Private walking tour of 3 major Kyoto sites, that made our trip!
, 6 2019
This early bird tour was the highlight of our entire trip, and it was facilitated by our guide’s very careful instructions for the 6:45 am meeting in the Kyoto Central Station. What made this tour especially interesting was precisely the fact that we traveled from site to site via public transportation, and I praise the Japanese efficiency for permitting our Tokyo Suica subway cards to be valid for all travel in Kyoto!! By taking the public transportation, we got to see so many different facets of Japanese culture outside the “tour route” and not describable in a Viator tour description.
Our guide, Meg, led us (just my wife and I) first to the Fushimi Inari Shrine bright and early, and because we were among the few first visitors, we were able to take pictures and view the torii gates throughout the grounds without crowds, giving us some wonderful views. The Viator description lists this visit as third, but Meg was very wise to take us here first just for the experience of the (relative) solitude before the crowds arrived. Then, we hopped on the train, and went back into Kyoto Central to change to another train and then a bus to take us to the Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion. This is a big tourist site, and so we were among the thronging crowds, including a lot of school children, but the views were lovely, and walking to and from the shrine was of great interest as well. The third leg was over to nearby Arashiyama, to see the bamboo forest, and while this visit might have been better when it was cooler and without crowds, I did not at all mind this being the third stop.
One reason I was glad get to Arashiyama in mid-morning was that the shops nearby were open, where we could stroll around a bit. close to the river. I noticed on some comments in other, bus tours of these sites that often there is not enough time in those kinds of tours just to stroll, since keeping the schedule is required. For us, Meg was extremely kind and helpful. Not only did she then take us over to the Nishiki market at the end of the tour so that we could continue our visit in Kyoto. She also wrote out a note in Japanese for the JR East office so that my wife could have a ready explanation of a problem that arose with her Suica card (this note did the trick; it took less than 5 minutes to fix). So our plan to have a tour done before noon in order to stroll in Kyoto before returning to Tokyo was fulfilled thanks to Meg’s wonderful guidance and welcoming presence.
The early start is the way to go when visiting tourist spots. We were at our first stop by 7.15 am. Yes photographs with no-one else in them. Try getting that mid morning! Our tour guide Koji spoke good English and his knowledge and history on subject made for great conversation during the whole tour. This tour was very good value. Koji was an excellent guide.
We had wanted to see sights of Inari Shrine, Arayashima Bamboo Forest and Golden Pavillon in five hours but couldn’t find suitable tours to fit in the tight hours until we came across this.Our fantastic tour guide met us at Kyoto Station after giving us clear instructions on where to meet and his photo. Kommy was astute enough to take us to Inari first to avoid the crowds and as we were about the only ones there, took fantastic photos and free to move around.I couldn’t speak more highly of Kommy as he was extremely knowledgeable of the sights we went to, friendly, helpful and even suggested and pointed us in the direction of an extra sight Nijojo Castle as he couldn’t take us there himself. Certainly would recommend and use Viator again when they are represented by guides such as Kommy. Thank you so much for making ou trip to Kyoto such a memorable one.