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  • Writer's pictureKyoto Localized

4 Best Food Tours in Kyoto, Japan

Nishiki Market

Kyo ryori, or Kyoto cuisine, is a distinctive culinary experience in featuring colorful and fresh local produce, with impressive attention to subtle details.

One way to get the best experience Kyo ryori experience is joining food tours in Kyoto. From first-class banquet-style kaiseki ryori to shojin ryori cuisine, Kyoto offers a different food scene, unlike any other cities.

Check out the local flavors of Kyoto, Japan by joining these food tours:

1. Nishiki Market and Gion Food Tour in Kyoto

Nishiki Market | Image Courtesy of Thilo Hilberer / Flickr

Let’s start off with the most common food tour offered in Kyoto. Nishiki Market and Gion are two popular spots to find the best local delicacies in Japan.

Nishiki Market — dubbed as Kyoto’s Kitchen — has been around for a really long time, serving Kyoto households and restaurants for over 400 years. For tourists, the old market has over 120 shops selling a wide variety of specialties, such as pickles, croquettes, Kyoto-style omelets, and tako tamago, among many others.

Gion — the entertainment district of Kyoto — also has a vibrant local food scene. From luxury restaurants to traditional teahouses to budget pubs, Gion welcomes all types of travelers with different budgets.

A lot of food tours in Kyoto go around these two particular spots. You can find many of them on Viator and TripAdvisor.

2. Pontocho Bar-Hopping Tour in Kyoto

Pontocho | Image Courtesy of Laura Tomas Avellana / Flickr

Pontocho is a narrow alley conveniently situated by the Kamogawa River. It’s one of the most popular spots in Kyoto for two main reasons — a lot of geisha and maiko around the area and a range of restaurants offering a unique by-the-river dining experience.

While it’s more of a nightlife tour in Kyoto, a lot of bar-hopping tours in Pontocho will also introduce you to the Japanese food culture. Hence, Pontocho bar-hopping tours are perfect if you are looking to enjoy the lively nightscape of Kyoto at traditional pubs, bars, and clubs while also getting a glimpse of what Kyoto has to offer gastronomically. If you really want to get the best of your time in Pontocho, we recommend joining tours with local guides.

3. Kyoto Tea Ceremony Tour

Japanese tea ceremony | Image Courtesy of Bruno Cordioli / Flickr

Japan’s tea tradition is deeply rooted in Kyoto where it all began. So when in Kyoto, it only makes sense to experience a tea ceremony, the traditional craft of making tea.

Tea ceremony tours are conducted by licensed tea ceremony instructors who are not just going to teach you how to make tea step by step but also give you an in-depth look into its rich history.

Most tea ceremony tours include sweets as they are a huge part of any tea ceremony. If you have a vegan or gluten-free diet, a tea ceremony tour is right up your alley.

4. Downtown Kyoto Food Tour

Downtown Kyoto | Image Courtesy of Israel Gonzalez / Flickr

The busy area of downtown Kyoto is the heart of the city where local shops and restaurants lined up the streets. Many of these restaurants offer a broad range of Japanese special delicacies. Some of these food tours in Kyoto give you a crash course on the history of Kyoto and its rich food culture.

These tours are ideal, especially if handled by local guides, for those who want a comprehensive introduction to downtown Kyoto’s shops and cafes, which may include Nishiki Market, Teramachi shopping arcade, depachika (an underground food arcade), and even the Museum of Kyoto. From kitchenware shops to sweets shops to department and grocery stores to local bars, you are guaranteed to get the most out of your downtown Kyoto food tour.


Kyoto is the heart of Japan and has a 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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