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Several private companies offer guided tours of Kyoto. One of the best is Kyoto-Tokyo Private Tours, run by Ian Roepke, a consultant to the Kyoto Visitor’s Guide. The company offers half-day and full-day tours of the city. A seasoned guide who can shed insight into the mysterious world of the geisha, Peter MacIntosh of Kyoto Sights and Nights leads late-afternoon walks through the old teahouse districts. The Japanese guide known as Johnnie Hillwalker has been giving his popular all-walking tours of Kyoto since 1996 and has been a tour guide for almost 50 years; he loves storytelling and slow walking but takes sabbatical from December through February. JTB Sunrise Tours organizes half-day morning and afternoon deluxe coach tours highlighting different city attractions. The Kyoto International Community House can arrange home visits.

Contacts

Johnnie Hillwalker (075/622–6803. web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/people/h-s-love.)

Kyoto International Community House (2–1 Torii-cho, Awata-guchi, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto, 606-8536. 075/752–3010. www.kcif.or.jp/HP/kaikan/top/en.)

Kyoto Sights and Nights (090/5169–1654. www.kyotosightsandnights.com.)

Kyoto-Tokyo Private Tours (090/5895–8425. www.kyoto-tokyo-private-tours.com.)

JTB Sunrise Tours (03/3865–5718. www.japanican.com/tours.)