Deepest Kyoto Tour - Private Tours

Deepest Kyoto Tour - Private Tours

About
Welcome to Deepest Kyoto Tour!Indulge yourselves in a walking excursion with REAL Kyoto local residents and government-certified bilingual tour guides! Explore a hidden side of Kyoto that, for most, remains shrouded behind the mist of history and legends.You are invited to take part in a tour of this mysterious and historical side of Kyoto.
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

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Deepest Kyoto Tour - Private Tours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
15 reviews
Excellent
14
Very good
1
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Kristin B
San Francisco, CA9 contributions
Apr 2015 • Couples
My husband and I visited Kyoto in April (this was our first trip to Japan) and beforehand, I researched some activities/tours that were more culturally immersed. On their site they had listed a tour where you can explore the gojo-rokuhara area with the master of the samurai sword...well my husband is really interested in all things samurai (especially the swords) so I contacted them to see what all we could do sword related. I received a response from Ayuko and we began our planning :) She was AMAZING!!!

Prior to our machiya and town quarter tour, she arranged to have Mr. Ono perform some iai sword techniques in a nearby rec center. He was dressed in traditional iai clothing and explained (Ayuko translated) a lot of the history of the swordsmanship. My husband even got to hold the sword and try a few things as well! Afterward, we had a really tasty ramen lunch and then met back up with Mr. Ono for the walking tour. Uiko was our translator for this portion and the four of us set off to explore some really cool areas for the next three hours!

We saw and learned a lot more than we had anticipated - everything from the traditional machiya houses/shops (some really fascinating info here), pottery area, great photo ops in the alley ways and of course, temples and shrines along the way :) We had a great time with Uiko and Mr. Ono!

Prior to going to Japan, I asked Ayuko if she knew of any swordsmiths in the area where you could see them working on a sword. She did some research and found the Bizen Osafune Village which is about 30 minutes from Okayama (Okayama is about 65-85 minutes from Kyoto by train). On Saturdays and Sundays they are open to the public to view but they do not speak any English. We arranged a day trip with Ayuko to the village so she could translate for us and we had the most wonderful time! The master swordsmith explained the entire process (even from how he sources his materials) and then we got to see them hammering a sword - it was incredible. We also went to a sword museum just down the road and saw a magnificent collection of very old swords - Ayuko arranged to have a swordsmith walk with us and discuss the different swords and their unique characteristics! Just next to the museum are several small workshops where each craft of the sword making process are done (making the sword, the engraving, the handles, etc) and you could watch all of this as well. In addition to Ayuko translating for us, she was awesome to hang out with and spend a long day with! On the train back we talked about Sake and come to find out, she's a sake sommelier as well!!! Had I known earlier, I would have had her arrange something with that too!

My take away from Deepest Kyoto Tours is that in addition to the tours on their site, contact them and let them know what your interests are and they can probably make a tour for you that will be the highlight of your trip. They did for us and next time we're in Japan, I will certainly be contacting them!!!
Written May 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for positively commenting! It was a great pleasure having you as a guest:) Do visit again!
Written May 8, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Johnsan417
Boston, MA3 contributions
Nov 2015 • Solo
Please let me take this opportunity at a very late date to comment on the Kyoto Machiya Tour. I felt well prepared to contribute my personal experience at a Historic Preservation In Japan and Boston Symposium last winter after meeting Mr. Yamamoto and Ms. Ayuko. The Boston Japan Society membership was discussing and confronting our mutual sister city cities preservation issues. My first hand experience and the documentation provided by the tour proved to be valuable information even for the local academic community and visiting experts from Japan. Thank you again .
Written February 2, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your positive comment! It was a great pleasure meeting you and I am so happy to hear that the living experiences of Mr. Yamamoto as a machiya carpenter was transferred to the participants in the prestigious symposium:) We hope to be of some help to the people who are interested in machiya and the traditions in Kyoto!
Written February 3, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

AquaFunSF
San Francisco, CA6 contributions
Dec 2013 • Family
Yesterday's private tour was wonderfully informative and entertaining and definitely provided a very deep look into Kyoto that I wouldn't have gained reading and wandering on my own. In several hours we walked through the backstreets of Old Kyoto, learning about maiko/geiko (and saw one!), stumbling upon a family making New Year's mochi (and joined in the fun - delicious), visited temples and shrines, admiring a man's garden and being invited into his home (it turns out he was a lighting designer and inside he had the most beautiful wood and paper shades that he designs for the area teahouses), visiting a historic pottery kiln and finishing with a tea ceremony at the machiya of our tour guide, pottery shop owner Kawasaki-san. Our interpreter, Michiko Doi, was enthusiastic and untiring and didn't hesitate to engage the locals with every last one of our questions. All tours are led by a guide and interpreter. Great way to start your visit to Kyoto!
Written December 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your kindest comment! We are waiting so much for you to visit us again!
Written January 6, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JbassSingapore
Singapore4 contributions
Sep 2013 • Solo
Meeting my tour guides at Kiyomizu-gojo station #4 (which was easy to find) we headed off for a riveting 3 hour walk into the depths of old Kyoto. Kawasaki San and Doi San provided a fascinating insight into old & new customs, taking us into parts of Gion and surrounds that I just wouldn't have found without them. They were funny, informative, helpful and always happy to answer any and all questions. Spending time with local Kyotoites is a great way to learn about Japanese culture and thinking - why they put salt out the front of their houses, how to pray to Ebisu; if you're looking to move into an area how to tell if you will have good neighbours, Kiyomizu pottery making, Maiko and Geisha, the lanterns and what they mean...the list goes on :)

Make sure you wear a good pair of walking shoes and take a camera. The tour lasted about 3 hours with opportunities for comfort stops when needed.

Definitely something really worth doing if you want to get a bit below the surface in Japan.
Written September 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your comment! We are so happy to guide you again in-deep in Kyoto again! Do revisit us:)
Written January 8, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Tina H
1 contribution
Dec 2015 • Solo
I booked the machiya tour with Ayuko and Mr Yamamoto because I love architecture and wanted an unconventional tourism experience. My afternoon with Ayuko and Mr Yamamoto absolutely met my expectations. I learned so much about machiya and the dedicated craftsmanship that is required to maintain these beautiful homes.

I highly recommend Deepest Kyoto - just know that it takes a little bit of advance notice to coordinate schedules since the tour guides are working artisans. I inquired a week in advance and was able to book a tour. It was one of the highlights of my time in Kyoto and I will definitely book another tour the next time I return to Kyoto.
Written December 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your positive review! Please join us again when you come back to Kyoto:)
Written December 15, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ryh
Volcano, Hawaii1 contribution
Dec 2013 • Solo
The Deepest Kyoto Machiya Tour featuring master carpenter Shigeru Yamamoto was a fantastic experience. Mr. Yamamoto is a wealth of knowledge and very passionate about educating people about the beauty and value of these iconic wooden structures of Kyoto.

The 2 hour walking tour winds its way through the back streets of Gojo-Rakuen visiting the remaining Kyoto Machiya townhouses in the area, some restored by Mr. Yamamoto. The highlight of the tour is being able to see the interiors of these restored Machiyas.

The tour was greatly enhanced by English interpreter SatokoTamara who did a wonderful job transmitting the voluminous information that Mr. Yamamoto offered on this walking tour. Part of the tour fee is donated to the Kyoto Machiya Machizukuri Fund to preserve Kyoto's Machiya townhouses. Definitely a worthwhile experience.
Written December 18, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your comment! Please visit us again when you have a chance to revisit Kyoto!
Written January 8, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

travelwithmorealoha
Kailua-Kona, HI22 contributions
Aug 2018
A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Absolutely worth the time and money. If you are interested in Japanese Architecture, Kyoto's History or simply a fan of Woodworking. You will love this tour! Simply put, it is an intimate afternoon with a Japanese Master Carpenter and his translator. Through the tour you will see cut away models in a museum explaining building techniques as well as the history of the Gojo area. You will then take a walk around the neighborhood looking at the different types of Machiya, (which may include, private houses, geisha cafes, and a theatre (exteriors only)) as well as any other significant buildings along the way. Then you will enter an Inn which is a newly renovated Machiya to see first hand your guide's expertise. And finally your tour will end with a cup of tea and a chance to touch and feel all of the extraordinary Japanese tools that it took to build these beautiful buildings. We learned that it takes decades of learning your craft as a carpenter to have the knowledge and skill to build even one room of a Machiya (not to mention the 260+ tools it takes). His passion for his craft is palpable, and inspiring. He is a true treasure of Japan and a gift to Kyoto and their unique Machiyas. This is a tour not to be missed! Absolutely worth the time and money. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Written July 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Caterina G
1 contribution
Apr 2018 • Friends
It was so beautiful to do this two tours because first of all we have an amazing tour guide called Unna Yuta
He was expert, kind and above all he knew very well how to lead a tour
Thanks Yuta
Written April 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

linbinpin
Canberra, Australia600 contributions
Dec 2015
We took many tours and workshops on this visit to Japan - this architecture focussed tour was my son's favourite.
It was really interesting to hear from a master carpenter about the building techniques and history of the area (formerly a red light district). It was a pleasure to see his pride in his work - we got to see a place he designed and made - as well as seeing older places from the outside and inside. The craftsmanship evident in the machiyas (traditional buildings) is inspiring - as is the use of only locally sourced natural materials used in construction. The interplay between the master craftsman and interpreter worked effectively.
Written December 20, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your positive comment! I really hope that you will have a chance to visit us again:)
Written December 24, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Olivier L
Kyoto, Japan30 contributions
Oct 2015 • Couples
This was my 8th trip to Kyoto and having done all the big tourists attraction, I was looking for something more authentic and closer to the local living culture. Our tour with Ayuko was wonderful as it provided lots of insights into the current state of machiyas in Kyoto. We also enjoyed the company of Mr Yamamoto, a master carpenter from a multi generations line of carpenters, who is specialized in the renovation of these beautiful houses. Together, they explained and showed us many of the defining traits that make up the vernacular architecture of Kyoto. We had a truly excellent time!
Written October 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your positive comment! It was a great pleasure having you as our guests. Do visit again!!:)
Written October 22, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Deepest Kyoto Tour - Private Tours - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go