Kyoto audio tour: The Best of Gion District: Geishas, Temples and Kabuki

The Best of Gion District: Geishas, Temples and Kabuki

Walking Tour

60 mins

About the Tour

Kyoto is widely regarded as the centre of Japanese tradition, culture and history. To understand Kyoto in depth is the key to unlocking Japan as a whole. This walking tour takes you to some of the most intriguing parts of the city.

Along the way, you’ll find out about the history and relevance of Kabuki theatre, the religions that peacefully coexist side by side, and the intricate and ritualistic lifestyles of Kyoto’s famous geishas and their apprentices, the Maiko. I’ll share details about some of the temple rituals and point out one of Japan’s largest pagodas. You’ll also get a chance to try on your own geisha outfit and browse the many handicraft stores dotted along the route. We’ll end off at a spot with a breathtaking view over the city that you won’t want to miss.

Highlights include:

• Seeing stunning cityscapes that will make you want to take a picture every few minutes
• Understanding the often mysterious real life of a geisha
• Learning about the relationship between Kyoto house designs and tax savings
• Connecting the dots between the chili pepper and Buddhism
• Hearing the story of Okuni of Izumo, the Kabuki dancer
• Getting to know the difference between Buddhism and Shintoism

This tour takes you through some of Kyoto’s most famous areas and familiar landmarks, but in far more detail than you’ll find in a regular guidebook.

This tour is suitable for both first time visitors and residents of Kyoto. Having worked with geisha, I can share with you authentic stories from a lifetime in Kyoto. I’m also an avid traveler who understands the importance of experiencing the city with a local guide. But more importantly, I love to share the city’s amazing history and culture!

This tour takes between 1 and 1.5 hours. There are plenty of cafes and local craft shops along the route for you to enjoy a short break during your walk.

Tour Producer


Mayako Yuasa

Hello, I'm Maya. I'm a local here in Kyoto and work as a licensed guide in English and Spanish. I've been guiding many guests in Kyoto and neighborhoods.
I'm also licensed in the Tea ceremony and Japanese flower arrangement. Besides working as a licensed guide, I work in the tea ceremony workshop for foreign visitors. Since I love my city so much, it's my passion to help you be a part of Kyoto and feel the essence of Japan.

Major Landmarks

  • Gion Geisha Area

  • Higashiyama Historic District

  • Kabuki Theatre

  • Gion Hanamikoji Street

  • Kenninji Temple

  • Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine

  • Yasaka Pagoda

  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Directions to Starting Point

The tour begins at the east end of the Shijo Bridge so called Shijo Ohashi in Japanese.
This bridge is so famous that if you get lost, just ask for ''Shijo Ohashi'' and everyone will be able to tell you where to go.

Just west of this bridge is the downtown area of Kyoto.
You can enjoy yourself before and after the tour.

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Places to stop along the way

Along the route there are cafes, restaurants, bars, pastry shops, soft serve ice cream shops, liquor shops, pickle shops, kimono shops, Japanese fan shops, pottery shops, bag shops, spice shops ... and much more!

Best time of day

This tour can be enjoyed at any time of the year. I recommend starting the tour in the light of day in order to enjoy the architecture. It is also beautiful at sunset, so it is a good idea to watch the sun set after the tour has finished. The temples, which are the finishing points of the tour, are open from 6am to 6pm on most dates. It is advisable to start the tour at 4pm at the latest to allow time to see the last temple.


Be careful not to overspend, as there are many fascinating crafts and local snacks along the way. (But it's all worth it.)


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The Best of Gion District: Geishas, Temples and Kabuki