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Kyoto Half-Day Small-Group Cultural Tour

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Kyoto, Japan
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icon3 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

Overview

Discover the Zen gardens, colorful temples, and ancient shrines of Kyoto on this small-group walking tour that’s limited to just 12 participants. Experience the elegant architecture and religious monuments of this historic Japanese city, once the imperial capital, as you join a guide on visits to the Gion Geisha district, Tofukuji Temple, and more.
  • Half-day cultural walking tour of Kyoto
  • Explore Tokufuji temple's Zen garden and Gion's Geisha district
  • Walk through Kyoto's infamous tori gates and spot the fox statues at the Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 12 people ensures a personalized experience
Journey back in time to ancient Japan as you admire the Geishas, Zen gardens and colorful temples of Kyoto, with this small-group walking tour, limited to just 12 people. This personalized exploration of Kyoto, a now-modern city that is also the historic heart of Japanese culture, is the perfect introduction to this famous Japanese city’s many centuries of tradition.

Start your exploration by meeting your guide at Kyoto station. Begin your visit to the city’s many attractions with a stop at Tofukuji Temple, a lovely 13th century Zen temple famous as one of five great religious buildings of Kyoto. Make sure to check out the wealth of idyllic gardens located on the temple grounds of this still-operational monastery.

Continue next to Fushimi Inari Shrine, a sacred religious site situated on the outskirts of the city on a densely-forested hillside. Admire the shrine’s brilliant-red sacred gates, or torii, which you may recognize from the film Memoirs of a Geisha, and make sure to check out the site’s many smaller monuments and its fox statue.

Finish your day in Kyoto’s Gion District, renowned for the many geishas that populate its streets. Wander among the area’s traditional tea houses and eateries, and keep your eyes peeled for sightings of these elegantly-dressed women, clothed in the traditional Japanese kimono.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Tofukuji Temple
One of the oldest and largest Zen temples in Japan and some historical buildings dating back to the 1300’s. Famous for autumn leaves from its over 2,000 maple trees. At one of the temple buildings, Hojo, visitors can admire a variety gardens designed by Mirei Shigemori, well-known garden designer.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Fushimi Inari is the most important of all the shrines in Japan dedicated to Inari, the god of rice and business, and was first built in the 8th century. It is now one of the most popular spots in Kyoto with stunning path covered with thousands of red torii gates.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Gion
One of the most famous spots in Kyoto and the heart of unique Maiko and Geisha culture. The streets are filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya where Maiko and Geisha perform. Gion is beautiful at night when lanterns are lit.
Duration: 45 minutes
Admission Ticket Free

Traveler Photos

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
497 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
star-5
Great intro to Kyoto
205barbaraq
, Jan 2020
We had a great English-speaking tour guide in Yuta, who was friendly, knowledgeable and even brought us a snack! We learned a lot about the Japanese practices at the shrine which we would not have understood without a guide. While we did not see any geisha, Yuta tipped us off to a great restaurant in Gion and we enjoyed a very pleasant dinner. Worth it!
star-5
Amazing Tour of Kyoto
Ehrgheiz
, Nov 2019
We met our tour guide, Julian, outside of Kyoto station and he immediately made us feel welcome in this city. He spoke perfect English and gave detailed explanations of the sites we visited and answered all the questions we thought up. The tour itself was a little tiring for someone in our group, but there were times where she could easily rest and catch back up with the group. Julian easily accommodated our interests and requests. My favorite part of the tour was walking through the Buddhist compounds. They were like nothing I had ever seen before. I highly recommend this tour for any foreigners visiting Japan for the first time.
star-5
Great tour
suziejoyanderson
, Oct 2019
Great tour, would recommend especially if you dont have much time in Kyoto. You will see some of the main sights of Kyoto.
star-5
A wonderful way to see the real Kyoto
Liz G
, Oct 2019
Our knowledgeable guide was Julian, who showed us the real Kyoto by walking the streets to arrive at some of the popular tourist spots and the back streets of the geisha district where we were lucky enough to see a geisha walking to her work. The Torii gates were one of the many highlights. We walked and caught trains,navigating our way with full commentary all the way - well done Julian
star-4
We had a great time!
grahambilling
, Oct 2019
A walking tour of cultural sites including temples, shrines and the Geisha district. Carry water and a hat. We all enjoyed the insight into local life and customs and would recommend for all able bodied people.
star-5
Wonderful guided tour of Kyoto
Mobile139913
, Sep 2019
Wonderful guided tour with Julian, whom brought Kyoto to life with his knowledge and humorous delivery of a complex history - thoroughly enjoy it.
star-5
VERY GOOD EXPERIENCE!!
ybindal
, Aug 2019
We had a very informative and good experience!!Would recommend Very Highly!!The Guide was very well Informed!
star-5
More than just a visit to a Temple and a Shrine.
410allanb
, Jul 2019
This tour began at a very convenient meeting point next to the main Kyoto station. Next came our first experience of the local JR rail network and an easy walk to the Tofukuji Temple with our guide explaining the difference between a Temple and a Shrine as well as much about this temple. I really enjoyed the pleasant walk from here to Fushimi Inari Shrine as we passed my different house styles from traditional to more modern. We had to finish our tour a little early as we had another tour to follow. Our guide generously modified her tour to bring us to our next meeting point. On the way we passed through part of the Gion district and its traditional buildings. I found the professionalism of our guide in modifying her route to accommodate the needs of each participant added to the enjoyment of this tour. If I did this tour again I would take my JR Rail Pass with me.
star-5
Highlight of our trip
jaynedeaux
, Jul 2019
This tour was a highlight of Kyoto. It allowed us to get a feel for Kyoto that we just couldn’t get roaming around on our own. It was a great, approachable way to get a bit of history and local flavor. Worth every penny!
star-4
Stranded in Gion
HELEN F
, Jul 2019
The tour and the guide themselves were great know issues there .But when u are new to a country and don't your way around .Wgen it says u will return back to wherevsyarted make sure that happens because in my case it didn't took us a couple of our to find our way home

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