Kyoto Tours: The 9 Best and Most Popular Tours by Local Tour Guides

by TripleLights travel specialist

Are you looking for tours or tour guides in Kyoto? There are so many places to see in Kyoto it feels both exciting and bit overwhelming. There are of course tour packages that include transportation to and from Tokyo, but many travelers like to sightsee on their own instead of in a big group. Hiring a local guide for a private tour is one way to go sightseeing in the ancient capital. Below are 9 different types of tours for you to consider during your search for the perfect tour.

Kyoto One Day Tour

Kyoto Tours: The 9 Best and Most Popular Tours by Local Tour Guides

If you want to go see the main sightseeing spots in Kyoto in one day, the one day tour is the type for you. When there are so many temples and shrines to see, deciding the best ones to see on your own can be quite a challenge. I’m sure no one wants to miss out on seeing the best sightseeing spots, so having a local guide to provide insight on the most popular or must see spots when coming to Kyoto, is a big benefit.

The city of Kyoto itself is a historical treasure trove. Most Japanese students living in Tokyo will take a school trip during their junior high school years to see the most historically famous temples and shrines in Kyoto. Some of the popular places they visit are Kiyomizudera Temple, Kinkakuji Temple, and Ginkakuji Temple. If you really want to see the city properly, you should take 2 or 3 days to go sightseeing.

Kyoto one day tour recommendations:

My Favorite Golden Route tour by Local Guide Yoshihisa

1 Day Special Customized  tour by Local Guide Toshiyo


Kyoto Half Day Tour

Kyoto Tours: The 9 Best and Most Popular Tours by Local Tour Guides

Some people just want a short introduction to Kyoto. Other people just want a tour for a certain part of Kyoto and are fine going to see the other famous sightseeing spots by themselves. Or you could be arriving from Tokyo just before lunchtime and unfortunately don’t have the time to do a full day tour of Kyoto. Whatever the reason, a half day tour of 4 to 6 hours is a perfect fit for those who want to pinpoint the duration they hire a guide. This leads to conserving money as well as getting both the benefits of having someone local to ask your questions to and exploring Kyoto on your own afterwards. Questions you should ask a local tour guide can vary from recommended sightseeing spots, questions about the best food or restaurants to try during your stay in Kyoto, local culture and traditions, and transportation logistics.

Kyoto half day tour recommendations:

A Wonderful Half Day in Kyoto tour by Local Guide Tomoe

Private Half Day Kyoto tour by Local Guide Akira



The Arashiyama area lies to the west of central Kyoto. It’s about a 30 minute trip by train and is the second most popular sightseeing area in Kyoto. You may have heard of the area already or you may have seen a picture somewhere of the famous bamboo grove. Standing in the middle of the walls of bamboo trees is a calming experience you can’t find anywhere else. Other than the bamboo grove, this area is also full of temples and shrines. It’s quite beautiful seeing the traditional Japanese architecture amidst nature. Another famous sight is the Togetsukyo Bridge. You’ll find this bridge overcrowded with tourists though. You may also enjoy the monkey park situated near the bridge if you like animals.

Arashiyama one day tour recommendations:

Arashiyama One Day Sightseeing tour by Local Guide Ahmed

Arashiyama Sagano Bamboo Forest tour by Local Guide Hideo

For Seniors and Wheelchair Users

Kyoto Tours: The 9 Best and Most Popular Tours by Local Tour Guides

Just like in Tokyo, sightseeing in Kyoto involves a lot of walking whether you go it alone or you go on a private tour using public transportation. For the elderly and for people using wheelchairs, this is not good news. But don’t despair. You don’t have to give up trying to go sightseeing of this amazing city. There are local tour guides that can arrange a private car for you and take you to sightseeing spots that are wheelchair accessible. Having a private car greatly decreases the amount of walking that you need to do, so people with family members that require a little help benefit from this advantage.

For seniors and wheelchair users, tour recommendations:

Tasty Central Kyoto on Your Wheelchair tour by Local Guide Takehiko

Exciting Eastern Kyoto on Your Wheelchair tour by Local Guide Takehiko


Hiking Tour

Kyoto Tours: The 9 Best and Most Popular Tours by Local Tour Guides

I noticed that many foreign tourists like to go hiking in Japan. If you’re one of these people, you may enjoy experiencing hiking in Kyoto. Kyoto is situated in a valley so the city is surrounded by mountains, so you can easily go hiking. For people who are afraid of getting lost on the hiking trails or people who want to do some sightseeing along with walking some hiking trails, taking a tour with a local guide is recommended.

Hiking  tour recommendations:

Fushimi Inari Hike and Sake Tasting tour by Local Guide Richard

Kyoto Fushimi Inari Hiking tour by Local Guide Koichi


Kyoto Cycling Tour

Kyoto Tours: The 9 Best and Most Popular Tours by Local Tour Guides

Cycling around the suburbs of Kyoto is an exhilarating experience. Surrounded by nature, you’ll be able to see the amazing scenery and relax in the fresh air. It’s a unique experience for people who want to do something other than conventional sightseeing. You can even try tea leaf picking at a plantation if you want to on one of these cycling tours.

Cycling  tour recommendations:

Tea Picking Experience & Tea Plantation Cycling tour by Local Guide Seiko

Arashiyama Cycling tour by Local Guide Keiko


Foodie Tour

People who are foodies always want to try delicious dishes wherever they go, right? I think this applies especially in Japan because traditional Japanese dishes are not only delicious but wonderful to look at. It’s like a type of art. Kyoto actually has a one of a kind food culture. This is definitely something you want to have someone local explain to you. Because a person living somewhere else just won’t have the same kind of innate local knowledge about the culture, traditions, and of course the food.

Foodie  tour recommendations:

Kyoto Tailor Made Dining tour by Local Guide Mari

Kyoto Izakaya Food Tour tour by Local Guide Koichi


Kyoto Activities

Sightseeing is one way to enjoy a trip to a foreign country, but participating in traditional activities is also another way to have an amazing time. Lots of people want to try experiencing a tea ceremony. This is probably because green tea has become famous all over the world. This is an amazing experience to have especially in the ancient capital of Japan. There are other traditional cultures you can experience. For example, making or dying kimono textiles, or trying your hand at pottery, experiencing Zen meditation, and tasting sake. You can also visit workshops of Japanese craftsmanship if you like and see the delicate process of crafts “made in Japan”.

Activities and  tour recommendations:

Gion Area and Tea Ceremony tour by Local Guide Keiko

Personalized Kyoto Cultural Experience tour by Local Guide Katsuko


Cherry Blossom Tour

Kyoto Tours: The 9 Best and Most Popular Tours by Local Tour Guides

Cherry blossom season in Kyoto is a sight to see. It’s one of the two most crowded seasons of Kyoto. The other being the season of autumn when the leaves change into beautiful colors.

So, as you can imagine, Kyoto will be full of tourists from all over Japan and all over the world as well. Navigating the city in these conditions may prove stressful if you don’t know exactly where to go or how to get there. Hiring a local guide to take you around the best places may be a good idea. Local tour guides of Kyoto will know which places are not too crowded or the best places to snap a few picturesque shots. So make use of their knowledge to enjoy the most beautiful season in Japan. You cannot see the amazing collaboration of pink cherry blossom trees with historic temples and shrines all over the place in any other city other than Kyoto.

Cherry Blossom  tour recommendations:

Cherry Blossom Viewing tour by Local Guide Yoshihisa

Arashiyama Cherry Blossoms tour by Local Guide Hideo


Blog about Kyoto

Gion Kyoto: Complete guide before you go

Kyoto 1 day guide: The best full day tour for your trip to Kyoto

Transportation in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and around 

To find more Blogs with Tips and Information about Kyoto and across all Japan click here.


Want to make your Kyoto trip more Interesting? Here's how! 

TripleLights the Best Private Tours and Locals Guides across Japan.

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Kyoto, you can Send a Message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

You also can Request a Tour just for You. Just type what you would like to see and guides all over Tokyo will send you quotes and their recommendations according to your interested and budget. 

TripleLights website you can find the best professional Local Guides all across Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our Private Tours to Kyoto

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo

20 Nov 2018

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Already did thud ”

3 hours ago Traveler: Linda -   Tour Guide: Junko

I already wrote a review.
read more

“ 3 days with Akira ”

11 hours ago Traveler: Sheah -   Tour Guide: AKIRA

This is a summary for our 3 days with Akira. He was always waiting for us in our lobby. Always prompt. He had planned an itinerary that would make the best use of our time in Tokyo. When it was raining one day he was adaptable and changed our plans to an equally enjoyable experience. one day we were walking and passed an ad for the digital museum. He described it to us and asked if we wanted to...
read more

“ Knowledgeable, Accommodating and Polite Guide ”

13 hours ago Traveler: Carl -   Tour Guide: Toshihiro

Toshi was very considerate and accommodating to alter his standard o day tour dovetail with another tour we had already booked. He also went out of his way to find elevators and escalators to help my wife navigate metro.
read more

“ Super Fun Tour of Akihabra ”

20 hours ago Traveler: Jennifer -   Tour Guide: Arnold

I waited until I was completely home from our trip to officially write Arnold a glowing review. He is an absolutely fabulous person. From our first interactions online setting up our time together to the day we arrived he has and had been nothing short of super attentive and helpful. A little background... we booked 6 hours with him... as we were coming from another tour in Japan and had...
read more

“ Great Tour Guide ”

21 hours ago Traveler: REGINA -   Tour Guide: Atsuko

Atsuko met me and my son in our hotel lobby, she was on time and very friendly. She helped us figure out the train system and took us to the areas that we wanted to go. I mentioned I was interested in the Shibuya crossing and she added the location to our itinerary. During our tour, my son lost one of the anime books he purchased, so she made an extra stop so I could purchase another book for him....
read more

“ Short but sweet trip ”

22 hours ago Traveler: Kevin -   Tour Guide: Kaori

We had a 11 hr layover in Tokyo and Kaori did a wonderful job of laying out a short day of touring the city. We saw several sights and the had to go to the airport. It was ever nice trip.
read more

“ Tokyo for First-timers ”

22 hours ago Traveler: Jude -   Tour Guide: Kaori

Kaori was a wonderful guide. She had a great command of English and was able to accomodate all of our requests. The day ran very smoothly with Kaori guiding us through metro stations, across parks and gardens, around neighbourhoods, on a river cruise, to markets, to upper end shops, to view latest technology, to numerous monuments, buildings and lookout points and a stop to eat a yummy raw seafood...
read more

“ Hospitality was amazing! ”

1 day ago Traveler: Gayle -   Tour Guide: Chiaki

Chiaki made our Tokyo experience the best! She was very accommodating to our interests and making the most out of our time. We had a great day with her! Thank you Chiaki, we had so much fun spending time with you!
read more

“ Overall very satisfactory ”

Very Good
2 days ago Traveler: Daniel -   Tour Guide: EFG CARS Service

Booked a van for 7 people from hotel in downtown Tokyo to Narita. The booking process was confusing in that the website does not clearly identify the booking. The buttons for selecting from Narita and to Narita didn't work so the initial order recited a Narita pickup rather than from hotel. Email response time was timely and the matter was clarified satisfactorily. Apart from booking, the serv...
read more

“ Great tour of Tokyo ”

2 days ago Traveler: Vimal -   Tour Guide: Toshihiro

We had a good time in Tokyo with Toshi. He met us at our hotel in Shinjuku right on time. He got us the day pass for subway and off we went. He has good command of English and was able to explain Japanese culture and history to us in detail. We travelled mostly by sub-ways and he selected main sights in Tokyo like Imperial Palace, the fish market, Sensoji Temple and Asukasa park etc. It was a ver...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started