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  • Writer's pictureKyoto Localized

The 5 Best Day Tours in Kyoto

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

With the hundreds of incredible places to visit and things to do in Kyoto, you’re probably a little too overwhelmed with which ones you shouldn’t miss. First of all, we highly recommend doing day tours in Kyoto if you’re really not sure what you want to see and where you want to go.

Kyoto is the kind of city that will leave you impressed and awed every step you take.

By taking day tours in Kyoto, you are actually unloading a lot of burdens because these tours would bring you to the best places around Kyoto.

Nevertheless, if you want to know how you can nail your Kyoto trip with less stress and less hassle, here are the best places that you can visit on day tours in Kyoto.

1. Takao

(Takao | Image Courtesy of shinji_w / Flickr)

Located in the Kitayama Mountains northwest of Kyoto, Takao is one of the best places in Kyoto to spend the entire day with mother nature. Although it’s just an hour bus ride away from central Kyoto, Takao feels like a new city on its own, which is home to three majestic temples: Jingo-ji, Saimyo-ji, and Kozan-ji. Even taking a walk from Takao to Hozukyo or Kiyotaki makes it a worthwhile thing to do with the picture-perfect sights everywhere.

2. Arashiyama

(Arashiyama Bamboo Grove | Image Courtesy of Matteo Ferrero / Unsplash)

Many day tours in Kyoto have trips to Arashiyama. It’s not a surprise though as it’s one of the well-loved districts of the city, but points of interests around the area can get really touristy. From natural parks to temples and shrines, Arashiyama is a melting pot of sites that all kinds of travelers will love. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Kyoto are the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Arashiyama Monkey Park, Togetsu-kyo Bridge, Tenryu-ji Temple, Kameyama-koen Park, and a lot more. The district of Arashiyama is situated west of Kyoto at the foot of the Arashiyama mountains.

3. Southern Higashiyama

(Yasaka Shrine | Image Courtesy of Luca Florio / Unsplash)

If you’re looking for the best dining, shopping, and walking day tours in Kyoto, go around Higashiyama. With the number of things to do and tourist attractions here, Higashiyama goes down as the most must-visit district in Kyoto. It’s packed with temples, shrines, bars, restaurants, shops as well as points of interest like geisha sightings and preserves lanes. Some day tours in Kyoto will bring you to notable shrines, temples, lanes, and streets. If you choose to take your Kyoto trip with your own hands, make sure to visit Gion, the Kyoto National Museum, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kodai-ji Temple, Yasaka Pagoda, Kennin-ji Temple, Chion-in Temple, Maruyama-koen Park, and a lot more. Don’t forget Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka, the two most beautiful streets of Kyoto, as well as Ishibei-koji Lane and Nene-no-Michi Lane.

4. Northern Higashiyama

(The National Museum of Modern Art | Image Courtesy of Wiiii / Wikimedia Commons)

Northern Higashiyama is a reflection of the southern part of the district with a few minor differences. If you happen to spend a day in the south, it’s equally worthwhile to visit the northern part as well on different day tours in Kyoto. Northern Higashiyama is less crowded because, and it makes sense because points of interests here are fewer than what southern Higashiyama offers. Although, you will still see various temples, shrines, and amazing landscapes here. But the prime characteristic of northern Higashiyama is the number of museums. Day tours in Kyoto that go to northern Higashiyama often visit the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Kyoto Museum of Traditional Arts, and Robert Yellin Gallery, among many others. For shrines and temples, make sure to visit Nanzen-ji Temple, Heian Shrine, Eikan-do Temple, Konchi-in Temple, and more.

5. Central Kyoto

(Kyoto Botanical Garden | Image Courtesy of Tatters / Flickr)

Like Southern Higashiyama, central Kyoto is one of the most popular day tours in Kyoto. The area has several first-rate sights that you can include in your Kyoto trip with or without tour guides. Two of the most significant landmarks in central Kyoto is the Kyoto Imperial Palace (which is located inside the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park) and Nijo Castle. Restaurants and souvenir shops also abound in the area. Other sites you should visit include Sento Gosho, Kyoto Botanical Gardens, Shimogamo-jinja Shrine, Kamigamo-jinja Shrine, and Kamogawa Riverside, among others.

Free Walking Tours in Kyoto

Several free tour guides and free walking tours in Kyoto offer day tours around the city center. Other walking tours offer trips to more distant sites and you can find them anywhere in the city. If you want to make the most out of day tours in Kyoto, take advantage of Kyoto Localized’s free walking tours in Kyoto where we will take you to some of the coolest spots in the city, like Gion, Pontocho, Sanne Zaka, and more.

Ready to get localized? Schedule your tour with us here.


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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