Arashiyama remains of the top destinations in all of Kyoto, and one of the most popular in the whole of Japan. No trip to the city is complete without a visit to the enchanting western edge of Kyoto. Our half-day Arashiyama Backroads Tour brings you to some of the best hidden gems and must-see sights in the area, but what if you want to make a full day out of it?

Luckily, Arashiyama is relatively close to another exciting are of Kyoto, the northwest foothills with their rolling peaks and forested slopes. This is where the imperial family and other important political leaders chose to build their grand estates. This quiet rim of Kyoto was their retreat from busy city life, stressful politics, and military campaigns. Nowadays, many of these villas and palaces are preserved in the form of sprawling temples and gardens that still retain much of the charm of their grand origins.

The full-day Northwest Kyoto Tour includes all of our popular Arashiyama Backroads Tour, as well as a visit to some of Kyoto's most beautiful and inspiring former palaces turned religious retreats. And of course we'll stop for lunch in between!

The following is just a portion of the itinerary for the Arashiyama Walking Tour:

  • Begin far up in the hills at Kyoto's best secret temple, and meet the 1200 stone followers of Buddha carved by local artists. A true hidden gem.
  • Explore the a quiet Buddhist graveyard with over 8000 carefully arranged mini gravestones, rarely visited by tourists.
  • Browse through handicraft shops offering items unique to the Arashiyama area made from local materials.
  • Wander through the maze-like paths of a vast private villa built by a star of silent samurai films in the 1920s.
  • Walk through the world famous Arashiyama bamboo forest, Kyoto's ultimate selfie spot.
  • For the full itinerary of this tour, check out our Arashiyama Backroads Tour.

Additionally, this expanded Northwest Tour will also visit the following locations:

  • Lunch in Arashiyama, either a sit down meal or casual local street food - your choice! (lunch bill not included in tour price)
  • Visit Kinkakuji, the golden Pavilion. This remains the most popular spot in Kyoto and is a must-see for guests seeking the perfect Instagram shot.
  • Marvel at the Zen rock garden at Ryoanji, which was the very first of its kind and can still teach us lessons on life after all these centuries.
  • Take a walk through a massive temple complex, a walled city-within-a-city that still houses dozens of temples and hundred of Zen priests.
  • Finish with one of Kyoto's best secret gardens. This sloping landscape is meant to convey a spectacular bird's eye view of nature.
  • End location is within walking distance of a JR train Station for easy access back to Kyoto Station, or return to the city via taxi on your own.

Northwest Kyoto Tour

Duration: approx. 7 to 8 hours

Price: 30,500 yen for one guest

(6,500 yen for each additional guest)

For logistical reasons, we are currently limiting this tour to groups no larger than three guests. Thank you for your understanding.

We had a day of sightseeing [in Arashiyama] and walking in the little neighborhoods, combining some of the most well known sights with some really cool places that had no other foreign tourists. Each was amazing! Our guide Terin was a wealth of knowledge and had stories and information about it all. My kids came back to the hotel still excited about what they had seen and reciting many of the facts they learned! Having a “real” English speaking guide (who speaks Japanese) was extra nice especially when discussing some of the differences between the cultures.
— FLtravels, from Florida via Trip Advisor

                  Arashiyama is featured in this aerial video produced by our friends at Awadrone


Additional information

  • This is a walking tour, so comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended. Most of the route is a long down hill walk, but there are a few slopes.
  • Tour price includes transportation fees (train, bus), temple admission fees, and tea pavilion bill.
  • Guests are responsible for any additional food or drink purchased while on the tour.
  • Additional activities chosen by the guests during an all day tour must be paid for by guests.
  • Taxis are not available to all locations in Arashiyama.
  • 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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