Uncover Kyoto at Night in 2023: Bar Hopping in Kyoto Made Easy With These 10 Tours

Uncover Kyoto at Night in 2023: Bar Hopping in Kyoto Made Easy With These 10 Tours

Source livejapan.com

When you are in Kyoto, you definitely dont want to miss out on enjoying its iconic drink sake. Whether you’re looking for a casual evening with friends at a local izakaya, an evening of drinks and karaoke, or all-night clubbing, Kyoto has something for everyone. Explore not just sake but also this beautiful ancient city's lively nightlife too with a convenient tour. Let's check out the best tours that you can check out here!

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Kyoto: Sake's Home

Kyoto is a historic place in Japan rich with traditions, culture and aesthetics. It is one of the few cities on the planet where the past and present coexist harmoniously. But the brightest highlight of Kyoto is probably its association with Sake, the world famous Japanese drink. The city has an entire district dedicated to the drink where you can learn about Sake making and its unique history. You can tour breweries as old as 400 years old and witness the traditional process of making sake. In short, Kyoto is a delight for those who love their drink. A bar hopping tour in this city will be a wonderful opportunity to learn and understand Japan’s drinking scene and to help you out, BP Guide has put together a list of bar hopping tours available in the city. Read on to learn more.

10 Best Kyoto Bar Hopping Tours

Following is a list of 10 best bar hopping tours in Kyoto. Each of these tours are unique and is capable of giving you an unforgettable experience of the city, but what is consistent across these tours is that all of them are excellent excursions.

1. Nightlife Tour in Pontocho Alley

Magical Trip takes you to a deep exploration of Kyoto’s drinking scene. You will have an in-depth experience of Japan’s iconic izakaya culture while sampling some food and drinks that are local favourites. The fare of this experience is $100 per person.


  • The itinerary includes visits to 3 izakayas and strolling in the Gion district with an aim to soak in Kyoto’s nightlife.


  • This is a complete bar hopping experience spanning 3 hours where you will get an insight into Kyoto’s drinking culture. You will immerse yourself in Japan’s iconic izakaya culture by exploring back alleys in Kyoto and discovering bars where locals are regulars. You will hop through 3 bars enjoying 3 drinks and 2 dishes during the tour. Vegan menu is available in these izakayas.

2. Private Izakaya Experience

This customizable and private tour provided by City Unscripted is a great way to learn about Kyoto’s food and drink culture. You will discover food joints and bars that are no less than hidden gems, and savour some delicious snacks and drinks. The fare per person for this tour is $235.20


  • You will explore the lanes and bylanes of Kyoto visiting izakayas, tachinomiya and other hotspots that are local favourites. The purpose of this tour is to introduce you to Kyoto’s amazing food and drinking scene.


  • This 3 hour tour is a great way to explore Kyoto’s backstreets. You will discover hidden bars that the locals love, and drink in them like a local. The fare covers 2 drinks and 1 dish OR 1 drink and 2 dishes at each of the visited bars. You will get a private walking experience and learn about the food and drinking scene of the city.

3. Bar Hopping with an Expert Guide

This tour is provided by Beauty of Japan and is essentially a tour to explore the hidden alleys of Kyoto and find local bars loved and frequented by locals. You will savour some local drinks and snacks at various bars and understand the drinking culture of Japan. The Tour is provided for a fare of $166 per person.


  • This is a walking tour in the Kawaramachi area of Kyoto. You will explore the alleyways and hop through the bars and restaurants situated on them.


  • This walking and exploration tour spanning 3 hours will let you discover izakayas that are loved and frequented by the locals. These bars are difficult to find for tourists on their own so this tour gives you a privilege most tourists don’t have. Besides bars, you will discover other local shops and restaurants and savour snacks in between strolling. You also get an opportunity to visit a shrine in a hidden spot and learn about its history.

4. Private Bar Hopping Tour with Trivia

This is a private tour that is ideal for you if you love exploring the intricacies of a country’s culture but hate crowds. The host will take you to offbeat alleys near famous tourist spots in Kyoto. These winding alleys are sparsely populated and are lined by bars and restaurants. Your host Mayuka will take you bar hopping in these alleys while sharing interesting trivia of the place. This Air Bnb experience can be booked for $84 per person.


  • This mini walking tour will take you through the back streets of Kyoto. You will stop at the roadside bars and restaurants for drinks, a bite and casual conversations.


  • A friendly host will take you on a casual drinking tour. It will feel like a pleasant evening spent in the company of like-minded people. You engage in small talk about the locality while downing some delicious local drinks in the bars located in the hidden alleyways of Kyoto.

5. Luxury Drinking Tour

Kyoto is known for its Sake and Whisky and this tour lets you savour them in various forms. You will visit both street and luxury pubs, and sample classic alcohol and cocktails. The tour is provided by Arigato Travel for $250 per person.


  • You will browse the local streets of Kyoto, discovering many many bars and eateries in the process. An evening stroll in the “Flower Districts” ( Gion and Pontocho) of Kyoto is also on the cards. Finally, you will stop at an award-winning luxury bar for cocktails.


  • This 3 hour comprehensive drinking and walking tour includes an exploration of the hidden back streets of Kyoto, understanding the local history and culture while walking the streets and enjoying seasonal dishes and a variety of alcohol ( traditional and cocktails) at various bars, one of them being an award winning one.

6. Comprehensive Sake Brewery Tour in Fushimi District

This tour takes you to the famous Fushimi District. It is known for producing high-quality sake, which you will get several tastings of. Besides, you will get to know all that is there to know about sake production. You will also get to check out some remarkable arts and crafts of Kyoto. Tour 1 is hosted by Anne and Lauren for $165.55 per person. You can find it on By Food.


  • This tour has a busy itinerary. Your first stop will be the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, then you will go on a walking tour and explore the many shops and outlets in Fushimi District.


  • There is much to absorb and savour at the sake museum. You will learn about the history, manufacturing process and other aspects of sake, as well as receive numerous sake tastings. The tour offers enough knowledge to make you a sake connoisseur in a day. Then, you will explore a local shopping arcade and have lunch at a local restaurant.

7. A Private Food and Drinking Tour

Get to savour Japanese food and drink in its authentic form on this tour. Additionally, you will enjoy the scenic beauty along the Gokawa river and explore the Fushimi district. The Private Tour is operated by With locals for $133 per person.


  • You will visit quite a few places on this tour- Fushimi village, Teradaya, Fushimi Suigo, Fushimi Momoyama Kyo and breweries.


  • You will eat and taste Japanese food and alcohol in their authentic state. No fusions or adaptations. This is a coveted experience of many tourists. Besides, you will witness the scenic beauty along the Kamogawa river and learn about Kyoto’s food and Sake history and heritage. This 2 hours and 30 minutes tour also includes lessons on Japanese political history.

8. A Relaxing Bar Hopping Tour

This casual bar-hopping tour might be just what you need to destress. The host, Ken, will be more of a friend than a tour guide, taking you to local bars and restaurants and even to his friends’ houses should you need a cozier environment than a bar atmosphere could afford. You can get this experience for $49.22. Book it on Air BnB.


  • This is a flexible bar hopping tour. You will visit various bars with your host and drink and enjoy a casual conversation with like minded people.


  • Your host will pay for the first drink but other orders will bear a separate expense. This casual tour of 2 hours includes an evening spent with like minded people and an affable host hopping bars and making merry.

9. Bar Hopping and Food Tour in Pontocho

This is a simple bar hopping and food tour provided by Yu and his team. You will visit some of the best bars and restaurants in the Pontocho area and eat and drink to your fullest. This experience is available for $128.20 per person, and you can book it on By Food.


  • The areas that you will visit are Kiyamachi, Pontocho and Shijo street. You will make 3 stops at different izakayas. The tour finishes with a visit to the Shiho Ohashi Bridge.


  • Pontocho is a lively alley that is home to numerous atmospheric bars, so you will get an immersive izakaya experience. The fare is inclusive of 3 menus to be savoured at the 3 stops you will make; sake and tempura, a drink and 2 Japanese dishes, a drink and local Kyoto food. You will end the 3 hour tour on the Shiho Ohashi Bridge watching the Kamogawa river flow by while making casual conversation.

10. Nishiki and Pontocho Bar Hopping Tour

This tour promises you an action packed evening where you explore the hidden side of Kyoto by bar hopping with a lively guide. The tour is provided by Japan Wonder Travel for $82.04 a person.


  • The itinerary includes visits to Nishiki Market, Shinkyogoku District and Pontocho District.


  • You will have one drink and a special tempura while touring the Nishiki Market. Shinkyogoku is home to a famous bar laced with nostalgia for the locals. You will have homemade dishes and beer at this place. Then you will conclude the tour at a tasteful bar in Pontocho giving a fitting end to a 3 hour evening of fun and frolicking.

Some Well Known Japanese Alcoholic Beverages

The following 5 Japanese alcoholic beverages are a must try on your visit to Kyoto.


The most popular drink of Japan, Sake, is simple in its manufacturing process. The basic Sake is made from brewing koji mold, yeast, polished rice and water, but many varieties of it erupt depending on age, pasteurization, filtration and addition of distilled alcohol. Some of the most popular varieties of Sake are genshu, namazake, junmai, ginjo, daiginjo, nigori, doburoku and otoso. Irrespective of variety, Sake is a great accompaniment to dishes, especially Japanese dishes.


Sochu has been in production in Japan since the 16th century and is the most popular spirit in the country. Fermented koji mold, and a variety of household ingredients like sweet potato, buckwheat, rice, barley, sesame, brown sugar, chestnuts, perilla leaves and carrots, are distilled to produce sochu. Top quality sochu is distilled only once so the type of koji mold and base ingredient is crucial in determining the flavour. Some varieties of sochu are awamori, mugi shochu and imo shochu.


Japanese highball is a cocktail made from just two ingredients - Japanese whisky and soda water. But unlike the simple ingredient list, the recipe is elaborate and arty. The bartender first places a perfectly shaped ice cube in a tall glass before stirring it. The stirring continues until the glass becomes frosted, then excess water is removed and an extra ice cube is added. Then whisky is poured slowly into it. The bartender finishes off with soda water and another ice cube. Sometimes, a lemon wedge or peel will be added as garnish.


Chuhai ( a portmanteau of shochu and highball) is low on alcohol content but high on flavour. The cocktail is a mixture of sochu and soda served in a tall glass with ice. The soda used is usually of lime-lemon flavour but newer versions use various fruit-flavoured sodas, syrups and fruit juices. Similarly, shochu is sometimes replaced with vodka.


Umeshu is a bittersweet Japanese liqueur that has a fruity aroma. It is made by macerating ume plums in alcohol. The base of the drink is a neutral spirit, usually sochu, with ume and rock sugar added on top. A variety of other sweeteners are also used like black sugar or honey. The best feature of Umeshu by far is its versatility; it can be downed on the rocks or after diluting with soda, tea or water.

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From our editorial team


There is no strict dress code for bar crawls, but most people tend to dress casually. It is recommended not to wear anything too provocative. Nightlife in Kyoto can be very intense, so try to keep your pace. It's easy to get addicted to bar hopping, but you'll want to spend the rest of your time in the city. Most pub crawls include a free drink, but you also have the option to purchase additional drinks at each stop. Don't worry if you're not a heavy drinker. There are usually non-alcoholic options as well.