Private Japanese Gardens Tour

Private Japanese Gardens Tour

From (USD)
$ 397

Choose your date


Choose an available time

Private Guide (6 Guest Max)

    For Groups, please contact our GoTo Crew.

      $ 0.00

      JavaScript is required to complete booking

      Kyoto, Japan
      3 Hours
      From (USD)
      $ 397
      • The Golden Pavilion: The Zen Buddhist temple called Kinkaku-ji began as a shogun's private villa, and epitomizes lush garden design in the Muromachi period, when Japanese culture flourished under the influence of Zen Buddhism from the 1330s until 1573.
      • Ryoanji Temple: This sacred site contains two Zen rock gardens – Karesansui Garden, a dry Zen gardens with a highly stylized landscape of gravel and rocks, and Ninna-ji, modeled on the Imperial style, with wet and dry features.
      • More than a guide: Even by GoBe standards, your tour leader is special. Known officially as "docents" (from the Latin for teacher), these Ph.D. and M.A.-level experts provide fascinating insights into the history and philosophy underlying Kyoto's Zen Buddhist landscapes.
      • Your group, your tour: This private experience lets you set the departure time and the pace that works for your group's interests. The tour usually runs about three hours, but even that's flexible.

      Meeting point

      Please make your way to the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) to meet your guide at the corner of Kurama-guchi Dori and Kagamiishi Dori, by the traffic lights. Please wait right at the corner. Do not go to the ticketing booth. You'll go into the park together.

      Helpful hints

      Bring some local currency to pay for your admission to the temple directly.
      In need of retail therapy after your tour? Your guide can advise you where to go in search of that "must have" souvenir to take home. Be sure to have some local currency and a backpack for all your great buys.
      As in many cities, keep your wallet or purse secured and leave the bling behind.

      Getting around

      Plan to walk for approximately 2 miles at a gentle pace. This itinerary can be modified for your private group to accommodate wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. Let us know ahead of time at

      Activity type

      Walking Tour, Cultural, Scenic, Family Friendly, Private Tour

      Transportation used

      Public transportation may be used from time to time. Have local currency available for tickets. Your tour may involve walking only.

      Included amenities

      Ph.D. or MA-level scholar guide

      Tour ID


      Tour Participation Requirements

      Activity Level

      This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.

      Age restrictions

      Suitable for all ages.

      Special Medical Restriction

      If you use a folding wheelchair, we'll do our best to accommodate you with at least 7 days of advanced notice, providing you have someone along to assist you. Email us at Accessibility at all venues cannot be guaranteed.

      Special comments

      Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our guide, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the guide.

      Natural beauty combines with contemplation and tranquility on this tour, as you explore precisely landscaped miniature worlds that were first created by emperors and nobles during Japan's Muromachi period.

      Our walk begins at the dazzling Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-ji, built in the 14th century as the home of a regional shogun and now a Zen Buddhist temple. It's the perfect setting for discussion of the era's water-oriented garden design as we analyze the purposeful arrangement of natural elements for reflection and entertainment.
      We then head by motorcoach to Ryoanji Temple for two excellent examples of Zen rock gardens: Karesansui, a prototypical "dry" temple garden of stone, and Ninna-ji, our final destination, where we'll compare earlier landscape design with that of the later Muromachi period. The covered walkways of the Goten, former residence of the head priest, feature painted sliding doors that mirror the surrounding landscape's rock and water features, tying together our discussion for a deeper understanding of how Japanese gardens reflect a wider philosophy and culture.

      You cannot participate in this tour if you have not sent your passport number and name beforehand. Context walks can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to the walk with an 85% refund. Within 48 hours all reservations are final and cannot be refunded. Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our guide, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the guide. No shows are treated as last-minute cancelations and are non-refundable. Cancellations within two business days need to be made directly with our local offices by calling them directly (or on the emergency number provided). Cancellations made via email or by calling our U.S. 800 number may not be honored.


      Write a Review

      Kyoto, Japan
      Great photo opportunities
      Bring photo ID
      Bring money
      Bring water
      Wear comfortable shoes
      Wear Sunglasses
      Wear Hat

      Looking for other experiences in Kyoto?

      General disclaimer

      Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.

      To book this tour for a large group, visit ourGROUPS PAGE for special discounted group rates