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How to Spend 2 Days in Kyoto

How to Spend 2 Days in Kyoto

With two days in Kyoto, you have time to explore UNESCO-listed temples and ancient palaces—plus delve into Japanese traditions and participate in a tea ceremony, learn about geisha culture or the way of the samurai, and sample the local food scene. Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Japan’s former imperial capital.

Day 1: Get an Overview of Kyoto, Old and New

**Morning:**Find your bearings and check off the city’s top attractions with a guided bus tour, taking in famous sites such as Nijo Castle, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), and the Kyoto Imperial Palace. For more flexibility, create your own itinerary with a hop-on hop-off bus tour.

**Afternoon:**Enjoy a taste of Kyoto’s food culture on a tour of sprawling Nishiki Market, known as “the kitchen of Kyoto.” Explore the market’s many vendors, sample their dishes, and learn about both typical and lesser-known Japanese ingredients—then conclude your tour with a cooking lesson and lunch.

**Night:**Kyoto is known for its traditional culture, but you can experience the more contemporary side of the city with a guided evening tour that takes you off the tourist track and into locals’ favorite bars and restaurants. Tours typically include a few dishes and drinks along the way.

Day 2: Immerse Yourself in Cultural Heritage

**Morning:**Begin your day with a walking tour featuring a serene stroll among the bamboo groves and temples of Arashiyama and Sagano. Or join a food-focused tour through these districts, visiting many of the same sites and stopping by restaurants and stalls to try local dishes.

**Afternoon:**Delve deeper into Kyoto’s rich culture, heritage, and history. Don a kimono and participate in a tea ceremony, discover ancient samurai traditions, or attend a Kembu sword performance. Some hands-on experiences include swordsmanship and Zen meditation.

**Night:**Conclude your visit to Kyoto with a guided walking tour of the famous Gion district, known for geisha and teahouses. Watch a performance by maiko (apprentice geisha) accompanied by traditional Japanese music, followed by a multicourse dinner. Or, book a private meal with a geisha who entertains you with song and dance as you dine.

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10 Tours and Activities | All Kyoto Tours

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Kyoto Arashiyama & Sagano Walking Food Tour

Kyoto Arashiyama & Sagano Walking Food Tour

star-5
Spend some time getting acquainted with the food and culture of two historically important and beautiful districts of Kyoto on this guided walking tour. Stroll over the ninth-century Togetsukyo bridge and make stops to sample local snacks. After a visit to the 14th-century Tenryu-ji temple, head to a beautiful bamboo garden and indulge in some traditional Japanese sweets. This tour of Arashiyama and Sagano is a great way to get to know Kyoto.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$110.00
From
$110.00
Taking safety measures

Kyoto Morning Tour - Golden Pavilion and Kyoto Imperial Palace from Kyoto

Kyoto Morning Tour - Golden Pavilion and Kyoto Imperial Palace from Kyoto

star-4
Marvel at the some of the top UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples and palaces of ancient Kyoto on this half-day tour. This quick introduction to the sights of Kyoto covers Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), and the Japanese Emperor’s former Imperial Palace—a perfect way to see the city if you’re short on time. Your guided morning Kyoto excursion includes entrance fees and transport between sites by coach.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$69.76
From
$69.76
Taking safety measures

Samurai School and Show in Kyoto: Samurai for a Day

Samurai School and Show in Kyoto: Samurai for a Day

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Prepare for battle as you learn the skills of the samurai during this 1- or 2-hour class studying the basic techniques of these ancient Japanese warriors. Take the 1-hour session, providing an introduction to the basics of the samurai art, or choose the 1.5-hour course, practicing more complex movements using a sword and folding fan. When your class ends, enjoy a photo session with your samurai costume and receive a certificate of completion.  This samurai session also includes an English-speaking guide and instructor and a 'tenugui,' a traditional Japanese towel.
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  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$98.26
From
$98.26
Taking safety measures

Gion Walking Tour by Night with Virtual Option

Gion Walking Tour by Night with Virtual Option

star-4.5
Discover Kyoto’s magical Gion district, which is known for being the city’s Geisha area. Don't worry about language barriers, as a guide is there to help you translate and explain the difference between maiko, geiko, and other Japanese words. The unmarked narrow streets of Gion can make it easy to get lost at night, but this is not a problem with a guide to navigate and lead the way. Upgrade to a longer, private tour for a closer look at Geisha culture.
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  • 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$12.85
Price varies by group size
From
$12.85
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Kyoto Cooking Class, Sake Tasting and Nishiki Food Market Walking Tour

Kyoto Cooking Class, Sake Tasting and Nishiki Food Market Walking Tour

star-4.5
Make a food-lover’s journey through Kyoto, stopping at its best food shops, famous Nishiki Food Market and a sake brewery before finishing with a cooking class during this small-group, 3.5-hour excursion limited to 7 participants. Learn about Japanese ingredients at Kyoto’s top market, check out the city’s lesser known food shops and stop by a sake brewery for a tasting. End your food experience with a 1.5-hour cooking class making sushi, soup and salad. This small-group excursion also includes admission and tasting at the sake brewery.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$145.92
Price varies by group size
From
$145.92
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Samurai Performance and Casual Experience: Kyoto Ticket

Samurai Performance and Casual Experience: Kyoto Ticket

star-4.5
Learn the arts of the samurai as you enjoy a 1-hour Kembu show, a traditional sword performance celebrating the culture of this ancient Japanese warrior class, in Kyoto. Head to Kyoto’s Samurai Kembu Theater to admire the intricate movements of traditional and new-style Kembu performances, celebrating the legendary stories of Japan’s feudal period. You’ll also hear a fascinating talk before the performance and have time for a photo session with samurai sword and the performers post-show.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.24
From
$30.24
Taking safety measures

Kyoto Samurai Experience

Kyoto Samurai Experience

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Immerse yourself in Samurai history and culture during this 2-hour Samurai experience at a traditional Kyoto Samurai House. Under the guidance of an expert Samurai instructor, learn the philosophies of Bushido, the ‘Way of the Warrior; handle a real katana sword; and take part in a Zen meditation session.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$117.91
From
$117.91
Taking safety measures

Private Kyoto Arashiyama Custom Half-Day Tour by Chartered Vehicle

Private Kyoto Arashiyama Custom Half-Day Tour by Chartered Vehicle

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Experience a more natural, idyllic, side of Japan during this 4-hour private excursion to the Arashiyama area in western Kyoto. Climb aboard your chartered limo, van or bus for an exploration of Arashiyama attractions like the historic Tenryu Temple, picturesque Togetsukyo Bridge and the tranquil Sagano Bamboo Groves. Best of all this trip is easily customized, allowing you to pick the attractions and itinerary that best meet your interests. A driver, round-trip transport from central Kyoto and private vehicle are included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$357.96
per group
From
$357.96
per group
Taking safety measures

Arashiyama Morning Walking Tour, Bamboo Grove and Tenryuji, Jojakkoji,Togetsukyo

Arashiyama Morning Walking Tour, Bamboo Grove and Tenryuji, Jojakkoji,Togetsukyo

star-4
Wander among peaceful bamboo groves and elegant mountain temples of rural Japan as you explore the fascinating areas of Arashiyama and Sagano near Kyoto during this 4-hour walking tour. Meander among the bamboo groves of Sagano before checking out the ancient 14th century Tenryu-Ji Temple and the secluded Jojakko-Ji Temple, hidden among the forest. Finish with a trip across the iconic Togetsukyō Bridge. Your morning walking tour also includes pickup from select hotels in Kyoto, a guide and all entrance fees.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$0.00
From
$0.00
Taking safety measures

Japanese Tea Ceremony (Private Session)

Japanese Tea Ceremony (Private Session)

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Discover the beauty, art and ritual of the Japanese tea ceremony during this private workshop in Kyoto. Experience true ‘omotenashi’ (hospitality) during your visit to the Tea Ceremony Room of Ju-An, observing as your tea is methodically, painstakingly, boiled, poured and mixed with matcha powder using a bamboo whisk. Enjoy your warm drink accompanied by Japanese sweets as you learn about the intricacies of this timeless custom.
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  • 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$94.48
Price varies by group size
From
$94.48
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures