top of page


  • Writer's pictureKyoto Localized

What Is a Free Walking Tour? Is It Really Free?

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

There’s a lot of confusion about free walking tours and whether they are really free or not. And what makes them different from private walking tours. This article aims to bust some myths going around free walking tours—what it is and what it is not.

Free walking tours are free-of-charge tours around select landmarks of a place. Free walking tours usually follow a set schedule, regardless of the weather (except if it’s extremely bad) and the number of joining guests. Although advance booking is not always necessary, guests are encouraged to book in advance for free walking tours to secure their spot. No need to worry because these types of tours have no cancellation fee in case something comes up on your end.

Yes, they are free to join; you don’t have to pay for anything. This might be confusing for some, so it needs to be clarified. Since free walking tours are free, local guides are not making money off their time and effort. Hence, we highly encourage free walking tour participants to tip their guides, given they have learned or are satisfied with the tour. That is why you might hear from people calling free walking tours ‘tip-based walking tours’ or ‘pay-what-you-please walking tours,’ which are more fitting.

Meanwhile, private walking tours are pretty much free walking tours except the tour is exclusive to you and your group. Given the COVID-19 situation, private walking tours are perfect if you want peace of mind with no other people joining your tour. Also, if you are not the most outgoing person, private walking tours are made perfect for you.

When in Kyoto, be sure to check out some walking tours. Kyoto is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in Japan, so you can guarantee that you walk around the city without problems. Got more questions about walking tours? Read everything you need to know about joining walking tours!


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.

107 views0 comments


bottom of page