Kyoto Art Tour - Tradition, Craftsmanship, Garden and Aesthetics


Copyright © Zohiko

Kyoto, the imperial capital of Japan for over 1000 years until late 19th century, is the city which retains traditional arts and cultures and inspires travelers Japan's artistic sense of beauty. Some arts and traditions have been passed along unchanged, however, others have evolved over years being infused with modern senses and lifestyle needs. Through this tour, tourists can feel that Kyoto is a living museum of Japan's long-cherished art, tradition, and culture that are still thriving and changing even today.

- Discover the secrets of century-old craftsmanship
- Visiting Zen garden that represents Japanese unique sense of beauty that values simplicity and serenity
- Appreciate arts and related stories by visiting a small museum
- Learn the historical depth and cultural width of tea ceremony and relevant traditional cultures
- Learn about a wide variety of Japanese handmade arts and crafts
- See how traditions of Japan's craftsmanship can be incorporated to our modern life by exploring shops of traditional high-quality handmade arts and craft shops

Sample Itinerary (8.5-hour tour)

8:30 Leave your hotel in central Kyoto

Visit Ginkakuji (better known as "Silver temple"), a Zen temple and Karesansui garden nestled in the hills of Higashiyama. Ginkakuji embodies the Japanese "wabi-sabi" aesthetics that emphasizes the beauty in imperfection, simplicity and modesty . Kyoto-Art-Tour1.jpg Then, visit Raku museum that exhibits a collection of ceramics made by successive heads of the Raku family over 450 years. The origin dates back to 16th century when Chojiro, the first head of the Raku family, was asked to make a tea bowl for tea ceremony by Sen Rikyu who perfected the Way of Tea. Raku tea bowls are handmade and fired individually in a small kiln.

Kyoto is also home to traditional textile industry. Take a look at beautiful kimono costumes that are made in Kyoto. Dyeing and weaving craftsman played particularly important roles in the tradition of Kimono. If the studio is open, it is also possible to visit the workshop of weaving artisans to see how they weave threads of different colors into kimono design. Nijo Castle was used as residence in Kyoto for Shoguns from 17th century. Nijo Castle is registered as World Heritage for its historical significance. Visitors can still see masterpieces such as splendid paintings on the fusuma sliding doors and walls painted by the Kano school.

Arts can be seen not only at museums. More importantly, those products that are infused with contemporary design are still used in our daily life. Our guide is happy to take you to small shops specializing in one particular art and craft, such as bamboo arts, lacquerware, metal arts, incense, textile, tea caddy, Japanese knife, antique shops and more. These shops showcase exquisite artworks that are created by artisans whose techniques have been handed down for centuries.

The above is a sample itinerary. If you have been to one of those places and you would like to visit elsewhere, it is possible to replace it with other places that we recommend or cultural program such as tea ceremony.

17:00 Back at hotel

Activities we can arrange in your tour

Traditional & Modern Culture

  • World Heritage Temples and Shrines
  • Walk through picturesque paths with traditional buildings
  • Tea Ceremony
  • Kimono Wearing
  • Ikebana Flower Arrangement
  • Geisha Dinner
  • Wagashi (Japanese sweets) making
  • Sake Brewery


  • Antiques
  • Traditional crafts
  • Unique Kyoto food


  • Luxury or local restaurants
  • Shojin (Buddhist vegetarian) lunch
  • Cooking Class
*Extra fees may be added to your tour price for certain activities.

Price for this sample itinerary

(price per group)

2 persons3 persons4 persons
8 hours 81,000 yen 86,000 yen 94,000 yen

(10% consumption tax included)

Including: English speaking tour guide, entrance fees, public transportation and taxis
Not Including: Lunch fee

  1. Our private tours can be customized to your interests and preferences. Let us know any place you wish to visit. If you would like to include one of the optional sites/activities among above-mentioned "Activities we can arrange in your tour", please let us know.
  2. The price is for the sample itinerary above. Price may be subject to change depending on the activities you choose.
  3. Day trips to Kyoto from other cities can be arranged upon request. (ex. From Osaka, additional 10,000 yen per group will be charged as it takes 2 hours for round trip, which makes 10.5-hour tour. For other cities, please contact us.)
  4. Private car can be arranged for extra fee.
  5. Tours can be arranged for larger group. We will recommend appropriate transportation taking your group size into consideration.


Please pay by credit card. You will receive an E-mail with an URL where payment can be made online. The page is protected by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to ensure the safety of your credit card information. We accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, Diners, and JCB.

Request for a Private Tour

Why tour with us?

    • Customized Private Tour
      We will customize your own tour depending on your interests and preferences. Since all tours are private tours, you can enjoy your tour thoroughly at your pace.

    • Nationally-Licensed Guides
      Our locally-based guides who are knowledgeable, friendly and flexible ensure pleasant, comfortable and worry-free tours.

  • Authentic Experiences
    Our travel consultants from all over Japan with network and knowledge - not just highlights but also off the beaten paths - work passionately to enrich your experiences.

Private Tours in other destinations

bnr_trip_osaka.jpg bnr_tour_nara.jpg bnr_tour_tokyo.jpg
bnr_trip_tokyo.jpg bnr_tour_hiroshima.jpg bnr_tour_nagano.jpg

We can also arrange privately-guided tours in other destinations throughout Japan. Also, your tours can be tailored to your specific interests such as culture, food, and nature.

Recommended Accommodations