Kyoto Food and Culture Tour

SMALL GROUP KYOTO FOOD AND CULTURE DIVE

Dive deeper into Kyoto culture and cuisine on this night walking tour guided by a bi-lingual, truly English-fluent local.

From ¥12,700/person
Includes Dinner and 2 Drinks 3 Hours (approx.) Up to 6 People (or 8 for private groups)

Pinpoint Traveler’s Kyoto Night Tour for Foodies

Discover the allure of Kyoto’s food scene with our exclusive night food tour at Pinpoint Traveler. Kyoto offers a vibrant culinary landscape waiting to be explored, especially in the famous Gion neighborhood.

 

Our foodie tour of Kyoto is an all-inclusive experience, ensuring no unexpected charges pop up. But there’s more to it than just food. We delve into the broader aspects of culture that shape local culinary traditions, offering insights into what Kyoto residents eat and why and how they eat it.

Interested in a deeper exploration of Kyoto’s gastronomic delights? Join us! We limit our groups to a maximum of six guests, allowing for a more intimate and insightful stroll through the enchanting streets of Gion. Along the way, we share intriguing stories and cultural nuances. 

The tour includes stops at two handpicked restaurants, where you’ll get to taste at least ten different local specialties. By the end of the tour, expect to be fully sated, both in terms of a delicious meal and a richer appreciation of Kyoto’s unique culture and culinary heritage.

If you’re spending a few days in the city, check out our other Kyoto Tours. And we definitely recommend an Osaka Tour from Kyoto – the cities are so close to each other yet incredibly different. Come see for yourself!

Check out our night tour with Shizuka Anderson!

Why choose this Kyoto night tour?

We get it: There are tons of walking tours in Kyoto that you can choose to join. Our small-group tours are geared toward the culturally-curious travelers…those who want to learn about history and culture while also feeling like a local wherever they go. We want you to truly experience Kyoto, with its rich history and its rich culinary scene. 

We also promise your guide will be fluent in English and in Japanese, and will be able to share interesting insights as a local. From the history of Shintoism to the evolution of the neighborhood streets where we walk, we love to share it all with those who are interested in diving deeper into Kyoto culture and history.

As for the food, we focus on regional specialties during our Kyoto food tour. We do not serve “challenge foods” for the thrill of it (though please feel free to try raw chicken on your own time). We also never serve endangered species. We are happy to cater to dietary restrictions if you just let us know in advance. That includes vegetarians and vegans.

Come join us for three hours of well-paced eating and strolling on our Kyoto night foodie tour. It’s sure to be an evening you won’t forget!

If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help!

Pinpoint Traveler has an average score of 4.7⭐ across over 500 reviews on multiple review sites. Below is a sampling of some of our most recent reviews for the Kyoto Night Tour
Tomas was the best guide
Tomas was the best guide
@22dinam
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Tripadvisor review: Nighttime All-Inclusive Local Eats and Streets, Gion and Beyond Tomas was a fantastic guide. He was very knowledgeable and friendly. We got to see Kyoto in a way that we would not have experienced without this tour. We got historical info and saw some great sites. The food was so good. We left with full bellies and smiles on our faces. Highly recommend!
Food was fantastic, and experience was even better
Food was fantastic, and experience was even better
@gdgarver
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Our guide, Ferdinand, was awesome. We learned a lot about the subculture of Kyoto. We came for the food, but we.loved all the little things we learned about life in Kyoto
10/10
10/10
@Z8751NRkatherineb
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Loved this—absolutely incredible tour guide!! Diago was so knowledgeable of the culture and area, we all really enjoyed it and highly recommend.
Excellent Local Tour
Excellent Local Tour
@Yza_S
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Excellent tour guide, awesome food and experience! Highly recommend to explore local delicacy and experience
Lovely evening off the beaten track
Lovely evening off the beaten track
@Martina K
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We (family of 5 with 3 adult daughters) had a great evening with Diogo who was knowledgeable and very friendly. We loved the two tiny restaurants that we would have never discovered nor entered without him. The evening with Diogo was a real confidence booster and subsequently we’ve explored much more non touristy restaurants by ourselves.
Amazing places & nice food
Amazing places & nice food
@TheNetRat
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The whole tour was a really nice experience. We got to see quit a few nice places in Kyoto and enjoyed some delicous local food. Definitly checked all boxes for us.
Awesome and Fun
Awesome and Fun
@Sanghee_L
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What a night! Our guide Andres was amazing, funny and very knowledgeable about the area. He took us to where locals hangout and eat and explained Gion area. Our group was total international and we mingled well. Our son was only minor but Andrea made him very comfortable. He told me this was the best tour so far in Japan. Highly recommend. Andres thank you for a wonderful night.
Eat and Learn!
Eat and Learn!
@Mariam_K
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Great way to see hidden gems, learn history, and eat interesting facts about Gion. Our guide Diogo was engaging and smart. Our teenagers loved this tour!
Had so much fun!
Had so much fun!
@PaulinaRegan88
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Andres was an awesome tour guide and had such funny stories to tell. He was very knowledgeable in the history of Kyoto and brought us to some really cool locations. Had an absolute blast.
Best tour in Kyoto
Best tour in Kyoto
@Ryan G
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Andrés was an excellent guide. He pointed out some very interesting historical things and we had a great tour. The local restaurants we visited were fantastic. He had an amazing knowledge of Japanese history! He engaged well with everyone in my family including my 10yr old. I would highly recommend the tour. We did a couple tours and this was by far the best. Thanks Andres.
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Historic Landmarks

There are few places in Japan that can rival the richness of history in Kyoto. Spending a night in the most famous restaurant and entertainment district in the city is every foodie’s idea of a fun adventure.

Professional Guide

Real English, real skills, and great personalities. Our guides have the expertise to provide you with an interesting, fun, and memorable tour. Professional, yes, but also like a night out with a knowledgeable friend.

Fully-Narrated Tour

Our tours never leave you to wander about on your own. And with a maximum of six guests per group, plan on enjoying a Kyoto food tour with true, personalized attention. Don't waste your precious time on a Kyoto night tour with hordes of strangers!

Easy Access

This tour starts just outside a famous Kabuki theater (Minamiza), making meeting up an anxiety-free experience. Detailed meeting spot information provided after booking.

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Kyoto Night Food Tour

Take a peek at the experience that awaits you.

Our Kyoto Food Tour Overview

There is so much to see and do in Kyoto, but you cannot leave the city without truly experiencing the Gion district. We meet just outside a famous Kabuki theater (Minamiza), at 6:30pm and start our Kyoto night tour with an “edutaining” walk through the justifiably famous Gion district, located on the east side of the Kamogawa River. Learn about the geiko (and why we don’t call them “geisha” in Kyoto), as well as the places that make this district so special. You’ll also be regaled with insight and information about how the art of evening entertainment has evolved into the hostess clubs of today. (Rest assured this tour is suitable for teenagers and higher.)

Putting the “Food” in the Kyoto Foodie Tour

After about an hour or so of anthropological adventure, you’ll be ready for some food and drink! And we know just the places. You’ll get to try a few different regionally-representative dishes and a beer — or perhaps you’d like a whiskey soda “hi-ball”, shochu, or some sake (Japanese rice wine) instead? 

For the vittles, the selection varies by season but, between this stop and our second restaurant, there will be at least ten varieties, so you’re sure to find things that suit your taste. Being a Kyoto food tour, we’re also sure to include regional specialties. We let the other guys trot out the generic dishes.

The restaurants we go to are known as “tachinomi”, which can be loosely translated as “standing bar” in English. These are not, however, bars in just the drinking alcohol sense. While they do serve alcohol, it’s really more about the food, with full kitchens preparing made-to-order dishes. 

Less so than the format, what tachinomi are about is small plates (think: tapas) and a convivial, Happy Hour-type atmosphere. You’ll notice some customers coming as co-workers, others with friends, and some just stopping by alone, which is quite comfortable due to the inherently social vibe. 

Incidentally, the restaurants we frequent often have tables to sit at, but sometimes we stand, just like the locals. Also, just like the locals, we generally only spend around half an hour or so at a given restaurant. Time will fly during this truly local experience.

Continuing on our Kyoto Night Walking Tour

Between restaurant visits, we take a short stroll through what are both youthful and classic restaurant and entertainment districts on the west side of the Kamogawa River, including Ponto-cho, Kiyamachi, and the Kawaramachi area. The old narrow streets along Ponto-cho embrace the traditional Kyoto style, while the younger areas just a street or two away show you how eager Kyoto people are to also firmly live in the present. 

Learn More About Kyoto Food History

For those looking to delve even deeper into Kyoto’s foodie background, we offer an optional 1.5-hour pre-tour deep dive into the markets of Kyoto. We’ll walk you through a local supermarket and explain the basics of a Japanese home kitchen and, in turn, the basics of Japanese food. Then, we do a detailed dissection across an abundance of Japanese delicacies as we stroll down the famous Nishiki Market’s main promenade.

If you want to join us for this, just let us know after you book your Kyoto food tour. The extension is priced at 4,000 yen/person with a minimum of two persons. Note that we welcome solo travelers on the main tour.

Look like fun? Book tickets today! Discounts applied from 2+ guests.

Itinerary for Our Kyoto Food Tours

A short walk down Shijo-dori (loosely translated to “4th Avenue”) brings us to Yasaka Jinja, a grand beacon up a gentle slope at the top of the street. It can only be fortuitous to begin an evening with a brief stop by a shrine. Enjoy a breezy but interesting review of Shintoism in Japan – it’s all the better under the stars, with dramatic lighting and far fewer people. We’ll spend around 15 minutes here.

Almost directly across the street from Yasaka Jinja, the Gion starts. Our meandering and storytelling will take about 45 minutes.

With our initial cultural endeavors behind us, it’s time for a drink and some food. Depending on the night, the restaurants we go to vary, but you can be sure there will be a variety of small plates to choose from. We’ll also explain the sights and sounds of the typical “tachinomi”, or standing bar-restaurant. We spend 30-45 minutes here at this first restaurant (closer to 45 if we sit down, which we almost always do).

The old, riverside district of Ponto-cho (street) gives us a great opportunity to discuss Kyoto food away from the Gion nightlife scene. Most restaurants specialize in a certain type of Japanese cuisine, and we just love explaining them to our guests! We’ll also swing through the Kiyamachi and Kawaramachi areas before heading to our next restaurant. This walk will take around 30 minutes.

No Kyoto foodie night tour would be complete with just one restaurant stop, so we’ll visit yet another of our favorite Kyoto restaurants. There will be more tasty dishes for your culinary consideration and, of course, another (included) drink in accompaniment. Plan for about 30 minutes here.

By the end of our time together, it is our sincere hope that you will have learned a bit about the past, felt like a local, and had a fantastic night of it all.

Quick Tips for Our Kyoto Food Tour

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

  • The legal drinking age in Japan is 20
  • All participants must be 13+ to participate in this experience
  • Please come wearing comfortable shoes, and dress for some time both indoors and outdoors
  • Unfortunately, we cannot wait for late-comers, so do plan on arriving a bit early

Inclusions:

  • A dinner’s worth of food across two different restaurants
  • Up to two alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks (one at each stop)

Exclusions:

  • Drinks beyond those provided (you can purchase more directly from the restaurant if you wish)

Options:

  • Although the tour provides plenty of food to make a full meal of, for those wishing to dabble in some Kobe (or nearby sourced) “Wagyu” Beef, we offer a 100g add-on option at checkout. It’s pretty divine.
  • Pre-tour, as described above at the bottom of the “Tour Overview” section. For those looking for the penultimate Kyoto night foodie tour, nothing beats learning about markets and cooking before heading out.

Easy Access

This tour starts just outside a famous Kabuki theater (Minamiza), making meeting up an anxiety-free experience. Detailed meeting spot information provided after booking.

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 Pinpoint Traveler Osaka Guide

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 Pinpoint Traveler Osaka Guide

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 Pinpoint Traveler Osaka Guide

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 Pinpoint Traveler Osaka Guide

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 Pinpoint Traveler Osaka Guide

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

We'll start the tour alongside the river, conveniently located on the cusp of the Gion.

2 Comments

  1. 10 Best Things To Do in Kyoto at Night - Pinpoint Traveler

    […] while sampling some locally-made whiskey, sake, and the local snacks on offer! We rock this area on our Kyoto night tour, which also includes visits to the Gion and Yasaka […]

  2. Is Wagyu beef worth the high cost? - Pinpoint Traveler

    […] here at Pinpoint Traveler just love showing people the best of Japan. Our Kyoto night tour and Osaka night tour have a particularly appetizing option, pictured above. If you’re not […]

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