Experience traditional Kyoto up close and personal
As the center of Japanese culture throughout history, Kyoto developed many unique forms of craft work and artistic practices over the centuries. Many workshops in the city can trace their origins back generations, and certain areas of Kyoto still team with with activity related to specific trade skills.
Experiencing Kyoto through its handicraft tradition is an unforgettable adventure that leaves you with a souvenir to take home as well. Hands on experiences can be worked into many of our Kyoto tours. Additionally, if there is a craft you want to try that you don't see listed here, we will do our best to arrange for you to try it. Please get in touch with us via the contact form at the bottom of this page or on the contact page and let's craft a tour that fits your creativity!
The following are some of the activities that we can guide you to and work into our tours:
- Indulge your sweet tooth at a traditional wagashi sweets confectionery house, and create your own sweets with the help of a professional chef. Using your hands, shape rice dough and sweet beans into beautiful forms meant to represent the seasonal motifs of Kyoto, such as leaves, flowers, fruit, or snow covered mountains. Afterwords, savor your creations with a bowl of matcha green tea. One of the best hands on experiences in the city, and an excellent opportunity to pick up delicious souvenirs to bring home for friends and family. Vegetarian friendly!
- Please read our detailed blogpost about this hands on experience, and watch the video we made blow.
- Dye fabric in the traditional yuzen style specific to Kyoto. This is a fun and enjoyable process that allows you to choose your own design and paint it onto various bags, towels, fans, handkerchiefs, or other items. Easy enough for kids to do, but with enough artistic options that creative adults will enjoy as well.
- Kyudo, the Japanese art of archery, is not an activity that is easily accessible to most visitors. Archery is treated as a very serious martial art here, but we know a place where you can try your hand at a casual archery lesson. Think you have what it takes to fire a Japanese bamboo bow? This is unlike anything you've ever tired before...
- The mysterious Japanese tea ceremony... an activity many of our guests ask about. Let us guide you to a professional tea ceremony classroom where you'll first watch a traditional ceremony with English explanation, and then perform one yourself. A rare chance to experience hands on the most quintessential of all Japanese traditions.
- Take your consciousness to a whole new level with a Zen Buddhism lecture in English and a guided meditation session designed to teach you the essentials of the practice. Enter one of Kyoto's most important Zen temple complexes and open your mind to a new way of looking at the world. Includes tea, sweets, and a tour through the temple by an English-speaking priest.
- Most tours can be adjusted to include hands on experiences, but some itinerary substitutions may have to be made.
- Reservations for hands on experiences are usually required, so we cannot usually add them last minute.
- Not all activities, locations, or timeslots may be available at all times.
- Guests may not always be accompanied by their guide while inside activity classrooms depending on location rules, but many of these locations cater to foreign guests, so you will feel comfortable.
- 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.
- For more information please read our Terms and Conditions.
To inquire about prices, scheduling, or request more info, please use the contact form below.