10 Private Tours In Kyoto, Japan - Updated 2021

private tours in kyoto

Kyoto, Japan, is a verdant city on the island of Honshu, known for its historic Buddhist temples. Visitors have so much to take in when visiting Kyoto, from traditional kaiseki dining to visiting the many shrines of this ancient city. A private tour in Kyoto is well worth the time and money spent. Learning from a local cannot be undermined, and booking a tour ensures new knowledge and a chance to get in touch with the true culture of the place. These tours offer a chance to dig into Japanese culture. From tea ceremonies to secret garden tours, there is something for everyone in these private, curated tours. Read below to see some of the best private tours in Kyoto, Japan.

1. Private custom Kyoto tour (from USD 671.0)

This private tour allows you to customize what you are most excited about in Kyoto, complete with a chartered vehicle. Whether you seek a limousine, van, or bus depending on your group size, all options are available which can be tailored to your needs. Great for families with children, or larger groups, the tour runs from 9 am to 5 pm, with hotel pick-up and drop-off. Some highlights of Kyoto which should not be missed are the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Sanjusangendo, and Kiyomizu Temple. Admission fees are additional, and one can choose to have a guide or not.

Private Kyoto Custom One Day Tour by Chartered Vehicle

Duration: 8 hours

6 reviews

2. Private afternoon tour including entry to Tofukiji (from USD 148.0)

Take in all that Kyoto’s culture offers with this three-hour afternoon trip. With your personal guide, begin at Tofukuji Temple, a living Buddhist temple built in the 13th century. Then move through the neighborhood to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the iconic red Torii Gates set within the wooded expanse. With the sun setting, head to the Geisha district of Kyoto to see the neighborhood come alive. This action-packed afternoon is perfect to get a unique experience in this world-class city.

Kyoto Private Afternoon Tour with Tofukiji Temple Admission

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

36 reviews

3. Private vacation photography session (from USD 283.0)

What’s more fun than capturing your memories of Kyoto through a professional photography session? With scenic backdrops of the bamboo forest, Torri Gate area, or Higashiyama area return home with photographs of a lifetime. The photographers are all guides as well and will help to fill you in on the historical and cultural background of where you are being photographed. The session lasts about one and a half hours and is on foot. You get to choose where you are photographed, so have fun picking the most meaningful spot in Kyoto with your family.

Your Private Vacation Photography Session In Kyoto

Duration: 1 to 3 hours

16 reviews

4. Private Kyoto Arashiyama chartered tour (from USD 327.0)

The Arashiyama area of western Kyoto is one of the most beautiful spots in the city. A combination of traditional Japanese culture coupled with nature, Arashiyama should not be missed. This private, chartered tour is flexible but can include the Arashiyama Togetsukyo Bridge (also known as “Moon Crossing Bridge”), Tenryu Temple, and the Sagano bamboo groves. This private tour last four hours, and can be arranged for groups as small as one or up to 15 people.

Kyoto Private Tour: Arashiyama Park and Tenryu-ji Temple

Duration: 4 hours

1 review

5. Lanes and lanterns evening tour (from USD 179.0)

This evening tour of Kyoto is perfect for those who enjoy the ambiance of Japan’s lantern-lit streets. Join the tour around sunset to enjoy the sights and sounds of Kyoto’s life, where you will learn about the theater of the Geisha district, Yasaka Shrine, the entertainment district of Pontocho, Teramachi, and lastly, Nishiki food market. This on-foot tour includes traditional Japanese snacks and drinks and lasts a little over three hours.

Kyoto Private Evening Tour with Traditional Japanese Snacks

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

65 reviews

6. Private Japanese tea ceremony (from USD 86.0)

What could be more Japanese than a tea ceremony? This tea workshop, set inside the Jotokuji temple, will offer a window into the traditional art of tea serving and drinking. The workshop is offered Monday through Friday and lasts about 70 minutes and instructions are given in English. Learn how to purify water, swirl matcha, as well as the specific words used during the ceremony. Come away with a certificate to show off before you head home.

Japanese Tea Ceremony (Private Session)

Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes

67 reviews

7. Cherry blossom secrets (from USD 212.0)

Iconic cherry blossoms grace Kyoto in the spring. This private tour allows you to experience the magic of the hanami or cherry blossom season. Traditionally, hanami is practiced by meeting with friends and family under the cherry blossoms to enjoy the food. The season is fleeting and reminds us that so is life. After a picnic, head to a festive hanami party, and then when the evening sets in, take in the cherry trees lit up against the sky. Truly a unique experience, do not miss out on the secret of the cherry blossoms.

Kyoto Cherry Blossom Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private

Duration: 4 hours

8. Muslim-friendly private tour (from USD 151.77)

muslim-friendly private tour

For Muslims traveling to Kyoto, enjoy this full-day private tour that ensures halal lunch, entrance to Kenninji and Kiyomizudera, and a local English-speaking guide. Walk through the Nishiki Market to see fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fish, then head to Yasaka Shrine. After lunch, head to Gion where the maiko stroll. Then head to Kenninji Temple, and afterwards take in a stunning view of Kiyomizudera. Shop while you stroll, and enjoy all that Kyoto has to offer.

Kyoto: Full-Day Muslim-Friendly Private Tour

Duration: 7 hour

9. Private gardens walking tour of Kyoto (from USD 72.0)

private gardens walking tour of kyoto
Source: www.viator.com

There is no better way to experience Kyoto, than on foot. This private walking tour explores Kyoto’s lesser-known gardens as well as peaceful temples. Get off the beaten-path that gets hoarded with tourists from all around the world. A private guide will meet you at your hotel at 9 am or 2 pm for a three-hour tour. Get a fantastic experience with this on-foot tour into the lesser known parts of Kyoto.

Kyoto hidden gardens private walking tour

10. Photo shoot with an authentic Maiko (from USD 1062.0)

photo shoot with an authentic maiko
Source: www.viator.com

A maiko is a real Geisha apprentice, who will accompany you on your two-hour photoshoot! Head to gardens and temples to capture the essence of Kyoto’s culture, and afterwards sip green tea with your maiko. Japanese snacks are also included, as well as hotel pick-up and drop-off. This unique experience will be yours to keep in your personalized photo shoot.

Scenic Kyoto Private Photo Shoot with an Authentic Maiko

Incredible opportunities with these tours

These private tours offer something unique for all people visiting Kyoto. Truly, learning from a local enhances the experience of the place. Each of these private tours allows one to tailor the tour to you needs, whether that be food choices or places you want to visit. From tea ceremonies to cherry blossoms, Kyoto has no shortage of magic. Book your private tour today and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Raised in the woods of Northern Wisconsin, adventure pulses through Samantha's veins. Among the most notable adventures have been teaching agriculture in Kenya, WOOFing in Turkey, and learning...Read more

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