“Family visit to Kyoto with Nobu-San”
My family and I came for a short visit to Kyoto from Tokyo.
We only had a day to tour the area and Nobu-San came highly recommended to us from friends in Los Angeles,
Having him as our guide and driver completely enriched the experience.
Knowing how much time we had, he helped us plan a meaningful itinerary and was fantastic in his communication with us via email.
He arrived early to pick us up and his van was extremely comfortable, clean and cool (considering how hot August is here).
Nobu-San was warm, kind, friendly, and a wonderful sense of humor.
In addition, he has a deep love and terrific understanding of history and it was a treat to gain a better understanding of all the sights he took us to.
Not only did he take us to the most important highlights of Kyoto, but, on his recommendation, he also took us to an amazing temple that was off the beaten path, which turned out to be our favorite.
When he found out that we enjoyed drinking tea, he took us to a special and historic tea leaves shop.
Our only regret was that we didn't have more time to spend with him.
From Ms. Denise Wingate. in USA
“Really great experience with Nobu-San!”
My parents, my pregnant wife and I, as well as your 21 month old toddler just spent a day with Nobu-San and had a really great time.
Nobu-San was very responsive months out, and as promised, he reached out a couple of days before to confirm pickup.
On the day of, he was early and waiting for us at the Westin Miyako with his very clean, spacious, and nice van.
Japan was setting records with the heat, so he made suggestions for amending our previously discussed itinerary.
We still hit the points that were important to us, and he suggested other points on the fly.
We ended up going to a place that had some yukata for kids that my wife really wanted (and was air conditioned).
He is very price conscious, and also suggested a very tasty authentic Japanese place (full of locals) for lunch.
A must see with kids is Nara Park. It is very congested with tourists, but was our highlight!
I would highly suggest booking with Nobu-San and would wholeheartedly do it again if we are in the area anytime soon.
You will be in good hands.
From Mr. Jed Tsai in USA
Such a wonderful tour of Kyoto
We did a 6 hour tour with Mr. Nobuaki Nagata (Nobu) in Kyoto.
This was our first visit to Japan and of course we based the sites we wanted to visit on what we researched on the internet (Typical tourist spots).
Once we met with Nobu, he went trough the intinerary we had discussed via email, then he asked what type of places we were interested in seeing and then he tweaked our itinerary based on our conversation. (He asked for our permission to do so of course)
Nobu is such a great guide, we were able to cover a lot of places in the short time we had and best of all Nobu’s suggestion were little hidden gems, they were our favorite areas that we visited.
He has vast knowledge of the history behind the places we went to and explained everything in perfect English. He’s very friendly, respectful and polite and all with a great sense of humor.
Even though you can see the sites using public transport (some sites he took us too would be a bit difficult though) I highly recommend getting Mr. Nobu as a tour guide, there is no way we would have been able to see everyplace we went to on our own and appreciated them as much not knowing History behind these places that Nobu explained so well. （Being in an Air Conditioned car in 37 Celsius weather doesn’t hurt either :)
I highly recommend taking his tour, it is worth the reasonable fee that they charge and will make your experience that much better.
From Mr. Armen Pattoukian in CAN
Nobu is the best!!!!
We recently returned from Kyoto with our two teen daughters and had an amazing time -- especially our 2 days touring with Nobuaki Nagata (Nobu).
Nobu was really kind, fun and incredibly knowledgeable about Japanese culture and history.
He added an element of excitement to everything we did.
He was also flexible and extraordinarily patient with our family.
We were in Kyoto during the severe heat wave, so Nobu took extra care to make sure we were comfortable and visited sites that were not overrun with tourists (He kept the car running with AC even when we were not in it!!!).
Nobu took us to magical shrines and temples, including a few of his own "off-the-beaten-path" favorites which turned out to be highlights for us.
He also had amazing restaurant recommendations.
We all appreciated Nobu's humor and personal stories which gave us insight into authentic Japanese life. We highly recommend Nobuaki Nagata as a guide.
from Lauren Strogoff in USA
“Best day of their visit!”
My husband and I currently live in Japan and my parents came to visit us in mid June.
We decided to take a trip to Kyoto, but didn’t know where to start with planning.
I stumbled upon this page about private tours and it sounded perfect for us.
Our guide, Nobu, really made our trip to Kyoto a memorable one; he did everything we could ask for and more.
From the start, he had great communication via email asking questions about our group and our preferences.
His recommendation on what time to get to Fushimi Inari saved us hassle with large crowds, and his knowledge on the different shrines and temples we saw, as well as Kyoto history in general, made everything much more interesting.
It was so nice to say "We want to see X and Y spots" and Nobu filled in the rest of an incredible day.
He even recommended a great restaurant for lunch!
He took us to what I think was my favorite temple I've seen in Japan yet, Otagi Nenbutsu, which was off the "beaten path" of popular spots in Kyoto.
It was so peaceful and the 1200 unique Buddha statues had so much personality!
Nobu always went out of his way to run back to his van ahead of us to get it started so we could enjoy the nice A/C right when we got inside from the hot weather too.
My parents cannot stop raving about Nobu and our tour with him, claiming it was their favorite day of their 10 day visit.
The convenience, personalization and firsthand knowledge that comes with this tour are well worth the price!
Overall, we can't say enough great things about Nobu, book with confidence!
From Ms. Sara Gasser in USA
“Wonderful Tour of Kyoto”
Recently my family of 4 had the wonderful opportunity to take a tour of Kyoto with Mr. Nobu Nagata.
He was both an excellent tour guide as well as a wonderful driver around the city.
Given the hot temperatures and distances between selected destinations, it was great to have a guide with an air-conditioned minivan.
Nobu provided wonderful historical information as well as insights into the Japanese culture.
He worked hard to answer all questions and interact with both my husband and
I as well as our two teenage children.
He made sure we covered all the sights we wanted to see on our tour.
He also suggested a few extra sights which we were very thankful.
We enjoyed being able to see a traditional Japanese home as well as a temple
nearby with a delightful collection of Buddhists rakkan (stone Buddha statues).
Friends have used other guides from the group and everyone has been pleased.
I would recommend Nobu Nagata to family and friends planning to visit Kyoto.
From Ms. Megan Pickettein SGP in USA
“Mission completed within 5 hours”
I contacted Nobu (Mr. Nagata) for a day tour on Jun 2.
I let him know my itinerary and he helped to further customize my itinerary so that we could visit those essential attractions within 5 hours.
He is really friendly, flexible and gives lots of information about the sites (Nijo Castle, Bamboo forest etc.).
My family really enjoy the tour and we will definitely return when we got more time to spend in Kyoto.
Really appreciate the hospitality offered by Mr. Nagata and not forgetting the nice photos taken by him.
We shall meet again soon.
From Mr. Amos Lah,in SGP
“Excellent in every way”
We are a family of 5 (kids aged 10-16) visiting from the US.
We do not know any Japanese.
We wanted to spend just a day or two in Kyoto and had originally looked into booking a tour through a travel agent.
Contacting these guys directly was so much better.
They are honest, easy to do deal with, and very flexible.
A few emails prior to the visit is all you need to arrange a meeting time/place and to let them know if there are any specific places you want to see.
As other reviewers noted, you can also just leave the itinerary to them.
Our guide was Nobu. He was excellent. His English is great, so communication was easy.
His minivan was pristine, well-air conditioned, and comfortable.
He is a good driver and knows a great deal about the various shrines and temples in Kyoto.
He is very flexible, so the pace of the tour can be whatever you want it to be; and he is very helpful taking pictures, so the whole family can be included.
Maybe best of all, he is extremely fair and honest. We had originally planned to hire him over 2 days, including stops in at the monkey park and bamboo grove in Arashiyama. As it turned out, we booked one night at a ryokan, which was just a few steps from those two spots, so he suggested we do those on our own to save us from paying for that time.
He also said that if did not really need him for the second day, we could cancel without a fee.
Of course, we did not cancel day 2 because we were having such a good time with him as our guide.
The details of our trip are as follows:
1. We took a red-eye and arrived in Osaka (Itami). From there we took the shuttle bus to Kyoto, and Nobu was waiting for us at the stop.
2. First stop, Fushimi Inari-taisha.
3. Lunch. It was only 11am in Japan at that point, and he was planning another stop when the kids started to say they were hungry.
So he asked what we liked to eat and on what budget.
We said ramen or sushi (maybe something less than 2000 yen/person), and he took us to a small local ramen shop that was great and under 1000/person.
4. Kyomizudera. Nobu explained a lot to us about the difference between Shinto and Buddhist temples and also about how they coexist.
He also stops at various points to show us where the best views are.
5. Drive through geisha district.
He would have taken us to see the Golden Pavilion to complete all the stops we had requested, but we had decided to defer that until the next day, so he drove us through Gion on the way to our ryokan in Arashiyama, so we could at least see what the area looked like.
6 (day 2). Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji Temple. This was a smaller temple he suggested, and it turned out to be the kids' favorite.
He picked us up from Arashiyama later in the morning after we had gone to monkey park on our own.
7. Golden pavilion.
8. Drop off at hotel in downtown Kyoto.
It was starting to get hot at the pavilion, and the kids were getting tired of the temples, so he took us to our hotel next to Kyoto station, and he suggested we check out the mall next door.
Kids were very happy at the mall. Even though we only spent 3 hours with him on day 2, he did not charge us the usual 4 hour minimum since we had hired him for the previous day.
We would have been happy to pay him the extra hour for his flexibility. We have nothing but good things to say about Nobu.
It's too bad we couldn't bring him with us to Tokyo.
From Mr. Irwin Lee, in USA
Mr. Nobuaki ( Nobu ) was a guide for us.
We discussed through email the places in Kyoto we prefer to visit, given we just have one day for Kyoto, and there are so much places to see there.
The exchange of email was quick, simple and direct.
The day of the tour itself went on smoothly, Mr. Nobu was very courteous, informative and kind.
The tour went on smoothly and it’s like we covered so much in such a limited time.
We will definitely recommend him to our family and friends when they visit Kyoto.
From Marjorie Cu-san , in PHL
“Kyoto - 1 Day Tour”
We were 6 of us and Nobuaki Nagata-San (Nobu-san) picked us up from our hotel in Kyoto in his very clean and comfortable Toyota van. Nobu-san was very professional, knowledgeable with a great sense of humor. We spent nearly 6 hours very effectively in spite of the rain. Nobu-san was well prepared for the rain, had umbrellas for all of us.
He was efficient in his driving and was always able to find parking spots near the sights we were visiting.
We saw the Fushimi-Ku Inari Shrine (memoirs of a Geisha), Kinkaku, the Golden Pavilion, Zen Buddhist temple with rock garden.
He drove us in and around Gion, geisha district; explaining to us about the culture and how to spot Geisha houses.
Also gave us a name of an excellent restaurant for dinner, walking distance from our hotel and a tip about going to Hyatt Regency Hotel to see a free Geisha show in the evening.
They have one everyday at 6:15pm in the lower level of the hotel.
It lasts only 15 minutes and for us that was enough time.
From Pervin Sagar-san, in USA
“Wonderful introduction to Kyoto”
We only had 6 hours one day to spend with our guide Nobu, but he was able to maximize our time and create the best experience we could have asked for!
We hit everything on our list and Nobu was exceptionally knowledgeable about everything.
At one point, we mentioned to him that we liked gardens and he took us to an unscheduled stop at Okochi Sanso, which had the most beautiful views and landscaping.
When back in Kyoto, I would definitely hire Nobu to show us more of the city.
From Ms. Emma Carron, in USA
Hi Nobuaki, that is fine. Once again, Thank you for your service.
Our tour guide was Nobuaki Nagata (Nobu) and we are so happy to have him.
Nobu was most pleasant, respectful, humorous, and knowledgable; loved his lunch recommendation.
Nobu provided us with great insight of Kyoto's culture and history.
He was able to plan and optimized our time in Kyoto so that we are able to see the most & best of Kyoto in 2 days.
He made special efforts to point out all the Geisha & Maiko walking in Gion.
The Silver Pavilion is definitely one of my favorites; amazingly designed and beautifully landscaped.
All in all, Kyoto is simply breathtaking.
The price for the private tour was reasonable and the tour was most enjoyable; would definitely recommend Nobu for your private tour in Kyoto.
From Ms. Monica Lam in USA
We did a full day tour with Nobuaki Nagata in Kyoto in March, 2018 and we couldn’t have been more pleased.
He picked us up at the port in Kobe, drove to Kyoto for the day and returned us to the ship that evening.
We had been to Kyoto several times before, so we asked to go to places that he would recommend that were not the usual tourist spots (all of which are wonderful as well) and we were not disappointed.
Everything we saw and did was wonderful, his English is very good, his vehicle is very clean and well cared for and his driving is very safe.
We could not have asked for a better day and we will certainly contact him again if we are back in Kyoto.
He is also very good at confirming everything by email in a very timely manner.
We would absolutely recommend Mr. Nagata as your tour guide in Kyoto.
Diane Peets in USA
Beyond our wildest expectations! Perfect, private tour of Kyoto with Nobu.”
I contacted Nagata (Nobu). For months prior to our arrival I worked with Nobu to set an itinerary that would ensure we'd see everything my husband and I wanted in the amazingly beautiful city of Kyoto.
We were on a tour (that started three days later) so it was important to NOT duplicate any of the things we'd see on the tour.
Nobu put together a perfect itinerary ensuring we'd see everything we wanted, but also finding surprises that aligned with our preferences and interests.
I didn't want to deal with other forms of transportation (after a long trip from California) so we arranged for Nobu to pick us up at the airport and tour us for three days.
Even on our way into Kyoto the first night he showed us the Gion (Geisha) district and we saw a beautiful geisha (a rare treat!).
We met for the next tow days -- and they were unbelievable.
Nobu could answer all of our questions, brought sites to life with history and contemporary information.
And when he found out we loved the quiet of temples he took us to two that had NO people in them.
They were favorites of his and ended up being our favorites, too.
He knew when to arrive to beat the crowds and guided us to places within each sight where we could take the best pictures, have the best views and avoid the larger tour groups.
Seeing the cherry blossoms was at the top of my list, but by the time we arrived many had dropped their petals.
Nobu worked hard to find the places where there were late-blooming trees (including taking us to a landscape garden where there were some of the most beautiful cherry blossom trees).
Nobu was kind, thoughtful, gracious and truly one of the best guides we have had in all of our years of travel.
He takes amazing pride in his work and care in meeting (and exceeding) his client's expectations.
He even found reasonably priced restaurants near our hotel, took the initiative to book us reservations and the food was spectacular (for a fraction of what the hotel recommendations charges -- and so much more authentic).
He has a very spacious and comfortable touring van (brand new) and drives with great caution and care.
We HIGHLY recommend Nobu if you are going to Kyoto and want to see both the top sights and some off the beaten path.
Your memories will be imprinted by his kind, generous, warm care and guidance.
Be sure to book him early!
From Ms. Stacey Paynter in USA
Name: Nobuaki Nagata
Government licensed guide/ English-speaking taxi driver
Cert. No. Kyoto EN00383