Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer private tours? How many people are in a group tour?
We offer private tours for two or more people both on bicycle or with the Walk & Taxi tour. Our Family Fun tour is also a private tour for families of four or more. We never have more than 10 people on our group tours. Normally 6-8 guests is the most we will have on a group tour as we believe that it's important that everyone has the chance to not only hear what the guide is saying on tour but also have the chance to ask questions and engage with them. Plus it makes it that much easier to get around.
What is included in the booking fee?
We include any transportation costs during the tour including bicycle rental. In the case of the early bird and walk & taxi tours we also cover taxi fares. With our day tours, entrance fees to two gardens and/or temples are also included. Not included are meals, gratuities and added activities except on the Hike & Hot springs tour where the hot springs bath is included. All tours will have an English speaking guide accompanying you the whole time and who will give you tips on things to see after the tour is complete. For the Gion Night Walk & izakaya tour, you have the option to prepay up to 3,000 yen or bring cash on the night to pay for your meal and drinks. For Private Gion Night Walks, we don't build in the cost of any meals or drinks so you can choose anything you like.
If I pay an initial deposit, when is the balance due?
Most of our tours allow you to make a deposit of 10,000 yen to hold the date. With our secured booking software, your credit card info is kept on file so you can either pay the balance with the same credit card at any time leading up to the tour or pay in cash on the day. When paying cash, we waive the %5 transaction fee. We will send a reminder before your arrival to check which option you prefer.
What do you do in the case of rain?
With walking tours, we go ahead with an umbrella or poncho which can be bought at convenience stores for just 500yen. For bicycle tours, we look online and see the forecast and if it's more than 50% chance of showers, we either try to rearrange the date based on the guide and customer's availability, or we go ahead with a walking tour. For those who are not keen on a walking tour as an alternative, we can offer you a refund minus the 10,000yen deposit. For hikes, we usually go ahead in light rain in which case we can provide ponchos but reschedule or cancel with refund when there are heavy showers. In the case of very heavy rains or other extreme weather such as typhoons, we offer to reschedule if possible or a full refund.
Do you arrange private transport?
Due to a recent change in the law, we are unable to drive a vehicle while guiding so all tours by private car must have a professional driver as well as a guide. As a result the cost of adding a private car might be prohibitive to smaller groups. It would be an extra 30,000-40,000 yen per day depending on the size of vehicle. For groups more than 6 people it may be a good option, but taxis are so easy to find so it might be just as easy to take taxis instead of booking a car.
How safe are the roads for cycling?
Luckily the drivers in Kyoto are very used to sharing the road with bicycles. In fact, with such narrow streets the pedestrians, cars and bikes all share the space on the small side streets and there are very few dedicated bike lanes. We try to take you on the most calm and safe streets but you definitely want to be a confident rider before you sign up.
Do you provide helmets?
Helmets are available for use while cycling. We will offer you one and if you choose not to wear one you do so at your own risk but you are not required to wear one by law in Japan.
Do you have to be in good shape to take the tours?
Luckily Kyoto is quite flat so the bicycle tours can be done by almost anyone who has enough stamina to do 10-15km ride. As far as the hike goes, it's a bit more of a challenge but there is only about 30-40mins of serious hiking with the rest of the course being easy enough. People with mobility issues would be best suited to our Walk & Taxi tour as we can suggest temples and gardens that don't have too many slopes or stairs to deal with on your private tour.
Can kids join the bike tour?
For private tours, we accept and often have kids from 8 years old and up join but we always retain the right to stop the tour and continue on foot if we feel anyone's safety is at risk. For group bike tours and hikes, the minimum age for is 15 years. At the moment we do not offer bike tours with infant seats or ride alongs due to the safety risks involved. We do have a special tour just for families and can accommodate even those with small infants. Stroller rental is available free of charge.
Do you offer discounts for booking multiple tours or for larger groups?
Yes, we like to thank our customers who book more than one tour. Let us know at the time of booking and we will apply a 10% discount to you second booking and 15% off your third. Note that the discount applies to the lesser valued of the tours that you book. We also offer %10 off for groups of 6 or more and %15 off for 8 or more people.
Will you plan the itinerary before we book a private tour?
Looking at our reviews you can see that we put a lot of care and effort into giving our guests a great experience. As such we don't really have the resources to plan your full itinerary until after you have made a deposit. Once you have booked we send out a questionnaire and work together on a plan for the day. Check here for some popular walking routes or if you want to see the city on two wheels, or have a look at the link here to choose your bike route or at least get some ideas for a customized tour.
What is your cancellation policy?
We let you cancel without penalty if you let us know 7 days before your arrival. A deposit of 10,000 is charged for those cancelling with less than 7days and full payment is required for less than 24hrs notice or no-show. The policy may be altered due to outstanding circumstances, but understand that if you book and later cancel you are denying another customer the chance to take a tour with us. We are happy to issue receipts for travel insurance purposes.
Do you have any testimonials from previous customers?
We have been lucky to be ranked highly on tripadvisor by our past customers. For the past two years we have been rated #1 in nightlife and #2 in outdoor activities. We look forward to giving you an amazing experience in Kyoto and for you to rave to your friends back home about how a trip to Kyoto with help from Kyoto Fun is the way to do it!