Kyoto is filled with an almost endless variety of sites and experiences. From ancient Shinto shrines to opulent palaces, there's no shortage of things to see. Locals says that even one lifetime isn't enough to visit all the temples and shrines in Kyoto.

For a foreign visitor, this means that you must be wise about how you manage your time in the city. The Kyoto Highlights Tour is designed to give you a glimpse at some of the best locations in Kyoto, and also gain insight into Kyoto's rich history and culture by exploring a few lesser known spots. Specifically, the Highlights Tour has been balanced to give visitors a taste of both of the culture and architecture of Japan's dual religions: Shintoism and Buddhism. This itinerary is particularly recommended for visitors who are only in town for a single day with limited time to spend sightseeing.

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

  • Explore Fushimi Inari, Kyoto's most famous Shinto shrine, with tens of thousands of torii gates and stone fox statues covering the mountainside.
  • Come face to face with 1001 golden Buddha statues at Sanjusangendo, Kyoto's most impressive sight. A definite must-see.
  • Stop for a break at one of Kyoto's oldest tea establishments and enjoy traditional matcha green tea and wagashi sweets. (optional, 800 yen per person)
  • Visit several often overlooked local shrines, and one shocking monument that other tours often skip.  You won't believe what's buried here...
  • Experience Kenninij, 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.
  • Finish near the Kamogawa River in Shijo a perfect spot to grab lunch, explore the traditional market, or shop for unique souvenirs.

Kyoto Highlights Tour

Walking and Public Transportation Option

Duration: approx. 4.5 hours

Price: 19000 yen for one guest

(4000 yen for each additional guest)

Taxi Option (no trains/buses, minimal walking between locations)

Duration: approx. 4 hours

Extra Fee: 5500 yen

Japanese taxis hold 4 passengers max

Please note that this tour must be booked with a starting time no later than noon

We only had one day in Kyoto, so this tour was a perfect way to catch a few sights before we had to get back on the bullet train to Tokyo. Highly recommended if you want to see what Kyoto has to offer but are on a limited schedule. Great tour! We loved the long Buddha hall [Sanjusangendo] the most!
— Pam from Los Angeles, USA

Expand your experience with a lunch and tea activity

The half day Highlights Tour pairs up well with our hands-on Japanese tea activities. After your tour, you'll be escorted to an exclusive teahouse in the MIyagawa-cho geisha neighborhood where you can enjoy lunch, tea tasting, and one of several unique matcha tea experiences. This experience has been exclusively curated for KyoTours Japan and you won't find something like this anywhere else. Click here for more info.


Additional information

  • This is mainly a walking tour, so comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended.
  • This tour can be booked as a morning or afternoon tour, however it must be started by noon to ensure that we have time to visit as many locations as possible before they close.
  • Tour price includes transportation fees as outlined above and all temple admission fees.
  • Guests are responsible for their own bill at the tea house if they choose to include that in the tour (800 yen per person). Suitable for vegetarians.
  • 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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