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5 Things to Do on Free Walking Tours in Kyoto

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Have you signed up for free walking tours in Kyoto? If yes, it’s probably one of the best decisions you’ve made recently. Like any other walking tours, free tour guides in Kyoto make your Kyoto trip smoother and more convenient. But with the tons of natural and historical wonders in the city, it won’t be a surprise if you miss a couple of them.

Kyoto is the kind of city that will blow you away every inch you move.

To avoid missing out on all the good stuff on Kyoto free walking tours, we thought of the ones that you should not skip. Here are some of the must-visit places and must-do things when in Kyoto.

1. Observe maiko/geisha in Gion district

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(Geisha in Gion |Image Courtesy of Sorasak / Unsplash)

Maiko and geisha are traditional female entertainers dressed in vibrant kimonos. It’s not hard to find a maiko or geisha in Kyoto. In fact, there are many of them roaming on the streets, but the most popular place to find them is in Gion district. Many free walking tours in Kyoto include Gion district where you get to see them in flesh. They are usually sighted in areas like Tatsumi Bridge and nearby expensive Japanese restaurants and boutiques on Hanamikoji Street. In case you see them, don’t harass them, and avoid shoving your camera or smartphone on their faces. If you want to take a picture of or with them, hire them. Some of the best Kyoto walking tours can arrange a private meetup for you.

2. Drink water from Otowa Waterfall in Kiyomizu Temple

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(Otowa Waterfall | Image Courtesy of big-ashb / Flickr)

If you’re joining a Kyoto free walking tour going to the historic Buddhist temple Kiyomizu-dera, there are a couple of things you can do. But among them, don’t miss out drinking a cup of water from the streams of Otowa Waterfall at the base of the temple’s main hall. You can choose from three separate streams, depending on the benefit that you want--academic success, a blossoming love life, or life longevity. Avoid drinking from all three though; you will look ‘greedy.’ Kiyomizu Temple, which literally means “pure water temple,” was founded in 780 right on the site of the Otowa Waterfall. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1994.

3. Unwind at the Kamogawa Riverside

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(Kamogawa Riverside | Image Courtesy of lensonjapan / Flickr)

Some free walking tours in Kyoto or free tour guides in Kyoto can bring you to the riverside park of Kamogawa, the river running through Kyoto. While most locals go to the place to relax, exercise or contemplate, you can take this opportunity to bike around the area. It’s a long park at the hear of the city, where you greeneries and bike paths line both sides. If you are bringing your children with you, you could go near the northernmost part of the river because play areas are there, perfect for picnics and letting children move around. And this is where the river splits in two--one continues to Kamogawa and the other goes to Takanogawa. Kamogawa is also one of the best viewing spots on hanami (cherry blossom viewing parties).

4. Dine at Pontocho

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(Pontocho | Image Courtesy of Florian Pagano / Unsplash)

If you are planning to include Kamogawa Riverside in your Kyoto trip, you might as well want to experience Pontocho, a narrow alley full of restaurants, shops, and bars located one block west of Kamogawa. No matter your taste, Pontocho attracts all kinds of diners. Like Gion, Pontocho is known for its traditional architecture and entertainment where maiko and geisha can be sighted. If you happen to visit Kyoto from May to September, some restaurants on the eastern side of the alley open their front yards overlooking the river for a chill, open-air dining experience.

5. Eat delicious food at Nishiki Market

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(Nishiki Market | Image Courtesy of Luca Mascaro / Flickr)

Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto has been around for 400 years. But more than its cultural and historical richness, Nishiki Market is also known for the variety of foods and goods it offers along a street that’s lined by more than a hundred stalls. It’s now known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”. Nishiki Market offers every food and goods you can find in your kitchen, from fresh seafood and farm produce, to ready-to-eat foods like pickles and sushi, to various pieces of cutlery and cookware. Nishiki Market isn’t called Kyoto’s Kitchen for anything. It’s a cash-only market so be sure to have your yen ready. Nishiki Market gets really crowded from lunchtime until it closes for the day at 6 p.m. Some Kyoto free walking tours include Nishiki Market, so be sure to take advantage of those.

Free Walking Tours in Kyoto

Kyoto Localized offers free walking tours in Kyoto that include most of these areas. Make sure to book your free tour guides in Kyoto in advance and make your Kyoto trip more memorable.


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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