Kyoto is on the go-to list of most people who visit Japan. Coined “the most beautiful city in the country” and home to hundreds of historical sites, the former capital of Japan is the favourite of many and visited by millions of people a year. Kyoto is known as the place to see traditional temples, authentic architecture, and the world-famous geisha girls. It’s possible, then, that you or someone you know is planning to visit sometime in the future.
It isn’t realistic to try to do everything in Kyoto within a few days, and most people who visit are only there for a day or two. It’s important, then, to plan accordingly to make sure you get the most out of your visit. Here is a list of 112 things to do in Kyoto for a fantastic experience, whether you’d like to see ancient sites, try delicious food, or create your own authentic Japanese items. Take a look at our list and find the perfect activity for you.
This short two-hour course will teach you the basics of being a real samurai. You can wield an authentic Japanese katana sword, practice zen meditation, and even learn the samurai code Bushido, all in a real samurai house! Those interested in samurai culture would love this unique activity.
Booking details: Authentic Kyoto Samurai Experience
Kyoto is charming by day but just as amazing at night! Check out local classic folk songs and adapted pop tunes, sip craft beer and sake, and soak up the local nightlife at RAN, a music event in Kyoto. Enjoy traditional music with a twist after a long day of sightseeing at this lively venue.
Booking details: RAN Kyoto: Enjoy a Fun Night of Live Entertainment
Have you ever wanted to dress like one of the beautiful maiko geisha that you might have spotted in Japan? At a studio in Kyoto, you can have a full makeover, including the traditional wig, kimono, obi belt, shoes, and accessories. After that, take photos in the traditional garden and even have your own portrait made. This experience is excellent for females who would like to transform into a geisha for a day.
Booking details: Maiko Makeover in Kyoto Gion
Fushimi is a lovely area in Kyoto, so why not see it in style? Wear a traditional yukata or kimono and walk around Fushimi town before riding a boat on the Kamo River and then visiting a museum. Afterwards, enjoy some traditional activities such as koto music, a tea ceremony, and origami. This pleasant day out will surely be an excellent addition to your Kyoto itinerary.
Booking details: Kyoto Fushimi tour with a boat and yukata!
The Japanese tea ceremony is one of the ancient traditions of Japan that has never died out. Experience this intriguing way to prepare and drink tea right in the heart of Kyoto. Head to a tea house in Gion to have a brief introduction to the history of the ceremony (all in English) before being given a full demonstration. After that, you make your own bowl of tea with a bamboo whisk and enjoy it with a Japanese “wagashi” sweet. This activity was named the seventh top thing to do in Kyoto by Times Magazine, so why not give it a try and immerse yourself in Japanese culture?
Booking details: Enjoy an Authentic Tea Ceremony Experience in Kyoto
Are you a morning person? Are you worried you’ll wake up early because of jet lag? Do you love to see places as the sun rises before the hustle and heat of the day? Try this early bird morning tour where you can see famous places like Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, and the bamboo forest in Arashiyama in the hours before the crowds arrive. Experience the real charm of Kyoto with the sunrise, avoid the crowds, and get three of Kyoto’s must-see spots done before breakfast!
Booking details: See the morning freshness of Kyoto in an early bird tour
There is an old samurai in Kyoto who knows the whole city inside out, so why not embark on this four-kilometer tour with him? Visit historical spots throughout the city and watch the samurai’s famous mini-show of cutting an apple in the air! Let him introduce you to delicious Japanese food and learn about local tea houses and Buddhist temples. There is an option to take a group tour on Saturdays or a semi-private tour on other days. Children under twelve years old can attend free of charge, but a fee for food applies.
Booking details: Cool Kyoto Walking Tour with the Last Samurai
Japan is just beautiful in autumn, so if you’re visiting Kyoto in late September, October, or early November, consider catching the best of the city’s fall colours! Visit different temples and enjoy the charming beauty of their gardens in the yellow, orange and red. Don’t forget your camera!
Booking details: Customize and embark on a Private Full Day Tour in Kansai
Are you visiting Kyoto as a family? If quiet, traditional activities aren’t your thing, opt for this family-friendly tour, great for kids, teenagers, and adults alike! You can viit the TOEI Movie Park, ride a boat in Arashiyama, bang some taiko drums, visit the Teramanchi Arcade, and more. Let the guides take care of everything as you experience the best of Kyoto.
Booking details: Family Fun in Kyoto for a day!
“Ikebana” is traditional Japanese flower arrangement and is the encouragement of finding beauty and calmness in simplicity. Why not try this charming pastime in Kyoto? The class is in English and is held in a traditional townhouse called a machiya. Experience authenticity in Japan’s ancient capital and gain an insight into how the Japanese see nature and beauty.
Booking details: Experience the art of Ikebana in Gion, Kyoto
Saiho Temple, also known as Moss Temple, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Matsuo, Kyoto. To protect the moss it is so famous for, the number of permitted visitors is limited. You’ll get access to the grounds for 90 minutes where you can explore the ancient gardens and see how Japanese Buddhists live. The best time to visit this temple is in June or July when it is rainy season and the moss is particularly lush. Be sure to book this tour, which includes English interpretation, at least two weeks in advance to guarantee access.
Booking details: Visit Saihō-ji (Moss Temple), a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
If it’s your first time in Kyoto and you’d like to see the city’s main historical sites in one day, this tour is perfect for you. Kyoto itself is very big and it can be tricky to navigate the buses if you’re there for a short time. With this day out, you can rest assured you’ll see everything on time and be back in time for dinner!
Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the morning and cover some of Kyoto’s most desirable areas such as Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, Gion, and Kinkakuji Temple. The guide can speak English and offer some interesting information about the places. See the best of Kyoto in one action-packed day!
Booking details: Enjoy a 1 Day Tour in Kyoto and Visit Historical Sites!
After a long day of sightseeing, why not explore Kyoto’s awesome nightlife? This tour runs from evening until midnight and includes a one-hour all-you-can-drink at the first bar. See some of Kyoto’s hidden bars, themed establishments, and mix with local people while having a great time tasting different beers, sakes, and more!
Booking details: Kyoto Fun: Bar Hopping Experience!
Are you into photography and would like the opportunity to get real, unrestricted shots of a maiko? With this opportunity, you can freely take photos of a maiko geisha while she dances and performs. Create an impressive album with one of Japan’s most elegant cultures! You can also have a conversation with her and have your picture taken with her.
Booking details: Enjoy an exclusive photo session with a maiko in Kyoto
If watching a dance isn’t enough for you, you can have a try at traditional Japanese dance yourself! Visit a real tatami room in one of Kyoto’s charming townhouses, wear a summer kimono, and learn some steps of a famous dance piece, Four Seasons of Kyoto. This is great for children as well!
Booking details: Experience Japanese Traditional Dance in Kyoto
Don’t feel like dancing but would like to watch? In this tour, you can see a maiko perform a Buyo dance at a special maiko theatre. Japanese lunch, snacks, and all-you-can-drink alcoholic drinks are also served, making it a great activity to enjoy for a few hours with friends or family.
Booking details: Watch Japanese Traditional Maiko Dance in Kyoto!
This six-hour tour is flexible and designed to fit everything you want to do into one day. Upon booking, your host will send you several suggested itineraries to choose from and will take care of the hows and whens! Check out the link below for some itinerary examples.
Booking details: Kyoto Fun: Personalised Private Tour
This popular tour includes a train ride just outside of Kyoto city to the rural charm of the mountains. Head to Kibune Village and its shrine, take a moderate hiking course and see the breathtaking view from on the temple of the mountaintop. After lunch, soak in a Japanese hot spring to soothe your tired muscles. Ths experience is a little different from the usual temple and museum tours in the city, so definitely check it out.
Booking details: Hike to Kurama Temple & Enjoy a Hot Spring Bath!
Samurai fans can make their very own samurai knife with a real swordsmith in Kyoto! Of course it takes years to truly master the art of sword making, but you can learn to make a knife in just a day. Spend the morning at the forge and shape it after lunch. You can then take your new creation home with you!
Booking details: Make your own samurai knife with a certified swordsmith!
Bus and car are the main ways to get around Kyoto, but what about bicycle? Cycling around Kyoto is easy and fun and with this tour, you can see many of Kyoto’s sights in an active and interesting way. The tour offers some history on the city, scenic routes with your safety in mind, and several exciting itineraries to choose from. See Kyoto by bike and get a little exercise while exploring one of Japan’s most charming cities.
Booking details: Kyoto Fun: Cycling Tour
Beer lovers, you can’t miss the Suntory Beer Factory! Suntory is one of the biggest alcohol manufacturers in the country and while in Kyoto, you can visit the brewery and see where the beer is brewed from the raw materials to the final product. Pamphlets are available in English, Korean, and Chinese. The guide can also provide some English explanations.
Booking details: Visit Suntory Kyoto Beer Factory Tour
A koto is a Japanese stringed instrument that creates a calming Japanese ambient sound in many old plays and performances. If you’re interested in the koto, try learning a song from a teacher in a century-old house! You can even take the musical score home with you afterwards. Test your musical ability and learn to play a Japanese song during your visit to Kyoto.
Booking details: Take a Koto Lesson at a Traditional House in Kyoto
This highly-rated tour gives you a tea ceremony experience close to Kinkakuji Temple, one of the most visited and well-loved sightseeing spots in Kyoto. Learn about chado, tea, and tea utensils, make your own powdered green tea, and marvel at the artistry of the traditional Japanese sweets. You can try this in a group with others or book a private class if you’d prefer. The schedule is fairly flexible, so click the link below for more information.
Booking details: Enjoy a Tea Ceremony with Special Sweets in Kyoto
This 1-day tour allows you to visit some great areas in Kyoto all in one day. There is more to the city than just temples – ride the Sagano Romantic Train in Arashiyama, explore the exciting bamboo forest, and take a boat ride on the Hozugawa River, taking in the views and giving you some great photograph opportunities. See the best of Arashiyama in one organised, fun-filled guided day.
Booking details: Enjoy Sagano Trocco, Stroll Arashiyama&River Boat Ride,Kyoto
Although it’s common to see maiko geisha in public places in Gion, it’s very rare for tourists to enter real teahouses. With this activity, you can enter a traditional-style Japanese restaurant and eat dinner with a real Japanese maiko. There is an interpreter and you can enjoy this unique experience for three whole hours. Keep an eye on seasonal activities if you’d like to see temple illuminations or private gardens, too.
Those with a keen interest in Kyoto’s geisha culture would love the chance to experience this.
Booking details: Book an exclusive private dinner with a maiko in Kyoto
With its 1200-year-long history, Kyoto has not only the mainstream sightseeing spots but history and culture on almost every street. With this tour, you can see Kiyomizu Temple as well as some of the lesser-known alleys and markets around it. The guide will pick you up at your hotel and show you around some of Kyoto’s most charming areas for half a day.
Booking details: Exploring the Heart of Kyoto (Half Day)
Cherry blossom season in Japan is between mid-March to early April and is one of the most celebrated times of the year. In this short time, gorgeous cherry blossom flowers bloom for just a few weeks. Many people flock to the best sights in the country for “hanami” (flower-viewing) parties and photography.
If you’ll be in Kyoto during cherry blossom season, try this tour which will show you some of the best spots in the city to see breathtaking views of temples made all the more beautiful with the cherry blossom flowers, a boat ride along the canal, and seeing locals celebrating this special time of year.
Booking details: See Kyoto’s best sakura cherry blossom spots!
Would you like to see the charming Fushimi-Inari Shrine? Would you like to try local sake? You can do both on this one-day tour! Explore the charms of the thousand gates of Fushimi-Inari Shrine, take a boat trip along the canal, and see various breweries and try local sake. The guide will pick you up from central Kyoto and after the tour, they will help you find your hotel or assist with transportation to your next destination.
This tour is available between April and November when the boats are in operation.
Booking details: Kyoto Fushimi 1-day Tour with sake tasting
Arashiyama is a little outside the main city of Kyoto and is home to the beautiful bamboo forest, streets filled with Geisha and delicious food, and views of mountains and nature. Why not hire a professional photographer to take photos of you and your friends, family, or loved one? Create a spectacular album of memories in one of Japan’s most beautiful spots.
Booking details: Book a 3-Hour Photo Shooting Tour in Arashiyama, Kyoto
You may have heard of or even visited a cat cafe in Japan, but have you ever heard of an owl cafe? In Kyoto, you can check out these adorable nocturnal birds at your leisure in Fukuro no Mise, an owl cafe. Check out the link below for details on how you can try this unique experience for animal lovers!
Booking details: Reservation for Lovely Owl Cafe “Fukuro no Mise”, Kyoto
A trip to Kyoto isn’t complete without a visit to Gion, one of the city’s most famous spots. Stroll down the charming lantern-lit streets at night, visit traditional tea houses and izakaya pubs, and see Kyoto’s old nightlife culture. This tour takes you around the best spots of Gion in two and a half hours, introducing you to places you may want to is it again in the future.
Booking details: Go on a Gion Night Walk, Kyoto
This morning tour takes you to Fushimi-Inari Shrine and Sanjusandgen-do, which is a Buddhist temple. Those interested in Japanese Buddhism would enjoy this tour as you can also learn about the culture and religious aspect of the numerous Buddhist temples in Kyoto.
Booking details: Half Day Tour to Sanjusangendo & Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
In Kyoto, there is the opportunity to try cooking Japanese food with friendly local people. Learn how to make several different dishes including sushi, tempura, miso soup and more, and eat it afterwards. All this takes place in a traditional townhouse which has been refurbished so you can enjoy the old and new of Kyoto’s charming architecture. Try cooking authentic Japanese food and make some new friends along the way.
Booking details: Enjoy Japanese Cooking Class with Friendly Locals in Kyoto
There is a guide in Kyoto who owns several samurai costumes that have been used in movies. Choose your favourite and have your photograph taken around Kyoto! Get some awesome pictures of your trip as a tough and fearless Japanese warrior.
Feel free to get in touch with the guide beforehand with any inquiries you might have. Choose from a number of historical costumes and create some great memories in Kyoto!
Booking details: Dress as a samurai and take photos in Kyoto
If pretty kimonos are more your thing, try getting transformed into a stylish kimono as well as full make-up including false eyelashes. Slightly different from the style of Kyoto’s maiko geisha, these Oiran kimonos blend beauty and sexy together. Look like a Japanese fashion model or movie star and enjoy a stylish photoshoot after your makeover.
Booking details: Get a photo session dressed in Japanese Oiran kimono, Kyoto
Meditation is used mostly to relax the body and decrease stress levels. In Buddhism, it is still practised today to achieve enlightenment and acquire a good frame of mind. Understand the Japanese mind more and learn the basics of Zen meditation from an American-educated abbot before taking a tour of one of the most historic temples in Kyoto.
Booking details: Join Zen Meditation Class in Kyoto
One great thing about visiting a new place is trying out the local food! Kyoto is home to some amazing cuisine and with this tour, you can experience many of Kyoto’s foods. Visit the little-known Nishiki Food Market and explore the fresh seafood, local snacks, and preserved fruits. Learn about how food gets from the source to people’s homes and taste various local flavours. A 7-course lunch is included in this tour.
Booking details: Kyoto Nishiki Market Tour with 7 Course Lunch
This unique restaurant in Kyoto offers an exciting live ninja show involving swordplay, acrobatics, and exciting special effects. With this ticket, you get a seat reservation, see the show, and even chat with the actors later on. Ths is all enjoyed with some delicious Japanese dishes.
Choose from either the lunch plan or the dinner plan and explore the different dining options to get the best deal for your visit.
Booking details: Enjoy the ninja experience at the Ninja Restaurant, Kyoto!
Wearing traditional kimonos or yukatas and strolling around areas is becoming more and more popular as it adds to the authenticity of the experience and promises some amazing photographs. Visit a kimono rental shop in Kyoto and rent these charming dresses. This is available not only to women but also men and children, so if you’re travelling as a family, you can dress up in matching outfits and bedazzle your friends and family back home!
Hair accessories are also available and with the package, you get the kimono or yukata, the obi belt, socks, and sandals.
Booking details: Book a Kimono Rental Hana Plan in Kyoto
Head to one of the most beautiful districts of Kyoto, Arashiyama! With its charming bamboo forest, Oi River, shrines and temples, and breathtaking natural views, it’s well worth a visit to those who’d love to see natural Japan steeped in tradition.
Why not take a day trip to Arashiyama and see all it has to offer? This tour takes you to Tenryuji Temple and Nonomiya Shrine as well as crossing the Togetsukyo Bridge, a popular meeting spot. You also have the chance to see Okochi Mountain Villa, the villa and garden of a famous samurai film star from the fifties. The tour is quite flexible so don’t hesitate to adjust it to suit your schedule.
Booking details: Join Kyoto Arashiyama Bamboo and Tenryu-ji Private Tour
If you’re interested in Expressive Arts Therapy, this interesting experience allows you to create your own ritual of rebirth and rejuvenation in the form of dance and art. Visit the ancient sacred water site in northern Kyoto and heal your soul like the shaman women in Japan did in the days of old. Art supplies will be provided. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes.
Booking details: Practice Spiritual Water Dance Healing in Kyoto
One feature that gives Kyoto its unique look is the plethora of machiya townhouses in the city. Explore these interesting works of architecture and learn about their history and the local culture. You can also explore sake breweries on your journey. You can even rent a kimono to wear along the way if you like.
Booking details: Explore the traditional Machiya houses in Kyoto
Did you know that there are a few places in Kyoto where you can pray to improve your fortune? On this tour, you’ll visit three shrines and one temple to pray for money karma! Each location has a slightly different type of money luck such as family fortune, business prosperity, and luck in games and tournaments. If you’re feeling superstitious, have a go at this tour and see if it improves your fortune!
Booking details: Improve your luck for money with a Kyoto money shrine tour
For first-timers in Kyoto, you might be less concerned with niche experiences and more interested in the “classics” of Kyoto – that is, the most recommended must-sees of the city. If this is the case, consider booking a day tour that covers Kinkakuji Temple, Kiyomizu Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine, and a walk in Nishiki Market. Don’t worry about getting around as the tour guide will help, and see Kyoto’s most important treasures in just one day, giving you more time to explore other things.
Booking details: Discover the most memorable treasures of Kyoto
Kyoto may be a city, but it has plenty of gorgeous natural beauty just waiting to be explored. See the outskirts of Kyoto, including some less-visited temples and a small village. Embrace the beauty of Kansai’s wonders and see if you can feel the spiritual atmosphere in the sacred place.
Booking details: Trek in Nature’s Beauty & Visit a Peaceful Temple Garden
The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment mostly worn at festivals and graduation ceremonies but sometimes worn as an everyday item. You may see men and women around Japan walking about in these charming Japanese dresses. In Kyoto, you can rent your own kimono for the day to wear while you go sightseeing! It will make the experience of seeing Japan’s old wonders more authentic and makes for great photographs.
You can choose your kimono out of a range of colours and styles, get professional assistance with putting it on, and get your hair done as an optional add-on. Explore Kyoto in a kimono and take your Japan experience to the next level.
Booking details: Rent a kimono near Kyoto Station and wear it for a day
For those interested in Japanese geisha, there is the perfect tour to satisfy your curiosity! Visit several geisha districts in Kyoto and learn about the “ochaya” teahouse culture. See some popular geisha-related shrines and try to spot a real geisha on Kyoto’s small streets. Find out all about the bunraku and kyogen arts. This day is a mixture of a history class and culture tour and great for those interested in geisha culture.
Booking details: Discover the hidden secrets of Kyoto’s geisha districts
Taiko is an incredibly fun Japanese drumming that often features in festivals. There is even an arcade game dedicated to it. Whether you’re a drummer yourself or just interested in making some noise and learning some beats, all are welcome at the taiko drum class. Wear a traditional “happi” drumming garment, learn a little about taiko’s history, and have a go yourself! This activity is suitable for children.
Booking details: Learn to Beat the Taiko: Japanese-style Drumming
Getting around Kyoto can be tricky for first timers as you often have to rely on the bus rather than the subway. Why not see Kyoto by car instead? Take a half-day tour to see the house of pottery and a sake brewery before enjoying a traditional tofu lunch. You’ll be picked up and dropped off by private car, taking away the stress of navigating the local public transport.
Booking details: A Halfday Private Car Tour Experiencing Traditions in Kyoto!
This activity mixes Japanese and western styles in an unusual but fun flower decoration lesson. Head to a beautiful Russian church gallery near Kyoto’s Gosho Imperial Palace and learn about flower decoration. Use a mixture of Japanese and Western flowers for an original piece. Materials are all prepared and a brief explanation is given so don’t worry if you have no prior experience.
Booking details: Flower Decoration Lesson in a Russian church gallery, Kyoto
Kyoto is indeed home to amazing temples and perfectly integrated modern features but it is also surrounded by Kansai’s picturesque nature. Join a private walking tour where your guide will take you hiking to see waterfalls and mountains, views the locals enjoy that you shouldn’t miss during your stay. After your walk, slurp on some local ramen noodles. Click the link below for some of the highlights.
Booking details: Explore Nature and the Small Streets of Kyoto – Private Tour
This very flexible tour allows you to see whatever Kyoto’s charming sites you choose by taxi! This convenient method of transportation will take the stress off your travelling time and allow you to relax in the private vehicle. Choose whichever spot you’d like to see and let the guide know in advance to create your own itinerary and travel there in style.
Booking details: Enjoy a Walking & Taxi Tour of Kyoto!
Calligraphy, or “shodo”, is an artful pastime in Japan that has resulted in stunning works throughout the ages. It is still practiced today professionally and as a hobby. Why not try it yourself during your stay in Kyoto? Go to a quaint townhouse in the city and learn a little about the language before you create your very own masterpieces. You can even take them home later as a gift.
Booking details: Experience Japanese Calligraphy in Kyoto
Kyoto is a large city and it’s a good idea to restrict your sightseeing spots for the day to one area at a time. Southern Kyoto is home to the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, the country’s tallest pagoda, and the city’s oldest temple. Check out the best places in southern Kyoto in one day and soak up the history and culture.
Booking details: Explore the highlights of southern Kyoto in a half-day tour!
Meditation is not only for relaxation but also an East Asian tradition to achieve a certain state of mind. Learn about authentic Zen meditation at a tranquil Kyoto temple. After that, sip delicious green tea and bask in your sense of peace and tranquility! Take a break from the busy craziness of your vacation and try some zen meditation during your trip.
Booking details: Zen Meditation at Daisenin Temple with Tasty Green Tea
Those interested in Japanese samurai culture can’t miss meeting a real samurai in Kyoto. See Joe Okada perform in the samurai theatre and you can learn the art of Bushido. Meet him in the Samurai bar later and have a chilled out evening with him! This is a chance to spend time with a real Japanese samurai and observe the skills he has acquired from over fifty years of training.
Booking details: Watch an Evening Samurai show in Kyoto with The Last Samurai
Arashiyama is not to be missed when you visit Kyoto. On this tour, you can take a train with a beautiful view, a boat ride on the Hozugawa River, and visit two traditional temples. Walk through the green bamboo grove and see the cosy monkey park. There is also an option to watch traditional fishing from special tourist boats.
Booking details: Arashiyama Tour: Hozugawa River, Monkey Park, Bamboo Grove
There are many things to do in Kyoto’s famous sightseeing spots besides just taking photos of the buildings. On this tour, you’ll meet your guide in the morning at your hotel and head to the Golden Temple, Kinkakuji. See it reflecting on its mirror-like pond before searching for the fifteenth rock in the Zen garden of Ryoanji. Imagine yourself as a shogun samurai warrior as you stroll the grounds of Nijo Castle. This and much more is available to really get the most out of your visit.
Booking details: Kyoto Tour: From the Golden Kinkakuji to the Nijo Castle
Book a private party where you can see traditional Japanese dance accompanied by shamisen music. Get explanations of each activity and take photos and videos of these talented performers who are putting on a show just for you. All this takes place in a tatami room in a traditional townhouse in one of Kyoto’s charming neighbourhoods.
Booking details: Attend a Performance of Japanese Traditional Dance and Music
Have you ever felt curious about the traditional townhouses you can see all over Kyoto and beyond? These houses, called machiya, have a certain charm about them and their own histories. Tour one of these machiya townhouses and learn all about its fascinating role in the city and its neighbourhood. Get a taste of everyday life in Kyoto from the past and present.
Booking details: Tour a Kyoto Machiya and Learn about Traditional Customs
If you’re travelling in a larger group, consider taking this tour where you get your own private bus for hire. Create your own itinerary or ask for advice from the professional guides and travel with peace of mind on your private transportation. This is ideal for larger groups and those who haven’t visited Kyoto before.
Booking details: Explore Kyoto in a private charter bus tour (for groups)
Arts and crafts aren’t scarce in Japan, and this is the opportunity to try out gold plating in Kyoto close to the Golden Pavilion Temple. Learn the steps made to create a design on a square plate by a professional craftsman and create your own pattern. This class is excellent if you pair it with seeing the Golden Pavilion itself as it is very close by. The exact address will be provided when you book.
Booking details: Enjoy Hands-on gold leaf experience near the Golden Pavilion
Do you like sushi? If you’re curious about how it’s made, you can check out this small workshop in Kyoto to make your very own sushi. You can even learn how to make it into cute, pretty shapes. Learn how to make sushi in the shape of faces or flowers and impress your friends and family! After the class, you can eat the sushi you made along with a bowl of matcha green tea and some sweets.
Booking details: Make Pretty Rolled Sushi pieces in Kyoto!
A yukata is the summer version of a kimono and either of these can be rented depending on the season of your visit. When you rent one of these pretty traditional dresses, you’ll also get some free Japanese sweets to take with you! Explore Kyoto in one of these charming traditional garments and enjoy some candy while you’re at it.
Booking details: Rent Kimono/Yukata in Kyoto and receive Japanese Candies!
There are several kinds of tea blends in Japan and with this activity, you can learn the basic knowledge of Japanese green tea and make your own blend using several different kinds of various levels of bitterness, umami, flavour, and colour. Create your very own blend of sencha tea and take your original sencha as a gift. Lunch is included in this activity.
Booking details: Create your original Japanese green tea (Sencha) blend
This activity is slightly different to the one above because here, you can grind your own matcha tea for only the freshest taste. Learn basic knowledge of Japanese green tea before you whisk, crush, and grind the powder to make your own green tea. Taste your creation and take some home as a gift. Please keep in mind the grinding process take a little hard work so it may not be suitable for the elderly or for very small children.
Booking details: Grind Matcha and enjoy Matcha tasting in Kyoto!
If just making the green tea isn’t enough for you, there is also the opportunity to visit Kyoto’s most famous tea farm, Wazuka! This farm has been producing tea for 800 years and the scenic views are just beautiful. Stroll through the area, learn about green tea production, and enjoy a tea-related lunch included in the tour. You can even taste some tea and figure out your favourite blend.
Booking details: Walk around the Wazuka Tea farm in Kyoto!
If you love dressing up, why not see Arashiyama while dressed as an ancient Japanese spy assassin, the ninja? Meet at Kyoto Station where you’ll change into your outfit before heading to Kyoto’s beautiful Arashiyama district to see shrines, temples, the Monkey Park, the bamboo forest, and eat a delicious lunch together. Don’t miss this unique experience with a chance to get truly awesome photos!
Booking details: Dress like a ninja and explore beautiful Arashiyama, Kyoto!
A furisode kimono is a bit different from the traditional kimono you may normally see people wearing. Traditionally it is worn by women who are not yet married and are a type of formal dress. Head to a salon near the famous Kiyomizu Temple where you’ll drop off your luggage and shoes. Once there, choose your favourite kimono, have your photo taken in the store while wearing it and go sightseeing in your beautiful new garment. There is also an option to borrow the kimono overnight.
Booking details: Wear colorful Japanese Furisode kimono in Kyoto!
This fantastic tour for groups allows you to eat Japanese food at an established Kyoto restaurant, see the maiko’s beautiful performance up close, chat with her (interpreter is included), and play party games with her. If you win, you’ll receive a small prize. You can even have your photo taken with her. Get your large group together and have an enchanting and forgettable evening!
Booking details: Spend an enchanting time with Maiko in Kyoto (Group tour)
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys seeing places off the beaten track, then consider heading to the countryside to meet up with a local farmer. He will meet you either at your hotel, Kyoto Station, or Sonobe Station and take you to his countryside farm.
You can see local shrines and temples that are less famous and therefore much less crowded than the usually recommended spots. Harvest vegetables with the friendly guide and take in the scenic forest where there’s a chance to see wild deer. If there’s time, he will also take you to the see the seaside. Take a break from the busy city life and spend a day with this local countryside farmer.
Booking details: Enjoy Japan’s countryside and farmer’s life near Kyoto
With this tour, you can spend the afternoon with a Buddhist priest who will teach you about zen meditation in one of Kyoto’s beautiful temples. You can also enjoy an authentic Japanese lunch called “shidashi”. The meal is suitable for vegans and is also gluten-free. Have an unusual experience in Japan and immerse yourself in ancient Buddhist culture.
Booking details: Try Zen Meditation and Eat Lunch in Kyoto, with a guide
During your stay in Kyoto, you can also take a break from the city and go kayaking! You can see one of Japan’s three most scenic views from the water and take in the breathtaking view of over 8000 pine trees. This activity can be enjoyed by people of any level of kayaking as the instructor is there to accompany you.
Booking details: Enjoy Sea Kayak in Amanohashidate, Kyoto Prefecture!
One great thing about visiting a new place is the opportunity to meet new people. Whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple, or in a group, why not meet up with a local person who will show you the best parts of Kyoto? See Shijo’s historical area, Kiyomizu Temple, and Gion before heading to a traditional Japanese pub for a drink. Enjoy the city with a friendly local person and make a new friend during your trip!
Booking details: 10% OFF Tour all the popular places in Kyoto with a local!
This maiko tour includes taking some gorgeous photographs with your very own real maiko model. With scenic locations such as gardens and temples, free sweets, and a private car pickup, this activity is a photographer’s dream.
Booking details: Take photos with a real Kyoto maiko at scenic locations
Are you a foodie who loves unique snacks and would like to try a stunning and unique gelato? This elegant and unique snack is delicately prepared per reservation and made especially for you. Knead some gelato and appreciate the unique fragrance of the ingredients. Enjoy this unique treat speckled with gold. You’ll receive a gelato mixing bowl as a gift, too. Have a gorgeous and unforgettable experience tasting this high-class snack.
Booking details: Taste the best and strongest matcha gelato in Japan!
This is the chance to have an exclusive private tour of Kyoto’s more rural areas. Visit Motoise Kono Shrine, Kasamatsu Park, and Amanohashidate by minibus with English support. This is available for groups of up to five people. See beautiful shrines, walk through rows of pine trees, and ride a cable car at the lovely park. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of central Kyoto and immerse yourself in nature with a guide to help.
Booking details: Private Sightseeing Tour in Rural Kyoto with a Mini Bus!
If you visit Kyoto in autumn, there are some opportunities to see stunning views of Kyoto in all its red, yellow, and orange beauty. This walking tour takes you on a maple leaf hunt and lets you see various spots like Kiyomizu Temple, Nanzenji Temple, and the Arashiyama river. Definitely include this if you’re lucky enough to be in Kyoto during November.
Booking details: See Kyoto in Autumn Colors! Join the Momijigari Walking Tour!
“Kaiseki” is a multi-course and multi-flavour special dinner. With this activity, you start in Kamogawa and stroll through the terraces of the charming neighbourhood. Next, visit Gion and take in the traditional atmosphere of geisha and teahouses. After that, you can enjoy a fantastic meal of various flavours and courses.
Booking details: Enjoy a delicious Kaiseki dinner on a Kyoto Food Tour
Are you a fan of zen gardens? The Japanese garden is a form of art and Kyoto is full of these charming little areas. Take a tour to see some of the city’s prettiest gardens! You can sip green tea and even try some meditation, fully immersing yourself in the culture.
Booking details: Visit Kyoto’s Amazing Zen Gardens in a Private Half Day Tour
Do you think you can tell the difference between an 800 yen bowl of matcha gelato and a 3000 yen bowl of gelato? In this fun game, you can taste various kinds of gelato and try to guess which one is from which tea blend! You can learn about how to detect the differences in taste and test your ability by comparing five different types. Try this for a unique and amusing experience.
Booking details: Taste and compare Cha-Kabuki Gelato in a unique experience
Relive the happiest day of your life with this special photo shoot! Dress in a bridal kimono and have some stunning photographs taken around Kyoto’s most beautiful spots with your partner. You’ll receive counselling and help with dressing in your outfit and later the guide will take you to a cafe to see your beautiful pictures. Check out the link below for more information.
Booking details: Take Wedding Photos in Kyoto in Kimono and Visit a Cafe!
Arashiyama is not only home to stunning views and magical sights but also some excellent cuisine. Head to one of Kyoto’s most gorgeous districts and explore the must-see areas while stopping at many recommended stores and shops to grab snacks and food! Let the tour guide know if you have any allergies before you go and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes!
Booking details: Enjoy a Kyoto Food and Drink Tour in Arashiyama
Horse racing is very popular in Japan and if you’re into it too, there’s a chance for you to see a horse race near Kyoto! At the attraction, there are unique eateries, places to ride a horse, and some attractions for children, too. Don’t miss this if you love horses and racing!
Booking details: Watch an Exciting Japanese Horse Racing Near Osaka or Kyoto
Kyoto has a multitude of hotels, inns, and traditional Japanese ryokans that offer a slightly different experience than most hotels in the west. Have an affordable and enjoyable stay at a ryokan in Kyoto where you can bathe in a hot spring, eat fresh cuisine made with local ingredients, and sleep in a traditional style futon. It’s a great experience everyone in Japan should try at least once!
Booking details: Treat Yourself to a Luxurious Ryokan, in Kyoto
Take a short ninja training course in Kyoto. Learn how to move and breathe like a ninja and even learn how to use ninja weapons. This fun experience may even teach you something that you can use in the future! For those interested in ninja culture, this class isn’t to be missed.
Booking details: Enjoy The Ninja Training Dojo and Items Store in Kyoto!
Have you ever tried paddle boarding? This super fun activity is available on the Katsura River on the outskirts of Kyoto. Enjoy the summer sun and take in the scenery as you gently paddle on the water. This is appropriate for all levels so don’t worry if you haven’t tried it before. Have a unique experience great for the whole family.
Booking details: Experience stand up paddle boarding in Kyoto!
If just seeing and meeting a maiko geisha in Kyoto isn’t enough, then try getting a full makeover so you can be one for a day! Not only will you be transformed into an apprentice geisha, but you will also be taught how to walk like a maiko and a little about their culture. Have pictures taken in the studio and take the photos home as great memories.
Booking details: Try a Complete Maiko Makeover in Kyoto
Makie is the traditional practice of lacquer coating used to make beautiful patterns on various items. Join this program if you love art and learn how to make your very own “makie” piece! The class takes place at an art shop in Kyoto. This isn’t available very often so book it soon to avoid disappointment!
Booking details: Learn How to Make Makie At an Old Art Shop in Kyoto!
#ginkakujitemple in #kyoto. The gardens once again were immaculately groomed as is the japanese way. #panasonic #lumix #fz1000 #wanderlust #landscape_captures #landscapelovers #landscapephotography #serenity_nature #peaceful #wilderness #seejapan #visitjapan #tranquility #relaxing #goodforthesoul #japan #japangram #garden #japanesestyle #ginkakuji
For first-time visitors to Kyoto, you may want to cover the must-sees in the city but getting there is a little difficult as you have to navigate the buses. See the Golden Pavilion, Silver Temple, and Kiyomizu Temple all in one day with this five-hour bus tour. They are all gorgeous places in Kyoto well worth visiting so definitely consider getting a guide to help you if you’re determined to see all three of these stunning spots all in one day.
Booking details: Explore the 3 Best Tourist Attractions in Kyoto!
Nijo Castle is one of the historic monuments of ancient Kyoto and well worth a visit for fans of Japanese architecture. Why not combine it with the charming Ryoanji Temple? See them both on the Kyoto Sightseeing Bus and experience two of Kyoto’s gorgeous spots in half a day.
Booking details: Half Day Tour to Nijo Castle & Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto!
For those who love football or soccer, check out a local game when the sport is in season! This is available near Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya so sports fans have the opportunity to enjoy a fun game from several different locations. See the game with a local and learn to cheer and celebrate the Japanese way!
Booking details: Watch an exciting football game in Nagoya, Osaka or Kyoto!
This is a Kyoto tour with an English speaking guide and a more relaxed approach to seeing the city’s best spots. Enjoy strolling through Fushimi Inari Shrine’s torii gates and take in the sights at Tofukuji Temple’s zen gardens. In the evening, head to Gion and see if you can spot a geisha.
Booking details: Walk Through Traditional City of Kyoto with English Guide!
For those who struggle to walk far or get tired easily, seeing Kyoto’s scenery isn’t a pipe dream. Consider taking a tour on the top of a roofless bus to see the best parts of Kyoto from the comfort of your seat. You can stop at Kinkakuji Temple and Kiyomizu Temple, but you will see many, many more of Kyoto’s lovely sights from the bus on this half-day tour.
Booking details: Enjoy a Half Day Double-Decker Bus Tour of Kyoto!
A little tired and fatigued from the busy city life? Check out this opportunity to experience a Japanese hot spring and relax for the day. Take an open-air bath and enjoy some traditional food while your worries and stress melt away. After lunch, stroll the local shops for souvenirs before heading back to Kyoto city.
Booking details: Embark on a One Day Onsen and Japanese Cuisine Tour, Kyoto
Though similar to the sushi making experience mentioned earlier, this one takes place in a Japanese restaurant and after making your own rolled sushi, you can enjoy it with free refills of miso soup and tea. Learn from a professional sushi chef and have a great time cooking one of Japan’s most beloved dishes. Be sure to book this at least one week in advance.
Booking details: Take a hand-roll sushi cooking lesson in Kyoto
The rural areas of Kyoto are extremely beautiful. Here is a tour where you can visit some lovely parts of the prefecture and see lesser-known sights such as the train cafe, the biggest swing in the world, Kanabiki Waterfall, and a shrine in the mountains. This tour lasts the whole day from morning until night and guarantees an eye-opening experience.
There is also the chance to go there for two days where you can also see Fukuchiyama Castle and stay in a Japanese house in the countryside.
Booking details: Take a day trip to the wonderful rural area of Kyoto
In the Kiyomizu District, you can meet with a local Kyoto man who resides in one of the many mysterious local townhouses steeped in culture and history. Over this two-hour tour, you will see the living quarters of pottery artists of old as well as the workplaces of geishas and maikos. This walking tour allows you to see a side of Kyoto not well advertised in guidebooks.
Booking details: The Deepest Kyoto Walking Tour
The areas around Kyoto are also worth visiting, and if you can do several in a short space of time, all the better! Here are some tours that cover several places including Kyoto, or are day tours that depart from Kyoto.
This tour is very flexible and great for people who are interested in seeing a lot of areas in Kansai but are nervous about navigating the transportation. Completely build your own tour or use some of the suggestions provided. Travel with peace of mind and see your desired spots hassle-free.
Booking details: Customise and embark on a Private Half Day Tour in Kansai
Book a full package tour if you’d like your trip to Japan to be hassle-free and everything done for you! With airport transfers and English-speaking guides, this is ideal for those visiting Japan for the first time and would like to get as much as possible out of their stay.
This package includes visits to various places in Osaka such as Dotonbori and Osaka Castle, a day trip to Nara, and an excursion to Kyoto.
Booking details: Enjoy Osaka: a 5-day package tour (minimum 5 adults)
For an action-packed day of touring some of Japan’s most impressive historical sites, consider booking this activity where you can see Kyoto and the neighbouring Nara city all in one day. The host will guide you between the cities so you don’t have to worry about navigating the public transport yourself. The tour is also customisable so you can select the places you’d like to visit.
Booking details: Explore the historical cities, Kyoto and Nara in 1 day!
This special service is available to pre-book that allows you to use medical phone support during your stay in Japan. This is accesible from anywhere in the country and includes assistance in finding hospitals and clinics, professional advice, and interpretation while you’re at a medical facility. For a fantastic price, you can travel in Japan with peace of mind.
Booking details: Get medical support through phone during your stay in Japan
For those staying in Tokyo but interested in visiting Kyoto for a day, try this custom private tour. You will meet at Tokyo Station and take the bullet train to Kyoto, before visiting two or three scenic spots of your choice. Enjoy a kaiseki meal for lunch and after a great day of sightseeing, take the bullet train home. You can also enjoy a bento lunch box style supper on the train. Spend a day in Kyoto and be back in Tokyo by the evening.
Please also see this tour if you’re happy with a set schedule of seeing Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle, and Kyoto Imperial Palace.
Booking details: Take a one day private trip from Tokyo to Kyoto with a guide
Start in Kyoto and see some awesome places in Japan. Visit the beautiful Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park and the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter as well as many other lovely places in those areas. The fee includes lunch on the second day, accommodation, all transportation fees, pick-up and drop-off at designated hotels, and the English guide. Please note that this tour ends in Osaka.
Booking details: Enjoy a 2-Days Hiroshima & Kurashiki Tour from Kyoto!
Miyajima is a beautiful island very close to Hiroshima. To explore it all you need at least one day. This tour takes you from Kyoto to Hiroshima to see both the charms of the city and the gorgeous island. Unlike the previous tour, this activity is done in one day. See some of Japan’s most lovely spots and be back in Kyoto by 8:00pm.
Booking details: Explore Hiroshima & Miyajima by Shinkansen from Kyoto!
For those staying in Tokyo, you may want to visit several places during your trip. With this action-packed two-day tour, you can see Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi, a stay in Kyoto where you’ll see famous spots like the Heian Shrine and Kiyomizu Temple, before heading back to Tokyo or staying in Kyoto. The fees include accommodation, lunch, the English-speaking guide, transportation fees, and admission fees. Grab this exciting opportunity for a hassle-free trip around some of Japan’s most lovely places.
Booking details: Enjoy a 2-Day Tour at Mt. Fuji, Hakone and Kyoto from Tokyo!
This is the ultimate tour for those who would love the chance to see great spots in Japan completely hassle-free! From the moment you land in the airport, you will be completely taken care of. During your trip you will explore Tokyo, Fuji, Hakone, Kyoto, Uji, and Fushimi. With walking tours, cruises, chances to experience Japanese culture and sample delicious local food, it will surely be a trip to remember and one you can enjoy with complete peace of mind.
Booking details: Embark on a 7-day Golden Route Holiday in Japan
This is very similar to the previous tour except it lasts for six days and also includes a trip to Osaka. The fee includes most transportation fees, entrance fees, airport transfers, and English-speaking guides. Book in advance to avoid disappointment with hotels (two weeks minimum) and be sure to check the available dates.
Booking details: Japan Tour Package Deal! Tokyo to Osaka in a 6-day holiday
Consider taking this trip if you’re staying in Osaka and are interested in visiting Kyoto for the day. Choose between a private half-day tour or private full-day tour here you’ll take a high-speed bullet train over to Kyoto and see some of Kyoto’s popular tourist spots. These include Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji, Kiyomizu Temple, and Nijo Castle. Have your tickets posted to your hotel for a hassle-free trip.
Booking details: Day trip to Kyoto from Osaka with a guide by Shinkansen
Rather than just a day trip as mentioned earlier, why not spend five days in Kyoto and Nara to fully experience the beauty of these places? Fly to Kansai Airport where you’ll be picked up and taken to Kyoto City. Have a private walking tour to see many popular spots and have an excursion to Nara, where you’ll see the area’s Giant Buddha and the park famous for wild deer.
You can also take part in a tea ceremony and take a boat trip to see Kyoto’s old cellars and sake breweries. Experience some of the best places and activities that Kansai has to offer in one excellent package deal.
Booking details: Experience Kyoto in a 5-day Package Tour
The hot spring culture in Japan is still thriving even after hundreds and hundreds of years. Japanese people believe that certain hot springs, also called “onsen”, can heal you spiritually and physically. Today, they’re mainly used for relaxation. If you’d like to try this popular culture, it’s perfectly possible to do during your stay in Japan.
- Relax at Katsuura Onsen with an Overnight Stay from Osaka or Kyoto
- Experience Shirahama Onsen with an Overnight Stay from Osaka or Kyoto
- Explore Arima Onsen from Osaka or Kyoto
If none of these are possible, you should also take advantage of the offered concierge service offering advice and personal help on the type of local onsen that is suitable for your needs and preferences. Details for this service are below.
Booking details: Enjoy Professional Onsen (Hot Spring) Concierge Service
The last on this list is a full day tour of Kansai that you are free to customise to fit your wishes. Got some spots in Kyoto you’re dying to see? Add them in. Would you prefer an in-depth exploration of Nara? No problem. There are also sample itineraries available for those with less concrete plans. Don’t miss a thing with this professional tour of various areas in Kansai.
Booking details: Customize and embark on a Private Full Day Tour in Kansai
It is no wonder that Kyoto is one of the most visited cities in Japan. With its charming sights, beautiful temples, and culture still visible and engagable every day, you’re sure to find some unforgettable experiences whether you’re travelling alone, as a family, a group of friends, or a couple. If you’re travelling to Kansai Airport, consider booking the limousine bus from the city for an easy transfer. Make the most of your precious time in Japan by doing and seeing as much of this beautiful country as possible and create some great memories from your visit.