Tours & activities by Sacred Destinations from Viator

  • Location: Kyoto, Japan
  • Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
From USD $81.10

View price calendar

If you want to possess a deeper understanding of Shintoism and Buddhism, the religions of Japan, this private 3-hour walking tour of Kyoto is the perfect introduction. A local scholar will guide your private party through the streets of Gion and take you to several spiritual sites in the cultural capital. Explore Yasaka Shrine, Kennin-ji Temple and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kiyomizu-dera Temple. You’ll learn about the symbols and structures of these Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, and discover the daily rituals of resident monks.


  • Step back in time on a history tour
  • Perfect introduction for first-time visitors
After meeting your guide at Lawson's General Store in Kyoto, begin your private 3-hour tour with a stroll through the historical Gion district. Your private guide will provide a scholarly introduction to the historical and present-day religions that infuse Japanese culture. Listen to a fascinating discussion on the synchronicity of spiritual traditions, beliefs and rituals of Shintoism — and its indigenous tribal origins — and Buddhism, which was imported from China and Central Asia.

Walk to the Yasaka Shrine and explore the numerous gates and halls of the Shinto complex. Witness the temizu, a ritual hand washing conducted before entering a Shinto shrine, as your guide outlines the basic principles of this spiritual belief system and introduces you to the kami, spiritual deities. You’ll also discover the role of folklore and its use in the nationalism promoted by the 19th-century Meiji regime.

Passing again through Gion, wend your way toward one of Kyoto’s most renowned temples, the Kiyomizu-dera. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed temple was established in 788 AD and its main hall, perched halfway up Otowa Mountain, provides amazing views across the city. Your introduction to Buddhism begins with a basic understanding of the way temple complexes are structured. Here, learn how charms and amulets are used to help change one’s fortune or provide protection.

Your final stop is the Zen Buddhist temple complex of Kennin-ji, rebuilt several times since it was established in 1202 AD. As you explore the complex with your guide, you’ll gain a better understand of the daily life of Buddhist monks, and discover how work and meditation are used to reach enlightenment. Structures you might visit are the Abbot's Quarters, the Dharma Hall (Hatto), a teahouse built in the 16th century and the Imperial Messenger Gate.

After the cultural immersion of your private walking tour, you’ll be better prepared to explore Japan's religious sites on your own!

Schedule details

Select a month to view a calendar of availability and departure details.

Departure Dates:
Departure Point:
Departs from Lawson General Store in front of Yasaka Shrine
Departure Time:
3 hours (approx.)
Return Details:
Yasaka Shrine

Pricing information

Click the link below to check pricing & availability on your preferred travel date. Our pricing is constantly updated to ensure you always receive the lowest price possible.

Morning Departure

Private Tour: Synchronized Spirtuality: Shinto & Buddhism: 10am Departure

USD $81.10
Pricing details
Afternoon Departure

Private Tour: Synchronized Spirtuality: Shinto & Buddhism: 1pm Departure

USD $81.10
Pricing details

Pricing information

Private Scholar-led Kyoto Walking Tour: Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan

Private Tour: Synchronized Spirtuality: Shinto & Buddhism

  • Professional English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fee to sites, JPY800 (approx.)
  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
Additional Information:
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Adult pricing applies to all travelers
  • Minimum age is 10 years
  • A maximum of 6 people per booking
  • Please note that you may be asked to remove your footwear at some temples
Voucher Info
You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity. What's this?
Local Operator Information:
Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination, are included on your Confirmation Voucher. Our Product Managers select only the most experienced and reliable operators in each destination, removing the guesswork for you, and ensuring your peace of mind.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel at least 7 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.
If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee.
If you cancel within 2 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.

Traveler Reviews

Reviewed by: Melanie Clare S, October 2016

This was the highlight of our trip to Japan, absolutely fantastic !