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KyotoWorkshops & classes

Our most recommended Kyoto Workshops & classes

Kyoto: Make sweets with an award-winning chef at Ninna-ji

1. Kyoto: Make sweets with an award-winning chef at Ninna-ji

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime before-hours tour of Kyoto's iconic Ninna-ji Temple and discover the history behind each turn. Craft your own delicious wagashi candies with an award-winning confectioner, enjoy an exclusive visit to the Great Hall, and witness an authentic tea ceremony. Arrive at Ninna-ji Temple in the morning before opening hours and meet your guide and resident monk. Then, unlock the temple's main gates, which date back to the 17th century, and step into this peaceful park, surrounded by colorful trees and lush gardens. Proceed to the Great Hall, which is normally closed to the public. Explore its meticulous interior and marvel at the wealth of traditional Japanese art and woodwork. Learn more about the history that surrounds you with insightful commentary from your guide. Next, learn to make wagashi from one of Japan's finest confectioners — and the official candy purveyor of Ninna-ji. First, sample some delicious wagashi before crafting your own tasty treat with the guidance of your award-winning instructor. Continue to a secluded tea house and meet a tea ceremony master. Take a moment to admire the ornate gardens that surround you, before taking part in a traditional tea ceremony with your wagashi. Discover the meaning behind the gestures and the history rooted in this ritual. Ninna-ji is a UNESCO-listed Buddhist temple located in western Kyoto, recognized for its beautiful gardens, traditional architecture, and broad collection of classic art and woodwork. Enjoy an exclusive opportunity to experience this National Treasure at dawn on a tour for your group alone.

Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

2. Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

You will take you place on the tatami, the traditional Japanese floor mat and be met by your English-speaking host, who is a licensed tea master from Urasenke, the biggest school of tea ceremony in Japan. Watch as the host carries out the ceremonial preparation of matcha, powdered green tea. Then, you will have the chance to make tea yourself, while the host informs you about the history and spiritual role of the tea ceremony and the effects each tea-making method has on its flavor. Afterwards, savor some traditional Japanese sweets Once the ceremony has come to a close, you will have the chance to take photos and see examples of kimonos and beautiful woven textiles made in the Nishijin district of Kyoto. If you'd like to wear a kimono during the experience, you can select it as an add-on during booking and take photos to remember the experience.

Kyoto: Tea Ceremony Ju-An at Jotokuji Temple

3. Kyoto: Tea Ceremony Ju-An at Jotokuji Temple

Start your tea ceremony experience by entering through the main gates of the Jotoku-ji Temple. You will pass the entrance to the Grand Tearoom on your left and a shop next to it and meet at the nearby red benches where your guide awaits. Whilst walking through the temple you are free to admire the architecture and stand by the purification fountain. Weather permitting, you are free to sit at the red benches and for a break. In the event of rain you can stand outside under the gable of the shop or wait in the Grand Tearoom. Once you have finished perusing the temple or sitting on the red benches taking in the atmosphere you are able to enter the Grand Tearoom where your instructor waits for you.  Start your tour of the Temple with a traditional purification ritual, a completely unique and insightful experience for Western visitors. Afterwards you will remove your shoes at the entrance of the Grand Tearoom and in your group, proceed inside to take your seat. Get the chance to sample matcha tea at its best. The Tea Master will guide you throughout, showing and explaining every step of the way. Throughout the ceremony you will be taught the fine art of drinking matcha tea and learn about the importance of the ceremony.

Kyoto: Tea Ceremony Experience

4. Kyoto: Tea Ceremony Experience

Take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and discover the beauty of this centuries-old ritual. Learn from your host about the intricacies that make the tea ceremony a unique and special event. Before you go, try your own hand at making a bowl of frothy matcha with guidance from your host. Begin your experience at a traditional machiya in Kyoto's Higashiyama district. As you settle in, the host and instructor for the ceremony will provide a brief introduction to the world of matcha. Hear about the utensils used, the steps of the ceremony, and the importance of the room's decoration. Next, watch as the tea ceremony begins and nibble on a seasonal sweet with your tea while you chat with the host. Feel free to ask questions about the three schools of tea ceremony or other things about Japanese culture. Then, try frothing up your own bowl of matcha with the host's help.

Kyoto: Samurai Class, Become a Samurai Warrior

5. Kyoto: Samurai Class, Become a Samurai Warrior

Study the art of the samurai warrior class that ruled ancient Japan for centuries. Practice the stylized movements that make up the samurai technique as you handle a sword and uncover the discipline of Kenbu. Watch a 4-minute film about the basics of the samurai. Then, suit up and take hold of your samurai sword. Learn how to bow before your sword training begins. Discover how to draw it and replace it in its protective scabbard. Get a short photo shoot in your samurai suit, and then discover how to show respect to your opponent with the sword. With a respectful bow to your instructor, grab your certificate of achievement. Before leaving, watch a 10-minute performance with commentary by a sword dance instructor to gain a deeper understanding of a technique that has been passed down through generations.

Kyoto: Samurai Kenbu Show, a Traditional Sword Dancing

6. Kyoto: Samurai Kenbu Show, a Traditional Sword Dancing

Journey back in time more than 700 years to Japan's feudal period and see a sword dance that celebrates the legendary Samurai warriors through grace, beauty, and power. Arrive at the Samurai Kenbu Theater and take off your shoes in accordance with the local traditions. Take your seat to listen to a performer narrate an informative introduction about the history and techniques of Kenbu. Watch a series of Kenbu demonstrations, each with a short history lesson about Samurai culture between the 12th and 19th centuries. Admire traditional and new-style Kenbu rituals, each involving a performer who will brandish their sword in a series of intricate movements while reciting Samurai poems used before heading to the battlefield. See the techniques used with the folding fan, too. After the show, when the performers return, take out your camera and capture the heroism of the samurai. You will go on stage in groups and be photographed with the samurai. The mini-experience begins. Pick up a sword, slowly pull out the scabbard and grasp the blade. At the instructor's command, swing the sword gently at first, then gradually and more forcefully. You can also shout out loud. If there is time, you will also have the opportunity to learn how to use a fan, a necessity for a samurai. Finish your immersion into Samurai culture with a photo with the sword.

Kyoto: Table-Style Tea Ceremony and Machiya Townhouse Tour

7. Kyoto: Table-Style Tea Ceremony and Machiya Townhouse Tour

Start your experience with exploring traditional Machiya townhouse. This is a rare chance to see the real townhouse with local host. Learn daily life of Kyoto and their family histories. Enjoy a traditional table-style tea ceremony in a Japanese house. Take a seat and relax with this calming and authentic experience as you taste tea and traditional sweets. The ryu-rei (table-style) tea ceremony, with guests seated as opposed to on the ground, has been performed for foreign visitors to Japan since 1872. First, select your favorite tea bowls and other authentic tools before you taste matcha (powdered green tea) and seasonal sweets. Not only do you get to experience the tea ceremony, but also learn more about everyday tea practices and the lives of tea farmers in Japan.

Kyoto: Sushi Making Class with Sushi Chef

8. Kyoto: Sushi Making Class with Sushi Chef

Learn how to make sushi from the real chef. We purchase fresh fish every early morning at the Kyoto Central Wholesale Market and prepare for you just before the class. The chef will teach how to make sushi step by step, so even kids can enjoy the class. First we practice with Sushi sample toy, after you get used to we start making real Nigiri Sushi. Then, After Nigiri, we make sushi roll by using special tool. Finally, you will decorate all sushi on the Sushi plate, then eat as a lunch. We will take photos and videos during the class, then share data with you after the class.

Kyoto: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

9. Kyoto: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

Join an afternoon Izakaya cooking class to enjoy a great way to immerse yourself in Japanese dining culture as well as learn authentic Japanese foods that are eaten at home and in local restaurants. The cooking course consists of two parts. First, you will cook 2 or 3 dishes together with your chef and enjoy them. Then you will return to the kitchen and learn 2 or 3 more dishes before eating once more. As in many Izakaya (over the counter) restaurants, be ready to talk with your chef while cooking and eating at the same time. 

Kyoto: Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class

10. Kyoto: Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class

Experience an authentic Japanese food tradition and prepare your own bento box at a morning bento cooking class in Kyoto. Learn about typical Japanese dishes, such as sushi, tempura and miso soup, and hear about the cultural background of the well-known Japanese "bento" takeaway meal. Traced back to the late Kamakura Period (1185 to 1333), the bento box has now become a staple of Japanese cuisine. Arrive for your 2.5 to 3-hour class and collect your ingredients, apron and utensils. Then, watch and follow your chef as they demonstrate the art of bento and explain the tricks to making beautiful Japanese dishes often found in a bento box. Once you have finished cooking your dishes, enjoy the fruits of your labor and tuck into your bento lunch.

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What people are saying about Kyoto

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 86 reviews

This was an amazing experience! Our host was so kind and patient. Even though the ceremony should be quiet, she made sure to answer all of our questions. The ceremony itself is very beautiful, like a dance. There are moves and steps that must be taken and each one is significant. You get to practice a bit of the ceremony before starting, participate in the actual ceremony, blend your own matcha tea, and enjoy snacks and conversation with the host. The location is very close to the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) so you should visit that site before or after the ceremony. If you go in the winter you can use the in-ground water heater for the tea ceremony! This was a really special and unique part of our trip where we could learn a lot about Japanese culture that originated in Kyoto. If you are thinking of doing a tea ceremony, you should do this one!

The tea master perfectly demonstrated the tea ceremony and it was a great experience to watch and follow. Her explanation was very informative. Since I had an injured foot, she took a lot of consideration for me during the class. It was thoughtful and pleasurable experience. It is literally the value for money

Very interesting experience. Explanations were very clear. The hosts were lovely and nice! I can only recommend it. The tea ceremony and its meaning are beautiful. The performance was incredible.

My friend and I learnt a lot about Japanese tea culture; we also wore kimono. It was a nice experience overall and we met people from different parts of the world too!

Para alem dos ritos da cerimonia, foi uma experiência sobre a história e os valores da cultura japonesa. A instrutora é extremamente elegante e gentil. Vale à pena!!!