Gain a riveting introduction to Kyoto’s food culture with this small-group guided tour. Begin with the vast 400-year-old Nishiki Market, nicknamed 'Kyoto's Kitchen,' where over 130 food shops and stalls will beckon your taste buds. Learn about its learn history and taste the unique dishes including: Tofu Skin, rice ball, fried fish cakes, Japanese pike conger eel, omelet and Sake. Rest your appetite by a nearby shrine dedicated to the God of Education (Nishiki Shrine). Follow this up by sauntering through the famous Pontocho Alley- a narrow street dripping with color and melange. It’s lined with enduring shops and traditional restaurants waiting to be explored, and the complete dismal of cars and modern buildings invites you further to be engrossed by the mesmeric surroundings. Here, alongside our final destination, Gion district, is renowned for Geisha spotting. Not only will you be educated about this classical tradition, you may have the chance to even meet one but if you are lucky!
Your Kyoto culinary trip commences in front of the Kyoto Daimaru department store on Shijo Street where you will meet the local guide at 10:45 AM. Our expert guide will start by providing an overview of what to expect, as well as teaching you useful Japanese phrases and expressions that you can put into use immediately. The famous Nikishi Market will be the first stop, where you will be left spoilt for choice with the 130 stores. Here our guide will introduce you to the endless array of Kyoto’s finest foods. This will include, Yuba (Tofu Skin) a very important and common product in Kyoto. Rice Cracker will also be served, alongside Satsuma-age (deep fried fish cake), Hamo (daggertooth pike conger) a renowned fish since the 16th century and Kyoto’s traditional omelet (which is very different to the one you may have tasted in Tokyo).We're sure you’re thinking ‘but what about drinks?’. Not to worry. We’ll quench your thirst with high-quality sake in a local shop that’s been around for over 230 years. This will be supplemented by tasting Japanese spices, Dashi (soup stock), customary vegetables and even a fresh honey drink. The best part is your guide will share insights into the cultural and historical significance of everything you taste, allowing you to explore Kyoto ‘one step deeper’. Souvenir shopping can also be completed here; in fact it's considered to be a must-see place for gifts and thanks to our lovely guides, they will recommend you the best places for such purchases. At the far end of Nikishi Market stands a local shrine in which you will have the opportunity to pay your respects and learn about local superstitions. If you're feeling brave enough, you can attempt a fortune (and don’t worry if you receive a bad omen, we’ll be able to fix that). Our next destination will be Pontocho Street; To arrive here, we must cross through Teramachi Street, Shijo Street and Kiyamachi Street- all of which will enable you to immerse in modern Japanese culture.Pontocho street is very special, even for natives, because it is one out of the five Geisha districts in Kyoto. From here, you will walk across the majestic Kamo river and taste local sweets. The final section of this tour will lead you to Gion district (which is also another Geisha area). The guide will take you out of mainstream hustle and bustle of crowded streets and into photogenic and hidden soft spots. Not only will be educated about the Geisha tradition (we call them Maiko or Geiko), you may even meet one, if you're lucky enough.Of course, your guide could advice you about your travel plan in Japan like your local friend!!