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Top 7 Things You Shouldn’t Miss on Day Tours in Kyoto

Free Walking Tour in Kyoto
(Nishiki Market | Image Courtesy of David Stanley / Flickr)

Day tours in Kyoto are one of those activities you can't afford to miss during your stay in the city.

Kyoto will give you more of a traditional and historic vibe than other places in Japan.

It's extremely recommended that you shouldn't skip these day tours in Kyoto; you're not only going to love the sceneries that you are going to see, you're also going to experience how people in Kyoto lived hundreds of years ago.

1. Inari Shrine

Things to do in Kyoto | Things to see in Kyoto | Places to visit in Kyoto
(Fushimi Inari Shrine | Image Courtesy of Eleonora Albasi / Unsplash)

If you enjoy learning about a place's history, it's recommended that you should take Inari Shrine day tours. In Kyoto, there are the two most popular shrines that dedicated to Inari. There's the Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Yutoku Inari Shrine. Both shrines are designed with almost the same style. This is due to the fact that Inari is closely associated with rice, prosperity, and foxes. Locals and tourists usually visit this place to enjoy the tranquility of the place and the prosperity it may bring. The shrines have small traditional Japanese gardens with ponds and walking trails that are commonly found at the base of the hill. The gardens also have peonies and winter peonies which are in full bloom around April and January.

2. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

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(Arashiyama Bamboo Grove | Image Courtesy of jc3211 / Unsplash)

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto's top day tour sites because of the glorious bamboo trees that line up your path as you walk through it. It's actually a magnificent site and it will make you forget that you are just having a day tour in Kyoto. The bamboo trail instantly transports you into another world. It is through this you can see how Kyoto has managed to preserve the cleanliness of their surroundings and the discipline the residents have to combat the pollution modernization and urbanization bring.

The whole grove is truly a picturesque place and is considered to be one of the most photographed tourist attractions in Kyoto. However, pictures cannot justify the calming and serene feeling the glorious bamboos give its audience. Take a breather from the polluted streets of the city and be amazed by how this sanctuary still lives among all the chaos.

3. Golden Pavilion Temple

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(Kinkakuji Temple | Image Courtesy of siamkop / Pixabay)

The Golden Pavilion Temple, also known as Kinkakuji, is a Zen temple located in northern Kyoto. The name of the temple is fitting to the design of the whole place because the top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. The Golden Pavilion Temple is quite a majestic and is a luxurious view to look at. When you're inside the building, it overlooks a large pond which is the only site remaining since its original structure was made.

The temple has actually burned down a lot of times including twice during the Onin War, and another in 1950 when it was set on fire by a monk. Tried and tested, this structure has managed to endure so many tragedies and changes yet it still shines now with its utmost glory. Kinkakuji was originally built to show the extravagant Kitayama culture which developed among the wealthy aristocratic circles of Kyoto. There's no dull moment in the whole building for aside from its majestic views and golden structure, each floor represents a different style of architecture.

4. Maiko/ Geisha Performance

Things to do in Kyoto | Things to see in Kyoto | Places to visit in Kyoto
(Geisha performance | Image Courtesy of Job Rawlinson / Wikimedia Commons)

Geishas are highly skilled entertainers who only appear at high-end dinners, private parties, and special events. Kyoto is known to be the heat of Japan's geisha world. Geisha performances are not cheap! They come with a high price tag. However, if a performance is beyond what you can afford and yet you still want to see how they do it, there are a lot of cheaper options available in Kyoto. The most famous one is the Kyoto Cuisine and Maiko Evening. You get to eat with other small groups of people while being entertained by several geisha. Geishas in this place are known to demonstrate their dancing while playing a few drinking games with the guests. They also roam around the pace so you can talk to them directly.

5. Kyoto Tea Ceremony

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(Kyoto tea ceremony | Image Courtesy of Joy Ito / Wikimedia Commons)

You can see a lot of tea ceremonies all over Japan and in other countries but these only came in one place--Kyoto. Take some time to squish in a Kyoto tea ceremony in your day tour schedule and you'll get to experience not only the most soothing and calming tea session you've had your entire life, but also know what is the proper way for it to be done. In Kyoto, drinking tea is not only for enjoyment and company, but there are also actually rules and precise etiquette that one has to follow. The conversation during the tea ceremony is predetermined, and there is an atmosphere of tension all over the place. It's far different from how we enjoy our cup of tea now so it's worth to try the authentic kind of tea ceremony.

6. Samurai Experience

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(Samurai experience in Kyoto | Image Courtesy of Tydence Davis / Flickr)

What better way can you experience the best Samurai training than in Kyoto, Japan? This is included in the list because if you're a fan of doing more activities than sightseeing then this experience is for you. It's a great way for tourists to get a firsthand look into the world of samurai. You're not only going to learn some Samurai techniques, but you're also going to learn the philosophies of Bushido or the way of the warrior and try handling a real katana. Some also enjoy some inward reflection with Zen meditation which is a practice done by samurais to calm their minds before and during a battle.

7. Nishiki Market

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(Nishiki Market | Image Courtesy of David Stanley / Flickr)

Nishi Market is a narrow yet long shopping street that contains more than one hundred shops and restaurant. It's also known to be as Kyoto's Kitchen because it specializes in giving its customers a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Craving for something or looking to eat a dish that seems too exotic to be served in a regular restaurant? You can find it all in Nishiki Market. The market is always cramped up with people but it never fails to give an inviting and pleasant atmosphere. The market is a must try for foodies from all places.

There's just so much you can do in Kyoto and this list proves it. There are a lot more that are not included but if you're looking to maximize your stay in Kyoto while getting to experience everything it has to offer, then this can get you covered.


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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