Mari IKEDA-BERNARD Private tour guide in Kyoto, Nara, Osaka - Japan


Guide profile:

Hello everyone and Welcome to Japan!

I am Mari, a Japanese dynamic & friendly woman - English fluent speaker - enjoying life and enjoying to discover hidden gems - recently married to my French husband.

As a guide, I will create for you a "tailor-made" tour including all the ideas you already have in mind of simply following my suggestions for our visits together.


I could show you either the main sightseeings such as the UNESCO World Heritage temples & castles or I can also take you to my favorite places & hidden gems, local craftsmen or simply experience temples and strolls off the beaten tracks.

I will also make sure to choose the right transportations and select related "places of interest" within the right distance to optimize the time we spend together.

But above all, my very first priority is for you to enjoy our time together.


Personally, I like to talk about everything! Not simply Japanese History, but also culture, daily life, people & cultural differences, etc, as I consider everything is connected!

I consider that the visits should be participative and interactive, talking and sharing about every bits of Japan.

Thanks to my husband, who is also guide, I learned a lot about the points foreign tourists could wonder in our culture. Personally, I like to show and explain what you may not find in guide books and do my best to turn your visit into a memorable experience.

I can also help you to book good restaurants, special shows or activities, tea ceremony, etc.




I am looking forward to visiting the city with you.

Recent reviews of this tour guide:

5 stars Christoph L.

Great guide! We went to a lot of hidden gems that had almost no tourists that we'd never have found without Mari. We got a very intimate picture of Kyoto and its history without the overcrowded places.

Tour guide services/sample itinerary:

IDEA #1: World Heritage Tour on the Western part of Kyoto:

- Nijo Castle

- Golden Pavillon

- Ryoan-ji Temple (World Heritage Zen Garden)

- Ninna-ji Temple

- Kyoto Imperial Palace

- Walk around the Geisha district of Gion


IDEA #2 : Looking for temples, gardens and picturesque elements on the Eastern Side

- Silver Pavillon

- Honen-in Temple

- Stroll on the Philosopher's Path

- Eikan-do Temple (huge temple to visit inside and outside with a nice viewpoint)

- Stroll inside Nanzen-ji Temple's Park

- Heian-Jingu Shrine's Botanical Garden (Massive 24 meters red torii gate)

- Stroll in the Kyoto's famous picturesque streets Ninnen-Zaka and Sannen-Zaka

- Sanjusangen-do Temple (with 1.000 human-size gold covered statues)


IDEA #3: Off the beaten track in the Bamboo groove:

- Tenryu-ji Temple

- Walk inside the bamboo groove

- Gio-ji temple (little moss temple)

- Stroll on Toriimoto street (with many old Japanese houses)

- Otagi-Nembutsuji Temple (with thousands of funny rock statues)

- Daikaku-ji


And many many more...

I can also help you to book or find good restaurants, special shows or activities, tea ceremony, etc.

Transportation by tour guide:

Yes, transportation can be arranged upon request.

We could either take the buses, I can arrange jumbo-size taxis for you or simply spend few hours on a walking-tour.

Private sightseeing & group tours offered by this guide:

World Heritage Tour on the Western part of Kyoto: Price Per Group 220.00 USD

Tour guide interests:

Tailor-Made Tours (based on your interests)


World Heritage and main sightseeing Tours

All you need Tours

Visit of local craftmen and Hidden Gems Tours


Booking for activities/Tea Ceremony/ Restaurants - Help - Advice for your other days

Reviews of this tour – by clients who booked!

5 stars Christoph L. 11 Feb 2019

Great guide! We went to a lot of hidden gems that had almost no tourists that we'd never have found without Mari. We got a very intimate picture of Kyoto and its history without the overcrowded places.

5 stars Ferdinand L. 27 Oct 2018

We had a great day in Nara with Mari. A wonderful feel into japanese culture! After a full day together Mari even sent us many pictures of our day together. Thank you Mari!

5 stars Pam B. 21 Aug 2018

5 stars Maaike V. K. 06 Aug 2018

The tour was amazing! She personalized our tour and I highly recommend her.

Not only for her knowledge about the tempels and showing the tourist spots. She also shows you places that I as a tourist wouldn't know existed. She is cheerful, kind and her english is very good. Al and al a 5 star guide!

5 stars Philipp F. 05 Aug 2018

Mari provided us with a great, fun tour around some more unknown places in Kyoto. It was very beautiful and informative.

Even though the weather was hot she didn't mind at all and always asked if we were still okay (we were!).

She speaks good english and a little german (and french).

Should we visit Kyoto again we will be sure to book Mari. We can't recommend her enough.

5 stars renato O. 10 Jul 2018

Very nice guide.

5 stars William G. 11 Apr 2018

We hired Mari Ikeda, a young, friendly, energetic woman to guide us to Kyoto & through its complex transportation system to visit a number of ancient, iconic sights. Prior to our scheduled tour day, we exchanged several Emails with her to optimize our itinerary. Her spoken & written English skills were excellent.

Mari expertly guided us to each sight, she was very courteous & knowledgeable. We saw everything we planned & had a wonderful time thanks to the terrific skills of Mari.

5 stars Eduardo G. 07 Apr 2018

My wife and I had a great time when we visited the attractions in Nara Park. The sightseeing was diverse, the street food was good, and Mari did an exceptional job as our tour guide. She’s fairly young, but she related so well with us (we’re in our senior years). She made sure we had a hassle-free and comfortable tour. On the return trip to Osaka, she could have just rested, but instead, she engaged us in a relaxing conversation. It was such a wonderful experience.

5 stars Virginia G. 04 Apr 2018

I had Mari as a guide in Kyoto in April 2018. She was extremely knowledgeable, gracious, and helpful and knows the city well. I had some apprehension about bullet train connections from Kyoto and she sorted that out for me expertly. I changed our itinerary a couple of times, and she was very flexible and accommodating. We visited the areas of Kyoto I wanted to see, as well as several shops I had read about, and had a delicious lunch at a restaurant she chose. I highly recommend her!

5 stars Daniel E. 03 Apr 2018

Mari was very friendly and cheerful. She was able to quickly make friends with my six-year-old granddaughter and thirteen-year-old grandson; they are from Germany and don't speak English or Japanese, so we were very happy about this. Mari was also a big help in planning our tour to avoid the worst of the crowds. I had hoped her German would be higher level, but she did tell us honestly from the beginning that it was only basic level. It was enough to make my grandchildren feel comfortable, and that was the most important thing for us. Also, she was not able to answer some of my questions about the temples, but since I am a religious professional, some of my questions were quite difficult.

Mari is very personable and fun to tour with and I especially recommend Mari for families since she is very good with children.

5 stars Bernard G. C. 28 Feb 2018

Mari was a fantastic guide for our trip in Kyoto. Very flexible, she adapted herself for our group and our limited time in the city. We didn't know so much about Kyoto but she prepared a perfect schedule. We had time to discover a lot and enjoy the city at the same time. She is very friendly and funny, it was also a pleasure for the kids. In one word: I highly recommend Mari for a good time in Kyoto, full of discoveries.

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