See a different side of Kyoto during this 5-hour off-the-beaten path walking tour covering the city’s hidden temples, shrines and shops. Gain new insight into this one-time Japanese capital as you see a side of the city few tourists ever visit. Stop by lesser-known Buddhist temples, Shinto Shrines and explore artisanal handicraft shops. An afternoon tea break is also included.
Please note: This seasonal tour runs annually between March and November and the dates are subject to change.
Explore the lesser-known sights of Kyoto on a walking tour
Visit off-the-beaten path Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples
Shop for souvenirs at a Japanese handicraft atelier typically off-limits to the public
Stop during your walk for a Japanese-style tea break
Great way to go beyond the typical tourist sights in Kyoto
Meet up with your licensed tour guide at Kyoto’s JR Station in the morning. You’ll cover around 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) over the duration of the trip, exploration a range of lesser-known religious, historic and commercial attractions. During your walk, you’ll have the chance to visit a sampling of uncrowded religious sites, including a collection of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. For those that are more into retail, there’s also an opportunity to stop by the shop of traditional Japanese handicraft atelier, an establishment usually off-limits to the public. Halfway through your excursion you’ll stop for a traditional Japanese tea break. As you explore, your guide will share details about Kyoto’s rich religious traditions centering around the Shinto and Buddhist faith. You’ll also gain new insight into Kyoto history, learn about the most popular festivals, and get a glimpse of daily life for Kyoto residents. Finish your walking trip at the city’s Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
Reviews by Viator travelers
A good balance
, Nov 2018
Not all temples and shrines but a good balance. Two big ones but visits to small craft workshops like fan makers. And plenty of tips on culture, history customs from Waka, who was also well balanced as she didn't talk all the time. She gave you time to take in and think about what she had just said. An easy paced stroll and the tea stop came at just the right time.
My family had a wonderful time on this walking tour. Our guide, Yuri, was amazing. She was easy to understand, knowledgeable, organized and friendly. She shared lots of interesting information about the history and culture of Japan and the sights we visited. She also answered our follow up questions with patience and knowledge. (My family can ask a lot of questions.) The tour visits lots of interesting spots and the places are ones that we would definitely not have found on our own. The only downside is that the tour goes during lunch time and you do not stop for a meal. Yuri advised us of this and we all got snacks before starting the tour. When the tour ended we attempted to get lunch but many of the places we wanted to go to had stopped their lunch service by then. I highly recommend this tour!!!
My 10yr old son and I enjoyed this tour though we thought we missed it as we couldn't find the meeting point and almost gave up...best way to find 'Aqua Fantasy' square is to come out at the central exit at Kyoto station, look for Kyoto Tower and walk toward it, you'll go between the bus area and the bus ticket office and you'll see the sign just to your right.
We were 20min late but the group was still in the courtyard so felt very lucky indeed!
Also, please note that there are no places to stop to buy food until about 2pm so be sure to bring lunch with you. Plenty of drink vending machines along the way but we were getting beyond hungry and there was barely anything left at the community centre bakery when we finally got there. That was the only negative, when I asked the tour guide if there was somewhere to get lunch she shrugged and said lunch wasn't included which I knew though it seems a tour that spans from 10am until 3pm might factor a route that goes passed a convenience store as in Japan they are practically on every block. So definitely have a big breakfast and take plenty of snacks!
Otherwise the pace is easy, the sights are great and we were lucky to be present for a Buddhist memorial ceremony when we stopped in at the Higashi Honganji temple. My son was intrigued by the original Nintendo building and learned the company dates back to 1889!
Something for everybody on this tour!
This tour was the highlight of my stay in Kyoto. We were lucky to be in a group of six and we all got on so well, it was sad to say goodbye. Our guide Yuki was wonderful, very attentive and full of knowledge of this amazing city. The first stop at Higashi Honganji Temple was not to be missed. It is a leisure walking tour for people with a few hours to spare. Excellent guide and value for money.
Good walking tour through Kyoto. Tour guide was friendly and definitely took the time to explain additional questions I had during the tour. The time really flew. Also, the tour stopped at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a UNESCO site. It doesn't look that big at the front, but as you go through it into the shrine area, you can wander for a long time.
This was an off the beaten track tour. There were just 6 participants. The guide, Mia, was very knowledgeable and passionate about the history of the area. As well as a Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple we visited a Japanese fan making business, a tofu business, pottery maker, community centre, sweet making business, and souvenir shops. It was well worth taking this tour.
The downside was that after walking for 5 hours we finished up walking up a hill and were tired and not really interested in looking at souvenir shops. We then had to make our own way back to the starting point at Kyoto station.
this tour was very informative. we arranged it for our first full day in Kyoto to help get our bearings and to learn about the culture. our guide was well informed and took us up many back streets.
the walk was well paced, and being a very hot an humid day it was a good pace. as there are plenty of vending machines we had ready access to drinks all the time.
the last spot was up a steep climb, up a street lined with little shops. I would recommend if you aren't a good walker that you should speak to the guide at this point and get instructions back to the bus stop so you can slowly walk up or stop here. if you make it there is a beautiful shrine at the top with great views over Kyoto.
Loved this tour. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of our lovely guide but she was patient, knowledgeable and had a 'scrapbook' of pictures to help with her commentary - she was amazing. Five hours sounds like a long time but because it was at such pace it went so quickly. We learnt a lot about day to day Japan, saw some very interesting sites and visited some great places. My only negative would be that it was quite a long time to walk before stopping for a drink/snack. Other than that I would highly recommend this tour.