Explore Kyōto under guidance of Tyas Sōsen
Tyas Sōsen has resided in Japan for over a decade. As a Japanology graduate of Belgium’s Leuven University, Sōsen relocated to Japan in order to pursue post-graduate studies in the literature, history and culture of 17th-century Japan at Kansai University, Osaka, from which he received a Master of Arts degree. In order to deepen his understanding of Japan’s complex cultural traditions, he has trained in kendō, karate, and jōdō, and studied both nō performance-practice and the rite-of-tea (sadō).
By now a fully-qualified instructor in the Way of Tea as taught by the (warrior-style) Enshū school － thereby having become the youngest foreigner ever to have achieved this rank within the school －Sōsen instructs both Japanese and foreign pupils in ‘tea-ceremony’. He also conducts demonstrations, lectures and workshops concerning the tradition, philosophy and aesthetics of the-rite-of-tea.
Letting Sōsen guide you on a tour through Kyōto will not only provide you with a unique visit to the most picturesque sites of the old capital of Japan; you will also be enabled to listen to the stories of a long term foreigner resident in this interesting country.
1) Visit the Fushimi Inari shrine where the god of rice and business resides. The mountain on which the shrine is built, is lined with thousands of vermilion colored torii gates.
2) See the world’s longest wooden building at Sanjusangendo, a temple housing 1001 golden buddha statues. The outer corridor of the building was used for traditional archery tournaments.
3) Refresh with a bowl of matcha green tea with a traditional wagashi sweet. (optional)
4) Visit several often overlooked local shrines, and one shocking monument that other tours often skip. You won’t believe what’s buried here…
5) Walk up to Kyoto’s first Zen temple, Kenninji, for a view of one of the most impressive Zen rock gardens. What is depicted on the ceiling of the main hall is a surprise.
6) What actually is a geisha? Let’s find out in Gion, the traditional geisha quarter of Kyoto.
7) We will conclude our tour in Shijo, the center of town where you may find your liking of contemporary stores, restaurants, the traditional nishiki market and much more.
Although we were not fortunate enough to experience a tea ceremony with Tyas, we were lucky to have Tyas as our private tour guide of Kyoto in March 2017. Tyas was extremely knowledgeable, friendly and gracious. He answered all of our questions (and we had MANY about all aspects of Japanese culutre). We really enjoyed his ‘foreigner’ yet ‘insider’ insights.
At the end of our tour, he continued to walk with us and he helped us get organized for our next day on our own (he said he was walking that way anyway, but I suspect he was just being gracious and helpful as is the Japanese custom we enjoyed so much on our visit to Japan).
He also gave us a sample of one of his teas. It is delicious! If we are ever back in Kyoto, I would book him for a tea ceremony.
I highly recommend him as a guide.
Pricing and availability.
approx. 4.5 hours
Half day: JPY 18,000/tour up to 5 persons
Full day: JPY 25,000/tour up to 5 persons
These fees exclude all transportation and entrance fees for you and your guide.
Use the contact form below to make your reservation or inquire about custom itineraries.
Bookings should be made at least 1 week prior to your desired tour date.
Please note that this tour must be booked with a starting time no later than noon.
- This is mainly a walking tour, so comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended.
- This tour can be booked as a morning or afternoon tour, however it must be started by noon to ensure that we have time to visit as many locations as possible before they close.
- Tour price excludes transportation fees and all temple admission fees.
- Guests are responsible for their own bill at the tea house if they choose to include that in the tour (800 yen per person). Suitable for vegetarians.
- Itinerary is subject to change due to seasonal changes in temple hours, special events, transportation delays, weather, or other factors. Guests will be kept informed of any itinerary changes as they occur on the day of the tour.