As the cultural heart of Japan and former capital, Kyoto is well known all over the world for its abundance of breathtaking temples, shrines and gardens. It also happens to be the centre of the traditional Japanese arts and crafts movement, so it’s a great place to begin our shopping tour!
We invite you to join us on a stroll through Fushimi Momoyama, an attractive shopping area that is often overlooked by tourists but it is, in our opinion, one of the most charming parts of Kyoto, with a rich history, famous for producing green tea and sake.
Our first stop takes us to a well established tea shop that has been serving Kyoto’s tea lovers for over 300 years. Inhale the gentle aroma of freshly roasted green tea as the proud and friendly staff chat to you about the history of green tea in Japan, discuss the many different types that are available and give you tips on how to brew the best green cuppa, if you decide to buy any to take home!
We will continue our stroll past some fascinating local shops and artisan workshops that represent the best of Japanese culture.
After leaving the shopping arcade, we’ll head to a traditional candy and sweets shop where beautifully crafted Japanese-style sweets have been lovingly handmade for centuries. The agreeable owners are descendants of the original founders and they love to chat to customers about the history of the shop and the delicious sweets they have invented. Of course we will not leave the shop before sampling some Kyogashi, as they are known all over Japan. A box of these makes for a great gift for friends and family back home.
Sake is next on our list and as we make our way over to our brewery of choice, we’ll wander through the sake district and pass through some of the traditional brewery buildings that are scattered throughout the area. In the old days, Fushimi was the start of a trade route between Kyoto and Osaka and was known as the gateway to Kyoto. Fushimi literally means hidden water and the area was named this way due to its many hidden, underground water wells that boast pure water that’s low in minerals, which is ideal for the production of world-class sake.
Unfortunately, many local breweries have been lost to fire and disaster over the years but some have withstood the test of time and stay true to their centuries-old traditions up to this day. We will visit one of those historical breweries and after learning about the brewing process you will be rewarded with a sampling of a few of their most highly valued bottles. There will be an opportunity to buy your favourite, if you wish — no hard selling on this tour!
As the sun sets over the old capital of Japan, we will move by train to another bygone part of the city, Miyagawa-cho. This is the most authentic and least touristy of the five Geisha districts of Kyoto. Hidden in the shadow of the oldest Zen temple in the city, we will visit a unique little workshop while we’re here to witness first hand one of the fading arts of old Japan, kept alive only by a handful of skilled artists and craftsmen.
Ukiyo-e is the traditional art of woodblock printing, where the co-operation of three master craftsmen is crucial to success. The owner and proprietor will introduce us to the last step of the process, the actual printing. If you would like a genuine souvenir, it does not get any better than hand printed ukiyo-e on authentic Japanese washi paper!
We conclude our little journey at dusk at Gion Kobu Kaburenjo, a.k.a. Gion Corner. Well known to tourists and locals alike, Gion Corner is home to the local geisha theatre where you can enjoy an authentic performance by geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha). We heartily recommend you stay for the show and then take a stroll through the romantic alleyways of Gion, all decorated with glowing red lanterns. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the Japan of your dreams!
Before we go our separate ways, don’t forget to ask your guide for tips on what else to see and do during your stay in Kyoto.
Inclusions: Local-English speaking guide, green tea tasting, sweets to try, sake tasting, train fare and any entrance fees to the workshops.
Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and personal shopping, tips/gratuities for your guide.
Dress standard: Please wear comfortable, casual dress and comfortable walking shoes.
Your Trip: For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We'll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
Additional Information: The Sake tasting is part of the tour, however it is not suitable for visitors who will be driving a vehicle and minors (a minor in Japan is anyone under the age of 20).
Closure of sites: Occasionally, the small local shops that we like to visit can close at irregular times. If this happens, we'll visit a similar store instead.
Child Policy: Children are allowed on this tour but they are required to pay the same price as adults. Instead of the sake tasting we will provide some additional sweets for children to enjoy alongside you in the sake brewery.