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Kinkaku-ji

Kinkaku-ji: Our most recommended tours and activities

Kyoto: Private Tour with Local Licensed Guide

1. Kyoto: Private Tour with Local Licensed Guide

Discover Kyoto’s historical sites, favorite local spots, and hidden gems on a private walking tour with a nationally licensed guide. Choose from a 6 or 4-hour tour, whose itinerary can be customized to fit your interests. See both the modern and traditional sides of this dynamic and ancient city as well as some of the best sightseeing areas, restaurants, and shops. Visit places like the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for the Torii Gate Corridor. Explore the filming location for the film “Memoirs of a Geisha”, displaying a colorful crimson scenery with a mysterious atmosphere. Walk through the shrine’s corridors that were erected as a symbolic continuing gate from the current world to the world of the dead inhabited by the gods. Go to the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), which was given its name from the golden color of its reliquary hall. Admire its simple yet bold structure that features beautiful mountain views in the background. Enter the ancient Kiyomizu-dera temple to get panoramic city views from its large veranda. Walk from the path from the temple to Gion, to find many Kyoto-esque shops filled with unique souvenirs. Grab a snack or enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in the Gion district. Your guide will give you dining recommendations that are sure to delight your palate.

Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

2. Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

You will take you place on the tatami, the traditional Japanese floor mat and be met by your English-speaking host, who is a licensed tea master from Urasenke, the biggest school of tea ceremony in Japan. Watch as the host carries out the ceremonial preparation of matcha, powdered green tea. Then, you will have the chance to make tea yourself, while the host informs you about the history and spiritual role of the tea ceremony and the effects each tea-making method has on its flavor. Afterwards, savor some traditional Japanese sweets Once the ceremony has come to a close, you will have the chance to take photos and see examples of kimonos and beautiful woven textiles made in the Nishijin district of Kyoto. If you'd like to wear a kimono during the experience, you can select it as an add-on during booking and take photos to remember the experience.

Kyoto: Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

3. Kyoto: Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

Discover the highlights of Kyoto with a same-day or 2 day ticket on this convenient hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Admire the panoramic views from onboard the open-top double-decker bus, and hop on or off at any of the stops along the route. Enjoy informative audio commentary on board the bus, available in 7 languages. Choose this efficient way of exploring the must-see places and attractions in Kyoto. The bus takes you past many of the city's top attractions, including UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji, and Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. Buses run every 30 minutes, and you can enjoy unlimited rides for the duration of your ticket's validity.  Bus stops along the route:  • Kyoto Station • Nishihonganji ( Kyoto Tokyu Hotel) • Shijo Karasuma / Nishiki-ichiba Market • Nijo-jo Castle • Kitano-tenmangu Shrine / Kamishichiken • Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) • Daitokuji Temple • Kyoto Imperial Palace (Doshisha University) • Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion) • Heian-jingu Shrine / Okazaki Park • Gion (Kotowa-Kyoto Yasaka) • Gojozaka (Kiyomizu-dera Temple / Gion) • Sanjusangendo / Kyoto National Museum (Hyatt Regency Kyoto)

From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

4. From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

Visit some of Kyoto's most famous cultural sites on this day-long bus tour from Osaka. Hop aboard a comfortable coach and drive to Japan's ancient capital to see the brilliant torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the UNESCO-listed Kiyomizu-dera temple, and the golden pavilion of Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto is filled with ancient historic sites dating back to the 6th century. Get dropped off first at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Spend time wandering the brilliant paths before heading to your next destination. Arrive at Kiyomizu-dera, one of the most iconic temples in Japan. Take ample time to wander through the temple. Walk across the impressive wooden stage, which juts out from the hillside and was constructed without the use of a single nail. Next, stop at Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion due to the fact that it's covered in gold leaf. Wander through the immaculate gardens surrounding the temple, admiring the original Japanese designs that have been preserved since Ashikaga's time. Finish the day in Arashiyama, which has been a popular nature-viewing destination since the Heian Period. Take a stroll through the cool Sagano Bamboo Forest and listen to the distinct rustle of bamboo leaves as you walk. In the late afternoon, hop on the bus back to Osaka.

Kyoto: Japanese Gardens Private Customizable Tour

5. Kyoto: Japanese Gardens Private Customizable Tour

Explore the many gardens of Kyoto on this customizable tour with a private guide. Let the guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly.  Visit various styled gardens and experience traditional Japanese spirits which are represented in plants, rocks, and the entire design. Relax at both, artistic landscape gardens with seasonal plants and dry landscape gardens at Zen temples. Learn about the meaning and the history of the gardens from your knowledgeable guide. Most popular places to visit for this tour: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Kinkakuji Temple Ginkakuji Temple Ryoanji Temple Honen-in Nanzenji Temple Tofuku-ji Temple Kyoto Imperial Palace Shugakuin Imperial Villa Daitoku-ji Temple Kokedera Suzumusidera Katsura Imperial Villa Kyoto Botanical Garden

Kyoto: 3.5-hours Historical Highlights Cycling Tour

6. Kyoto: 3.5-hours Historical Highlights Cycling Tour

Go on this cycling tour and explore the peaceful side of Kyoto.  Start this activity by learning about Nijo Castle. At Seimei Shrine you can find out how to pray at a Japanese shrine. Check out the Golden Pavilion and get ready to take great photos at Kamishichiken, the oldest geisha district in Japan.  After seeing the magical Golden Pavilion continue to cycle for a nice downhill ride to the Imperial Palace. Your guide will give you some insights into the history of this place.  At a traditional Japanese restaurant, you can discover the local cuisine with a variety of Soba dishes, as well as desserts with matcha and mochi. Feel free to visit a beautiful Japanese garden and a souvenir shop next door.  After this break, the tour will continue cycling back a relaxing ride along a beautiful route through the city. Finish your tour at the Kamogawa river and immerse yourself in this unique atmosphere while watching the locals enjoying their time.

From Osaka : Private Full-day Tour to Kyoto

7. From Osaka : Private Full-day Tour to Kyoto

Start the tour with pick up from central Osaka and travel to historic Kyoto. Over the course of the day, you'll be presented with a balanced view of this historic city and its surroundings. The Arashiyama district is the first stop, and it is here where you'll be introduced to Japanese garden and temple design. Tenryu-ji Temple has one of the most outstanding, timeless examples of Japanese gardens surrounding it's simple-but-majestic temple buildings. Then it's time for a walk up through the famous bamboo grove - a photo opportunity not to be missed - before arriving at the entrance to luxurious Okochi Sanso. Here you will try some matcha (Japanese green tea), before exploring the winding paths that connect the buildings, views, and garden areas. Afterwards, you'll enjoy a stroll alongside the river, then have free time for lunch and even a bit of shopping, if you wish. Next, enjoy the atmospheric streets of the Goin district, complete with a gurgling stream and rows of traditional tea house and restaurant buildings.  Not far from the Gion is Fushimi Inari-taisha, arguably the most famous Shinto shrine complex in the entire region. After having a look around you'll end your tour with a visit to the famous Torii gate.

Kyoto: 3-Hour Cycling Tour

8. Kyoto: 3-Hour Cycling Tour

Kyoto is a city that is best explored by bicycle. Your guides have carefully curated a selection of tours that focus on showing you the beautiful contours of this ancient capital. More than just visiting the busy tourist sites, these journeys are crafted on leisure, scenery, and culture, while uncovering some of the best-kept secrets in Kyoto. You begin with stops at World Heritage temples and shrines, and gradually make your way along cozy backstreets to quieter, more intimate Zen garden settings. You will be taken to places rarely seen by the average Kyoto dweller, tranquil environments carefully hidden from the hustle and bustle of the urban landscape. Treat yourself to a new and unique understanding of Kyoto, put down the guidebook, and allow us to give you a truly unforgettable experience. 

Kyoto: 8-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour

9. Kyoto: 8-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour

Explore the historic city of Kyoto and its temples and shrines. This private tour allows you to choose your own itinerary like this sample. Follow your guide to Kinkakuji Temple, Golden Pavilion or Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. After that, head to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a famous spot due to the thousands of Torii gates. Take a photo of the god of agriculture enshrined in Fushimi Inari Shine. Stop for lunch before visiting Kiyomizu temple, and experience the atmosphere of Kyoto's most famous district as you meander through Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka. Afterwards, if you have time, visit the Gion district, the famous geisha area. The tour ends at your hotel, or a location of your choosing.

Kyoto: Private Customized Walking Tour with a Local

10. Kyoto: Private Customized Walking Tour with a Local

Discover Kyoto like a local and see the top attractions on a 2, 4, 6, or 8-hour private walking tour. Meet your host and get insider tips on what to see and do, learn about the culture and discover hidden gems along the way. You'll be paired with guides that are passionate about the place they call home and who choose to spend their free time sharing it with like-minded travelers matched to them. Book your preferred tour duration at least 72 hours in advance so that the best experience can be created in advance. You will be contacted shortly after booking to chat about your needs and interests. A like-minded host will then be provided, along with a bespoke, but flexible, itinerary exclusive to you. Visit sacred sites like the shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha or Kinkajuki Temple, explore the cultural district of Gion or get off the beaten path in historic neighborhoods with the help of your guide. Stop for lunch at an authentic spot, recommended by your host to suit your taste and budget, or snack on street food as you walk. Get advice on how to spend the rest of your time in the city and more.

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  • Day trips
  • Workshops & classes
  • Hop-on hop-off tours
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What people are saying about Kinkaku-ji

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 677 reviews

Did the Hop-on, hop-off bus, which was great because they take you to the best sightseeing spots were you can spend the amount of time that you want. The bus has audio about the sites and the city in several different languages. The buses run every hour.

The number of people was small and it was comfortable because the self-restraint of Corona had just been lifted. All the passers-by were looking up at this bus and taking pictures, and it was a cute bus that stood out.

The local Tour was amazing! Really made me feel like a local. An impossible task but one he really tried to accomplish. Helped me understand how Kyoto works from the ground up. Great experience and a great visit!!

The guide was extremely well versed in Japanese culture as well as sights and attractions. Japanese and English was fluent. 10 out of 10 would recommend this tour guide specifically Taibi.

If you ever get the chance, of going to Kyoto, use a guide called Noriko, She is outstanding, knowledgeable, kind and accommodating.