Kyoto, the cultural heart of Japan, is a place of stunning temples, immaculate gardens, and charming streets. The city is a haven for tourists and an ideal destination for those looking to experience Japan’s rich cultural heritage. Among the many things to do and see in Kyoto, taking a walking tour is a must. Walking tours are an excellent way to explore the city’s nooks and crannies, which are often not included in guidebooks. In this blog post, we will introduce you to Kyoto’s best free walking tours that will bring you closer to the city’s story and charm.
1) Kyoto Free Walking Tour
Kyoto Free Walking Tour is a volunteer-based organization that aims to introduce tourists to Kyoto’s rich history and culture. The tour runs every day, and tourists can choose between two tours, a morning tour, and an afternoon tour. The morning tour covers the Gion district and shrines, while the afternoon tour covers the Arashiyama district, which is home to the famous bamboo forest. The tours last three hours, and the volunteer guides will provide you with insights and recommendations on Kyoto’s best-kept secrets. The best part – the tour is entirely free, and tips are highly appreciated, but not required.
2) Kyoto Free Walking Tour offers tourists a unique walking tour experience, taking them through Kyoto’s traditional narrow streets lined with Machiya, the city’s iconic wooden-framed houses. During the tour, tourists will witness what life was like in Kyoto during the Edo period and have a chance to see the city’s hidden gems. The tour is two hours long and runs twice a day, with the morning tour focusing on the Nishiki Market, and the afternoon tour highlighting traditional craft shops in the area. The tour is entirely free, but a small donation is welcomed.
3) Kyoto Insider Sake Experience & Evening Walking Tour
The perfect tour for sake enthusiasts, Kyoto Insider Sake Experience & Evening Walking Tour combines a walking tour of Kyoto’s neighbourhoods with a sake-tasting experience. The tour starts in Gion, the famous geisha district, and moves on to the local Izakaya, where tourists can sample different varieties of local sake. The tour lasts for three to four hours, and the guide will provide valuable insights into Kyoto’s nightlife and local culture. The tour is not exactly free, but it’s highly affordable, costing only 2,500 yen per person.
4) Kyoto Samurai & Ninja Museum Free Walking Tour
If you’re interested in Japanese history, Kyoto Samurai & Ninja Museum Free Walking Tour is perfect for you. The tour will take you through the city’s historic streets and introduce you to the world of samurai and ninjas. The tour is entirely free, but participants are encouraged to donate. The tour lasts for one hour, and the guide will take you through the Samurai and Ninja Museum, where you will get a glimpse of the life of warriors in ancient Japan.
Taking a walking tour is an excellent way to explore Kyoto and its rich cultural heritage. Kyoto’s free walking tours are not only budget-friendly, but they are also led by locals who are passionate about their city and its history. Whether you’re interested in Japanese history, and culture, or just looking to explore the city, Kyoto’s free walking tours are the perfect way to get started. So, go ahead, book a tour, and get lost in Kyoto’s charm.