Tea Ceremonies and Sake Sampling: Get to the Heart of Kyoto With These Experiences

Kyoto was once the capital of Japan
Kyoto was once the capital of Japan | © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

Kyoto has some magnificent sights that you just won’t find anywhere else in Japan – and a visit to the city isn’t complete without taking in a few of them. Culture Trip’s curated list of Kyoto tours and experiences will take you to the very heart of the city.

Once the capital of ancient Japan, Kyoto is full to the brim with historic Buddhist temples, striking Shinto shrines and calming bamboo forests. To learn more about the traditions that are maintained within the city, as well as its modern side, why not book a tour with the people who call Kyoto home? From exploring Kyoto’s Zen gardens with a landscape designer, to learning ninja techniques and experiencing a traditional tea ceremony with a tea master, we’ve picked the Kyoto experiences that will take you off the beaten path.

Activities1.5 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience
From $58 per person
1 hour 30 minutes
5 (1)
Uncover the little-known sake culture of Fushimi, Kyoto on a 90 min sake tasting and food pairing session with an expert.  Enjoy the samples of different types of sake as well as leaning details and varieties and personalized attention from your guide on this small-group activity. 

This is a fun and educational experience to change your way of enjoying sake.   

If you love sake but don't know what to select or want to know more about sake, join us and let's deep dive into the world of sake. 

After you experienced this, you will know which type of Sake actually you like, and you will be able to select your favorite Sake from labels or restaurant's menu even if they are all written in Japanese.

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ToursFushimi Inari Hidden Hiking Tour
From $56 per person
3 hours
-Hike through a secret path into Fushimi Inari Shrine.
Even though there is Fushi-inari station, we start the tour from Tofukuji station because we enter Fushi-inari shrine from back side of main entrance.

-Journey into a secret bamboo forest
We will discover a natural bamboo forest, and a small Inari shrine hidden from tourists. Fushimi Inari's main entrance is hard to navigate due to a lot of people, but by walking through the mountains, we will see Fushimi Inari from a new perspective, away from the crowd.

-Return to civilization after a breathtaking view atop the mountains of Fushimi Inari
From here on, we will explore tourist areas on the way to the top of the mountain. Tour routes may vary, but it will end somewhere around the main shrine.

Magical Trip is a local tour operator with the TripAdvisor certificate of excellence that offers various types of small-group tours throughout Japan! Check out our Trip Advisor Page for more tours and our reviews!

ToursWestern Kyoto Spiritual Tour: Forest Spirits of Bamboo and Zen
From $107 per person
3 hours 30 minutes
Journey to the outskirts of ancient Kyoto to admire the stunning natural beauty of the Hozu river, surrounded by lush mountains and whispering bamboo groves. Visit dazzling ancient temples and embrace the spiritual and cultural side of Japan with a lesson in Zen meditation from a resident monk followed by a traditional matcha green tea ceremony. Spiritual enlightenment is (almost) guaranteed!

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