Wondering what to do in Gion? In this guide, we highlighted the Top 7 Best Things to Do in Gion, Kyoto to give you some ideas on what to do in Kyoto’s heart.
Visiting Gion is like stepping into a living museum. It is Kyoto's most well-preserved geisha district, transporting you back to a time of traditional Japan.
Imagine strolling down narrow alleys lined with elegant wooden teahouses, their paper lanterns casting a warm glow in the evening. You might even catch a glimpse of a maiko (apprentice geisha) in her ornate kimono, her every movement steeped in grace and tradition.
However, Gion is more than just geishas. It's a treasure trove of cultural experiences waiting to be discovered.
Whether you like to visit historical landmarks, observe geishas down the streets, or try some of Kyoto’s best culinary offerings, we got you. Here are our top picks for the best things to do in Gion, Kyoto:
1. Learn more about Geishas
Gion is famed for its geishas, and while catching a glimpse of one can be challenging, there are ways to experience their culture. You can visit Gion Corner, a cultural center that offers performances, demonstrations, and workshops on various aspects of geisha life, including tea ceremonies, flower arrangements, and traditional music and dance.
If you want to see a geisha, check out our Gion Geisha Night Walking Tour!
2. Wear kimono around
Wearing a kimono is a great way to experience Japanese culture, and there are many shops in Gion that offer kimono rentals. It's a fun way to see the sights and feel like a part of the traditional atmosphere. You may also join a traditional tea ceremony where you get the opportunity to wear a kimono.
ALSO READ: PONTOCHO FOOD GUIDE
3. Visit historical landmarks
Gion is home to significant historical landmarks like Yasaka Shrine, one of Kyoto's most popular shrines, and Kennin-ji Temple, a serene Zen temple with beautiful gardens. These places offer a glimpse into Japan's rich history and cultural heritage.
Yasaka Shrine is home to the Gion Matsuri, a famous festival that takes place in July, but it's worth visiting any time of year. Meanwhile, Kennin-ji Temple is a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you want to see these historical landmarks with a local guide, check out our Kyoto Free Walking Tour!
4. Stroll down Hanamikoji Street
This atmospheric street is lined with traditional wooden buildings, many of which house teahouses, restaurants, and shops. It's a great place to wander around, soak up the atmosphere, and do some souvenir shopping.
ALSO READ: CAN YOU WALK AROUND KYOTO?
5. Enjoy a traditional Japanese meal
What is a trip to Kyoto without getting a taste of traditional meals? Gion is home to some of the best restaurants in Kyoto, serving up everything from kaiseki (multi-course Japanese meals) to casual izakaya fare.
ALSO READ: BEST BENTO IN KYOTO
6. Catch a performance at the Minamiza Kabuki Theater
Kabuki is a traditional form of Japanese theater, and the Minamiza Theater is one of the oldest and most famous in the country. Seeing a performance here is a truly unique experience.
ALSO READ: WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT AROUND FUSHIMI INARI
7. Take a night walk
Gion is especially beautiful at night when the streets are lit up with lanterns. There are several companies that offer guided night walks, or you can simply wander around on your own.
Check out our Kyoto Night Free Walking Tour to experience the best of Kyoto at night!
Looking for a fun food tour in Kyoto? Come join us at our Nishiki Market Kyoto Food Tour where we bring you around the best food spots at Nishiki Market and feast on various delicious dishes.
Sign up today! Limited slots only.