Gion Evening Highlights Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide

For the time and budget-conscious traveler, experience the Gion district with our nationally-licensed and experienced multilingual tour guides.

You’ll start your day by meeting your guide at the Tatsumi Daimyojin Shrine, the center of Gion. While exploring Gion, your guide will show you the history and culture of geisha―from their kimonos and hairstyles to rules and daily rituals.

You’ll walk down the cobbled streets of three Geisha areas in total―Gion, Pontocho, and Miyagawacho―while you listen to stories of Kyoto’s ancient past. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a geisha on the street!

This short but value-packed trip is a fantastic way of experiencing a side of Kyoto that most tourists do not get to see.

Note*1: The Nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification is issued by the Japanese government requires a good knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and history.
* Duration: 1 hour
* Starts: Kyoto, Japan
* Trip Category: Cultural & Theme Tours >> Historical & Heritage Tours




For the time and budget-conscious traveler, experience the Gion district with our nationally-licensed and experienced multilingual tour guides.

You’ll start your day by meeting your guide at the Tatsumi Daimyojin Shrine, the center of Gion. While exploring Gion, your guide will show you the history and culture of geisha―from their kimonos and hairstyles to rules and daily rituals.

You’ll walk down the cobbled streets of three Geisha areas in total―Gion, Pontocho, and Miyagawacho―while you listen to stories of Kyoto’s ancient past. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a geisha on the street!

This short but value-packed trip is a fantastic way of experiencing a side of Kyoto that most tourists do not get to see.

Note*1: The Nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification is issued by the Japanese government requires a good knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and history.

Itinerary
This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Tatsumi Daimyojin Shrine, Motoyoshicho Shimbashi Hanamikoji Nishiiru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0087 Kyoto Prefecture

The inner torii of the Tatsumi Daimyojin shrine in the Gion area of Kyoto. It is located near Shira-kawa, an area famous for ochaya (tea houses) and geisha activity. The story behind the shrine seems vague to me, but it appears that it was built to appease an foul-tempered tanuki who was bothering the geiko crossing the Kamo-gawa.

Duration: 10 minutes

Pass By: Gion, Kyoto 605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture

Gion (祇園) is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain.

Gion attracts tourists with its high concentration of traditional wooden machiya merchant houses. Due to the fact that property taxes were formerly based upon street frontage, the houses were built with narrow facades only five to six meters wide, but extend up to twenty meters in from the street.

Pass By: Gion Shirakawa, Higashiyama-ku along Shirakawa River Minamidori, Kyoto 605-0000 Kyoto Prefecture

Another scenic part of Gion is the Shirakawa Area which runs along the Shirakawa Canal parallel to Shijo Avenue. The canal is lined by willow trees, high class restaurants and ochaya, many of which have rooms overlooking the canal. As it is a little off the beaten path, the Shirakawa Area is typically somewhat quieter than Hanami-koji Street.

Many tourists visit Gion hoping to catch a glimpse of a geiko or maiko on their way to or from an engagement at an ochaya in the evenings or while running errands during the day. However, if you spot a geiko or maiko, act respectfully. Complaints about tourists behaving like ruthless paparazzi are on the increase in recent years.

Stop At: Yasaka Shrine, 625 Giommachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0073 Kyoto Prefecture

Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社, Yasaka Jinja), also known as Gion Shrine, is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto. Founded over 1350 years ago, the shrine is located between the popular Gion District and Higashiyama District, and is often visited by tourists walking between the two districts.

The shrine’s main hall combines the honden (inner sanctuary) and haiden (offering hall) into a single building. In front of it stands a dance stage with hundreds of lanterns that get lit in the evenings. Each lantern bears the name of a local business in return for a donation.

Yasaka Shrine is well known for its summer festival, the Gion Matsuri, which is celebrated every July. Arguably the most famous festival in the whole country, the Gion Matsuri dates back over a thousand years and involves a procession with massive floats and hundreds of participants. The shrine also becomes busy during the cherry blossom season around early April, as the adjacent Maruyama Park is one of the most famous cherry blossom spots in Kyoto.

Duration: 10 minutes