Sean Horne was fantastic. Super friendly, very organised and made the tour interesting and fun. Would definitely recommend to friends.
See Kyoto at night when its lanes are lit-up by lanterns
A private evening tour means a more personalized experience
Traditional Japanese snack tastings included
Tour Gion with a guide so you don’t get lost
Experiencing Kyoto by night is an essential part of any visit to Japan’s city of tradition. Walking through the old town’s lantern-lit wooden streets is an otherworldly experience not to be missed!
We’ll begin our private Kyoto tour at Minamiza Theatre in Kyoto’s famed Geisha district of Gion. As we wander, there’s a good chance you’ll see both Geiko and Maiko breezing through the narrow alleyways of the old quarter.
From there, your private guide will help you avoid the crowds and traverse the serene wooden backstreets through to Yasaka Shrine, where there’s an explosion of light and noise! Famous Yasaka is eternally alive, brought to life by bright lights and buzzing crowds, and lined with street food stalls selling Japan’s favourite evening snacks — everything from frozen bananas to skewered squid.
We’ll then avoid the crowds a second time as we dart into the backstreets of northern Gion, walking through the narrow streets lined with smaller and more modern clubs and bars — a fascinating contrast to the quarter’s old buildings and historical air.
Crossing the Kamo River, we’ll take in the sprawling view of Kyoto’s restaurant district as it stretches into the distance along the river, before crossing into Pontocho. A centuries-old entertainment district now lined with bars and restaurants, Pontocho is lit almost entirely by traditional Japanese lanterns of every shape and size. Each restaurant has its own unique menu and atmosphere, but all retain an old-world charm.
From Pontocho, we’ll cross to Teramachi, a traditional Japanese-style arcade strip that stretches off into the distance. Roofed with glowing, cathedral-like arches, Teramachi is home to a countless variety of merchants and restaurants, including traditional Japanese bookstores and the ubiquitous, brightly lit Manga comic shops. Here, you can find everything from statues of ancient gods at a Butsudan-ya (Buddhist altar shop) to high-quality sushi knives and vintage clothing.
Leaving Teramachi’s arcade, we’ll head past the Nishiki food market to check out a tachinomiya — translated in English, ‘tachinomiya’ literally means ‘stand and drink shop.’ Bars with no seats offer locals a chance to enjoy drinks and light snacks en route to home or engagements elsewhere.
Miyake was our guide and his English was excellent. He made every effort to make this evening both memorable and informative. This tour was one of the special highlights of our trip to Japan. The meeting place is well known to the taxi drivers but...More
Our guide Julian did an amazing job with the way he led us through small lanes telling us of the history of geiko and maiko and the general area, with many small snippets of interesting information that you would never discover on your own. Julian...More
We took the evening walking tour “Lanes and Lanterns” with our fabulous guide, Sean Horne. Rainy night, glistening stone paths, red lanterns of Gion - as if you we had stepped back in time. If only we were as elegantly dressed as the geiko and...More
An excellent tour! Sean knows Kyoto and is passionate about sharing his enthusiasm for this city. We walked beautiful paths and lane ways, stopping to hear the stories of shrines and temples, but were also introduced to private corners and interesting quirks of the area....More