I normally offer private excursions in and around Kyoto and Tokyo, and other locations around Japan. *Due to Covid-19, currently in and around Kyoto only.
See below for my most popular Kyoto excursions.
THINKING OF VISITING KYOTO? THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS THAT I CAN MAKE YOUR TRIP MORE ENJOYABLE.
As a ‘local’ in Kyoto, I can recommend unique accommodation options and fantastic restaurants with outdoor dining and/or private rooms – perfect for keeping indoor contact with others to an absolute minimum. I’ve also know many ‘hidden treasures’ that you’d probably never find on your own!
I can provide…
1). FOR THE PERSON WHO WANTS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF AND/OR REALLY WANTS TO LEARN ABOUT KYOTO’S CULTURE & HISTORY
Full or Half Day private tour guiding – on foot, by mass transportation, by bicycle, or by car (your own or hired). Chose from one of my recommended itineraries or we can work together to create something just for you.
2). FOR THE PERSON WHO DOESN’T NEED A GUIDE, BUT NEEDS GUIDANCE
Itinerary Creation and/or Travel Planning Advice
Do you want assistance in deciding… which sightseeing spots to visit and in what order, what activities to participate in, what area of the city to stay and what type of accommodation, where and what to eat, are there are any special events worth attending, what are the best transportation options, etc.
3). FOR THE PERSON WHO JUST WANTS SOME LOCAL POINTERS
We can have a simple one hour FaceTime or phone conversation to help you make the most of your own plans in Kyoto
4). FOR THE PERSON WHO WANTS TO EXPERIENCE AN EXCLUSIVE EVENING WITH KYOTO GEISHA
I can arrange a visit to a ‘members only’ ochaya to meet and chat with the ex-Geiko who owns the teahouse, followed by a private dinner in an exclusive and historic ‘members-only’ ryotei, with performances and personal interaction with 3 Gion Geisha – a Geiko, Maiko, and Jikata.
E-mail me at email@example.com for more details.
KYOTO DAY EXCURSIONS – Choose one of the following or we can create something just for you!
*Note: For the shortened version of any of these excursions, some locations must be removed.
ARASHIYAMA: LOCAL FAVORITES (4-7 hours). Visit two unique temples – an impressive one that was once a lakeside palace and another that is hidden in a forest and filled with unique Buddhist stone statues. Wander through one of Kyoto’s loveliest historic preservation districts and explore a stunning moss garden before visiting the world’s most famous bamboo forest. Enjoy matcha and a Japanese sweet in a magnificent garden. Free time at the end of the tour to relax along the riverside and/or souvenir shop.
*Can be adapted to include: a traditional boat ride, a visit to World Heritage Tenryuji Temple, a hike to a monkey park, explorations of an impressive museum…
THE SILVER ROUTE (3-6 hours). Visit famous Ginkakuji, nicknamed the ‘Silver Pavilion’, and sample local treats along its traditional shopping street. Wander the famous Philosopher’s Path and stop along the way at a special hidden temple and one of Kyoto’s most popular, Eikando. From there…
CHOICE A: Walk through Kyoto’s wealthiest neighborhood to reach Okazaki and enjoy a tasty lunch outdoors (weather permitting). Explore the Heian Shrine and its lovely garden before following the willow-lined Shirakawa River to a retro covered shopping arcade & Higashi-Gion, one of the city’s Geisha districts.
CHOICE B: Explore the grounds of Nanzenji and the garden of one of its impressive sub-temples. Stop for a tasty lunch along the way.
THE GOLDEN ROUTE (3-6 hours). Located along the northern edge of central Kyoto, visit Kinkakuji, the ‘Golden Pavilion’ and Ryoanji, a temple boasting the world’s most famous Zen rock garden. Then…
CHOICE A: Wander through a lesser known Geisha district and two historic shrines. Visit a lovely hidden garden, the huge complex of a Zen monastery and enjoy a traditional Japanese dessert that has been served in the same shop since 1002!
CHOICE B: Admire a group of giant stone Buddha’s before exploring Ninnaji, a former imperial residence-turned-temple and current World Heritage Site.
Optional: Participation in private tea ceremony (in English).
OFF THE BEATEN PATH: TAKAGAMINE & A ZEN MONASTERY (4-6 hours). Visit some lesser-known temples along the northern edge of central Kyoto that are known (among locals) as fantastic autumn leaf viewing spots. Wander down through a dense forest to a gorgeous garden. Walk along the stone-paved paths of a huge Zen temple monastery and visit beautiful two beautiful sub-temples hidden inside. Pay your respects at a historic shrine and enjoy a delicious Japanese sweet that has been served in the same location since 1002!
OHARA COUNTRYSIDE & HIDDEN TEMPLES (5-7 hours)
Travel about 45 minutes by bus into the countryside of Kyoto to Ohara, a village with a fascinating history. Wander past traditional farmhouses and rice paddies in order to visit a collection of impressive temples and quaint souvenir shops hidden in the forest. Enjoy a tasty lunch along the way.
KYOTO EVENING EXCURSIONS (90 minutes – 2 hours)
GEISHA NEIGHBORHOODS & KYOTO’S RED LIGHT DISTRICT – EVENING WALK: Wander the lantern-lit alleys of three of Kyoto’s five Geisha districts and the modern red light district that encircles one of them. Learn about the area’s history, Geisha culture, and some of the area’s best restaurants/cafes/shops. If lucky, catch a glimpse of Geiko and Maiko heading to/from work.
BEST OF HIGASHIYAMA: Wander the cobblestone alleys that snake through Higashiyama’s Historic District from Kiyomizudera Temple to Yasaka Shrine. Learn the history, culture, and secrets of Kyoto’s most popular day-time district (which is even better at night!).
OFF THE BEATEN PATH: DAITOKUJI & NORTHERN NISHIJIN: Walking through the stone-paved paths of a huge Zen temple complex at night is like stepping back into a bygone era. View local hangouts in Nishijin, an ancient shrine on a mini mountain, and a sento-turned-cafe. Optional visit to Kyoto’s best historic sento (bathhouse).
*I also lead leisurely bicycle tours for 1-3 participants.
E-mail me for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org
EXCURSIONS WITH HEARTLAND JAPAN – In & around Tokyo and in Kyoto: For a list of our upcoming group excursions, please click HERE.