Admiring the ageless works of artisans
It’s no coincidence that Kyoto has a rich artisan culture that flourished in every aspect of living from kitchenware to kimonos. In this city that was the capital for a thousand years after its founding in the late 8th century, artisans constantly developed their skills to fulfil the varied demands of the imperial court. With our full day plan, you’ll discover first-hand the incredible artisanship and beauty that are the legacies of a millennium of craftspeople and experience using some of the amazing creations yourself.
- 01 Artisan workshop tour
- 02 Kyoto State Guest House
- 03 Kyoto Imperial Palace
- 04 Teramachi street
- 05 KIRIN Ichiban Collaborative store
<For Kyoto Imperial Palace Neighbourhood Tour> from Kyoto station, take the Subway Karasuma line to Marutamachi station (7 minutes)
01Artisan workshop tour
Kyoto is dotted with the studios of artisans engaged in traditional industries and crafts from bamboo to religious items, weaving to fan-making. Some of these studios are open to the public and can be visited on walking tours led by Kyoto Certified Interpreter Guides (Kyoto City Visitors Hosts). Participants can observe the impressive skills of master craftspeople closeup and talk directly with the artisans. It’s a great opportunity to deepen your cultural understanding.
<Kyoto Imperial Palace Neighbourhood Tour>
Visit some of the diverse artisans’ workshops in the area west of the Imperial Palace.
When: 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday
Price: 2,000 yen per person
Phone: 075-252-6636 (Weekdays 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)
<Discover Gion Morning Tour>
Discover the culture and way of life of the iconic Gion pleasure district. You’ll visit little-known back alleys and traditional craft studios.
When: 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. every Monday and Thursday
Price: 2,000 yen per person (Please book by 8:00 a.m. on the day of the tour at Hotel The Celestine Kyoto Gion / Phone 075-532-3111)
<Kyoto Artisans Concierge>
A portal site for information about workshop tours and hands-on experiences. Please note that bookings are necessary to participate in experiences.
From Kyoto Imperial Palace Neighbourhood Tour: 16-minute walk
02Kyoto State Guest House
The opulent Kyoto State Guest House was built in 2005 as a facility for receiving foreign dignitaries. It was also where the Rugby World Cup 2019 pool draw took place. The essence of the Japanese traditional artisans of today is showcased in every aspect of this stunningly beautiful facility. The exterior, internal pillars, flooring and other foundations were crafted with masterful carpentry skills traditionally used in building temples, shrines and tea rooms. Furnishings are ornately decorated with the work of Nishijin weaving and gold lacquering artisans. English-language tours of Kyoto State Guest House take place daily at noon.
Address: 23 Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Open: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Admission fee: <Entry only> adults 1,500 yen, university students 1,000 yen, junior high and high school students 500 yen, <Guided tours> adults 2,000 yen , university students 1,500 yen , junior high and high school students 700 yen
*Children of elementary school age and younger are not permitted to enter.
03Kyoto Imperial Palace
Kyoto Imperial Place was home to successive emperors and the seat of imperial rule from the middle ages through to the mid-19th century. Today, parts of the grounds of Kyoto Imperial Palace are open to the public. Visitors can view a beautiful pond garden designed to show a different face in each of the four seasons, and view historical buildings where important ceremonies were held. Experience a sophisticated aesthetic sense and air of elegance fit for an emperor. Free guided tours are available in English and Chinese at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. with no advance bookings required.
Address: 3 Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Open: August 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Last admission 4:20 p.m.) /September 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Last admission 3:50 p.m.) /October, November 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Last admission 3:20 p.m.)
Closed: Monday (the following day if Monday is a national holiday) , year-end and New Year holidays and during imperial events.
Admission fee: free
The stretch of Teramachi street south of Kyoto Imperial Palace between Marutamachi street and Oike street is lined with some of Kyoto’s oldest specialist shops. Here you’ll find traditional artisanal goods such as lacquerware, tin items, washi paper and tea utensils and well as antiques and tea. Many of the stores also offer more contemporary designs to fit the lifestyles of today so you’re sure to find the perfect present for a loved one or yourself. The traditional Kyoto-style town houses that remain here lend an old-fashioned charm to the street.
Take the Subway Tozai line from Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae (Kyoto City Hall) station to Karasuma Oike station, then transfer to the Karasuma line to Kyoto station (15 minutes total).
05KIRIN Ichiban Collaborative store
Cap your day with dinner at KIRIN Ichiban Collaborative store’s izakaya (Japanese pub-style) restaurant. A collaboration between Japanese beer brewing giant Kirin and Kyoto’s up-and-coming traditional artisans, this restaurant is open this autumn for a limited time. Patrons can sip beer on tap served in Kiyomizu-ware tumblers created by nine young ceramic artists in a space co-created by students from Kyoto City University of Arts and local artisans. The restaurant is decorated with noren curtains and paper lanterns designed especially for the event with a moon and cherry blossom theme. These artisanal products in actual use bring a real sense of the special warmth and comfortable tactility of handmade objects.
Date: 18 September – 31 October 2019
Venue: Ichibakoji JR Kyoto Isetan
Address: 9th floor, JR Kyoto Isetan, Higashi Shiokoji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Open: 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (last orders at 10:00 p.m.)