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Private Highlights of Kyoto Tour

Kyoto, Japan

From $171.93

Price varies by group size

Select Date and Travelers

Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible
Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 7 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English
  • Good for avoiding crowds


Immerse yourself in the cultural and architectural splendor of Kyoto on this private tour, ideal for first-time visitors. Choose from two different routes, both of which cover major Kyoto attractions including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple, and explore the city with a personal guide. On the northwest-bound route, you’ll visit the Golden Pavilion, Nishiki Food Market, and the bamboo groves of Arashiyama Park. Alternatively, the southeast course covers the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, and the Gion area. Receive undivided attention from your guide on this private tour. 
  • Private full-day tour of Kyoto highlights
  • Choose from two itineraries that cover major Kyoto attractions
  • Visit the Golden Pavilion, Nishiki Food Market, and Arashiyama Park on the northbound route
  • Tick off Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, and the Gion area on the southbound route
  • Receive undivided attention from a private guide

What's Included

  • Professional English speaking guide
  • Public Transportation
  • One-day city bus pass (can be used continuously after the tour)
  • Food and drinks
  • Lunch
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off

Departure & Return

Departure Point

  • Hotel Granvia Kyoto, Japan, 〒600-8216 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, 下ル Kyoto Station Building, 内

    Hotel Granvia Kyoto is located in the Kyoto Station building.

Departure Time

9:00 AM

What To Expect

Regardless of the itinerary chosen, your private tour begins at Hotel Granvia Kyoto near Kyoto Station. From here, you’ll take public transport in order to immerse yourself in local life.

If you’ve opted to follow the northwest-bound itinerary, your first stop is Arashiyama Park—famed for its array of temples and inviting bamboo groves—before proceeding to Japan’s most famous rock garden at Ryoan-ji.

Following a lunch break (own expense), you’ll continue to the Golden Pavillion, a 3-story pagoda that floats on a lake surrounded by lush forest. Then, choose to visit the culinary wonderland of Nishiki Food Market or Nijo Castle, whose interior walls are adorned with gold leaf and elaborate sketches.

Alternatively, the southeast-bound course gives you the chance to visit Gekkeikan Sake Brewery to discover the secrets behind Japan’s iconic rice wine, and then behold thousands of red tori gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, replete with stone foxes and shrines.

See, too, Sanjusangendo temple before revitalizing with lunch at your own expense. Then, you’ll continue to Kiyomizu Temple, a hilltop landmark dating back to the 8th century, before ascending the steep slopes in the Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka neighborhoods for spectacular views.

Both tour options conclude in the Gion area of Kyoto.

Kinkakuji Temple

Nicknamed as Golden Pavilion, and one of the most popular temples in Kyoto, which is covered by gold leaves.

50 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

The view of Kyoto City seeing from the balcony of Kiyomizu-dera Temple is magnificent. The scene is often depicted in post cards.

50 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Child rate applies only when sharing with 2 paying adults
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 8 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

about cancellations

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48 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 48 reviews
Fantastic private tour
richard20202020, Jan 2020
Mie was our tour guide who was excellent. She was flexible with her itinerary and we saw so much. When we return to Kyoto later in the year we'll ask for Mie again.
Fantastic Kyoto guide
Peter_B, Oct 2019
Mie was a knowledgeable and flexible guide who helped us manage 2 young children on our tour. She paced the tour to meet our needs and engages with the children to include them and maintain their interest. Mie was patient and thoughtful snd mage this a fantstic tour over numerous key sites using local buses and trains.
Amazing Tour with Knowledgable and Excellent Tour Guide
Jonathan_F, Aug 2019
Extremely knowledgable and friendly tour guide, amazing sites with great explanations, and a great overall experience. Highly recommend this tour for anyone visiting Kyoto.
Mylene_H, Aug 2018
Choice of highlights was good but guide was nearly just bringing us from one spot to the other without telling us a lot. Nice choice of the restaurant.
Despite the rain, my wife and I had...
Robert_P, Jul 2018
Despite the rain, my wife and I had such a good time on this private tour! Our guide took us to all the best sites, provided us with really good background information, and answered every one of our questions. She also took us to a delicious okonomiyaki restaurant, which was a real treat since we got to make it on a grill built into the table. I highly recommend the northwest-bound route to anybody visiting Kyoto!
An excellent day trip with the bonus...
Diana S, Jun 2018
An excellent day trip with the bonus that it ended up being a true 'private' tour with just me and my husband joining this one on the day whereas normally it is small groups - our guide was excellent in terms of her knowledge and adaptability to small or larger groups as she was heading off to a larger tour that night a real hard worker. We were fortunate that all of the smaller tours we took felt like we were out with friends and we treated it like that - having lunch together and sharing small gifts. Our guide also went above and beyond helping me at the train station and on the phone when I needed to make bookings for upcoming train travel and additional hotel accommodation given that I was having trouble explaining myself fully.
This was a perfect introduction to...
Lisa_S, Jun 2018
This was a perfect introduction to Kyoto first-time visitors. Our guide Mie was caring, knowledgeable, and professional. We felt like we had a friend showing us around her country. We saw all the highlights listed, plus Mie gave us so much additional information during our in-between travel times. We weren't sure which level of guide to book, and decided on the most experienced for a little extra money. We were very happy with our decision. Thank you, Mie, for a great day!
The tour was absolutely amazing...
Matthew M, May 2018
The tour was absolutely amazing! The sights were great, but what set the tour apart and made it great was the guide. Yuri, our guide, completely exceeded our expectations. She was extremely knowledgeable about the history and significance of all the sights we saw during the tour, but her knowledge and expertise went well beyond. She never tired of our endless questions about Kyoto, Japanese culture and Japanese history. She seemed to be able to answer anything we asked and was constantly enlightening us with fun facts AND doing so in excellent English. In a word, she was outstanding! My only complaint is that we didn't have another day or two in Kyoto to do more tours. Has we had at least one more day I think we would have tried the Southeast tour and we would definitely request Yuri by name. On our Northwest tour we had the option of Nijio Castle or Nishiki Market. We chose the castle and I'm glad we did. It is so nice having a guide with you at the castle explaining the historical significance of what your are seeing. Yuri was nice enough to ride the bus with us to Nishiki Market at the conclusion of our tour. Once she got us there I think we were able to get the flavor of the market without a guide.
Tour takes in a lot, so you dont...
diane k, May 2018
Tour takes in a lot, so you dont spend a lot of time at the venues. But you can go back and visit the sites you particularly liked on another day. Lots of good information given while on the bus. Lunch was OK.
Loved this tour! We had an amazing...
Karen_B, Apr 2018
Loved this tour! We had an amazing time and an awesome guide! It aws great to be with a person who had such great knowlege and communication skills! She showed us the sights we asked to explore, plus a few others as well. It was nice to have a private tour as well.
We took the North option for our...
Peter_M, Apr 2018
We took the North option for our tour. Yumi was our guide and she was awesome. She was very knowledgable on the history of the bamboo forest, the Golden Pavillion, the zen garden, and Nijo Castle. She even took us to a great omurice restaurant for lunch which we loved. We recommend taking private tours like this because they are less rushed and you learn a lot more.
Saw all the important sites - bamboo...
Michael M, Apr 2018
Saw all the important sites - bamboo forest, golden palace, etc - plus cherry blossom was in full bloom. The pace of the tour was good - not too rushed. It was all brought alive by our guide Mia who was well informed and could provide the background story.
Our guide was fabulous and the gardens...
Becky B, Mar 2018
Our guide was fabulous and the gardens were BEAUTIFUL
Yuri-san was our tour guide for the...
Derek_I, Feb 2018
Yuri-san was our tour guide for the day in Kyoto. We chose to go to Arashiyama Park to see the bamboo groves and the Rock Garden, then to the Golden Pavilion and finally Nijo Castle. Her knowledge base on all the sites was very good. We particularly enjoyed the history of the Nijo Castle. Thank you for a very enjoyable day Yuri-san. Kay and Derek
1 traveler found this review helpful
Yuri was our guide on this tour and...
Heather M, Jan 2018
Yuri was our guide on this tour and we had an amazing day. All our entry fees and travel costs were included which was great. We went to Arashimaya Bamboo Grove, Ryoanji Temple, Kinkakuji Temple and Nijo Castle. It was a busy day, but Yuri was extremely organised and our transition from one place to another via public transport was seamless. Her knowledge of the sights was excellent, and we felt so lucky to see so much of Kyoto in one day. We would highly recommend Yuri as a guide on any tour.
This was our second visit to Kyoto...
Gene B, Jan 2018
This was our second visit to Kyoto, and we were eager to really see and understand more about this lovely, very traditional city. Mia was exactly what we were hoping forshe shared many insights into Japanese society, she told us a lot about the places we visited, she was fun to be with and we enjoyed everything about our tour. Kyoto is a city of contrastsvery modern in some ways, very traditional in others. Certainly its the place to fully understand Japanese culture. Thanks to Mia, my children and I feel like we learned a great deal, and are leaving Kyoto and Japan with a much better understanding of this country and its people. As a result, we cant wait to return! Thanks to Mia!
Our guide was very pleasant and made...
Nigel_M, Nov 2017
Our guide was very pleasant and made out trip nice and interesting. Had really nice day!
We could not have been more...
FRANK_S, Oct 2017
We could not have been more delighted with our half-day tour of the Golden Pavilion, bamboo forest, and other beautiful sights on the Northwestern side of Kyoto. Our guide, Mia, was a wonderful hostess and teacher. With her flawless English and lovely sense of humor, she enhanced our understanding and enjoyment greatly. The pace of the tour was perfect and we would not have changed a single thing. Highly recommended!
It was overall an amazing tour with...
Tej D, Sep 2017
It was overall an amazing tour with great highlights including the bamboo forrest, Golden Temple, and Nijo castle. The tour guide was so friendly and made this day exciting and enjoying. I highly recommend it!
Our tour guide meia was wonderful...
Cindy, Aug 2017
Our tour guide meia was wonderful she could not have been better. She was professional, intelligent, funny and kind to us. The route was quick moving and hit everything I wanted. Please consider requesting meia, I hope I'm spelling it correctly? Every site we saw was beautiful my favorite was the Samurai castle in Kyoto my husbands was the Bamboo groove but every spot was fantastic.


Product code: 39825P4