Kyoto Private tours

Our most recommended Kyoto Private tours

Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

1. Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

You will take you place on the tatami, the traditional Japanese floor mat and be met by your English-speaking host, who is a licensed tea master from Urasenke, the biggest school of tea ceremony in Japan. Watch as the host carries out the ceremonial preparation of matcha, powdered green tea. Then, you will have the chance to make tea yourself, while the host informs you about the history and spiritual role of the tea ceremony and the effects each tea-making method has on its flavor. Afterwards, savor some traditional Japanese sweets Once the ceremony has come to a close, you will have the chance to take photos and see examples of kimonos and beautiful woven textiles made in the Nishijin district of Kyoto. If you'd like to wear a kimono during the experience, you can select it as an add-on during booking and take photos to remember the experience.

Kyoto: Private Tour with Local Licensed Guide

2. Kyoto: Private Tour with Local Licensed Guide

Discover Kyoto’s historical sites, favorite local spots, and hidden gems on a private walking tour with a nationally licensed guide. Choose from a 6 or 4-hour tour, whose itinerary can be customized to fit your interests. See both the modern and traditional sides of this dynamic and ancient city as well as some of the best sightseeing areas, restaurants, and shops. Visit places like the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for the Torii Gate Corridor. Explore the filming location for the film “Memoirs of a Geisha”, displaying a colorful crimson scenery with a mysterious atmosphere. Walk through the shrine’s corridors that were erected as a symbolic continuing gate from the current world to the world of the dead inhabited by the gods. Go to the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), which was given its name from the golden color of its reliquary hall. Admire its simple yet bold structure that features beautiful mountain views in the background. Enter the ancient Kiyomizu-dera temple to get panoramic city views from its large veranda. Walk from the path from the temple to Gion, to find many Kyoto-esque shops filled with unique souvenirs. Grab a snack or enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in the Gion district. Your guide will give you dining recommendations that are sure to delight your palate.

From Osaka : Private Full-day Tour to Kyoto

3. From Osaka : Private Full-day Tour to Kyoto

Start the tour with pick up from central Osaka and travel to historic Kyoto. Over the course of the day, you'll be presented with a balanced view of this historic city and its surroundings. The Arashiyama district is the first stop, and it is here where you'll be introduced to Japanese garden and temple design. Tenryu-ji Temple has one of the most outstanding, timeless examples of Japanese gardens surrounding it's simple-but-majestic temple buildings. Then it's time for a walk up through the famous bamboo grove - a photo opportunity not to be missed - before arriving at the entrance to luxurious Okochi Sanso. Here you will try some matcha (Japanese green tea), before exploring the winding paths that connect the buildings, views, and garden areas. Afterwards, you'll enjoy a stroll alongside the river, then have free time for lunch and even a bit of shopping, if you wish. Next, enjoy the atmospheric streets of the Goin district, complete with a gurgling stream and rows of traditional tea house and restaurant buildings.  Not far from the Gion is Fushimi Inari-taisha, arguably the most famous Shinto shrine complex in the entire region. After having a look around you'll end your tour with a visit to the famous Torii gate.

Kyoto: Authentic Japanese Art Sushi Roll Lesson

4. Kyoto: Authentic Japanese Art Sushi Roll Lesson

Make sushi rolls that look like a beautiful flower during this fun and crafty lesson with local experts. Made using rice vinegar, sugar, sesame, ginger, vegetables, and nori (seaweed), you will learn about the essential history and trivia of sushi rolls. Wear a beautiful komono and enjoy fresh Japanese tea and water during the class. Japanese sushi rolls were first created between 1750 and 1776 during the Edo period (1603-1868) when the popular culture blossomed. At that time, sushi made using sake and vinegar spread and a wide variety of foods became popular. In the early 1800s, sushi that could be made quickly using vinegar became mainstream. In the Showa period, sushi rolls began to made in a more complicated pattern. Using special recipes and ingredients, you will acquire the skills to continue making beautiful sushi rolls at home.

Kyoto: Photo Shoot with a Private Vacation Photographer

5. Kyoto: Photo Shoot with a Private Vacation Photographer

The tour provider will organize the locations for your photoshoot based on your own unique requirements, whether it be a family getaway, a romantic trip, or a livelier one with friends.  Once the details are organized you will receive confirmation of all the information you need. All you need to do is simply meet the photographer on location in Kyoto and let them work their magic, capturing your travels in a contemporary and candid style of photography. Your highly experienced Kyoto vacation photographers are handpicked local experts, who will share their knowledge of the city with you like an old friend. When your photo tour has finished you will receive a link to your own personal online gallery (password protected) within 5 working days, containing your professionally edited images, all free to download. Create mementos that will last a lifetime and look back over your travels with fond memories.

Kyoto: Arashiyama Customized Rickshaw Tour & Bamboo Forest

6. Kyoto: Arashiyama Customized Rickshaw Tour & Bamboo Forest

Your guide and chariot await at Kyoto’s iconic Togetsu-kyo bridge in Arashiyama, a nationally designated historic site and place of scenic beauty on Kyoto’s western fringe. Be amazed by the district’s main attraction, a towering grove of thick bamboo stalks with a pedestrian and rickshaw path cutting through it. Seeing its beauty, you’ll understand why the Japanese have a fond appreciation for nature. Admire the scenery, which is a blend of serene nature, tended gardens, and dazzling shrines, as your rickshaw driver pulls you up the mountain. Next you’ll see the beautiful Nonomiya Shrine, a Shinto site. If you’ve chosen the 45-minute tour, at this point you’ll end back at the starting point. But if you choose a longer tour, up to 3 hours and 10 minutes, you’ll continue through more of Arashiyama’s wealth of sites. Explore Rakushisya’s cottage, a rustic thatch-roof cottage that was once the home of one of Japan’s revered poets and haiku masters. Those continuing on will be pulled to spots not seen by many tourists. Explore more ancient temples, including Shinto shrines and the Buddhist Nison-in, as your guide whisks you through some amazing places before returning to Togetsu-kyo bridge. The Kyoto Arashiyama Tour is available in four different options: 45 minutes, 1 hour and 10 minutes, 2 hours and 10 minutes, and 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Kyoto: Japanese Gardens Private Customizable Tour

7. Kyoto: Japanese Gardens Private Customizable Tour

Explore the many gardens of Kyoto on this customizable tour with a private guide. Let the guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly.  Visit various styled gardens and experience traditional Japanese spirits which are represented in plants, rocks, and the entire design. Relax at both, artistic landscape gardens with seasonal plants and dry landscape gardens at Zen temples. Learn about the meaning and the history of the gardens from your knowledgeable guide. Most popular places to visit for this tour: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Kinkakuji Temple Ginkakuji Temple Ryoanji Temple Honen-in Nanzenji Temple Tofuku-ji Temple Kyoto Imperial Palace Shugakuin Imperial Villa Daitoku-ji Temple Kokedera Suzumusidera Katsura Imperial Villa Kyoto Botanical Garden

Nishiki Market Food Tour with Cooking Class

8. Nishiki Market Food Tour with Cooking Class

Explore Nishiki Market with your local Japanese guide, followed by a cooking class. It only takes 15 minutes to walk through this historical food market if you do not have anyone to explain about its history, custom and foods, but if you have someone who is knowledgeable about the market, you can easily spend hours. You can ask question about the foods you may not have seen before to your guides, and even to some shop staff to who your guide will help translate.  What is more unique about this private tour is that you can cook your own donburi (bowl) meal by the ingredients you just bought in the tour. Ingredients cost is included in the tour. You can choose from three options; Kaisen-don (seafood), Ten-don (tempura) or Oyako-don (chicken & egg).  The tour starts from the Nishiki Market Western entrance. You will be briefed about the tour then you will start the tour. Typically you should spend about 1 hour in the Nishiki Market and later you cook and eat your own donburi in 1 hour.  Tour tour is private so you can ask as many questions as you may have, and the tour moves at your pace.

Kansai Airport: Private Transfer to/from Kyoto City

9. Kansai Airport: Private Transfer to/from Kyoto City

Enjoy a safe and reliable private airport transfer with a 24-hour service between Kansai Airport and your accommodation in Kyoto city center.  Be greeted by your driver who will be waiting for you at the arrival hall with a sign displaying your name. Your driver will track your flight so you won't have to worry in case of a flight delay. Save yourself having to carry heavy bags and navigating the public transportation system and take comfort knowing that all vehicles are regularly maintained to high-quality standards.

Kyoto Cultural Walking Tour: Temples, Shrines & Gardens

10. Kyoto Cultural Walking Tour: Temples, Shrines & Gardens

See the temples, shrines and gardens that make Kyoto Japan’s capital of culture on this unique tour of the city. Founded as the national capital more than 1,200 years ago, Kyoto originally developed as a center of aristocratic culture and is most famous for its Zen gardens and Geisha traditions. On this Kyoto tour, you'll discover some of the magic of the city through cultural explorations and local experiences. First head to one of the city’s must-see sights, the Tofukuji Temple. Originally built in the 13th century, and famous for its traditional, yet modern, Zen garden, this is a great place to escape to a relaxed atmosphere in the city. Learn about the origin and inspiration for the garden, and what it means to the Monks who continue to live and study here. Next walk through a nice local residential neighborhood to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Home to a seemingly endless stretch of iconic red torii gates spread across a thickly wooded mountain, this shrine is a world unto itself. Walk through snaking corridors of red gates, made famous in the film "Memoirs of Geisha", stopping to admire the shrines and many fox statues. Major photo opportunity alert! As the sun begins to set on the Toriis, leave behind the foxes and head to Gion, famously known as Kyoto’s Geisha district. This area was the model for Memoirs of Geisha, and it comes alive with people and lights in the evening. Stroll past the 17th-century traditional restaurants and teahouses, many of which are still exclusive establishments for Geisha entertainment, see the theaters and traditional shops, and soak up the atmosphere of this historic quarter. This iconic neighborhood makes for the ideal end to this Kyoto city tour, and is sure to leave you completely enthralled with this dynamic city.

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Frequently asked questions about Kyoto

What top attractions are a must-see in Kyoto?

The must-see attractions in Kyoto are:

What are the best day trips and excursions from Kyoto?

The best day trips and excursions from Kyoto are:

Arashiyama

Other Sightseeing Options in Kyoto

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What people are saying about Kyoto

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 1 reviews

Kazu Akiyama was our guide for a six hour walking and public transit tour that took us to three important shrines, two of which were UNESCO heritage sites. Kazu has lived in Kyoto for many years and taught us a lot about the Buddhist and Shinto shrines that we visited. He is very friendly and intelligent and obviously loves his city. He taught us about the public transit system and carefully guided us through it. We recommend this tour but be prepared for walking and stairs. We walked five miles which was fine for us. Just wear good walking shoes. He gave us some good restaurant recommendations. We tried Le Bouchon last night and had a very good experience with wonderful food and service. You will need a reservation if you go to this restaurant.

Yuri was an excellent guide. My family truly enjoyed our day with her. She was courteous, accommodating, and was excellent at communicating up to our tour to be sure she was including all the sites we wanted to see. 10/10 would recommend.

The mastery with which the tea ceremony is performed and the attention to detail was fascinating. This is another “must do” activity

She gave me a wonderful Kimono to wear for the ceremony. The matcha and the mochi was excellent.

It was a wonderful tour. Would highly recommend it.