Things to do in
Gion Corner

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Gion Corner: Our most recommended tours and activities

Kyoto: All-Inclusive 3-Hour Food and Culture Tour in Gion

1. Kyoto: All-Inclusive 3-Hour Food and Culture Tour in Gion

Explore the Gion district by night with an experienced English, German, French, or Spanish-speaking tour guide who knows everything there is to know about the area. The tour starts near Kamo river, where you’ll learn about how the tradition of Geishas came to be. After a short stroll along a busy commercial street, you’ll slip into a calm, quiet area to visit the Yasaka Jinja shrine. After that touch of education, it’s off to the Gion.   The Gion has secrets and history scattered across its narrow streets, but this is also a modern entertainment district—so it’s time for a deep dive into what goes on here. Your guide will keep it light and fun, and explain some of the more interesting cultural mores of these parts. Step into a restaurant and graze from a multitude of small plates at a sort of Japanese-style tapas experience. Enjoy a drink as well before continuing on.   Between restaurant stops, there will be an exploration of Kiyamachi, Ponto-cho, and some other commercial and nightlife streets. Your guide will show you both modern and historical Kyoto, painting a well-rounded picture that gives you a real sense of the place. This tour keeps the groups small and includes your food and drinks, so that you can have a carefree night like you’re simply hanging out with someone who knows the neighborhood. A delicious Kobe (or nearby sourced) Beef option is available on top of the usual food and drink. This option is for bookings at least 10 hours in advance.

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Lonely Planet Experiences: Kyoto Evening Tour with a Local

2. Lonely Planet Experiences: Kyoto Evening Tour with a Local

Experience the best travel stories for yourself! Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems on this Lonely Planet Experience. Immerse yourself in the drama of Kyoto at night and walk the lantern-lit wooden streets. Get a feel for the nightlife scene with the help of a local guide. Go to the Minamiza Theatre in the famous Geisha district of Gion and keep a look out for the geiko and maiko. Escape the crowds and venture through the backstreets to arrive at Yasaka Shrine. Marvel as it is brought to life by the bright lights and buzzing crowds. Continue to the north part of Gion to find narrow streets lined with smaller and more modern clubs and bars that contrast with the Old Town. Cross the Kamo River and get a sprawling view of the restaurant district before entering the entertainment district of Pontocho, lit by traditional Japanese lanterns. Go to the Teramachi arcade, where merchants sell everything from Manga comic books to statues of ancient gods and high-quality sushi knives. End with a visit to the Nishiki food market to check out a tachinomiya (stand-up only bar) popular with the locals.

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Kyoto: Private Rickshaw Tour of Gion and Higashiyama Area

3. Kyoto: Private Rickshaw Tour of Gion and Higashiyama Area

Explore the traditional neighborhood of Higashiyama from the comfort of a rickshaw with a knowledgeable guide. Admire the well-preserved wooden townhouses, see some of Kyoto's most famous temples, and pass through the vibrant geisha district in the Gion area. Learn about Japanese culture, heritage, and customs on this private customizable tour. Meet your guide on the cobbled streets by the Kodaiji Temple in Higashiyama, a nationally designated historic area. Travel back in time as your guide pulls you through the historic neighborhood, filled with traditional buildings and shops. Stop to take photos at the most scenic spots in each location. Choose from 4 different tour durations to suit your schedule, from the introductory 45-minute tour, to the comprehensive tour of 3 hours and 10 minutes. With the longer tours, you’ll continue through the wealth of sights in Higashiyama and the northern part of Gion. Pass weeping willows that line a picturesque river, explore ancient temples, and travel through the streets of this amazing neighborhood.

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Kyoto: Historic Higashiyama Walking Tour

4. Kyoto: Historic Higashiyama Walking Tour

The district of Higashiyama is full of Kyoto must-see locations. Higashiyama means East Mountain, and this tour takes place at the foothills of the mountain range that forms the Eastern border of central Kyoto.  Start off your tour at the Fushimi Inari Taisha, a Shinto shrine located in the Southern part of the Higashiyama mountain range. Pass through the mystical vermilion torii gates that snake up the mountainside. Beyond the gates, you find the Fushimi Inari Taisha which is about Shinto history and culture.  Take a short train ride from Fushimi Inari to Gion and listen to the stories your guide has to share about this colorful, much-storied playground of the geisha and beyond. Gion is a special place as it continues to be an active part of modern-day culture. This district is also known for its evening entertainment.  Stroll through the streets of Higashiyama and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Visit the Kodaiji temple and immerse yourself in the serenity of its gardens and bamboo grove. The temple complex dates back to the early 17th-century.  Take some snacks or souvenirs in the streets along Sannenzaka and walk you way up to Kiyomizu Temple. Once arrived you can enjoy a spectacular view of Kyoto. The temple is famous for its clear, pure water flowing from the mountains into the Otowa Waterfall. Take the opportunity to sample some of the pure water yourself. It is said that the 3 divided streams bring health, wealth, or happiness. Choose wisely as for greedy people none of the wishes will come true.  The tour ends at Kiyomizudera, where you are free to spend more time and discover the area at your own pace.

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Kyoto: Walking Tour in Gion with Breakfast at Nishiki Market

5. Kyoto: Walking Tour in Gion with Breakfast at Nishiki Market

Start out the tour by enjoying the fresh, morning air while walking through Gion. A local tour guide will show you around the calm and quaint morning of Kyoto.  Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere which is a big contrast to the vibrant energy at night. After a healthy little walk, you will visit a shrine that is loved by locals. Once arrived at the market savor a one of a kind Japanese breakfast along with tasting 4 to 5 exquisite dishes selected by your local guide. Nishiki Market has over 400 years of history and has been loved by locals as the "Kitchen of Kyoto" for a long time. The name implies that Nishiki Market is rich with the famous gourmet cuisine of Kyoto. Your local and knowledgeable guide will provide you with valuable information that you cannot get from an ordinary sightseeing tour. During the tour, you are welcome to ask any questions about the history and culture of Kyoto. Your local guide is happy to answer all of them.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Gion Corner

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What people are saying about Gion Corner

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 77 reviews

Mardi was right on time on a crisp Christmas evening with a cheery demeanor and a pleasant smile, even though we both wore COVID masks. She had an exhaustive knowledge of Japanese history and culture, including local landmarks from temples to tea houses to brothels. My favorite tale was the creation of a local shrine to the tenuki spirit that dragged people into the nearby river. She also picked excellent places to grab some refreshments. The cheese and tofu soup was the highlight of the trip. I totally recommend Mardi's tour of the Gion and surrounding area if you find yourself in Kyoto.

Wonderful tour where you can learn about the history of Kyoto and eat your way through it in local spots!! The guide, Mardi, was fantastic, and I really enjoyed trying new food that I wouldn't have known to order. I would 100% recommend this tour!

Enjoyed the history and seeing a couple out-of-the-way neighborhoods. Mardi was an outstanding guide and provided an enjoyable evening visiting places we’d never have found on our own.

Our ride was an absolute joy!!! Mitsu was charming, spoke English, took time to explain everything, made sure my dad (80 years old) was warm and safe.

Excellent. Knowledgeable and fun drivers. We were family of five (3 teen kids) who loved it and no one complained about sore feet!