Guided tour

Kyoto: Cultural and Spiritual Tour with Zen Meditation

Kyoto: Cultural and Spiritual Tour with Zen Meditation

Likely to sell out

From US$ 65.75 per person

Likely to sell out

Journey to the outskirts of ancient Kyoto to admire the stunning natural beauty of the Hozu river, surrounded by lush mountains and whispering bamboo groves. Visit dazzling ancient temples and embrace the spiritual and cultural side of Japan.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 3.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Live tour guide


  • Marvel at the magnificent panorama of the Kyoto and Sagano valleys from an ancient mountain-top temple
  • Get instructed in the art of Zen meditation with a real Buddhist monk
  • Participate in a time-honoured green tea ceremony in a Zen temple
  • Wander through an ancient, towering bamboo grove
Full description
Stumble upon Nonomiya Shrine, a sacred site for the purification and preparation of the priestesses of the Ise Grand Shrine. Wander through pretty Kameyama Park and stop on Togetsukyo Bridge, from where you can admire the swooping cormorant birds. During the summer months, trained cormorants are used in a method of fishing called ukai, where the birds catch the fish for the fishermen. Continue your way up the ancient stone steps of Daihikaku Senkoji Temple, located on the side of a scenic mountain with panoramas of the Hozu River valley, Arashiyama area, and Kyoto City on the horizon. Here you will have the unique opportunity to engage in an authentic Zen meditation under the guidance of a resident monk. Partake in a traditional matcha green tea ceremony, one of the hallmarks of Zen Buddhist culture. Head back along the Hozu riverside to the lively main road of Arashiyama where your tour ends, outside the Randen Keifuku Arashiyama station. The station area provides an assortment of eating and shopping options for you to indulge in. There is also a glowing display of beautiful Kimono fabric patterns in transparent tubes, known as the Kimono forest. We also recommend the foot spa, where natural spring water can soothe your weary feet.
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Zen meditation instructions
  • Matcha green tea ceremony and a cup of tea
  • Additional food and drinks
  • Souvenirs
  • Any additional transportation

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Meeting point

JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, in front of the ticket gates.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Comfortable shoes

Know before you go

  • In case of unexpected closure of the temple, the tour will either be rescheduled or canceled. If the cancellation is caused by an unexpected reason, you will receive a full refund.
  • Only children between the ages of 6 and 11 are allowed on this tour.
  • We can accommodate vegetarian and other dietary restrictions. Please notify us in advance if you have any dietary requests.
  • The tour group can include a maximum of 12 people.
  • Effective September 1, 2021, travelers aged 18+ must produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination on Intrepid Urban Adventures tours. Children aged 6-17 must present a negative COVID-19 test, proof of recovery, or proof of vaccination. View full policy at
Customer reviews

Overall rating

5 /5

based on 15 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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I got a private tour, so to speak, because I was the only one at the time. Super great guide with a lot of expertise. The meditation was also very cool. The ascent to the temple alone was very difficult (like almost everywhere else). bring energy! would do it again :)

August 1, 2018

Great experience away from the crowds

Though Kyoto is lovely, there isn't much explanation of what you're seeing in English, and many of the temples don't let you enter the temple buildings. I really wanted some authentic time experiencing Japanese Buddhism and learning about what I was seeing. This tour exceeded my hopes in this regard. I learned about different temple types, about some Buddhist philosophy, and spent time with the monk in an off-the-beaten-path temple on the hill-side. My only complaint is that the tour didn't describe the amount of walking needed - I was quite tired and the trek was not easy for me, having already walked about 20 km the previous day. I had expected the tour to be much easier on my feet and legs than it was.

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May 9, 2018


Perfect itinerary and a perfect guide (Miyake Nobumasa). Thank you!

July 10, 2019

Product ID: 124781