Dive deeper into Kyoto culture and cuisine on this night walking tour guided by a bi-lingual, truly English-fluent local.
There is so much to see and do in Kyoto, but you cannot leave the city without truly experiencing the Gion district. We meet at Gion Shijo Station at 6:30pm and start our Kyoto night tour with an “edutaining” walk through the justifiably famous Gion district, located on the east side of the Kamogawa River.
Learn about the geiko (and why we don’t call them “geisha” in Kyoto), as well as the places that make this district so special. You’ll also be regaled with insight and information about how the art of evening entertainment has evolved into the hostess clubs of today. (Rest assured this tour is suitable for teenagers and higher.)
Putting the “Food” in the Kyoto Foodie Tour
After about an hour or so of anthropological adventure, you’ll be ready for some food and drink! And we know just the places. You’ll get to try a few different regionally-representative dishes and a beer — or perhaps you’d like a whiskey soda “hi-ball”, shochu, or some sake (Japanese rice wine) instead?
For the vittles, the selection varies by season but, between this stop and our second restaurant, there will be at least ten varieties, so you’re sure to find things that suit your taste. Being a Kyoto food tour, we’re also sure to include regional specialties. We let the other guys trot out the generic dishes.
The restaurants we go to are known as “tachinomi”, which can be loosely translated as “standing bar” in English. These are not, however, bars in just the drinking alcohol sense. While they do serve alcohol, it’s really more about the food, with full kitchens preparing made-to-order dishes.
Less so than the format, what tachinomi are about is small plates (think: tapas) and a convivial, Happy Hour-type atmosphere. You’ll notice some customers coming as co-workers, others with friends, and some just stopping by alone, which is quite comfortable due to the inherently social vibe.
Incidentally, the restaurants we frequent often have tables to sit at, but sometimes we stand, just like the locals. Also, just like the locals, we generally only spend around half an hour or so at a given restaurant. Time will fly during this truly local experience.
Continuing on our Kyoto Night Walking Tour
Between restaurant visits, we take a short stroll through what are both youthful and classic restaurant and entertainment districts on the west side of the Kamogawa River, including Ponto-cho, Kiyamachi, and the Kawaramachi area. The old narrow streets along Ponto-cho embrace the traditional Kyoto style, while the younger areas just a street or two away show you how eager Kyoto people are to also firmly live in the present.
Learn More About Kyoto Food History
For those looking to delve even deeper into Kyoto’s foodie background, we offer an optional 1.5-hour pre-tour deep dive into the markets of Kyoto. We’ll walk you through a local supermarket and explain the basics of a Japanese home kitchen and, in turn, the basics of Japanese food. Then, we do a detailed dissection across an abundance of Japanese delicacies as we stroll down the famous Nishiki Market’s main promenade.
・The extension is priced at 4,000 yen/person with a minimum of two persons.
・Note that we welcome solo travelers on the main tour.
・The tour will conclude at Kyoto Kawaramachi Station.
|Price||¥15,000 / person
¥15,000 for 2 persons or more
|Hours of availability||
Start time: 18:30
・English speaking guide
・Hotel pick up ＆ drop off
Exit 5 street level of Gion Shijo Station