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4 Free Walking Tours in Kyoto You Shouldn’t Miss

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

Free Walking Tour in Kyoto

Getting around Japan can be a little daunting, especially for family and first-time travelers. With Kyoto free walking tours, everything is laid out to you for the day (or for the night) without having to stress out on where to go and how to get there.

In Kyoto, all you need is your desire to learn about its long history which largely contributed to what it is today.

To get you started, we have listed some of the most important points of interest and things to do that you shouldn’t miss out on your Kyoto trip or when joining any Kyoto free walking tours. Most spots on this list are really touristy simply because they are an important part of Kyoto’s history.

1. Gion

Walking Tours in Tokyo
(Miyakawa-cho Street, Gion | Image Courtesy of Boudewijn Huysmans / Unsplash)

Starting off with Gion, the entertainment and traditional arts capital of Kyoto. Gion sprawls vibrantly at the heart of the city filled with restaurants, bars, iconic streets, shrines and temples, and traditional teahouses. Gion is Kyoto’s most popular maiko and geisha district. As the night falls, Gion transforms into a whole new district as the lanterns light up and maiko start to come out for their appointments. Many Kyoto free walking tours offer or include a trip around Gion where you can visit some of the most popular sites in Kyoto. Some must-visit places in Kyoto are The Minamiza Kabuki Theater, Hanamikoji (a cherry blossom viewing lane), Meyami Jizu (a Buddhist temple), Yasui Kompira-gu Shrine, Kennin-ji Temple, Ebisu-jinja Shrine, Café Opal, Shimbashi-dori, and a lot more.

2. Kyoto Imperial Palace

Walking Tours in Tokyo
(Gate of Kyoto Imperial Palace | Image Courtesy of Ray in Manila / Flickr)

The Kyoto Imperial Palace used to be the residence of Japan’s imperial family until 1868 before the capital was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. Visiting the Kyoto Imperial Palace hits two birds with one stone. It’s located inside the spacious Kyoto Imperial Park where the Sento Imperial Palace, Kaninnomiya Mansion, Itsukushima Shrine, and a few other historic sites are situated. The walled Kyoto Imperial Park was only accessible to guided tours. Now, you can visit the site even without joining free walking tours in Kyoto or any walking tour for that matter. If you have the time, don’t hesitate to include the historic Kyoto Imperial Palace to your Kyoto trip.

3. Traditional Handicraft

Walking Tours in Tokyo
(Incense box | Image Courtesy of Ashley van Haeften / Unsplash)

Apart from the historical and environmental gifts of the city, Kyoto also boasts its traditional handicrafts which are quite popular all over the world. The organization of the Goodwill Guide on Kyoto Handicraft and Historical Sites (GGKH) offer various tours on learning the art of making Kyoto traditional handicrafts. You can choose from the different types of activities they offer, such as dyeing textiles with traditional pattern workshop and production of maki-e lacquer.

4. Higashiyama

Walking Tours in Tokyo
(Maruyama Park, Higashiyama | Image Courtesy of Kimon Berlin / Unsplash)

Higashiyama is one of the best preserved historic districts of Kyoto where you can find several shrines and temples in their old state. That’s why if you want to experience Kyoto in its old-fashioned way, we highly recommend visiting the Higashiyama district. Kyoto’s narrow alleys and wooden buildings surely bring out the old-world charm of the former Japanese capital. Like Gion, Higashiyama district is part of a lot of Kyoto free walking tours. In fact, several tourist attractions in Higashiyama are often covered by free walking tours in Kyoto that mainly tour Gion. In Higashiyama, the most popular tourist attractions you can visit are Kiyomizudera Temple, Yasaka Pagoda, Kodaiji Temple, Yasaka Shrine, and Maruyama Park.

Free Walking Tour Kyoto

Kyoto Localized offers free walking tours in Kyoto at no cost. If you’re looking explore the city from a local’s perspective and make your Kyoto trip a memorable one, Kyoto Localized’s Kyoto free walking tours can be a huge benefit to save you time and money on your Kyoto trip.


Kyoto is the heart of Japan and has rich history and culture. Our walking tours will show you why. On our Walking Tours you will learn about the Old and New Kyoto, tradition, religion, history, food, and culture. Free Walking Tours in Kyoto | Kyoto Walking Tours. Book your free walking tour of Kyoto today.


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