Kansai Meet the locals

Our most recommended Kansai Meet the locals

Nara: Half-Day UNESCO Heritage & Local Culture Walking Tour

1. Nara: Half-Day UNESCO Heritage & Local Culture Walking Tour

Meet your knowledgeable guide at the meeting point and begin your cultural half-day walking tour of Japan's first historical capital. As you walk by the shopping arcade, explore a Japanese old town extremely different from a metropolis like Tokyo. Walk between the historical buildings, and go inside a traditional merchant's house to see how people around here live in the past. Next, take a break from walking to observe the mysterious pyramid-shaped structure in the middle of the quiet town. Admire the view of the city of Nara from the hill, then visit Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Learn about the distinct Japanese religious culture as you see a huge temple with a great Buddha statue, then explore a beautiful shrine housing hundreds of lanterns. In this area, meet and feed the wild deer living in Nara Park. For over 1,200 years, locals have believed that deer are sacred divine messengers. Interact with them and see how polite they are. At the end of the tour, savor a delicious Japanese lunch dish made only using local Nara vegetables and fresh meat.

Nara - Craft Beer, Sake, and Food Walking Tour

2. Nara - Craft Beer, Sake, and Food Walking Tour

Explore the Naramachi district. Attend a mochi-pounding performance and have a mochi freshly made to get the best quality ever. Then, have a taste of the authentic sushis from Nara called "Kaki no Ha Zushi" (A special sushi, rolled in a persimmon fruit leaf). The real fun starts with a Sake distillery, where you will learn a lot about sake, its history, and its manufacturing, all with a delicious tasting session. Then, the next stop will be at a local craft beer microbrewery with a drink included. You will then finish with food, at a ramen restaurant and then a 65 years old traditional sushi restaurant from Nara. What a great way to start the evening!

Kyoto: Nishiki Market and Gion Cultural Walking Food Tour

3. Kyoto: Nishiki Market and Gion Cultural Walking Food Tour

Start at the vast 400-year-old Nishiki Market, nicknamed 'Kyoto's Kitchen,' where over 130 food shops and stalls will beckon your taste buds. Stroll through the Market and learn about its history and taste the various dishes unique to Kyoto including: Tofu Skin, Sesame Cracker, Japanese Pike Conger Eel, Sake, and etc. Then, rest your appetite by visiting a nearby shrine dedicated to the God of Education. Head for Pontocho Street by crossing through Teramachi Street, Shijo Street, and Kiyamachi Street- all of which will enable you to immerse yourself in modern Japanese culture. Pontocho street is very special, even for locals, because it is one out of the five Geisha districts in Kyoto. From here, you will walk across the majestic Kamo river and taste local sweets. The final section of the tour will lead you to Gion district (which is also another Geisha district). The guide will take you out of mainstream hustle and bustle of the crowded streets and into the more photogenic and hidden spots. Not only will you be educated about the Geisha tradition, you may even meet one. The tour finishes in Gion District on Shijo Street. From the finishing point, you can easily access Kiyomizudera which is most famous temple in Kyoto known for its stage with a great view.

Nara Like a Local: Customized Guided Tour

4. Nara Like a Local: Customized Guided Tour

Your guide will meet you at your accommodation and help you get familiar with the neighborhood, show you the best places to eat and shop and tell you about the easiest ways to get around. Choose a 2, 3 or 4-hour tour, and by the end you’ll have all the information you need to make the most of your stay. After booking you’ll be sent some questions so that you’re paired with a local guide based on your interests. The tour is completely customized so you can choose the meeting location and the starting time. During the walking tour you’ll have the option of taking public transportation or a taxi to get around the city (at your expense). Hear what it’s like to live in Nara, learn about cultural differences, local events and politics and get to know your guide on a personal level.

Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets Cultural Tour

5. Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets Cultural Tour

Accompanied by your tour guide, head straight to one of Nara’s top historical sites and one of the largest wooden buildings in the world, the Todaiji temple. Its famous centerpiece is the 15-meter bronze statue of the Great Buddha, Vairocana. On our way, you will be greeted by the friendly deer of Nara. The deer are divine protectors of the ancient capital living in perfect harmony with the locals. Next stop is the second of the seven great temples of Nara, Kofukuji. Make a brief stop at the Sarusawa pond, well known for its turtles and the pretty scenery surrounding it; this is considered a perfect spot for a romantic evening walk in Nara. Move forward into the quiet alleys and backstreets of Nara-machi, the well-preserved former merchant's district, where you will be able to see and experience unique traditional arts and crafts. As the best way to experience a city is through its food, you will get the chance to test some of our favorite local delights. The last stop of your journey will take you to a shopping street, where you can find colorful and diverse shops, perfect for souvenir hunting.  Both the JR Nara station and the Kintetsu station are within comfortable walking distance from the finishing point of the tour. Your guide will be happy to help you with directions to your hotel or to provide a restaurant recommendation for lunch. Do not forget to ask for more hints and tips on what else there is to do in Nara during your time here. 

Kyoto: Walking Tour in Gion with Breakfast at Nishiki Market

6. 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.

Kumano/Tanabe: Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail Private Tour

7. Kumano/Tanabe: Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail Private Tour

Discover Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trails on a private tour alongside a licensed local guide. Choose from a 6 or 4-hour tour option and receive a meet-and-greet service at your accommodation or from the main train station in Kumano or Tanabe. Let your guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly. You can also pre-plan your itinerary in advance. Benefit from a guide that holds a Nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter Certification issued by the Japanese government, which certifies that your guide holds good knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and history. Explore an ancient network of pilgrim trails dating back more than 1,000 years connecting historic shrines and temples running through the mountains of the Kii Peninsula. The most popular route, Nakahechi, along which past emperors traveled, crosses the width of the Peninsula from Tanabe town on the west coast to Shingu and Nachi-Katsuura towns on the east. Hikers of all levels can enjoy quiet mountain hamlets and onsens. Popular 6-hour itinerary - Hossinmon-Oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha: Experience a route that is a good mixture of ridge-top settlements and forest trails. Walk through Kumano Kodo to Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine and learn about its history and cultural importance. After lunch, visit the Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine, one of the three grand shrines, standing on a small ridgeline in the north of the Hongu village. Admire the 800-year-old austere pavilions that are made of wood with impressive cypress bark roofs which architecture style.

Wakayama: Mt. Koya Private Walking Tour with Local Guide

8. Wakayama: Mt. Koya Private Walking Tour with Local Guide

Explore Mount Koya in your own way with a private licensed guide. Choose the 6 or 4-hour option depending on what fits with your schedule. Let the guide know what special requests you have for the day and they will tailor your itinerary accordingly. All guides hold the nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification. It is issued by the Japanese government and requires a good understanding of Japanese culture and history. Meet your guide at the station near Mount Koya. The first stop will be Daimon, Koya-san’s main gate. Admire the impressive gate painted in a bright crimson color, and the large statues of guardian gods. Continue to Konpon Daito pagoda to discover Buddhist pictures and murals. Next, head to the Kongobu-ji Temple. Admire the beautiful features and architecture of the complex, such as sliding screens, art adorning the spacious rooms, and the largest rock garden in Japan. Stop for a Shoujin Ryori lunch, and experience vegetarian Buddhist cuisine. Stop at Okuno-in, the most sacred place on Mt. Koya. To reach the shrine, walk over the Ichinohashi Bridge and follow the Sandō path. Explore the famous Toro-do Hall with its "unextinguishable" flame. The final stop will be the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of the Shingon school of Buddhism.

From Kyoto or Osaka: Private Walking Tour through Nara

9. From Kyoto or Osaka: Private Walking Tour through Nara

Go on a private city walking tour through Nara and explore the fascinating history, culture, and food scene of this city. 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. Meet your guide in Kyoto or Osaka and take the train to Nara, the city where Shinto Buddhism was born. See some of Japan’s most significant temples and shrines. Marvel at art and architecture dating back to the 8th-century.   Walk down quiet streets and shaded paths lined with cherry blossom trees and be amazed by Nanto Shichi Daiji, the seven great Buddhist temples. Discover the magical, wood-built architecture overhung with thousands of lanterns at the fairytale Kasuga-Taisha Shrine. At the famous Nara Park, you can see the iconic tame deers that come close enough to greet you. If you are hungry this would be the perfect opportunity to check out the restaurants and cafes at Higashimuki Shopping Street. In this street, you will also find all sorts of souvenirs.  This tour can be fully personalized depending on your preferences. Your guide can provide you with tips and recommendations for the rest of your stay in Nara.

Nara: Walking Tour for English-Speaking & Japanese Culture

10. Nara: Walking Tour for English-Speaking & Japanese Culture

An activity to enjoy with a team An innovative, challenging way to study and practice English outdoor and learn about Japan, its culture, and history. This activity was created for two types of people: - Foreign tourists who do not speak Japanese, but want to enjoy exploring the city on their own. They learn about new places, Japanese culture, history, and meet selected locals who can speak English and interact with them at a comfortable level. All combined with a ''Quiz Rally'' concept, to make it more interesting and fun. - Japanese people who wish to spend a day in a fully English-speaking environment without leaving their country. By doing so, they can explore the city and rediscover parts of their culture and history in a different language, and complete challenges in English to have the feeling of visiting a foreign country. This is a great activity to practice English in real-life situations and to challenge yourself before traveling abroad. This is the evolution, and the real life ''英会話'' experience. This experience is a semi-assisted Team English Quiz Rally activity. your guide will not stay with the guests during the activity, but will always be minutes away and ready to meet if a team has any problem.

Other Sightseeing Options in Kansai

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What people are saying about Kansai

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 14 reviews

It was an absolute splendid few hours!! Nia did an incredible job at showing me around, showing me the most interesting and beautiful parts of Nara. She had interesting tidbits and information about everything and clearly knows her way around the city! This was absolutely with its money and I'm so glad I did this tour.

Very nice the tour. Deer, the great Buddha and the guardians, temples, and ends in a commercial area with restaurants. 4h tour The guide very attentive and walking at our pace.

Nice short tour around Nara Park

Paul was a great guide, took us around Nara park to see the deers and temples. He even went out of his way to help us find a mochi maker there. Cheers!

My guides have been excellent- warm, gives wonderful insights into Kyoto culture and cuisine, very polite and excellent service!

We enjoyed the tour so much that we returned to the market after with more confidence to try new things!