Kyoto Private Car Tour


Maximum comfort and convenience as you explore some of Kyoto's most renowned sights.

From ¥83,130/group
Private Vehicle Large Group Tours 8 and 10 Hour Options Up to 9 People

See the Sights in Kyoto by Private Car

Japan may be famous for its trains, but some of Kyoto’s most popular sights are best visited by car. Explore the iconic Arashiyama District and tour Fushimi Inari during this insightful journey across Kyoto with your local guide who is fluent in English. We will pick you up at your central Kyoto lodging and take you to some of our favorite temples, gardens, and old neighborhoods. 

Since this is a private tour of Kyoto, we can certainly make modifications! Just let us know if there is something special you’d like to do that isn’t on our standard itinerary. 

If you’re not staying in Kyoto, check out our options for a Kyoto day trip from Osaka or a Kyoto day tour from Kobe. Need any help planning your tours? Feel free to contact us to clarify any details. We’ve also got a very popular, small group Kyoto Food Tour that you should definitely check out!

Exploring Kyoto by Car 

If you’re staying in Kyoto, you can certainly enjoy many of the city’s popular sights and attractions on foot or by public transportation. In fact, we have several Kyoto tours that do just that! But getting to certain destinations is just more convenient and comfortable by private car.  

On this tour, we visit some of our favorite temples, shrines, neighborhoods, and unique places where most tourists don’t go. Join us to see it all in Kyoto!

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 Kyoto Tour by Private Vehicle
Full Day Trip to Kyoto
Full Day Trip to Kyoto
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Had a great day trip to Kyoto. Our guide, Levi, was very informative and funny and looked after us well. The gardens were beautiful and Kyoto was stunning. I would recommend this trip to anyone.
Wonderful private tour of Kyoto from Osaka
Wonderful private tour of Kyoto from Osaka
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We had an excellent day with Daniel who took into consideration my mobility limitations and our interests to tailor a day that showed us the wonderful sights and experiences of Kyoto. Communication with this company was easy with very good response time.
Great Day in Kyoto
Great Day in Kyoto
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Lito arranged a custom day for us based on our interests, and despite the drizzling weather, we had such a fantastic day. We saw beautiful gardens, shrines, bamboo forests, mountain trails with thousands of red Tori’s gates, and he even found an organic vegetarian restaurant that met my wife’s dietary restrictions. Thanks for the great day Lito!
Shoji, our guide, was great
Shoji, our guide, was great
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Shoji, our guide, was great. Very knowledgeable and fun to speak with. We have a three-generation family and he was very flexible in adapting to our requests for adjustment to the itinerary. We really enjoyed the experience.
Beautiful Kyoto
Beautiful Kyoto
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Levy was a great guide, personable, knowledgeable and great with kids. Place was magical. Abundant in nature and preserved culture and history.
Most enjoyable day trip to Kyoto from Osaka
Most enjoyable day trip to Kyoto from Osaka
@Lois D
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We had the most friendly and knowledgeable, English speaking guide, Levy, who showed us the most beautiful places. We had a fun filled lunch at sushi restaurant where we experienced interesting dishes from the ' sushi train'. Arashiyama is a showcase of beautiful Japanese gardening and Fushimi Inari one amazing place to visit. All in all, a memorable day and highly recommended. I have awesome memories and photos of this trip!
Great Experience
Great Experience
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Our whole tour was amazing! Our guide, Levy, was very informative, funny and friendly. He took us to all the places I have included in the list and explained little things about our next destination while driving. He took us to a very good lunch and even suggested another good place for dinner. We had a blast in Kyoto and Levy made it even more special.
Amazing 2 days in Kyoto
Amazing 2 days in Kyoto
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This is my first review on Trip Advisor and feel Pinpoint Traveler deserves that honor. They planned 2 amazing days in Kyoto for our family (pleasing everyone is never easy especially a teenager). In addition, we had one adult with mobility issues which was also handled with care. We highly recommend their services, Kevin, Levy and Mardi are a pleasure to work with. We look forward to our next trip with them.
Enjoyable Tour!
Enjoyable Tour!
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Kelvin the guide was helpful and knowledgeable. We have enjoyed the day tour. A suitable tour for family.
Kyoto, Nara Private day tour
Kyoto, Nara Private day tour
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Levy our tour guide was informative and made the tour interesting and fun. We had a great time and will definitely recommend our friends.
Historic Landmarks

There are few places in Japan that can rival Kyoto in historical and cultural landmarks. Visit some of the best on this private tour.

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 wander about on your own. Your guide stays with you the whole time to answer questions, offer insights, and share plenty of laughs.

Easy Access

This tour starts at your central Kyoto lodging. Doesn't get easier than that!

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Kyoto Private Car Tour Overview

You could (and quite possibly should) spend several full days touring Kyoto, but we feel a stroll around Arashiyama and a Fushimi Inari tour show you two must-see Kyoto destinations. By public transit, however, they are quite inconvenient to get between, which makes this Kyoto private car tour even more appealing! Driving between these two popular locations allows us to richen the experience, with great stops in places like the Gion.

An Exceptional Arashiyama Tour 

When visiting Kyoto, you might expect to see grand temple buildings, gardens, bamboo groves, green tea, and maybe even rickshaws. Good news! Let your expectations run free because all those things exist in full force in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. 

Tenryuji and Bamboo Groves

We begin at Tenryuji, which easily goes back to the 14th century and the garden is said to date back further still. We will stroll around these lovely grounds, first with a walk around the largest temple building. With its sliding doors wide open, it’s easy to see everything on the inside, immaculately spartan as it intentionally is. 

Then we will visit the breathtakingly gorgeous, classical main Japanese garden. We will happily explain the elements of traditional Japanese garden design, but it’s also important you take in the scene at your own pace and interpret it as you will. 


We can spend as much or as little time as you’d like before walking to the famous bamboo groves of Arashiyama. You’ve almost certainly seen pictures of this famous sight, with its dramatically towering bamboo lining a path that goes up a slope. Don’t fear, as it’s not too much of a climb, and you’ll be pleasantly distracted by the surrounding scene.

Okochi Sanso, with Matcha

When you’re ready to move on, your Kyoto private car tour takes you into the pristine realm of Okochi Sanso. Few guides (and few visitors in general) visit Okochi Sanso, which is unfortunate because it is a special place. 


The estate was built primarily in the 1930s by a famous Japanese actor, with guest rooms scattered about the property and a large central home commanding an expansive view over and across the city of Kyoto. 

The estate’s gardens are lovely for strolling, and there’s sure to be a “matcha” (powdered green tea) break along the way, enjoyed with a Japanese small sweet (included in the price of admission).

Arashiyama Town Center

We continue employing our crowd-avoidance tactics as best we can by walking a path less traveled down to the Hozu River. We’ll walk along the river and then on over to the shopping area. 

If you have an interest in Kyoto crafts or foods, we are happy to show you to some stores we recommend. If not, we’ll skip it and move along.

Visiting Ryoanji (extended tour only)

After a customized lunch stop based on your preferences, it’s time to continue your private tour of Kyoto by car. We will head first to Ryoanji, known to be the oldest Zen rock garden.

We will walk along the shoreline of a large, pastoral pond and then ascend a few steps to enter the rock garden’s viewing area. What you see is a matter of a personal interpretation, but there are some commonly-held beliefs about what the design represents that we can share with you once you’ve had a few minutes to take it all in. This is a lovely property and it is never overly crowded. 

Kinkakuji: The Golden Pavilion (extended tour only)

Next, we will head to one of Kyoto’s most-visited sights: Kinkakuji. Often referred to as the “Golden Pavilion,” this shimmering structure is artfully placed on the shore of yet another pond. Though the pavilion’s history does not run particularly deep (at least not as such a golden standout), Kinkakuji’s presence is writ large over Kyoto. 

A Stop in the Gion District

From Kinkakuji, we will drive into Kyoto’s popular Gion district. Generally speaking, the Gion comes most alive at night, but as we drive into the area in broad daylight, we’ll be better poised to appreciate the architecture and natural features. We’ll stop here for a brief primer on the area, plus a great photo op as you take in this lovely scene that brings back memories from an earlier time.

You might want to check out our Kyoto food tour to see the Gion at night and learn even more!

Fushimi Inari Tour

From the Gion, we carry on to our next stop in this private vehicle Kyoto tour, and it’s one we consider to be a must-do in the city: a tour of Fushimi Inari. This Shinto shrine fascinates like no other. 

Shintoism was Japan’s primary religion (alternately referred to as a “series of teachings”) before Buddhism arrived in Japan in the 7th century. Shinto’s supremely famous shrine in this ancient city of Kyoto is without a doubt Fushimi Inari, and it would be a mistake to pass up a visit. 

Fushimi Inari famously boasts thousands of red gates, small and large, rising up the hillside. This looks even more impressive in person than in the pictures you might have perused online. But there’s much more to explore on a Fushimi Inari tour beyond those red gates. 

Your local guide’s insights and stories will offer much greater depth than a basic Insta-worthy stop.

Do Even More on Your Kyoto Private Vehicle Tour

If you’re interested in adding even more sights to your private tour, we have an Xtra Large (extended tour) option, adding two hours to your experience. We have plenty of ideas on how to best use that extra time, including visiting Nijo Castle, the Imperial Palace (which predates the Tokyo one by centuries, and you can see much more of it here), or some downtown food market exploration at Nishiki Market. 

If you want to visit another spot not mentioned here, simply let us know and we’ll make it happen!

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!


Tenryuji is both a perfect and duly auspicious start to our Kyoto private car tour. We’ll walk around a stately temple and gardens that are both gorgeous and have a commanding presence. Then, we proceed to the famous Arashiyama bamboo groves. History rarely seems as vibrant and relevant as this. We spend about one hour here.

While still walking the Arashiyama area, we explore Okochi Sanso, the estate of a famous early 20th century Japanese actor. The grounds are no less than resplendent and are artfully dotted with impressively-constructed historic buildings. We’ll also take a matcha (powdered green tea) break here. We spend around 45 minutes here.

A fifteen-minute stroll down to and along the placid Hozu River takes us back into the central Arashiyama town area. We’ve got more than a few suggestions for Kyoto shopping and restaurants. If you’re not so interested in shopping, we can breeze on by. We often spend about an hour or so here, but this can vary.

The oldest Zen rock garden in existence is reason enough to visit this verdant oasis, but there’s even more to absorb once you get there. We plan on around 45 minutes to an hour here.

Old storefronts line this historic part of the Gion district, and the stream running through it makes for an even more atmospheric experience. This will be a brief stop of about 15 minutes.

Routinely ranked as one of Kyoto’s top things to do, our Fushimi Inari tour will take you above and beyond the simple act of merely walking through the famous red gates. We do our best to get away from the crowds (we’ve got some side paths we like to show you), and we’ve got great stories and history to share with you here. Most visitors like to spend a little over an hour here.

Looking to add even more to your eight-hour tour? Consider our Xtra Large option when you book. Read more about some of the possible additional stops in the “Do Even More on Your Kyoto Private Vehicle Tour” section of the full tour description shown above.

Quick Tips for Our Kyoto Private Tour by Car

There are a few things we’d like you to take note of before joining us.
  • Please come in a pair of comfortable shoes. This is a car tour of Kyoto, but there is still a fair bit of walking around. For those wishing to avoid excessive walking, simply let us know and we’ll change up the plan as makes sense.
  • Kyoto weather can dramatically swing over the course of the day and into the early evening, so wear appropriate clothing. You can always leave an extra jacket or umbrella in the car when it’s not needed.
  • Enjoy all the exciting stops described above and more on this private vehicle tour! The plan described is a model course, and there is the possibility for change based on our guests’ interests. Timing and external factors (such as traffic conditions) may force deviations from this model course.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off in Kyoto
  • All vehicle costs
  • All guide costs
  • Food and drinks
  • Admissions (expect to spend 2500 yen per adult on the standard tour, around half that for kids in primary school and younger)
  • Pickup if you are outside central Kyoto. Almost certainly your lodging will be central, but let us know if you aren’t sure.
  • Going “Xtra Large” gives you two more hours of touring.

Historic and Cultural Landmarks

There are few places in Japan that can rival Kyoto in historical and cultural landmarks. Part of this is due to the merciful lack of WWII bombing in Kyoto. But, even putting that aside, Kyoto has always stood tall as a bellwether of indisputably impressive religious sites and entrancing landscapes. Fushimi Inari, Ryoanji, Tenryuji, Kinkakuji, and the Gion are all deeply historic and culturally rich.

Easy Access

We come to you, making for an easy and convenient start to the day. Just let us know where you are staying in central Kyoto.

Large Group Tours

Join us on the ultimate adventure! 🚐 Whether your squad is big or small, we’ve got the wheels to match. From a fleet of cars for large groups to a mini-bus for an epic journey, we’re here to turn your group tour into a memorable experience. Let’s make memories together and fill every seat. Book your group adventure now! 🌐✨

Our Tour Guides

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


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


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'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 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


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 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 pick you up from your central Kyoto lodging.

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