD $ 87.09

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Tour code: 6117KYOJHKYJC


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