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Private Highlights of Kyoto Tour

star-4.548 Reviews
Kyoto, Japan
Private Highlights of Kyoto Tour

From $212.78

Price varies by group size

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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icon7 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


Immerse yourself in the cultural and architectural splendor of Kyoto on this private tour, ideal for first-time visitors. Choose from two different routes, both of which cover major Kyoto attractions including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple, and explore the city with a personal guide. On the northwest-bound route, you’ll visit the Golden Pavilion, Nishiki Food Market, and the bamboo groves of Arashiyama Park. Alternatively, the southeast course covers the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, and the Gion area. Receive undivided attention from your guide on this private tour. 
  • Private full-day tour of Kyoto highlights
  • Choose from two itineraries that cover major Kyoto attractions
  • Visit the Golden Pavilion, Nishiki Food Market, and Arashiyama Park on the northbound route
  • Tick off Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, and the Gion area on the southbound route
  • Receive undivided attention from a private guide
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Professional English speaking guide
Public Transportation
One-day city bus pass (can be used continuously after the tour)
Food and drinks
Hotel pickup and drop-off

Departure Point

Japan, 〒600-8216 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Higashishiokōjichō, 901番地, Kyoto Station Building, 内

Departure Time

9:00 AM
Regardless of the itinerary chosen, your private tour begins at Hotel Granvia Kyoto near Kyoto Station. From here, you’ll take public transport in order to immerse yourself in local life.

If you’ve opted to follow the northwest-bound itinerary, your first stop is Arashiyama Park—famed for its array of temples and inviting bamboo groves—before proceeding to Japan’s most famous rock garden at Ryoan-ji.

Following a lunch break (own expense), you’ll continue to the Golden Pavillion, a 3-story pagoda that floats on a lake surrounded by lush forest. Then, choose to visit the culinary wonderland of Nishiki Food Market or Nijo Castle, whose interior walls are adorned with gold leaf and elaborate sketches.

Alternatively, the southeast-bound course gives you the chance to visit Gekkeikan Sake Brewery to discover the secrets behind Japan’s iconic rice wine, and then behold thousands of red tori gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, replete with stone foxes and shrines.

See, too, Sanjusangendo temple before revitalizing with lunch at your own expense. Then, you’ll continue to Kiyomizu Temple, a hilltop landmark dating back to the 8th century, before ascending the steep slopes in the Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka neighborhoods for spectacular views.

Both tour options conclude in the Gion area of Kyoto.
Stop At:  
Kinkakuji Temple
Nicknamed as Golden Pavilion, and one of the most popular temples in Kyoto, which is covered by gold leaves.
Duration: 50 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
The view of Kyoto City seeing from the balcony of Kiyomizu-dera Temple is magnificent. The scene is often depicted in post cards.
Duration: 50 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Nijo Castle
Only castle in Kyoto built during the Tokugawa Shogunate period in the beginning of the 17th century. The highlight of this place is touring in the original living quarter of Shogun.
Duration: 50 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Sanjusangendo Temple
Travelers can enjoy astonishing view of 1001 kannon statues.
Duration: 50 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Gion is known for its Geisha tradition in Japan. The tour concludes at Gion, where you can join our another tour specializing in Gion, which starts at 6PM. The tour is available from TripAdvisor with the tour name, Night-walk in Gion.
Duration: 50 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
The place is known for its the Togetsukyo bridge, which is the huge wooden bridge located near bamboo forest.
Pass By:  
Sannenzaka Ninenzaka
Historic path leading up to the Kiyomizudera temple.
Stop At:  
Bamboo Forest Street
You will have a chance to walk through the world famous Bamboo Forest, the scene of which is often depicted in guide bookes.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Ryoanji Temple
One of the best known zen garden known for its world-famous rock garden represented by 15 stones.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
The most visited Shinto shrine awarded by TripAdvisor known for its thousands of red Torii Gate covering entire mountain.
Duration: 50 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum
Visit the brewery museum of one of the oldest sake brand in Japan.
Duration: 50 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Child rate applies only when sharing with 2 paying adults
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 8 travelers
  • OPERATED BY WaRaiDo Guide Networks

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Private Highlights of Kyoto Tour?
This activity will have a maximum of 8 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Private Highlights of Kyoto Tour.

Traveler Photos


48 Reviews
3 stars

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 48 reviews
Fantastic private tour
, Jan 2020
Mie was our tour guide who was excellent. She was flexible with her itinerary and we saw so much. When we return to Kyoto later in the year we'll ask for Mie again.
Fantastic Kyoto guide
, Oct 2019
Mie was a knowledgeable and flexible guide who helped us manage 2 young children on our tour. She paced the tour to meet our needs and engages with the children to include them and maintain their interest. Mie was patient and thoughtful snd mage this a fantstic tour over numerous key sites using local buses and trains.
Amazing Tour with Knowledgable and Excellent Tour Guide
, Aug 2019
Extremely knowledgable and friendly tour guide, amazing sites with great explanations, and a great overall experience. Highly recommend this tour for anyone visiting Kyoto.
, Aug 2018
Choice of highlights was good but guide was nearly just bringing us from one spot to the other without telling us a lot. Nice choice of the restaurant.
Despite the rain, my wife and I had...
, Jul 2018
Despite the rain, my wife and I had such a good time on this private tour! Our guide took us to all the best sites, provided us with really good background information, and answered every one of our questions. She also took us to a delicious okonomiyaki restaurant, which was a real treat since we got to make it on a grill built into the table. I highly recommend the northwest-bound route to anybody visiting Kyoto!
An excellent day trip with the bonus...
Diana S
, Jun 2018
An excellent day trip with the bonus that it ended up being a true 'private' tour with just me and my husband joining this one on the day whereas normally it is small groups - our guide was excellent in terms of her knowledge and adaptability to small or larger groups as she was heading off to a larger tour that night a real hard worker. We were fortunate that all of the smaller tours we took felt like we were out with friends and we treated it like that - having lunch together and sharing small gifts. Our guide also went above and beyond helping me at the train station and on the phone when I needed to make bookings for upcoming train travel and additional hotel accommodation given that I was having trouble explaining myself fully.
This was a perfect introduction to...
, Jun 2018
This was a perfect introduction to Kyoto first-time visitors. Our guide Mie was caring, knowledgeable, and professional. We felt like we had a friend showing us around her country. We saw all the highlights listed, plus Mie gave us so much additional information during our in-between travel times. We weren't sure which level of guide to book, and decided on the most experienced for a little extra money. We were very happy with our decision. Thank you, Mie, for a great day!
The tour was absolutely amazing...
Matthew M
, May 2018
The tour was absolutely amazing! The sights were great, but what set the tour apart and made it great was the guide. Yuri, our guide, completely exceeded our expectations. She was extremely knowledgeable about the history and significance of all the sights we saw during the tour, but her knowledge and expertise went well beyond. She never tired of our endless questions about Kyoto, Japanese culture and Japanese history. She seemed to be able to answer anything we asked and was constantly enlightening us with fun facts AND doing so in excellent English. In a word, she was outstanding! My only complaint is that we didn't have another day or two in Kyoto to do more tours. Has we had at least one more day I think we would have tried the Southeast tour and we would definitely request Yuri by name. On our Northwest tour we had the option of Nijio Castle or Nishiki Market. We chose the castle and I'm glad we did. It is so nice having a guide with you at the castle explaining the historical significance of what your are seeing. Yuri was nice enough to ride the bus with us to Nishiki Market at the conclusion of our tour. Once she got us there I think we were able to get the flavor of the market without a guide.
Tour takes in a lot, so you dont...
diane k
, May 2018
Tour takes in a lot, so you dont spend a lot of time at the venues. But you can go back and visit the sites you particularly liked on another day. Lots of good information given while on the bus. Lunch was OK.
Loved this tour! We had an amazing...
, Apr 2018
Loved this tour! We had an amazing time and an awesome guide! It aws great to be with a person who had such great knowlege and communication skills! She showed us the sights we asked to explore, plus a few others as well. It was nice to have a private tour as well.

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