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Art Lover’s Guide to Kyoto

Art Lover’s Guide to Kyoto

The former capital of Japan is steeped in tradition and culture, which is reflected in its artwork and museums. But contemporary art also thrives here, and the city supports a lively art scene. See below for some of the top museums and experiences for art lovers in Kyoto.

 

National Museum of Modern Art

Commonly referred to as MOMAK, Kyoto’s premier venue for contemporary art was designed by Pritzker Prize–winning Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. The permanent collection features around 10,000 pieces of art and includes Japanese paintings, textiles, and ceramics in addition to Western art. MOMAK is also known for a constant rotation of temporary exhibitions.

 

Kyoto National Museum

One of only four top-level national museums in Japan, the Kyoto National Museum houses an extensive collection of Japanese art and archaeological artifacts. Find the permanent collection in the spacious Heisui Chishinkan building and temporary exhibitions in the original main building, constructed in the 1890s.

 

Kyoto International Manga Museum

Formerly an elementary school, the Kyoto International Manga Museum features a collection of around 300,000 manga (Japanese comics) and exhibits, including contemporary manga art, foreign manga animations, and early manga examples. Visitors can read any piece of manga that line the walls of the museum.


Kyoto Museum of Tradition Crafts and Art and Culture Experiences

Kyoto is one of the best places to explore traditional Japanese arts and art forms, such as calligraphy, shibori (fabric dyeing), and ikebana (flower arrangement). Get an overview and inspiration at the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts, then try your hand at a workshop or a private lesson.


Kyoto Art Center

Located in a Meiji-era elementary school, the Kyoto Art Center promotes contemporary art and artists and encourages interactions between artists and the public. The center is home to gallery space, artist studios, and an auditorium and also hosts frequent exhibitions, performances, and cultural shows.

 

Ryukoku Museum

One of the newest museums in Kyoto, the Ryukoku Museum is one of the largest museums in the world devoted to Buddhist art and artifacts. The permanent collection covers the beginnings of Buddhism in India, its spread through Asia, and its arrival in Japan. Special exhibitions are also held from time to time.

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10 Tours and Activities | All Kyoto Tours

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Japanese Tea Ceremony with a Tea Master at Wakwak-kan

Japanese Tea Ceremony with a Tea Master at Wakwak-kan

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Experience the traditions of Japan at a tea ceremony in Kyoto and learn the origins of this ancient practice. Choose from one of two different tea ceremony options—one is hosted in a machiya (typical wooden house) and the other ceremony is complete with kimono dress. Your ceremony includes a guide, who provides translation.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$41.09
Price varies by group size
From
$41.09
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Itajime Shibori Scarf Class

Itajime Shibori Scarf Class

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Discover the art of ‘shibori’ during this 30 to 60-minute scarf-making class in Kyoto. Learn about Japanese culture from your knowledgable guide and become versed in one of the country’s many art forms. Use traditional tools and fabrics to make your scarf, then take this memorable handmade souvenir home with you to show your friends and family.
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  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$45.47
From
$45.47

Calligraphy and Make your own Kanji T-shirt in Kyoto

Calligraphy and Make your own Kanji T-shirt in Kyoto

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You can get your own Kanji t-shirt in 2 hours. You will have 3 kinds of FUN! 1. Fun of Learning, 2. Fun of Making, 3. Fun of Wearing 1st Fun is learning about Japanese calligraphy. You will learn about Kanji history and Japanese calligraphy tools. We practice how to make black ink, how to use a brush, how to write basic lines. Then, practice the kanji you chose. You can choose specific kanji you want to write, or just tell me the images you want to write in English, or you can find it from our Kanji List. We tell you the tips for writing the kanji. 2nd Fun is making your own t-shirt. First, we make a silkscreen to print the ink to a t-shirt. Next, choose the color of t-shirt and the color of ink. Then, print the ink to the t-shirt through the silkscreen. Finally, press the t-shirt with heat by a machine so that the ink will not disappear. 3rd Fun is wearing your own Kanji t-shirt. Please wear your own t-shirt with the Kanji you actually wrote. It is the one and only t-shirt.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$51.12
From
$51.12

Private Kyoto Custom One Day Tour by Chartered Vehicle

Private Kyoto Custom One Day Tour by Chartered Vehicle

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Immerse yourself in Japanese culture and history using this private full-day vehicle charter from Kyoto. After selecting your preferred choice of transportation from a van, bus or limousine, your group will enjoy a private tour through the ancient city of Kyoto, complete with UNESCO-listed temples and numerous culture attractions. Explore the city at your own pace and customize the day to see only what you want to, all with the help of a guide/driver. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the best Kyoto has to offer.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$735.85
per group
From
$735.85
per group
Taking safety measures

Private Custom Tour: Kyoto in One Day

Private Custom Tour: Kyoto in One Day

star-4.5
Make the most of your time in Kyoto by booking a customized private tour with an expert guide. Create your own sightseeing itinerary, choosing from among dozens of cultural and historic landmarks, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Nijo Castle or Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Choose either a half-day or full-day itinerary and travel via public transport accompanied by your guide. Transportation and lunch is included on this comprehensive and flexible Kyoto tour.
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  • 4 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$222.83
Price varies by group size
From
$222.83
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private And Personalized Experience: See Kyoto With A Local

Private And Personalized Experience: See Kyoto With A Local

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Exploring the historic city of Kyoto with a local guide gives you an experience you won’t get by following a guidebook itinerary. Discover local neighborhoods, see iconic attractions, and get recommendations from a guide who creates a personalized route based on your interests and needs.
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  • 3 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$81.39
Price varies by group size
From
$81.39
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Tea Ceremony with Kimono at a Traditional house by Maikoya Kyoto

Private Tea Ceremony with Kimono at a Traditional house by Maikoya Kyoto

star-3.5
Tea ceremonies are an authentically Japanese ritual, and in this activity you’ll get the chance to participate in the ancient ritual. Dress in a kimono or summer-weight yukata (if you wish) for some beautiful souvenir photos. You’ll learn about the traditional ceremony and the implements used, and get the chance to try the matcha (green tea) and Japanese sweets.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$68.81
Price varies by group size
From
$68.81
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Calligraphy (PRIVATE) in Kyoto Shodo Experience in Kyoto MAIKOYA

Calligraphy (PRIVATE) in Kyoto Shodo Experience in Kyoto MAIKOYA

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Discover the techniques behind Shodo calligraphy by having an art class in Kyoto. You won’t have to worry about buying paint, brushes, or paper, as all equipment is provided. You’ll learn the link between calligraphy and meditation, and the history of this beautiful art. Your tutor will teach you how to write your name in calligraphy, and you’ll have the opportunity to take photographs too.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$50.41
Price varies by group size
From
$50.41
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Tour - A tour to Appreciate the Artistic Traditional Techniques

Private Tour - A tour to Appreciate the Artistic Traditional Techniques

Had been the political and cultural center for more than a thousand year, Kyoto has a lot of pieces of art that represent Japan and that atmosphere is still inherited. You will feel the solemn tradition and elaborate new wave of techniques on this tour. After learning about the history and culture of Kyoto at a Museum, you will visit a workshop to observe elaborate beautiful work of art using traditional techniques and will take a close look at how craftsmen actually make their work by hands! There are also specialized shops that have traditional goods such as wrapping cloth and incense sticks in a modern design. Don’t forget to book your tour to discover the traditional techniques!
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  • 5 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$113.05
From
$113.05
Taking safety measures

Ikebana Workshop in a 200 Year Old Ryokan

Ikebana Workshop in a 200 Year Old Ryokan

star-5
Immerse yourself in Japanese culture and escape the rush of Kyoto with this relaxing, hands-on flower arranging class, held in the historic Kinse Ryokan building. During the class, learn about the history of ikebana from your professional ikebana instructor guide and with the group capped at a maximum of four people, you’re guaranteed personalized attention throughout.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$56.42
From
$56.42