This tour was in important intro to our week in Kyoto, and tasty fun besides! The 3.5 hour actually ran to 4 because we lingered with our guide over the included lunch and featured tons of thing to taste and examine. It's an absolute must for the 'foodie' tourist.
Tad, our American guide has lived in Kyoto for 20 years, and regaled us with in-depth history of the food traditions of the ancient capital. The tour is a long walk but an extremely comfortable slow-pace, as we constantly stopped for explanations, or to try tasty-looking mysterious things Not mysterious to Tad, who buys the samples for the guests.
The market is overwhelming without an insiders' info: why do the bean stores sell gift boxes? What's the fishy chunk of wood? Do Kyoto citizens really eat that much candy? Why is celery sold by-the-rib? Only your guide knows this and more.
I recommend taking this tour on your very first day in Kyoto, because what you learn about the city's food which is a distinct cuisine from the rest of Japan will inform everything you eat for the remainder of your stay. One of the highlights of our week!
Alex and Marie (our guides) were fantastic. Very knowledgeable in Kyoto food. We had a bonus because we were schooled in knives which my husband found to be more interesting than the food information. I highly recommend this tour especially if it is your first time in Kyoto.