We will first meet at Kyoto Samurai & Ninja Museum and head to the Nishiki Market
A short briefing about the tour and best food spots in Nishiki Market, Kyoto’s oldest flea market with rich history and variety. You will be given info about the hidden gems and the best food to try in Nishiki Market. After the briefing, you can try any food you like among more than 400 different choices available in this historic alley that consist of 4 blocks. Since everyone has a different preference, you will be on your own; however, the tour guide will be accessible all the time in case you have any questions about the ingredients, halal kosher concerns or just need some basic support to bargain with the shops.
We recommend coming here a little hungry and not trying the first thing you see. Your guide will explain you all the possible things you will encounter so that is why taking this tour is ideal. You will also meet inside a museum so you don’t need to wait or wanter around in the cold or in the rain to catch the tour guide.
After the Nishiki Market we will walk stop by the beautiful Nishiki Tenmangu shrine and talk about the Shinto belief. Then we will head to the Pontocho alley , Kyoto’s 2nd most famous geisha district and discover some hidden canals built more than 150 years ago for trading between Osaka and Kyoto. You will e given some good dining tips in the Pontocho area along the way.
We will arrive at the Yasaka Shrine also known as Gion Shrine around 4 pm. This is Kyoto’s one of the most famous and picturesque shrines located right next to Kiyomizu Temple. The shrine has more than 1000 years of history and you will be told about the secret spots of the Shrine and how to distinguidh shrines from temples.
We will then walk from Yasaka Shrine to Kiyomizu Temple. The main building is under construction but it is still beautiful and impressive from the outside. You will learn how this huge building stood for centuries. You will also get to know the importance of Kiyomizu temple in Japanese history and culture.
Kiyomizu temple has a garden, walking paths, wish stones and most importantly mystical water fountain that is believed to have miraculous healing powers. By the way, the name Kiyo mizu refers to this special water stream.
At 17:30 we will arrive at the entrance of the main Gion street, right in front of Ichiriki Chaya. This the tea house the leader of 47 samurai spent sometime in 1702. We will get a handout about the geisha and maiko and learn how to to confidently tel what we are seeing is a real geisha but not someone who dressed up for the day. Since most geisha and aiko go to work before 6 pm we will spot some of them on the way.
We will walk through the streets of Gion and learn the difference between okiya and ochaya.You will be given tips on how the locals arrange a meeting with a geisha and maiko. The tour will conclude at 18:30 at the Gion corner.