Gion
Culinary & Nightlife

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Our most recommended Gion Culinary & Nightlife

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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Kyoto: 3-Hour Guided Food Tour in Gion at Night

2. Kyoto: 3-Hour Guided Food Tour in Gion at Night

Meet your guide at the Izumo no Okuni statue at Gion Shijo Station, then set off for a tasty 3-hour tour of local restaurants and street food vendors. The tour has been specially designed for you to experience the most authentic side of Kyoto and takes you to places that are normally hard to find for tourists. Throughout the night your guide is on hand to advise what you should order and how to order. Head to the first location of the night and admire Gion's picturesque streets and alleyways full of traditional Kyoto-style buildings with Machiya architecture along the way. Arrive at the restaurant and dine on a selection of meat or vegetables that have been simply but perfectly seasoned to create a pure and flavorsome eating experience. At the next stop, enjoy mouth-watering tempura skewers or traditional sushi, paired with authentic and unique matcha beverages. The final stop is a quirky standing sake bar, where you can taste a selection of sake drinks. This tour is an unforgettable opportunity to see and experience Kyoto nightlife like a real local, and visit bars and restaurants that most tourists miss.

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Lonely Planet Experiences: Kyoto Evening Tour with a Local

3. 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: Casual Pontocho Evening Food Tour

4. Kyoto: Casual Pontocho Evening Food Tour

This casual evening tour is perfect for families and those wanting to explore these historical and delicious neighborhoods. Experience 5 food and drink stops with something for everyone. Start off in a retro Showa-era (post-war Japan) restaurant to try seasonal and regional, tasty dishes. Next, try several types of yakitori (charcoal grilled skewers) in a classic Pontocho eatery. Then, head over to a privately owned sake tasting shop to try local nihonshu (rice wine). Bring the kids, because there is even a local plum soda for a kid-friendly tasting at this quaint backstreet spot run by a passionate entrepreneur who celebrates Kyoto sake culture. Head onto a 100-year-old soba restaurant for handmade noodle dishes. You are sure to feel pretty full by this point but don’t forget to save a little room for a tasty green tea dessert at a trendy new neighboorhood spot that blends tradition with modern innovation. Have fun beyond the temples and Kyoto tourist experiences and ask your guide about the history and culture surrounding the food of Kyoto. This fun and friendly tour is the perfect way to spend your evening. There are too many great restaurant choices, and a few that are certainly too touristy, so let the tour help you make the best choices. Create delicious memories with on this unique tour. 

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Kyoto: Izakaya Food Tour with Local Guide

5. Kyoto: Izakaya Food Tour with Local Guide

Join a like-minded host to experience Kyoto's nightlife like the locals do - gathering in izakaya, the small local drinking houses, and tachinomiya, Japan's unique street-side standing bars, to enjoy a few beers, share plates of food, and sip sake with friends after work. You'll be paired with guides that are passionate about the place they call home and who choose to spend their free time sharing it with like-minded travelers matched to them. Spend the night bar exploring the historic Gion district, or for a truly authentic glimpse into izakaya culture, explore the city's train station bars where locals gather for drinks before catching the last train home. Once you've bar hopped your way through this tangled network of bars, perhaps head to another yokocho, the historic alleyways that are steeped in tradition and dotted all over the city, where you'll find more character than you thought could ever be squeezed into such narrow streets.

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Kyoto Evening Gion Food Tour

6. Kyoto Evening Gion Food Tour

Starting in Kamogawa, you will stroll along the local streets and head toward Kamogawa River, with some possible seasonal food stops along the way, to gaze upon the many Japanese locals enjoying the cool of the evening, while sitting on the terraces along the water known as Kamogawa yuka noryo in Japanese.   After crossing the Kamogawa River, you'll enter into the Pontocho area, a district of Kyoto, home to many Geisha houses and traditional tea houses. In the evenings you'll be able to see Geisha walking the streets. Not long after our time in Pontocho, we will be in historical Gion, the most prominent entertainment district and Kyoto’s center of traditional arts. Gion is clad with old wooden buildings, teahouses and very exclusive Japanese restaurants, mostly by invitation only. Your guide will tell you stories about this very exquisite part of Kyoto along the way. At the end of the short journey, you will sit down to a 10-course Kaiseki dinner, prepared especially and specifically for Arigato Japan. This should be a moment in your life you will never forget, so the details will be  reserved for those who join the tour. To give you an idea, one of the 10 courses will be an ornate platter mounted with living fish, and you can enjoy the freshest sashimi straight from the bone. The other 9 courses are a mystery guaranteed to surprise and delight your culinary senses.

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Kyoto: 2-Hour Gion Geisha District Tour

7. Kyoto: 2-Hour Gion Geisha District Tour

Explore Gion, the centuries-old entertainment district of Kyoto, which truly comes alive at night. With your guide, learn about the customs of the geisha and the apprentice maiko. You may catch a glimpse of a few of the women in full costume.  Walk through the narrow streets with the lanterns flickering on the wooden buildings. Enjoy a night visit to a Shinto shrine, with a beautifully lit pagoda. Wander through the grounds of a Zen temple in the tranquil calm of the night. Learn more about the modern history of the entertainment district from your guide.

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Kyoto: 5-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour in the Gion Area

8. Kyoto: 5-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour in the Gion Area

Meet your guide at the JR Kyoto station and get on the bus to start the tour. Arrive in the Gion area and walk along the Ajikiroji path with its traditional Japanese houses that have been there for more than 100 years and is now a popular area with artists. Head to Miyagawa-cho Street, a traditional entertainment district where Geishas and Maikos work. Enjoy traditional Japanese townhouses and stone walls and learn about this area from your guide. Visit Kennin-ji Temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto. The temple is famous for its dragon painted on the ceiling, its peaceful garden, and paintings on its sliding screens. Next, head to Hanamikoji street, located in the middle of the district of Gion. During this tour, the guide will share their highly recommended local spots for sweets and restaurants along the way, so you can visit after the tour. The final path of the tour is Shirakawa-Minami Street, which will make you feel like you've stepped onto a movie set.

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Kyoto: Guided Walking Tour with Nijo Castle & Yasaka Shrine

9. Kyoto: Guided Walking Tour with Nijo Castle & Yasaka Shrine

Joining this small-group walking tour with a knowledgeable local guide will make your day in Kyoto a memorable one. The first stop is Nijo Castle, where you will hear about its history. Explore the main gate, inside the main building, and finally the massive garden and observatory. After Nijo Castle, take a short subway ride to Karasuma Oike station. From there, walk to a nearby local supermarket. See local fresh fruits, and visit a deli and bakery. If you did not eat breakfast, it is possible to take a short break here. Continue to Nishiki Market, located in Kyoto's downtown area. You will see a variety of foods such as seafood, deep-fried foods, Japanese pickles, Karaage, Takoyaki, Japanese spice, ice cream, green tea, egg roll, and more. Feel free to stop, taste, and buy food as you go. You will also have a chance to purchase Japanese knives, teacups, and plates.  After exploring the Nishiki Market, walk through Shin Kyogoku street, Sanjo street, and Kiyamachi street, to end up on the famous Ponto street. You will see a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants. Feel free to make a stop and enjoy a coffee break or lunch. You will then head into the Gion neighborhood. See the Minamiza Kabuki theatre and walk the traditional Hanamikoji street. Your guide will also take you to some of the backstreets in Gion where many ochaya teahouses can be found. You will not meet any maiko or geisha in the daytime, but you may do so if you come back in the evening. Finally, end up at the Yasaka Shrine, located at the eastern end of the Gion district. Visit the main stage and learn what it was set up for, and touch the underground water, which is said to enhance the beauty of body and mind.

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From Osaka : Private Full-day Tour to Kyoto

10. From Osaka : Private Full-day Tour to Kyoto

Start the tour with pick up from central Osaka and travel to historic Kyoto. Over the course of the day, you'll be presented with a balanced view of this historic city and its surroundings. The Arashiyama district is the first stop, and it is here where you'll be introduced to Japanese garden and temple design. Tenryu-ji Temple has one of the most outstanding, timeless examples of Japanese gardens surrounding it's simple-but-majestic temple buildings. Then it's time for a walk up through the famous bamboo grove - a photo opportunity not to be missed - before arriving at the entrance to luxurious Okochi Sanso. Here you will try some matcha (Japanese green tea), before exploring the winding paths that connect the buildings, views, and garden areas. Afterwards, you'll enjoy a stroll alongside the river, then have free time for lunch and even a bit of shopping, if you wish. Next, enjoy the atmospheric streets of the Goin district, complete with a gurgling stream and rows of traditional tea house and restaurant buildings.  Not far from the Gion is Fushimi Inari-taisha, arguably the most famous Shinto shrine complex in the entire region. After having a look around you'll end your tour with a visit to the famous Torii gate.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Gion

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What people are saying about Gion

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.

This was a great tour. Mardi had all sorts of interesting information about the area and took me to some tucked away spots I never would have found otherwise.

Great tour guide! Niall was professional and very helpful with providing a pleasant tour.