With all the temples, shrines, and historical locations in Kyoto, it's impossible to see it all in one lifetime, let alone in a single vacation. With an expert guide at your side, you can make the most of your time in Kyoto and experience the best the city has to offer in an in-depth and efficient manner. Don't just stick to the main tourist sites, let KyoTours Japan take you off the beaten path and introduce you to some locations that will enrich your understanding of Kyoto.

We've recently expanded this tour to include a few more special locations to make this KyoTours Japan's most expansive Kyoto experience! By re-thinking what the essential Kyoto experience should include, we've come up with a new approach to seeing two sides of the city in one day. Along with some popular spots, you'll also be treated to a variety of lesser known hidden gems that are often over skipped by visitors. We've found the optimal touring balance between the popular eastern side of the city coupled with the more rural western edge, all tied together with lunch in the center. This makes for a full day of touring through an exciting collection of places that will constantly surprise and engage you in new ways.

This tour finishes in late afternoon in Arashiyama after passing through the famous bamboo forest. This is a great area of Kyoto to continue exploring on your own, with plenty of natural beauty, expansive gardens, fun street food, and great souvenir shopping. There's even a monkey park if you want enjoy the local wildlife! Your guide can direct you to some additional sites for you to visit, or show you how to get back into the city via train or taxi.

A taxi option is offered for the first half of this tour, which reduces the amount of walking and waiting for trains between locations. The second portion of the day in Arashiyama requires about 2 hours of downhill walking through the rural backstreets.  (all downhill though and at a leisurely pace through a neighborhood best experienced on foot). Please see pricing options below.

To be able to fit everything into one day, this tour works best with a meetup time of 8:00 or 8:30 am at your hotel.

The following is a sample itinerary for the Kyoto Grand Tour:

  • Ascend Fushimi Inari, a holy mountain covered in red torii gates, home to a mysterious Shinto goddess and her guardian foxes.
  • Count the 1001 golden Buddha statues at Sanjusangendo, Kyoto's most impressive sight. An absolute must-see.
  • Enjoy a bowl of matcha green tea and wagashi sweets at one of Kyoto's oldest tea houses. (optional)
  • Explore the magnificent Kenninji Temple, Kyoto's first Zen temple, complete with a serene rock garden and vivid ink paintings.
  • Stroll through the backstreets of Gion, the traditional geisha quarter. Learn about the demanding lives of these respected female artists.
  • Stop for lunch nearby in the busy Shijo district. If there's something specific you'd like to try, let us know! (lunch bill not included in tour fee)
  • Continue to western side of the city via taxi to Arashiyama, the rural edge of Kyoto.
  • Witness one of Kyoto's best hidden gems: a secret hillside mountain temple with 1200 unique statues rarely visited by foreign tourists.
  • Walk down an authentic preserved village street and see the original thatched roof houses up close.
  • Shop for Kyoto folkcrafts, bamboo goods, and rustic ceramic pottery at local artisan shops along the road. (optional)
  • Enter Kyoto's best moss garden, the ancient refuge of scorned lover who rejected city comfort for the charms of the wilderness.
  • Walk through the world-famous Sagano bamboo forest, one of the most popular sites in Japan.
  • Enjoy the company of a fellow foreigner as your guide. We'll give you the real scoop about what it's like to live here, and all the local tips and info!
  • Finish at the main street in Arashiyama, where you can continue sightseeing on your own. Your guide will explain how to get back into the city via train or taxi.

The New Grand Tour of Kyoto

Walking and Public Transportation Option (About as much walking as you would expect to do on a full day of sightseeing on your own.)

Duration: approx. 8 hours

Price: 34,000 yen for one guest

(6,000 yen for each additional guest, child discounts available)

Partial Taxi Option (No trains, minimal walking between locations for first half of the day. Arashiyama section requires about 2 hours of downhill walking.)

Duration: approx. 7 to 7.5 hours

Addittional fee per group: 4,600 yen

Japanese taxis hold 4 passengers max

We toured with Terin and that tour was one of our favorite things we did while in all of Japan. Kyoto is amazing in the way that it is a large city but doesn’t overwhelm like Tokyo can do. It holds so much historic richness, that can still been seen and felt today. And Terin does not miss a detail when walking you through this amazing city. He can help you understand things going on around you that you aren’t even aware of. And as an American citizen, his ability to communicate the Japanese culture to English speakers is flawless.
— Jessica from USA (via Trip Advisor)

 

Additional information

  • This is mainly an outdoor tour where you will be on your feet for extended periods of time, so comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended.
  • The second portion of this tour is not recommended for guests who have trouble walking. Instead, please see our Kyoto Highlights Tour which can be done using taxis for a more comfortable experience.
  • This tour must be started no later than 9:00 am in order to fit in all the sites. Suggested start time is 8:00 or 8:30 am.
  • Tour price includes all public transportation fees (train/subway) and temple admission fees. Additional taxi fees are included if the taxi option is selected.
  • Guests are responsible for their food and drink during the tour.
  • Itinerary subject to change due to seasonal changes in temple hours, special events, transportation delays, weather, or other factors. Guests will be kept informed of any itinerary changes as they occur on the day of the tour.
  • Please read our terms and conditions for more information before booking.

To book this tour, inquire about scheduling, or request more info, please use the contact form below.

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