Come experience both the excitement of Osaka's top spots and the interesting allure of the more hidden gems scattered about the city. Osaka Castle and the Namba/Dotonbori areas are our must-sees, but you'll also visit and learn about interesting old neighborhoods. We'll also go high for some views, and low for some interesting marketplaces. A native or near-native English (or other selected language) guide will not only show you five parts of the great city visited over the course of this four hour walking tour, but also pepper the time with interesting commentary and relevant cultural discussion.
Osaka's not known for great food for nothing, and here's an experience that will show you why. No takoyaki, no okonomiyaki: We're talking about honest-to-goodness Japanese tender, well-marbled beef from Kobe or the nearby countryside. Of course, you could go to a variety of restaurants and have a nice meal of Kobe beef here in Osaka, but for around the same price, we give you so, so much more. First, you'll get a hands-on education at a local "wet" market, where a deeper understanding of all things Japanese from fruit and vegetable to fish and of course the region's famous beef awaits you. We'll not point out ingredients in the market, but also tell you how they are used and the flavors they impart. And it bears repeating that this is a *local* market. Go to Kuromon Market if you must, but it will be nothing like what you find on this tour. Your chef/guide will then walk with you the approximately five minutes from the market to his standing-bar restaurant, which will be reserved in its entirety for the exclusive use of the tour. This is the point where we transition from ingredients procurement to utilization, as the chef, with your optional participation, prepares the beef and its accoutrements, as well as the tasty side dishes to accompany your meal. Rest assured the meat will be cooked just as you like it (which we hope will not be "well done"!) on an authentic Japanese teppan grill. With included sake (Japanese rice wine) or other drink in hand, it's time for the most fun part of all, eating! Indulge in three different meat styles and preparations, garlic fried rice, and some Japanese-style omelet too. By the time all those plates are clear, you'll be smiling ear-to-ear! Before you know it, the experience will come to a close and the restaurant will open up the the general public, at which point you are more than welcome to stick around. There's a little bit of everything here: local market adventuring, a fun cooking class, and then lots 'o spectacular food and drink to go around, all under the tutelage of a Japanese chef in this centrally located part of the city. Come get local with us.
You and no more than five others will explore the local foods and entertainment districts of Kyoto on a not-so-standard, all-inclusive walking and eating nighttime tour! You'll mingle with locals, eat regional specialties at two different standing bar/restaurants, and be given a visual feast of a primer on the various nightlife scenes in Kyoto, from geiko (a.k.a. "geisha") on down. With a native or equivalent English speaking guide at your side, you'll get a clear understanding of what the area is all about. And with some great food and a couple of (included) drinks in you, the merriment will be all the more! For those looking to delve even deeper into Kyoto's foodie background, we offer an optional 1.5 hour pre-tour delve into the markets of Kyoto! We'll walk you through a local supermarket and explain the basics of a Japanese home's kitchen, and in turn, the basics of Japanese food. Then, we do a detailed dissection across an abundance of Japanese delicacies as we stroll down the famous Nishiki Market's main promenade. Know Before You Book Confirmation will be received at time of booking. The minimum drinking age in Japan is 20 years old. Reservations for up to 8 people are accepted, with any group of 6 and over being guaranteed private.
Learn about real-life Osaka. Then get down to some eating. Experience two of Osaka's most dynamic and delicious foodie neighborhoods on this small group (a maximum of only six guests), guided nighttime tour. With a (hopefully) humorous native or honestly native-equivalent English speaker as your guide, you'll giddily explore the Tenma and Kyobashi neighborhoods, punctuated by a healthy and hearty dinner's worth of tasty and distinctive treats. Dishes vary by night, but local favorites such as dote nikomi (slow cooked beef), sashimi and also cooked fish, vegetable dishes in the local style, kushi katsu (fried food on sticks), and so, so much more. We can accommodate most any dietary restriction, so vegetarians and even vegans need not fret. While out and about over the course of our evening, you'll also learn about the history and culture of food and life in general here in Osaka, along the way getting great insider tips about this fascinating city. With a full dinner and three drinks included in your tour, you can forget about the needless anxiety and mystery surrounding the added-cost surprises that some other evening adventures may foist upon you. Over the course of the night, there will be about one and a half hours of walking around and exploring, and about one and a half hours of eating. It's a nice balance, if we do say so ourselves! Depending on the evening, all or some of the restaurants may be the local "standing bar" type restaurants – social, lively places that have amazing in-house made food in addition to a bountiful drink selection. Osaka is famous for its food, and you're going to see it all tonight! Except takoyaki and okonomiyaki, because you can eat those on your own or with some more pedestrian Osaka walkabout! :) Prepare for a tasty and entertaining romp through a very real, very local Osaka! Bye, bye Dotonbori! Oh, and by the way, if you're interested in trying some Kobe beef, check out our affordably priced Kobe beef option at checkout! Know Before You Book The legal drinking age in Japan is 20. While not overtly risque, the tour includes commentary and contents that may not be suitable for pre-teens.
A simple proposition with a predictably positive outcome: Private touring across Kyoto, as you like it. You tell us what you want to see, or even easier still, you tell us your interests (rank or weight 'em while you're at it, if you please), and we'll propose an itinerary for you. Kyoto Private Touring means just the right balance of temples/shrines, gardens, city exploration, food related sights (and smells and tastes), and then whatever else tickles your fancy. And with optional car service, you can luxuriate in added convenience and comfort. If you ask us, there is nothing quite like the enduring beauty of the Japanese garden in Kyoto. Seasonality brings solitude, rebirth, bursting vivacity, and then finally the warmth of the autumn before the cycle resets once again. As for temples and shrines (the former being Buddhist and the latter being Shinto), we know it can be overwhelming or even downright tedious to see too many in one day. We recommend keeping it to three or less in order to prevent temple fatigue. Aside from historical sites, Kyoto also has culinary pedigree befitting to such an important city. Flavors here and different, and we highly recommend a walk through a lively marketplace. The more delicate flavors of Kyoto cuisine may surprise palates used to Tokyo or even Osaka cooking styles. If you're looking to take the vegetarian path, "seishin ryori" is vegan food principled on religious doctrine. You may be shocked how many different ways tofu and be prepared! Of course, if you're looking for something a bit of more carnivorous, Kobe-style, richly marbled Japanese "wagyu" is readily available for melting in your mouth. Have something specific you want to dive deeper into on your private Kyoto tour? How about 19th century architecture? Sake (rice wine) tasting at a brewery? Are you a train lover? Challenge us. We love showing all the nooks and crannies of fabulous, engaging, and entrancing Kyoto.
Gardens, Views, and Hot Springs Spend a day out of Osaka exploring the natural wonders surrounding Kobe. Take a scenic cable car up Mount Rokko, where you step into the lush, floral landscapes of the Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden. Later, visit the hot springs at Arima Onsen and soak in the therapeutic waters of their baths. After morning pickup from your hotel in Osaka, drive west to the modern city of Kobe. An expert guide takes you to the foot of Mount Rokko, a 3,054-foot (931-m) mountain that provides a lush backdrop to the city. Here, board a funicular cable car and make a smooth ascent up the slopes, admiring views of the city as it shrinks below you. At the top of the mountain, step out to find the Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden. Take a walk among paths lined with a rainbow of blossoming alpine flowers and vibrant trees like the Japanese maple. Descend the mountain with your guide and head to Arima Onsen, one of the oldest hot spring towns in Japan. Take lunch at your own expense before heading for the famous hot springs. Feel your worries melt away as you sink into the bubbling, therapeutic waters for a long soak. Visit both indoor and outdoor baths for a change in scenery, and take advantage of saunas and lounge areas ideal for relaxing. At the end of the day, return to your hotel in Osaka feeling completely refreshed. Know before you book Groups of 4 or less are serviced by a sedan, so one person will have to sit in back in the middle. Groups of 5 or 6 are serviced by luxury minivan. For groups of 4 or less that would like the minivan, please select a passenger count of 5. An additional surcharge of approximately JPY 3,500 per person for admission to attractions on the tour route is payable on the day of your activity. Hotel pickup is available from most centrally located Osaka hotels. Please arrange pickup from your hotel or a nearby location when you call to confirm your reservation. Please be ready and waiting in your hotel lobby 15 minutes prior to your scheduled pick-up time.
History and Culture, all by Private Vehicle Uncover the most jaw-dropping sights of Osaka on a tour that takes you to its intricate temples, breathtaking gardens, and ancient burial mounds called kofun. With your expert guide behind the wheel, enjoy a private look at the centuries-old city, ending the day with views of Osaka Castle in the afternoon light. Your day begins with a convenient hotel pickup in a luxury vehicle. From here, you head to the 6th-century Shitennō-ji Temple, often thought to be the first Buddhist temple in Japan. Wander the ancient grounds to explore its immaculate pagoda, tranquil gardens, and elaborate shrines, as well as the treasure house that displays paintings and scriptures in various periodic and themed exhibits. Continue south to the Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, where you can see its famous arching bridge and note the difference in style from the Shitennō-ji Temple. Next, you make a stop at a rotating sushi restaurant for lunch before continuing to Sakai, a city that borders Osaka to the south. A drive up the hill takes you to the Sakai City Hall observation deck, offering exquisite 360-degree views of the city. Gaze down at the massive keyhole-shaped kofun tombs surrounded by moats, including the one belonging to Emperor Nintoku from the 4th or 5th century. You then head to nearby Daisen Park, home to a modern Japanese garden full of bonsai trees and trickling streams. Your tour concludes with a drive north back into the city, where you make a final stop at Osaka Castle. Explore the ground's 13 structures, from gates and turrets to storehouses and wells, while taking in views of the castle during what is said to be the prettiest time today. Passenger count of 4 or less receives sedan service. If four book, one person will have to sit in the middle in the back. Passenger count of 5 or 6 receives minivan service. For groups of four adults, minivan service provides more comfort over sedan service. Know Before You Book Groups up to 4 are services by a sedan, so one person would need to sit in the middle in back. Groups of 5 or 6 are serviced by a luxury minivan. For groups smaller than 5 that still want the place of a minivan, please select a group size of 5. An additional surcharge of approximately ¥500 per person for admission to temples and tombs is payable on the day of your activity. Daisen Park gardens are closed on Monday. If this is the case, your guide will offer you options for other locations to visit instead. Hotel pickup is available from most centrally located Osaka hotels. Please arrange pickup from your hotel or a nearby location when you call to confirm your reservation. Please be ready and waiting in your hotel lobby 5 minutes prior to your scheduled pick-up time.
Looking for a full-day, private vehicle tour that covers top spots with a fun, knowledgeable, and truly fluent English speaker? You've found it. We show you Dotonbori, Osaka Castle, Shin-sekai, a view from high above, and more! Plus, get some local insight and interesting commentary at some of our other recommended stops. All of this at your pace, with your own personal driver/guide, and high quality vehicle service. Your guide is *guaranteed* to be a native English speaker or honest equivalent.
Your Private Kyoto Day Trip from Osaka Your first stop is at the foot of the mountains above Kyoto, Arashiyama, where history and natural beauty coexist in great abundance. We park right in the center of town, then set about seeing the surrounding temples, scenery, and shops, finally taking a walk along the river. The sights include the World Heritage-listed Tenryuji, said to be the most important temple in Arashiyama. Marvel at the temple grounds, expansive Japanese-style rooms, and exquisite gardens. Every season brings different highlights in the garden, as does every angle from which you view it. Then there's the famous bamboo forest, which leads us right up to Okochi Sanso, an estate property now open to the public. You'll also have the opportunity here to enjoy Japanese tea and snacks (included), as well as excellent garden walks and views. See a bit more of the hillside, then descend to the river by way of a spacious park. From there, a five minute walk along the wide river brings you to the main shopping street where you can browse for some souvenirs before we head to our sushi lunch. After lunch ,we head to Fushimi Inari, set at the foot of Inari mountain, and admire the momentous installation of red gates. Take a walk on some of the trails that lead up to the top of the mountain. It takes two hours to get to the summit, so you'll only be able to go up part of the way, but temple structures and ambiance are remarkable from any angle. Know Before You Book If your hotel is outside central Osaka, you may be asked to pay a small transportation surcharge This tour begins in Osaka, and may end either back in Osaka or in Kyoto.