KYOTO TOUR FROM KOBE

Experience Kyoto's historic and cultural wonder by private vehicle, door-to-door from Kobe.

From ¥71,000/group (~US$651)
Private Vehicle 8 Hour and 10 Hour Options 1+ People

Tour Introduction

If you’re looking for one day’s worth of Kyoto with the utmost in convenience, this private, no-hassle day tour by private vehicle to Kyoto’s Arashiyama district, Gion, and Fushimi Inari from Kobe is the perfect choice! These top-tier spots give you a balanced representation of Kyoto’s best, with the famous Tenryu-ji (temple), gardens (Okochi Sanso and Tenryu-ji), a quick stop by the Gion entertainment quarter, and Fushimi Inari, the region’s most famous Shinto with the oh-so-picturesque red gates ascending the hillside. We welcome port pickup and drop-offs at no additional charge. This tour can also be arragned to start in Kobe and end in Kyoto or vice versa, so you can bring your bags along for the tour, eliminating city and hotel switching by public transit. This tour can also depart from Osaka or be purely based out of Kyoto.

Historic Landmarks

Taking a Kyoto tour from Kobe means going from a rather posh Western city heavily influenced by foreign trade to a city that has proudly not changed nearly as much over the past decades.

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.

Easy Access

This tour starts just outside a rail or subway station, making meeting up an anxiety-free experience.

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Tour Overview

Kyoto’s got umpteen things to see, but Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari are, in our opinion, absolute must-sees. They are also a hassle to get between by public transit, making this Kyoto tour from Kobe by private car an even more appealing proposition. What’s more, the drive between them takes us through the heart of the Gion for a look at some classic buildings and views. We’ll also have some stories for you about what goes on once the sun goes down and the geisha come out.

Arashiyama is classic Kyoto on parade

Many visitors expect grand temple buildings, gardens, green tea, bamboo groves, and maybe even rickshaws when they visit Kyoto. Good news! Let your expectations run wild, because all of the above awaits you in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. Tenryuji dates back to the 14th century, and its attached garden is even older. The grounds make for an immersive and pretty stroll, first around the main hall’s exterior, with its open sliding doors allowing us to see everything on the inside. Next, it’s on to the stunningly beautiful, classically designed Japanese garden. This is a great opportunity to explain elements of traditional Japanese garden design, but we also want to let you take the scene in at your leisure. Depending on your level of interest, we can spend more or less time here before leaving the garden and heading into the most famous bamboo grove in Arashiyama. Many have seen pictures of this spot, with its dramatically towering bamboo lining a path making its way up a hill. Don’t worry, it’s not too steep or long a climb, and you’ll be pleasantly distracted by the magnificence of your surroundings. Once you’ve had your fill of the bamboo views and taken some nice pics, we take you into Okochi Sanso. Very few guides (or even visitors in general) visit Okochi Sanso, which is an unfortunate oversight. This estate was built in the 1930s by a famous Japanese actor of the era, and features guest houses and a large central home expansive views of Kyoto below. In between are pretty gardens across which we traverse. We’ll also take a matcha (powdered green tea) and small sweets break in their large tea house (included in the price of admission). We avoid the crowds by walking down to and then along the Hozu River along a lesser used path, and then we proceed to the town shopping area. If you’re interested in some Kyoto crafts or foods, we are happy to show you some of our favorite shops. If you’re not, we’ll scurry right along. Kobe’s a pretty city as well, but you'll be surprised how changed a landscape opens up to you on this Kyoto tour from Kobe.

Lunch, followed by a visit to the Gion

Kyoto and Kobe are not all that far apart, but there are significant differences. The dialect is different, and so is the flavor profile of their well-known foods. With this in mind, a Kyoto tour from Osaka would be remiss to not introduce you to some local food options. Your guide will discuss what kind of food is served in the area’s restaurants and then find a place that sounds appealing to you. It’s true that the Gion really comes into its own at night, but in the light of the day it’s easier to appreciate the area’s architecture, not to mention the natural features such as trees and the restaurant-lined canals. We stop here for a primer on Gion on our way to Fushimi Inari, allowing you a few minutes to take in the scene.

Fushimi Inari, a fascinating Shinto shrine like no other

Shintoism had been Japan’s primary religion (or what some prefer to call a “series of teachings”) until the 7th century, when Buddhism came across the seas from Korea. Shinto’s most famous shrine in this ancient city of Kyoto is without a doubt Fushimi Inari, making it a must-see of the highest demarcation. The thousands of large and small(ish) red gates beckoning you up the hillside are even more impressive in person. Still, there’s much more to see and learn about Fushimi Inari than what red gates alone can tell you. With your guide’s narrative, it will be easy to gain a more valuable understanding than you would otherwise. Our guides are happy to keep things on the lighter side or more on the informative side, as you like. We certainly don’t want to bore you.

Care to supersize your Kyoto tour from Kobe?

The standard Kyoto tour from Kobe is an eight hour day, but the distance between the two means about two and half to three hours of that will be spent getting to Kyoto and then back to Kobe. For those interested in a day with more time on the ground in Kyoto, we offer the “Xtra Large” option which adds two hours to your tour. We have lots of suggestions regarding ways to fill up that time. How about Ryoanji (oldest Japanese Zen rock garden in existence), Kinkakuji (also known as the “golden pavilion”), Nijo Castle, Kyoto’s Imperial Palace, or Nishiki food market exploration? If you have eyes on visiting something not mentioned here, just let us know and we’ll do our best to make it happen.

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Itinerary

Tenryuji is a great way to start our day in Kyoto. The temple has simplicity, beauty and functionality, and then there are the gorgeous gardens. We exit to the bamboo grove street. Altogether, about 45 minutes.

Still in the Arashiyama area, we next enter stately gates into Okochi Sanso, the historic estate of an early 20th century Japanese actor. Perfectly manicured, inviting grounds are dotted with noteworthy structure. We also take a break for some powdered green tea (matcha) here. We spend 45 minutes or so here.

A fifteen minute stroll down to the lovely and lazy Hozu River, then a continued walk alongside it leads us back into town. If you’re looking for Kyoto shopping suggestions, we’ve got them. We know some good lunch places too. If you’re not interested in the shops, we can easily breeze by that bit. About 75 minutes altogether for most, but this can vary.

Well-preserved storefronts line this actively used, historic part of the Gion district. There’s a nice stream running through the area we stop that makes for an even more atmospheric experience. About 15 minutes here.

Among the top things to do in Kyoto for a reason, our visit to Fushimi Inari will take you beyond the famous red gates and into parts less visited, or at least less explained. We get away from the crowds as we can, and let you in on stories and cultural points that will make your visit even more worthwhile. About 75 minutes here.

Consider making your day a couple hours longer with our “Xtra Large” package, available at time of booking. Please read more about some ideas we have for this time in the “Care to supersize your Kyoto tour from Kobe?” contained within the full tour description section above.

Historic and Cultural Landmarks

Taking a Kyoto tour from Kobe means going from a rather posh Western city heavily influenced by foreign trade to a city that has proudly not changed nearly as much over the past decades. Partly this is because there was no World War II bombing in Kyoto, but irregardless of that, Kyoto has always proudly stood on its own as a pristinely preserved area of impressive temples and shrines, and also landscapes that are equally impressive. Fushimi Inari, Tenryu-ji, the Gion, and other areas we wish to show you are all culturally rich and deeply historic.

Easy Access

We’ll pick you up at your lodging in Kobe, or at the port Kobe, making for an easy and convenient day trip to Kyoto.

Know Before You Go

There are a couple of things we’d like to mention up front.

  • Please come wearing comfortable shoes. It’s a car tour, but there’s still a good bit of walking to be done. If you wish to minimize the walking, please let us know (preferably in advance) and we’ll modify the itinerary to suit your needs.
  • Kyoto tends to be a bit chillier in winter and even a bit hotter in summer than Kobe due to its landlocked, higher elevation locale. Please come dressed for the day with this in mind. Leaving things in the car while we stroll about is always an option.

Inclusions:

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

Exclusions:

  • Lunch, or any other food and drinks
  • Admissions (plans on 1500 yen per adult on the standard tour, and for primary school and younger, around half that)

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

We'll pick you up at any hotel in central Kobe or at the Port of Kobe.

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