Lonely Planet Experiences Private Kyoto Tour: City of Culture

3 hr, 30 min

Experience the temples, shrines and gardens that make Kyoto Japan’s capital of culture on this unique private tour of the city. Founded as the national capital more than 1,200 years ago, Kyoto originally developed as a centre of aristocratic culture, and is most famous for its Zen gardens and Geisha traditions. On this Kyoto tour, you'll discover some of the magic of the city through cultural explorations and local experiences, all with your own personal...
Experience the temples, shrines and gardens that make Kyoto Japan’s capital of culture on this unique private tour of the city. Founded as the national capital more than 1,200 years ago, Kyoto originally developed as a centre of aristocratic culture, and is most famous for its Zen gardens and Geisha traditions. On this Kyoto tour, you'll discover some of the magic of the city through cultural explorations and local experiences, all with your own personal local guide to lead the way. First we'll head to one of the city’s must-see sights, the Tofukuji Temple. Originally built in the 13th century, and famous for its traditional, yet modern, Zen garden, this is a great place to escape to a relaxed atmosphere in the city. Learn about the origin and inspiration for the garden, and what it means to the monks who continue to live and study here. Next we walk through a nice local residential neighbourhood to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Home to a seemingly endless stretch of iconic red torii gates spread across a thickly wooded mountain, this shrine is a world unto itself. Walk through snaking corridors of red gates, made famous in the film Memoirs of Geisha, stopping to admire the shrines and many fox statues. Major photo opportunity alert! As the sun begins to set on the Toriis, we leave behind the foxes and head to Gion, famously known as Kyoto’s Geisha district. This area was the model for Memoirs of Geisha, and it comes alive with people and lights in the evening. Stroll past the 17th-century traditional restaurants and teahouses, many of which are still exclusive establishments for Geisha entertainment, see the theatres and traditional shops, and soak up the atmosphere of this historic quarter. This iconic neighbourhood makes for the ideal end to this private Kyoto city tour, and is sure to leave you completely enthralled with this dynamic city. (If you’d prefer to travel as part of a regular group experience, please book our City of Culture group tour.) This tour is priced for a minimum group size of two travellers. A solo traveller may still book this private experience but will be charged the base rate for two travellers. 
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Important Details

Highlights
  • Discover kyoto on a private tour with your own local guide
  • Experience the peacefulness of a zen rock garden at the tofukuji temple
  • Experience daily life in a local neighbourhood
  • Walk through kyoto’s famous red tori gates and spot the fox statues at fushimi inari shrine
  • Discover the unique geisha culture in the historical entertainment district of gion
  • Each lonely planet experience comes with six-months free access to lonely planet’s guides app which includes over 8,000 destinations guides and unbeatable discounts to lonely planet guidebooks
  • Local impact: how you will help the local community by joining this tour:
  • On this tour you visit many places with cultural significance, including shrines, temples, zen gardens and the geisha district, which helps protect and preserve the cultural heritage of kyoto.
  • Included in the price of your tour is the entrance fee to tofukiji, which helps maintain the site.
Included
  • Local english-speaking guide
  • Transportation fare during tour
  • Entry to tofukiji.
Not Included
  • Food and drinks
  • Transportation to/from the meeting and end points
  • Souvenirs and items of a personal nature
  • Tips/gratuities for your guide.
Departure Point
In front of Central post office on the north side of Kyoto station. "Chu-o yu-bin-kyo-ku" (Central post office) is less than a minute walk from the station. Please meet in front of the door closer to the convenience store "Lawson".
Voucher Requirements

Please present your voucher to the local guide at the beginning of the tour.

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Cancellation Policy

You can cancel for a full refund up to 72 hours before the start of your experience. If you do not show up for the experience or fail to cancel at least 72 hours in advance, you will not receive a refund.