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.
What is included in the tour
- Two Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic Beverages (one in each restaurant)
- Gratuities (there's no tipping in Japan, and don't let anyone tell you differently)
What is NOT included in the tour
- Drinks beyond the two included. Additional drinks can be purchased directly from the restaurants if you wish.
- Explore the Gion and Pontocho areas at night.
- Get local with food and drink stops in two "tachinomi", or standing-style restaurant bars.
- Be regaled with history and stories by your native (or equivalent) English speaker.
Our standard Nighttime Local Eats and Streets tour starts at 6:30pm, but for those interested, we offer a 5pm pre-tour that delves deep into the foodie world of Kyoto. Our standard tour is loads of fun on its own, so don't worry if the pre-tour option is not appealing to you -- we will look forward to seeing you at 6:30pm in that case.
Optional pre-tour available at checkout:
- 5pm Meet at Karasuma Station (downtown Kyoto area) and head to a local supermarket, where your informative guide (who knows their way around a Japanese kitchen) will lead you about a typical local supermarket, explaining the ingredients used to build the foundation of Japanese cuisine. You'll also learn about some other peculiarities of Japanese markets.
- 5:30pm Make your way through Nishiki, quite possibly Kyoto's most revered marketplace. Here your guide will match explanations to the sights and smells you enjoy, explaining exactly what the various foods are, and how they are enjoyed. We'll also take this opportunity to point out regional differences in Japanese food.
- 6:00pm Check out a high-end department store food hall, where the food is as beautiful looking as it is delicious.
- 6:30pm You've done the daytime temples, gardens, and academic thing, had a bit of rest, and are now ready to set about seeing what the night has to offer. We'll meet at Gion Shijo Station, then start with an educational walk through the justifiably famous Gion district, which is located on the east side of the Kamogawa River. Learn about the geiko (and why we don't call them "geisha" in Kyoto), as well as the places that make this district so special. You'll also regaled with insight and info about how the art of evening entertainment has evolved into the hostess clubs of today. (Rest assured this tour is suitable for teenagers and higher.)
- 7:30pm Your hour-long anthropological adventure has left you ready for some food and drink, and we know just the place. You'll get to try a few different regionally representative dishes and a beer -- or perhaps you'd like a shochu or some sake instead? Various dietary restrictions, tastes, and bravery levels will be happily accommodated.
- 8:15pm Take a stroll through both youthful and classic restaurant and entertainment districts on the west side of the Kamogawa River, including Ponto-cho, Kiyamachi, and the Kawaramachi St. area. The old narrow streets along Pontocho will allow you to see how much the people of Kyoto value and protect tradition, while the younger areas a couple streets away will show you how eager Kyoto people are to also firmly live in the present.
- 9pm No night is complete with just one restaurant stop, so we'll visit another thoroughly vetted and often enjoyed spot. There will be more tasty vittles for your culinary consideration, and of course another drink in accompaniment.
- 9:30pm The end of the evening has come, but hopefully you've been able to garner a lasting understanding and appreciation of Kyoto's various foods, nightlife, and vibe.