From the famed World Heritage Sites to the ancient capital of Nara, this Kyoto tour hits all of Japan’s brightest cultural gems.

4 Days, 3 Nights     FROM JPY 131,842 PER PERS

Step back in time to Japan’s rich, traditional past with a tailored Kyoto tour, including a day trip to Nara, the 8th-century capital of Japan. Wander through Kyoto’s warrens of narrow lanes and traditional shops as you explore some of the most renowned architecture of Japan. You’ll even gain a deeper understanding of Japanese cuisine with a hands-on cooking class.

Led by an expert private tour guide, a walking tour of Kyoto’s best highlights will reveal insider knowledge and history of the fascinating city. You’ll visit World Heritage Sites such as Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji, Ryoanji and Kiyomizu-dera.

You’ll spend time engrossed in the art of Japanese food exploring Nishiki Market, also known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” and learn about the flavor profiles and traditional techniques of Japanese cuisine in a cooking class in a traditional wooden townhouse

On a day trip, you’ll absorb the sights and sounds of Nara, which was the capital of Japan for just 74 years. In Nara, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some spectacular temples and shrines such as Todaiji (Great Eastern Temple), Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall), and Kasuga-taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine) before returning to Kyoto for a last-minute exploration before you return to Kansai International Airport for your return flight or onward journey.


“Kyoto is a must-see for any visitor in Japan. This 4-day Kyoto tour makes it easy, hitting all the highlights with an expert guide to reveal all kinds of insider knowledge.”

Joy Vienravee, Backyard Travel Japan Specialist


Explore the mile-long Nishiki Market, or “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” with an expert guide
Learn how to make rolled sushi, miso and more at a cooking class in a traditional machiya townhouse
Visit the Daibutsuden of Todaiji in Nara, the largest wooden building in the world
Sample the delicious local sake at a traditional brewery

Daily Itinerary


  • Daily Itinerary
  • Day 1: Arrival in Kyoto

    Yokoso and welcome to your Kyoto tour, the cultural capital of Japan!

    Upon arrival at Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay, you will be met by one of our representatives who will help you onto your shared shuttle van that will bring you to your hotel in Kyoto.

    Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure, relaxing at your hotel, exploring nearby shops and restaurants or dining at one of Kyoto’s many excellent restaurants.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    No meals included on this day

  • Day 2: Kyoto

    After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll be met by your local guide to embark on a privately guided Kyoto tour. Home to 17 World Heritage Sites, this former imperial capital of Japan is a trove of historical and cultural sites, all easily accessible through the local subway and bus network.

    First, visit Nijo Castle, famous for its Momoyama architecture, decorated sliding doors, “chirping” nightingale floors and stunning gardens. The building was completed in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

    Next up is Ryoan-ji Temple, home of Japan’s most famous rock garden. Although the complex was originally built as a royal villa during the Heian Period, in 1450 it was converted into a Zen Buddhist temple.

    Continue to the “Golden Pavilion,” or Kinkakuji, which was originally constructed to be the villa of a powerful statesman. The building was bought by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, but upon his death (and at his request) the villa was converted into a temple, as it still stands today. Today it is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto.

    In the afternoon, you’ll meet your local guide at Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto, which is renowned as a haven for foodies. The mile-long stretch of more than 100 shops and stalls is known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen” and specializes in seasonal produce and all-things food related. Your guide will show you all the interesting produce on display and help you pick out the right ingredients for your cooking class.

    After this, wander through the lanes and back streets of Kyoto to a former sake brewery, where you’ll receive a tour and try out the local brew. Next, head to a traditional wooden townhouse, or machiya, for your cooking class. You’ll learn how to make rolled sushi, salad and miso soup, with a dessert of seasonal fruits.

    After devouring the fruits of your labor, explore Kyoto at your own leisure. Feel free to inquire with your guide as to popular places to go, or simply lose yourself in the charming lanes of the local neighborhood.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and dinner

    2Kyoto tour of Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Zen templejapan culinary tour - vendor preparing products for selling in the traditional market ,teramachi street of kyoto - Backyard Traveldiscover japanese cook in ramen restaurant during a kanazawa tour with Backyard Travel
  • Day 3: Kyoto – Nara - Kyoto

    After breakfast at your hotel, your Kyoto tour will offer you a chance to go a little farther afield to the ancient city of Nara. Your expert guide will meet you at your hotel and you’ll embark on a 45-minute train journey to Nara.

    Nara, formerly the capital of Japan in the 8th century, occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, which borders Kyoto and is renowned for its well-preserved temples and shrines.

    Your first stop will be Todaiji Temple, one of the most famous temples in all of Japan. Built in 752 AD and also known as the “Great Eastern Temple,” Todaiji is home to the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall), the world’s largest wooden building. The enormous hall also houses the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha, which stands 15 meters tall.

    Continue to Kasuga-taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine), a Shinto shrine that was built in 768 AD. While at the shrine you’ll also have plenty of time to soak up the serene atmosphere of Nara Park, nicknamed “Deer Park” by locals because of the herds of deer that wander free through the grounds.

    After resting and refreshing over lunch, return to Kyoto to visit Kiyomizu-dera, also known as “Pure Water Temple.” This beautiful, sacred site is located on the steep face of Mount Otowa. Its veranda offers famously magnificent views of Kyoto. The temple is also noted for the fact that the veranda, along with the main hall, was constructed entirely without the use of nails or joiners. (Please note: Some parts of Kiyomizu-dera are currently undergoing renovations.)

    We’ll end the day with a stroll through the little lanes of Higashiyama, where warrens of traditional shops sell such souvenirs as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, pickles and sweets.

    Overnight in Kyoto

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast
  • Day 4: Kyoto Departure

    The end of your Kyoto tour.

    After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure until it’s time for your scheduled transfer by shuttle to Kansai International Airport for your onward journey or flight home.

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Gion story

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Local vietnamese woman

Tour Details

This Kyoto tour can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

icon Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

icon Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)

Talk to us about Your Holiday

Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.




Why Backyard Travel?

Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.

We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.

With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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