Higashiyama (meaning "eastern mountains"), nestled between the Kamogawa River and the eastern sloping foothills, is Kyoto's most historic district. From sprawling temple complexes perched atop hills to the traditional backstreets of Gion, THIS is the historical and cultural heart of Japan that you came to Kyoto to experience!

This culturally rich district is famous for containing the densest collection of Buddhist temples in the world, but it's far more than just a religious area. This is where geisha still live and entertain guests nightly, craftsmen use traditional techniques to create masterworks, and guests gather for tea ceremonies in elegant townhouses on quiet backstreets. With KyoTours Japan, you'll experience and fully understand some truly magnificent spots in Higashiyama.

This full day tour of the east side of Kyoto is the perfect tour for guests who want to soak up as much Kyoto culture as possible in a single day, while avoiding the well-known, busy tourist spots. Out of all of our tours, this Higashiyama experience is the best embodiment of our touring philosophy about getting an in-depth look at local culture. Don't worry about getting "templed-out" on this tour! KyoTours Japan knows how to keep things interesting for guests, and we can show you how to approach each temple and shrine from fresh viewpoints that let you find new details to admire and appreciate. This walk through Higashiyama will provide insight on Japanese religion, art, architecture, geisha, gardens, tea, food, and traditional - as well as modern - ways of life. See another side of Kyoto that most guests often overlook, and join us on this unique journey through Kyoto's past.

The following is a sample itinerary for the Higashiyama Walking Tour:

  • Begin the tour with the most impressive sight in the entire city: Sanjusangendo, the hall of 1001 golden Buddhas.

  • Visit several often overlooked local shrines, and one shocking monument that other tours often skip. You'll never guess what's buried here...

  • Stop for a break at one of Kyoto's most famous teahouses and enjoy traditional matcha green tea and wagashi sweets. (optional)

  • Enter a stunning hillside Buddhist complex to marvel at vivid paintings, unique original teahouses, and some of Kyoto's best architecture.

  • Pass through a locals-only Shinto shrine where Kyoto residents perform a strange ritual to gain the blessing of the god of personal connections.

  • Experience Kyoto's first Zen temple, complete with an impressive Zen rock garden and a massive dragon ceiling in the main hall.

  • Walk through Gion, the traditional geisha quarter, and learn about the lives of the women who entertain and live here.

  • Stop for lunch along the way. Let us know if there's something you'd like to try, or we can suggest some great places.

  • Explore the Nanzenji area by passing under a massive wooden gate and peeking inside of a Buddhist hall to spot a golden dragon.

  • Visit a hillside temple containing a very interesting Buddha statue that illustrates a wonderfully personal tale of a special encounter.

  • 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 with a stop at one of several wonderful gardens in the area, all focusing on using water in unique ways. (garden selection will vary by season)

  • You guide can point you towards the subway or help you arrange a taxi, or you can remain in the area to continue sightseeing on your own.

Full Day Higashiyama Culture Tour

Duration: approx. 6.5 to 7.5 hours

Price: 31,500 yen for one guest

(6,500 yen for each additional guest, child discounts available)

Please note that this tour is a combination of walking, trains, and taxis (depending on season) all of which are covered by the tour fee.

This tour took us to main sites as well as off the beaten path. We felt like we were not with a guide, but with a friend taking us around Kyoto. The guide did not rush us during our tour with him which was so nice! We would not have gotten that in a big group tour. Overall, a great tour with a great guide.
— Ocdclean, from San Diego via Trip Advisor

Additional information

  • This tour must be started no later than 9:00am.

  • This is mainly a walking tour, so comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended.

  • The suggested route above may be reversed depending on the season and the guest's choice of lunch location.

  • The tour can start from a number of easy to access meeting places, including your hotel or another spot convenient for you.

  • Tour price includes all transportation prices and all temple and garden admission fees.

  • Guests are responsible for their bill at lunch, their bill at the optional tea house stop, and any additional snacks, drinks, and shopping.

  • 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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