Half-Day Walking Tour

Life, Culture, and History in a Local Brewery Town

Time
3-4 hours
Active Level
3/10
Flat-ground walking, 3-4 km. Suitable for all ages.
Group Size
2-8 guests
Pricing
From ¥6000/person.
Details below.

The abundance of local fresh water is at the heart of the sake and soy sauce brewing tradition here in Kinomoto.

  • Visit Kinomoto, a charming, Edo-period post station town of the Hokkoku Kaido.
  • Meet local family-run sake and soy sauce breweries operating here for many generations.
  • A perfect day trip from Kyoto with enough time left for your Hikone Castle visit too!
  • Sake and soy sauce tastings available.
  • Aside from winter brewing season, guests may also visit the private soy sauce brewing facilities.
  • Explore a unique local temple, cafes, and Japanese confectioneries.

Course Details

Kinomoto is a charming old brewery town blessed by an abundant source of fresh water. As a former post station town of Edo era kaido routes, the town has retained much of its historical charm, without heavily catering to tourism, but rather sustaining its natural community and identity of local family businesses that have thrived here for centuries.

After meeting up at JR Maibara Station (shinkansen stops here), our guide will lead you on the 24-minute train ride north to JR Kinomoto Station. Here we will give a walking tour including 2 sake breweries, both among the 10 oldest operating in Japan, as well as a traditional soy sauce brewery.

Unlike many sake tours here in Japan which cater to large groups and teach about the basics of sake-making, our tour is more focused on the actual community and history of these local brewers. So, we can meet the staff of these family-owned businesses, taste samples at one or two of the stops (note: sake and alcohol samples only available for guests age 20 or older), and aside the winter brewing season, guests can usually also visit the actual private brewing area behind the soy sauce storefront. It’s also a great chance to learn the differences between soy sauce varieties and their respective culinary uses.

We’ll also visit the large local Buddhist temple, a central presence in local culture, and local shops such as traditional confectioneries and bakeries.

  • Course Notes
  • Suitable for all ages. No strenuous activities.
  • Meeting point is JR Maibara Station (shinkansen stops here). From here, our guide will lead you on the 24-minute train ride to JR Kinomoto Station.
  • This half-day course operates in the morning or afternoon. Mornings begin at 9:00, ending in time for lunch (which is not included as part of the tour, but we can offer local recommendations!), or in the afternoon beginning at 1:00pm.
  • What’s Included
  • Professional bilingual (EN/JA) guide
  • Light refreshment
  • Insurance
  • Entrance Fee
  • Not Included
  • All train fares
  • Souvenirs, food, snacks, etc.

Pricing

Pricing for this private tour is determined by the size of your group, and any optional activities. Basic pricing is as follows:

Standard Private Course
Attendees Price per Person
2 people ¥9,000 per person
3 – 4 people ¥7,500 per person
5 – 8 people ¥6,000 per person
Options & Additions

Additional fees apply, but vary by time & group size (final cost will be confirmed before finalizing reservation). Please mention in comment field of reservation form to add options, or feel free to ask us for more details about any of them!

  • Mountain Hiking (+3 hours) Kinomoto is also very near Mt. Shizugatake, an easy beginner hike with a spectacular view of Lake Biwa. Combine for a more active one-day private tour!
  • Zen Temple Visit (+1-2 hours) Near our meet-up point is a great little Zen temple with an amazing garden, newly added cafe, and even zen meditation sessions. Closed Tuesdays.
  • Hikone Castle Visit (+3 hours) While many explore this local treasure without a guide, we’re also happy to accompany, guide, and also take you to the adjacent gardens, and moat boat ride.

Booking

Visit our booking page to request reservation: Book Now

When submitting your request, be sure to include relevant details in the comments. We'll get back to you within about 1 business day to confirm availibity, details, and price.

Please also read through our Terms and Conditions for complete details about payment, cancellations, etc.

Frequent Booking Questions
We allow, and recommend, payment in person at tour start time. We accept in-person payments by cash (Japanese yen), or major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover). Alternately, we can arrange for advance payment via secure online invoice in Japanese yen, payable by Paypal or credit card. Note: while we don't require early deposit payment, you may be invoiced to pay any applicable cancellation fee in the event of late cancellation.
We may cancel tours for weather. Bike tours in particular are cancelled for moderate rain or snow. This decision will be made no later than 7pm on the day before tour, so please check your contact email for any updates. In such a case, you will be fully refunded any advance payment. Bike tour weather cancellations are given the option to exchange for a walking tour instead. Walking tours are still conducted in light to moderate rain & snow. Weather cancellations are made at our discretion; if you decide on your own to cancel, then cancellation fees may still apply. See our Terms and Conditions for more details about weather cancellation.
See our Terms & Conditions for complete details. Regarding cancellation fees, here's our basic timeline for fees applying to cancellations made by the customer:
  • 8 days or more before tour: No charge
  • 4-7 days before tour: 30% of total tour cost
  • 2-3 days before tour: 50% of total tour cost
  • 24 hrs or less before tour: 100% of total tour cost