Meet your guide and small group in the afternoon at Kyoto station, then set off on foot through the center of Kyoto. This comprehensive tour with a guide gives an overview of the city, visiting three of its most important landmarks in just an afternoon of walking. The tour’s small-group size ensures an intimate atmosphere and plentiful chances to question your guide about Kyoto’s culture and traditions.
The tour’s first stop is the 13th-century Zen Tofukuji Temple, home to lush gardens and a functioning Zen Buddhist monastery. Learn about the long history of the temple and its status as one of Kyoto’s five most important religious monuments from your guide, before walking to the Fushimi Inari Shrine on the city’s outskirts. Take in the oft-photographed red gates—set against the densely forested hillside—that were featured in the popular film Memoirs of a Geisha, and be sure to snap a picture or two of your own. Your guide will lead you to the site’s often-overlooked smaller monuments and numerous statues of foxes, who are though to be the messengers of Inari, the Shinto god of rice.
The last stop of the day is the Gion District, where you'll often find the city’s geishas, or Japanese hostesses trained to entertain men. Learn about the often-misunderstood tradition of geishas and difference between geishas and their assistants from your guide, and keep an eye out for these elegantly dressed women making their way between the neighborhood’s tea houses.