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Arashiyama Tour from Osaka

ARASHIYAMA AND FUSHIMI INARI FROM OSAKA

Leave the modern city of Osaka behind and head to the beauty and timelessness of Kyoto, all by private vehicle.

From ¥62,000/group
Private Vehicle 8 Hours, 10 Hours (approx.) Private groups of up to 9 passengers.

Tour Introduction

If you’re looking for just a day’s worth of Kyoto with the utmost in convenience, this easy, private vehicle day tour to Kyoto’s Arashiyama district, the Gion, and Fushimi Inari from Osaka is for you! These top-tier spots are designed to give you a balanced representation of Kyoto’s best, with a famous temple (Tenryuji), gardens (Tenryuji and Okochi Sanso), a short visit to the entertainment quarter (Gion), and the region’s most famous shrine (Fushimi Inari) with its red gates snaking up the mountain. For those looking to spend nights in both Kyoto and Osaka, this tour can be set up to start in one city and end in the other, so you can bring your bags along for the day and eliminate the hassle of switching hotels and cities on your own. This tour can also be based out of Kyoto or based out of Kobe.

Historic Landmarks

Taking a Kyoto tour from Osaka means going from what is largely a post-war city to one that has not changed nearly as much.

Professional Guide

Real English, real skills, and great personalities. Our guides have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with interesting, fun, and memorable tours.

Fully Narrated Tour

Our tours never leave you to wonder about on your own. Your guide stays with you the whole time, unless, for example, you want a bit of time to roam a garden or have lunch on your own.

We Come to You

Complimentary tour pickup provided at your lodging in central Osaka. Additional charges apply for pickups outside central Osaka, primarily the port and Universal Studios area.

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Tour Overview

Kyoto’s got days of things to see, and in our mind, Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari are absolute must-see destinations. They are quite inconvenient to get between by public transit, which makes this Kyoto tour from Osaka by private car even more appealing. What’s more, along the way between the two of them, we’ll drive right into the heart of the Gion for a look at some classic buildings and views, plus some stories about what goes on once the sun goes down and the geisha come out.

Classic Kyoto awaits in Arashiyama

Many visitors expect gardens, bamboo groves, grand temple buildings, green tea, and maybe even rickshaws when they come to Kyoto. Well, good news! Let those expectations run wild, because it all vividly comes true in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto. Tenryuji dates back to the 14th century, and the garden is said to date back even further. The grounds make for a lovely stroll, first around the exterior of the largest temple building - with open sliding doors, it’s easy to see everything on the inside, spartan as it is - then on to the breathtakingly beautiful, classical Japanese garden. We look forward to taking the opportunity to explain to you elements of traditional Japanese garden design, but we also want to let you take it in as you wish. Depending on your interest, we can spend more or less time here before heading out the back exit right into the most famous bamboo grove of Arashiyama. This is the one you’ve almost certainly seen pictures of, with dramatically towering bamboo lining an ascending path. Not to worry, it’s not too much of a climb, and you’ll be pleasantly distracted by the scene. Bamboo views quite literally behind us (photo op!), we take you into Okochi Sanso. Very few guides (and a very small percentage of visitors in general) visit Okochi Sanso, which is a shame. This estate was built by a famous Japanese actor in the 1930s, and showcases guest houses and a large central home looking out over the city of Kyoto. In between are lovely strolling gardens, and also a matcha (powdered green tea) break will be enjoyed with a Japanese sweet (included in the price of admission). We continue avoiding the crowds by walking down a lesser used path to the Hozu River, and on to the shopping area. If you’re interested in some Kyoto crafts or foods, we are happy to introduce our recommended stores. If you’re not, we’ll breeze right by.

Time to switch gears as we enjoy lunch, then a visit to the Gion

Despite Kyoto and Osaka only being around 50km/31 miles apart, there are significant differences. The accent is different, but so is the cooking style. As such, a Kyoto tour from Osaka would be remiss were it not to introduce some local options. Your guide will discuss the options and find a place that sounds appealing to you. It is generally held that the Gion really comes alive at night, but in the light we can truly appreciate the architecture, as well as natural accents such as trees and restaurant-lined canals. On our way to Fushimi Inari, we stop here for a primer on the area as you take in the lovely scene.

Fushimi Inari, a fascinating Shinto shrine like no other

Shintoism had been Japan’s only mainstream religion (or “series of teachings”, depending who you ask) before Buddhism came along in the 7th century. And Shinto’s most famous shrine in the ancient city of Kyoto is undoubtedly Fushimi Inari, making it a clear must-see. The thousands of red gates in varying sizes rising up the hillside are even more impressive in person than the pictures you may have seen. However, there’s more to see and learn about Fushimi Inari than those red gates alone. With your guide’s assistance, you’ll obtain a much more valuable understanding than the untrained eye along would gleem. That said, our guides are happy to keep things more on the light side or more on the educational side, as you please.natural accents such as trees and restaurant-lined canals. On our way to Fushimi Inari, we stop here for a primer on the area as you take in the lovely scene.

Care to supersize your Kyoto tour from Osaka?

The standard Kyoto tour from Osaka is an eight hour day, with about 2.5 hours of that being spent getting to Kyoto and then back to Osaka. For those interested in a fuller day, we offer an Xtra Large option which adds two hours to the day. We have plenty of ways to fill up that time, including Ryoanji (oldest Zen rock garden), Kinkakuji (golden pavilion), Nijo Castle, the Imperial Palace (built long before the one in Tokyo was), or some food market exploration in Nishiki. If you have eyes on visiting something not mentioned here, just let us know and we’ll see if we can make that happen.

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Itinerary

Tenryuji is an auspicious start to our Kyoto day. We’ll see a stately temple, gorgeous gardens, then exit to the famous bamboo grove. History has rarely seemed more relevant. About one hour here.

Still in the Arashiyama area, we visit Okochi Sanso, the former estate of a famous actor from the earlier 20th century. Resplendent grounds, dotted with historic buildings. We also take a tea break here. Around 45 minutes to an hour here.

A 15 minute stroll down to and then along the lovely Hozu River leads us back into town. We’ve got a number of suggestions for Kyoto shopping and lunch places too. If you’re not interested in the shops, we can easily breeze by. About 90 minutes altogether for most, but this can vary.

Old storefronts line this historic part of the Gion district, and the stream running through it makes for an even more atmospheric experience. About 15 minutes.

Routinely rated among the top things to do in Kyoto, our visit to Fushimi Inari will take you beyond simply walking through the famous red gates. We get away from the crowds here and there, and richen the experience with stories and cultural points. About 75 minutes here.

If you’re looking to make your day a couple hours longer, consider our Xtra Large package at time of booking. Please read more about some potential options in the “Care to supersize your Kyoto day from Osaka?” section of the full tour description above.

Historic and Cultural Landmarks

Taking a Kyoto tour from Osaka means going from what is largely a post-war city to one that has not changed nearly as much. Part of this is because there was no bombing of Kyoto in WW II, but irregardless of that, Kyoto has always stood on its own as a haven of impressive religious sites and equally impressive landscapes. Fushimi Inari, Tenryu-ji, the Gion, and other areas we visit are all deeply historic and culturally rich.

Easy Access

We come to you! We’ll pick you up at your lodging in Osaka, making for an easy and convenient start to the day.

Know Before You Go

There are a couple of things we’d like you to take note of before joining us.

  • Please come wearing comfortable shoes. It’s a car tour, but there will still be a fair bit of walking around. For those who wish to minimize walking, please let us know and we’ll modify the itinerary to suit your needs.
  • Kyoto tends to be a bit cooler in winter and even a bit warmer in summer than Osaka. Please dress for the day with this in mind. You can always leave things in the car while we walk around.

Inclusions:

  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • All vehicle costs
  • All guide costs

Exclusions:

  • Food and drinks
  • Admissions (expect to spend 1500 yen per adult on the standard tour, around half that for primary school and younger)
  • Pickup if you are outside of central Osaka (defined as within or along the JR Loop Line) or Shin Osaka areas: Port of Osaka, Hyatt, or Universal Studios area pickups will incur a 2,500 yen extra fee each way. For other areas, please inquire. Fees are for the whole group, not per person.

Options:

  • Going “Xtra Large” allows for two more hours of touring.

Our Tour Guides

We've got around a dozen guides at your service. Here we showcase a few of our most active ones.

Kevin

We think it's important that everyone who works for Pinpoint Traveler is an active guide too, even the owner. Kevin's been in Japan thirteen years, but spent the first ten in the corporate world. Now he shares his love for Japan outside the confines of the office.

Shoji

Born in Japan, but moved to Canada when he was still quite young, Shoji is back and ready to share is passion for Japan with you. His main dominion is Osaka and on down to Koya-san and Wakayama, but he's such a popular guy that we often send him even further afield by request.

Mardi

Mardi's our Kyoto guide-in-chief, and her love for the city is infectious. She's got an uncanny ability for giving people just the right amount of information while still ensuring the tour stays light and fun. Be it temples and shrines, gardens, or nightlife, Mardi's your gal.

Dan

Dan is a Spaniard, so of course his Spanish is native level, but his English is fantastic as well. He's got a warm personality and consistently makes our guests feel like they've made a new friend within minutes of meeting him. He also knows Osaka and Kyoto like no one's business!

Levy

With nearly twenty years in Osaka, Levy's got this place WIRED. He's a major samurai and history aficionado, and in addition to knowing all the top sights like a true pro, he knows Osaka's nightlife better than (dare we say it!) the vast majority of Japanese who call Osaka home. Levy's originally from Israel, and runs tours in Hebrew too.

Suzie

Suzie is Japan born and raised, and we can't recommend her enough for tours in Tokyo and Yokohama. Our prior guests frequently say nicer things about Suzie than any of our own mothers have said about us! The consummate pro, she's not just got all the info, but also an uncanny knack for knowing what to show our guests.

Not profiled here are guides who speak Spanish (Kyoto, in addition to Dan in Osaka), French (Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo), and German (Kyoto and Tokyo).

Pickup Point

Tell us where you're staying in central Osaka, and we'll be there. Port of Osaka pickups subject to 5,000 yen per group round-trip surcharge.

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