Bamboo forest in Kyoto Japan guided tours

Kyoto - Best Tours & Trips 2019

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Trip Type Trip Type Classic Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Guided Experiences Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ocean Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Tour Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Independent Package A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ocean Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Tour Styles

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 1,099 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length


Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

Travelers Age

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions


Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.


Flights & Transport

Continents & Regions

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Top Kyoto Experiences and Attractions

Top Kyoto Experiences

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Kyoto Trip Reviews

119 Kyoto Tour Reviews - Summary 100% Recommend

4.8 out of 5
Excellent 94
Great 24
Average 1
Disappointing 0
Terrible 0

Tour Reviews Write a Review

The trip was great because there were new experiences throughout

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

No two days were the same: from the cities, to the countryside, the ryokans and the ceremony at the Buddhist temple. Good for the body and the soul!

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Operator World Expeditions

I recently returned from the Backroads of Japan and honestly can't say enough about our leader Alena

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

She is truly passionate about Japan was generous in sharing her incredible knowledge of the country and enthusiasm. She went above and beyond every single day to make sure each person on the tour had a great experience. Even on "free days" she made sure everyone had a plan and knew how to get from place to place. Thank you for making our trip amazing!

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Operator World Expeditions

A great trip

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

A really enjoyable first experience of Japan. Cities, mountains, transport,
food & culture all there.
Probably reaching the summit of Fuji but the Mt Yari hike was more beautiful.
Bit unlucky with the weather on Yari.

Mayuko is an exceptional leader. She is all the things you would expect from
an exodus tour leader; well organised, patient, knowledgeable and in charge
of the group and the plan. Mayuko offers a lot more than that though. She
developed a real rapport with everyone in the group, she is engaging, funny
and opened a real window onto Japanese life. A gem.

Practice using chopsticks before you go! Luggage with wheels is very useful.
Be prepared for rain. The Mount Fuji jut is overcrowded and smelly.

Japan exceeded my expectations. Customer service is very good as is the

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Operator Exodus Travels

Ancient and Modern Japan

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I really enjoyed the trip. Japan was everything I expected and more. So much
so that I want to return in the next couple of years. I loved the fact that
quite a few of the train journeys were made by bullet train. We were
fortunate to be in Tokyo whilst the Cherry Blossom was in flower. Big tick on
the bucket list.
I enjoyed Kyoto. One of the reasons I want to return to Japan is to spend
some more time in Kyoto. One of the highlights was the first sighting of
Mount Fuiji - from the bullet train. Don’t think you can get more iconic
than that. I enjoyed Matsumoto. I could have spent another day / half day
there. Standing in Hiroshima at the iconic site of the exhibition hall was
thought provoking. Takayama was good. Actually there wasn’t a location I
didn’t like. I omitted the trip to see the snow monkeys though, choosing to
spend a morning in Obuse instead to visit the Hokusai museum and wander round
the town before rejoining the group.

Misa was wonderful. So calm, patient and organised. Nothing was too much
trouble. She helped me plan out the train journey to Obuse. She did a good
job of herding us and keeping us together, especially in the face of one or
two individuals who didn’t always appreciate the importance of timing and
one who I think was seeking travel advice for an extended stay that was over
and above Misa’s remit.....


Fantastic trip. Was a once in a life time for me but I would love to return.
Japan was everything I expected and more.

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Operator Exodus Travels

Great Trip

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

We had booked this trip to mark our 40th wedding anniversary and it did not

The travel arrangements all worked very well and our accommodation was of a
very good standard.

We had a brilliant guide, who introduced us to a series of memorable
experiences, including our first taste of authentic Japanese cooking.

The trip lived up to our expectations and was very much in line with what had
been set out in the Trip Notes.
In no particular order......
Seeing Mt Fuji appear through the clouds
Travelling on the Shinkansen......seriously quick!
Seeing the contrast between the countryside and the built up areas as we
travelled around
Walking The Philosophers Path in Kyoto.....very peaceful
Seeing the macaques at Yukanada...the babies in particular were very
Experiencing early morning rush hour on the Tokyo Metro
Appreciating the cleanliness of the litter to be seen anywhere
Feeling welcome in a strange land

Misa is an excellent leader and nothing was too much trouble for her.
She went out of her way to make sure that we all enjoyed our time in Japan.
On arriving in our hotel room in Kyoto on the first evening, we found that
she had left us a card and gift for our anniversary.
The daily arrangements for travel were a masterclass in organisation, always
done with a smile.
Misa gave up her own time to make sure that we could all make the most of our
free days.
Some of the group found the food choices challenging, so Misa put a lot of
effort into finding dishes to suit their dietary requirements.
We learned a lot about Japanese culture and history from Misa and her charm
and grace was simply an extension of how we were received by Japanese people
in general.

Realise that the food in Japan is totally different from what you are used
to. Read the Trip Notes carefully and bring your own snacks and/or be
prepared to shop in the local small supermarkets. We had never eaten Japanese
before and found that most things were delicious.

Everywhere you go, the toilets are spotless. Most do not have hand dryers or
paper towels, so do as the Japanese do and carry a small towel or flannel
with you for hand drying.

There is quite a bit of walking and steps, so make sure you have your walking
legs on!

It’s a great experience, well worth trying.

Read more
Operator Exodus Travels

Kyoto Tours and Travel Guide

Top Kyoto Travel Companies

All Kyoto tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.8 for all Kyoto trips.

101 trips from 43 tour companies with 119 reviews

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