Backstreets of Higashiyama

Up to 5 Guests 7 - 8 hours Private Guide Flexible itinerary

Discover Kyoto's cultural and historical heart

* Spend the day exploring the backstreets of Higashiyama, home to some of Kyoto's finest temples and gardens * Visit Japan's longest wooden building and its incredible 1,001 Kannon statues * Get lost in the cobbled streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka and step back into the Japan of old * Marvel at the impressive wooden architecture and inner zen gardens of Chion-in and Nanzen-ji temples * Discover the history behind Heian shrine and learn about its deep connection with Kyoto * Explore Suirokaku, an ancient aqueduct that has provided Kyoto's water for over a century * Soak up the beauty of the Philosopher's path and meet the friendly local artisans

Filled with the highest concentration of temples, shrines and gardens of any part of the city, Higashiyama has been charming visitors for centuries. If you only have one day to explore Kyoto, this guided walk comes highly recommended.
We begin the day by exploring Sanjusangendo, one of Kyoto’s most fascinating temples, to learn about its unique relationship with both Hinduism and Buddhism while marvelling at the 1,001 Kannon statues housed in Japan’s longest wooden building – a truly impressive sight!
From there we make our way through the beautiful cobbled streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka, home to Kyoto’s best preserved neighbourhood, to learn about its captivating history while taking time to appreciate Yasaka pagoda, the surrounding artisans shops and also sample some of Kyoto’s tastiest street food. We then take the quiet backstreets to Maruyama park, particularly pretty in cherry blossom season, before calling in to Chion-in to discover its imposing gates and exquisite inner temples. 
After taking lunch, we head to Heian shrine to experience the special connection this area has with the city then make our way to Nanzen-ji temple complex to explore its incredible architecture and beautiful zen gardens. The views of the nearby sub-temples and lush Higashiyama mountains from the top of Nanzen-ji’s 17th century gate are always a highlight, particularly in spring and autumn! We also take in Kyoto’s most famous aqueduct, a true engineering phenomenon, before finishing with a stroll along the picturesque Philosopher’s Path to discover the area’s traditional craft shops and meet the friendly store owners.


1 - 5 GUESTS
  • Accommodation meet and greet
  • Expert bilingual private guide
  • World Heritage temples and gardens
  • Local spots and hidden gems
  • Option to customise

  • The price does not include transportation or temple / garden entrance fees for each guest and the guide

  • We will provide an accurate estimate of these fees and any customised options at the time of confirmation

  • Lunch is additional and we will recommend some great options to suit tastes and dietary requirements

  • As this is a private walking tour, we can adjust the pace and length to suit but please let us know of any mobility issues

  • Please note our cancellation policies under ‘FAQs’ and we ask all guests to have comprehensive travel insurance


"Our full day walking tour took in the backstreets of Higashiyama, Sanjusangendo Temple with its hundreds of Kannon statues (which rival Xian in China in my view) and we then walked through the artisan's neighbourhoods of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka where Chris led us to a coffee shop owned by a delightful, elderly Japanese lady where we enjoyed our tea and coffee from Wedgewood and tried to guess which country's flag was depicted on the amazing array of origami cranes on the table. Walking the Philosopher's Path later in the afternoon was a beautiful, peaceful activity especially in the heat. Chris was mindful of the fact that we were all in our seventies and adjusted his pace accordingly. He has the most engaging manner with the Japanese people and they respond in kind. Highly recommended!"
Photo of Kyoto Guided Walk's clients in cafe in Higashiyama
G Parker

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