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Kyoto Half-Day Small-Group Cultural Tour

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Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto Half-Day Small-Group Cultural Tour

From $51.81

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icon3 hours 30 minutes  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

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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
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Local English-speaking guide
Transportation fare during tour
Entry to Tofukiji
Gratuities
Food and drinks
Kyoto Central Post Office , 843-12 Higashishiokōjichō, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8799, Japan

In front of Central post office on the north side of Kyoto station. "Chu-o yu-bin-kyo-ku" (Central post office) is less than a minute walk from the station. Please meet in front of the door closer to the convenience store "Lawson".

Kyoto , Kyoto, Japan

Gion neighbourhood

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
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age is 6 years
  • A moderate amount of walking is involved- Comfortable walking shoes are recommended
  • Small group tour, maximum group size is 12
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Local Impact: How you will help the local community by joining this tour: On this tour you visit many places with cultural significance, including shrines, temples, Zen Gardens and the Geisha district, which helps protect and preserve the cultural heritage of Kyoto.
  • Included in the price of your tour is the entrance fee to Tofukiji, which helps maintain the site.
  • Effective Sept 1, 2021, travellers 18+ must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Children 6-17 must present a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or lateral flow) conducted maximum 72 hours prior, proof of recovery dated up to 9 months or proof of vaccination.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Intrepid Urban Adventures - Japan
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.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Kyoto Half-Day Small-Group Cultural Tour?
A:The policies on social distancing are:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by Kyoto Half-Day Small-Group Cultural Tour.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Kyoto Half-Day Small-Group Cultural Tour?
A:The policies on staff health & safety are:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
See all safety measures taken by Kyoto Half-Day Small-Group Cultural Tour.

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Traveler Tips


  • "I would have preferred to take the train back to Kyoto Station." See review
  • "We had an amazing tour guide called Yuta, who made the three hour tour worth every penny." See review
  • "I highly recommend this tour for any foreigners visiting Japan for the first time." See review

Reviews by Viator travelers.  We perform checks on reviews

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
500 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

We perform checks on reviews

Showing 1-10 of 500 reviews
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
James_E
, 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.
1 traveler found this review helpful
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
Elizabeth_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!
Graham_B
, 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
Margaret_S
, 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.
Allan_B
, 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
star-2
Good ideas and plans
Natalia_B
, Jun 2019
The trip suppose to be perfect, but the guide wasn't ready to lead us. Poor English and no additional information at all. Seems like she was not prepared.
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-3
Could have done it on my own
GENIDA_T
, May 2019
Tours are dependent on the guide and I gave Julian an average as to knowledge of Japan's culture. He seemed like a student working as a guide on the side. I have nothing about students cum tourist guides, but, at least, know some interesting facts about what you are showing your audience, not just wing it. His suggestion to take the city bus back to Kyoto Station was a disaster -we were packed like sardines on the bus and it took more passengers along the way. I would have preferred to take the train back to Kyoto Station.
star-3
Aussie Friends Kyoto
June_S
, May 2019
Visited some amazing places but the guide seemed quite disinterested - built no rapport with our group
star-5
Excellent tour
Jennifer_P
, May 2019
Fantastic tour, learnt loads about Buddhism, Shinto Shrines, history and geishas. Worth it and would definitely recommend this tour.
star-5
Great for first timers
RobynGW
, Apr 2019
This was the perfect tour for our first visit to Kyoto, hitting some of the major sights outside the main part of Kyoto, and finishing close to our accommodation in the heart of Gion. Our guide Sean was an excellent host, very knowledgeable and friendly, as well as being interested in his guests and their stories. I'd thoroughly recommend this tour to anyone on their first visit to Kyoto.
star-2
Disappointed
Susanne_H
, Apr 2019
The guide was not very knowledgeable and the information provided limited. But the cites were amazing.
star-5
Best tour in Kyoto
Adriaan T
, Mar 2019
Great experience. Thanks to the great guide (Fumiko). The tour combines seeing great venues, the intimacy of a small group, getting backgrounds and lot of insiders info. Best tour compared to the others we have made. A must do! And maybe you are lucky to have Fumiko as your guide. She is one out of a million.
star-4
good and informative
ayana113
, Mar 2019
The tour guide was informative and the tour covers a lot of ground. It would be beneficial for the tour to start a tad later for the afternoon times so that we can arrive to the Geisha town as the Geishas are arriving. I was disappointed that we got all the way there and were told we'd have to hang out at the end of the tour to see if we spot any.
star-5
Walking in Kyoto
Susanne_V
, Mar 2019
Ver nice experience with a group that is not too big, you get to see important sites with a superb guide speaking various languages.
star-5
The best walking tour
Nakita_R
, Jan 2019
I went on a walking tour with my sister. This tour was great from start to finish. We had an amazing tour guide called Yuta, who made the three hour tour worth every penny. He was a very humourous and nice man who went out of his way to make sure we got the best out of our tour. The fact that the tour was small made it more intimate. We were able to see parts of Kyoto that you normally would not be able to see. We were even lucky enough to get a glimpse of a Maiko and two Geisha's. I would highly recommend this tour. I once again want to take this moment to thank Yuta for being such an amazing guide .

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