Kyoto’s Refined Palate: A Food Tour for Discerning Adventurers

Kyoto's Refined Palate: A Food Tour for Discerning Adventurers

Explore Kyoto's Gion district, savor hidden gems and innovative takes on classic dishes across the Kamogawa River, all on this exclusive food tour for discerning palates.

From ¥16,900/person
Includes Dinner and 2 Drinks 3 Hours (approx.) Up to 6 People (or 8 for private groups)

Pinpoint Traveler’s Elevated Kyoto Night Tour for Foodies

Experience Kyoto beyond the guidebooks.
Our exclusive food tour takes you on a delectable journey through the Gion district, exploring the distinct atmospheres of the left and right banks of the Kamogawa River.
A Tale of Two Riversides: On the left bank, you’ll delve into the essence of Gion. Explore captivating teahouses alongside hidden havens brimming with local character. Prepare to tantalize your taste buds at a meticulously chosen restaurant, showcasing authentic Kyoto cuisine.
Across the scenic Kamogawa River lies a different side of Kyoto’s culinary scene. Pontocho and Kiyamachi districts, offer innovative interpretations of classic dishes.
Kyoto’s cuisine is renowned for its focus on seasonality and meticulous preparation. Expect a chorus of delicate, pure flavors, often lighter than other regional styles. From the melt-in-your-mouth artistry of kaiseki cuisine to the comforting warmth of simmered stews, each bite promises a unique culinary experience.
This exclusive VIP food tour caters to the discerning palate seeking an unforgettable exploration of Kyoto’s culinary landscape. We’ll compare flavors, old and new, highlighting the unique identity of Kyoto’s cuisine. Don’t worry, tofu lovers and skeptics alike are welcome! Join us on this delectable adventure as we unlock the secrets of Kyoto’s diverse food scene, one delicious discovery at a time.

Check out our night tour with Shizuka Anderson!

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 Elevated Night Food Tour

Take a peek at the experience that awaits you.

Restaurant #1 – Obanzai

Our first stop takes you to the heart of Gion, away from the tourist crowds. This charming restaurant embodies the essence of understated Kyoto, offering a taste of local tradition.
Get ready to experience obanzai, a delightful Kyoto staple. These small, seasonal plates highlight the freshest ingredients, often served cold or at room temperature. Think vibrant vegetables, delicate tofu, and maybe even a Japanese omelette! Each bite is a celebration of Kyoto’s clean and pure flavor profile.
Moving on from this delicious introduction, we’ll delve deeper into Kyoto’s culinary aeshtetic. Your guide will choose a selection of cooked-to-order dishes based on the day’s market finds. Expect anything from perfectly grilled fish to savory stewed vegetables. Maybe you’ll even try tonkatsu, or a classic deep-fried tofu dish.
Naturally our guide can lead you through pairing your bites with a drink as well! After this first stop, you won’t believe we’ve just begun. Wait for what you’re in for next!

Restaurant #2 – Kyoto Style Izakaya

Next, we cross the scenic Kamogawa River to lively Pontocho. We’ll take in the charming pedestrian alley before settling into a cozy izakaya, a mainstay for delicious small plates. Run by a passionate husband-and-wife team, this restaurant is known for its meticulous attention to detail.
Her is your primer on amazing Kyoto-style izakaya fare. You’ll indulge in a selection of small, made-to-order dishes, each designed to tantalize your taste buds with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Are you a duck enthusiast? This restaurant is known for its exceptional duck dishes, a unique treat in Kyoto cuisine. But fear not, even if duck isn’t your preference, the menu offers a wide variety of Kyoto specialties to explore, and our guide will be happy to walk you through them.
Get ready to experience the magic of dashi, the foundation of Kyoto cooking. This simple yet flavorful broth, made from kelp and bonito flakes, elevates every dish with its subtle yet powerful flavor. Often, those who’ve only tried instant dashi abroad can’t imagine the depth of flavor a good, homemade dashi brings. Here, we’ll help you demystify the art of dashi and appreciate its role in Kyoto cuisine. This second stop is a wonderful view into delicious cuisine.

Restaurant #3 – What is Shime, Anyway?

Now, let’s talk about “shime,” the Japanese tradition of ending a meal with a carb-heavy dish.
Not unlike some other Asian cultures, Japanese meals often go light on rice during the main course, saving room for the good stuff!
That’s where our final stop comes in. We’ll take you to a fantastic spot specializing in noodles – the perfect way to end your Kyoto food adventure. Soba or Udon? You Decide!
Do you crave the slightly nutty flavor and firmer texture of buckwheat noodles? Then soba is for you! Or perhaps you prefer the thicker, chewier comfort of udon noodles. Whichever you choose, our guide will help you select the perfect dish.
Here dashi takes center stage again, because, of course no noodle dish is complete without a quality dashi broth. Here, you’ll experience the magic of dashi once more, its subtle flavors elevating your noodles to another level.
Whether you choose soba or udon, this final stop ensures a delicious and satisfying conclusion. You’ll leave with a full stomach and a deeper appreciation for the diverse flavors of Kyoto cuisine.


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

Itinerary for Our Elevated Kyoto Food Tour

Classic Kyoto cuisine known for it’s simplicity.
A husband and wife run Kyoto style Izakaya with a menu of Kyoto specialties.

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).

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.

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