10 Best Cultural Experiences in Kyoto

Tours & Workshops
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Writer’s Profile

Bryce was born in California, but raised from the age of 3 near Seattle, Washington. He’s been living in Tokyo for about 7 years, and graduated from Temple University, Japan with degrees in economics and international business. He loves traveling of course, but also cooking, snowboarding, some video games as well. His biggest interest is songwriting/music production, more specifically electronic music… (think Skrillex, Marshmello, Daft Punk, etc.) He also has terrible humor as you’ll notice, but he hopes you’ll enjoy it!

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Looking for some immersion in Japanese culture? Well, you must already know by now in your search that Kyoto is one of the best places to do it! Kyoto is known for its robust selection of culturally deep experiences, so most of the opportunities you’ll read about will be there! Ride through a bamboo forest on a rickshaw or talk to some Geisha and enjoy a traditional meal, or even make some traditional confections with one of these guided tours. Regardless of what you’d like to experience, there is certainly something for you here!

1. Kyoto Food and Drink Tour at Nishiki Market

Get ready to immerse yourself in Kyoto’s vibrant food culture with our tour of Nishiki Market – the ultimate foodie spot in the city! After sampling some of Kyoto’s unique street foods, we’ll stroll through two of Kyoto’s most iconic cultural spots – Pontocho Alley and Gion District. Marvel at the quaint scenery and feel the authentic Kyoto vibes as we walk through the most lively shopping districts such as Shijo Street. Plus, don’t forget to try some of Kyoto’s famous local foods, including Yuba, Hamo eel, Sake, and more! So, come and join us on this intriguing, engaging, and cultural experience that offers a glimpse into the traditional Geisha’s traditions and culture in Kyoto. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable day adventure in the heart of Kyoto city!

Join the tour and get the best experience!

Explore Nishiki Market: Food & Culture Walk
Kyoto Food Tour takes you to the Nishiki Market and will introduce you to Kyoto’s street food culture. We will also visi...

2. Maiko & Geisha Performance plus Cultural Walking Tour in Gion

Indulge in a captivating journey through Kyoto’s cultural heritage with our exclusive Geisha and Maiko Tour. Witness their dance and music performances, enjoy having tea, served by Geisha and Maiko and learn about the rich traditions that define Kyoto’s historic Gion-district. Our professional guides will unveil the secrets of these iconic figures. Additionally, you will have the chance to chat with Geisha and Maiko and even get a picture with a Maiko. So what are you waiting for? Embark on this culturally rich journey and get to know some Geisha and Maiko!

Don’t miss out on this opportunity and book a Geisha and Maiko Experience!

Meet a Geisha in Kyoto: Exclusive Geisha Show in Gion
Get the real Kyoto Maiko experience with us! Experience Maiko dance and music with a powerful, authentic performance/liv...

3. Kimono and Yukata Experience in Kyoto


Embrace traditional Japanese attire with this unforgettable Kimono and Yukata experience in Kyoto! The professional fitting session will ensure you look picture-perfect as you stroll around the charming streets of Gion and visit nearby shrines such as Kiyomizu-dera and Heian jingu Shrine. Learn about the rich history and culture of Kyoto while donning the elegant attire that has been a part of Japan’s heritage for centuries. This flexible experience offers multiple time slots throughout the day and can be upgraded to include hair and makeup styling. Join this unique adventure and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime!

Book a Kimono in Kyoto to get the expereince: here

4. Traditional Tea Ceremony wearing a Kimono in Kyoto Maikoya

If you like the idea of wearing a Kimono, this is a good choice too! Experience authentic cultural immersion in Kyoto by combining two essential aspects of Japanese culture: a traditional tea ceremony and the elegant art of wearing a Kimono. During this exclusive experience you’ll learn about Japan’s fascinating history and sample local specialty matcha green tea. This is a wonderful opportunity to capture precious memories by taking amazing photographs that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Japan or a seasoned traveler, this tea ceremony is a must-try for anyone looking to delve deeper into Japan’s vibrant culture.

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5. Kyoto Samurai Experience

Travel back in time to feudal Japan with this Samurai experience at a traditional Kyoto Samurai House. Led by an expert sword instructor, you’ll discover the philosophy of Bushido, the “Way of the Warrior”, practice basic swordsmanship, and try on a traditional Kimono. Experience a Zen meditation session to align your mind and body, then take hold of a real Katana sword and feel its power. Choose from morning or afternoon departure times, and enjoy a personalized small-group tour of up to 10 people. Don’t miss this chance to immerse yourself in Samurai culture and learn about the rich history of Japan.

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6. Kyoto Insider Sake Experience

Indulge in a delicious and educational experience at the Fushimi Sake District in Kyoto. Explore the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, one of the largest breweries in Fushimi, and gain a better understanding of the Sake-making process. Sip on different varieties of Sake, from dry to sweet and fruity, and discover exclusive brews only found in Japan. Your guide will offer insights into the rich history of this rice-based drink, while delicious Japanese snacks will be paired to enhance your tasting experience. Come and compare multiple types of Sake in a fun and informative way, all in the heart of Kyoto’s sake district.

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7. Kyoto Arashiyama Rickshaw Tour with Bamboo Forest

Discover the stunning Kyoto Bamboo Forest in a unique way, with a rickshaw and walking tour led by a knowledgeable guide. Take a peaceful ride through the lush greenery, stopping at Nonomiya Shrine for a perfect photo opportunity. Then, continue on foot to see the most impressive parts of the forest. Your guide will take you on a path reserved for rickshaws to ensure a serene experience. Personal tip for any coffee lovers: head to Arabica coffee once you’re done in the forest for an exceptional latte made with a top-notch blend of beans.

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8. Wagashi Classes

Step into the world of traditional Japanese confectionery at Wagashi Issho in central Kyoto. Satisfy your sweet tooth and learn about the important role of sweets in Japanese culture, from festivals to everyday life. Under the guidance of an expert teacher, you’ll get hands-on experience making Wagashi and delicate Chado confections. Watch as your teacher demonstrates the art of creating these treats from scratch, then try your hand at making them yourself. Afterward, enjoy a tasting session with award-winning Kyoto tea from Rishouen and take home your handmade sweets and recipes in English. 

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9. Japanese Calligraphy Private Class in the center of Kyoto

Experience the ancient art of calligraphy in the heart of Kyoto! Join a private class and get the undivided attention of a calligraphy expert as you learn the techniques behind creating beautiful Kanji. Choose a Kanji or even write your own name in Japanese, all while discovering the beauty of one of Japan’s oldest traditional art forms. With expert guidance, learn to master the brush movements and take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir to cherish forever. This private class ensures a personalized experience, making it the perfect opportunity to dive into traditional Japanese culture and create a stunning work of art to take home.

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10. Ikebana Workshop in a 200 Year Old Ryokan

Experience the tranquil beauty of Ikebana flower arrangement in the heart of Kyoto with this relaxing, intimate class. Held in the historic Kinse Ryokan building, your professional Ikebana instructor guide will introduce you to the art’s rich history while providing hands-on instruction. Using seasonal branches and flowers, create a stunning floral arrangement and enjoy a warm welcome of green tea and sweets from your host. Be sure to get some great photos of your arrangements to enjoy forever!

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Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Kyoto

When you are visiting Kyoto and you need some help organizing your trip, you came to the right place. We’re happy to help you make your trip to Kyoto the best trip ever. We can advise you on where to go or even better, show you around with a local, English speaking guide. Let us help you create safe, comfortable, and unforgettable memories in Kyoto!

Kyoto 8h Private Custom Highlight Tour with Licensed Guide
On this full-day private tour of Kyoto, you will be able to see the highlights of Kyoto in just one day and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of both the culture of the area and Japan as a whole.

Kyoto 10-Hour HIGHLIGHT Private Tour
If you only have a day or two in Kyoto, we offer a full-day tour of the city, enabling you to immerse yourself in and fully enjoy the entire city of Kyoto in just 10 hours!

Explore Nishiki Market: Food & Culture Walk
If you’re looking to learn more about the culture and the local cuisine of Kyoto, this is the perfect tour for you! Take part in this Kyoto food and drink tour and explore the 400-year-old market and the famous surrounding areas.

Find Other Experience

Kimono Rental
Kyoto is the best city to explore in kimono, Japanese traditional clothing. You can choose the one you like the most from several patterns and colors at the rental shop. In Kyoto, two locations are both accessible from the main tourist attractions which makes it easy to try it on and explore the city for a day!

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Happy traveling!

Stay informed of the best travel tips to Japan, the most exciting things to do and see, and the top experiences to have with the Japan Wonder Travel Newsletter. Once every two weeks we will introduce you to our latest content.

Stay informed of the best travel tips to Japan, the most exciting things to do and see, and the top experiences to have with the Japan Wonder Travel Newsletter. Once every two weeks we will introduce you to our latest content.

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