A Word from the Founder

About Kyoto Sights and Nights

When traveling in foreign countries there are always many problems that one encounters.  The most obvious troubles being the language barriers and differences in local customs.  Although reading guidebooks beforehand may lessen the pain, they are not a practical solution for travelers with not much time on their hands. For the little bits of knowledge that let you interact with the local communities, nothing matches the experience of a long-term resident who speaks the native language (even the local dialect) and whom you can trust to relay everything back to you in English in the exact context in which things were said.  Japan, which secluded itself from the rest of the world for more that 250 years, has been one of the slowest of the Industrial nations to internationalize and make itself a tourist friendly destination.  However, this is part of the mystery of Japan making it probably one of the most misconceived countries in the world. 

The ancient capital of Kyoto, although being quite small in Japanese standards (approx. 1.4 million) and easy to navigate, is known for many of its truly best restaurants and sights being off-limits to first time visitors, Japanese or foreigner alike.  This custom of “ichigen san o kotowari” or “by introduction only” also applies to many areas of traditional culture such as private temples, gardens, art galleries, restaurants and especially the “ochaya” geisha tea houses.     

It took more than 8 years of study, research and receiving the right introductions to finally earn the trust of individuals, groups and various establishments to be able to create Kyoto Sights and Nights and offer you, the client, the most unique and enjoyable experiences in Kyoto. Let us manage the language problems and cultural differences for you so you can make the most of your time.  We will show you the beauty and hidden charms of the city, night or day, that are either off the beaten path or simply off-limits to others.  We believe having great memories and unique experiences is what traveling is about.


Feedback About Our Services

The following are from thank-you emails we have received:


Hello Mr. MacIntosh,

My name is Megan Porch and I am nineteen years old. You may not remember me but in 2005 you took my father and I on one of your geisha tours through Kyoto. We met Miehina and Mieko-san that night and I never truly thanked you for giving my father and I such an amazing experience. So I would like to thank you for making that opportunity available to us. I have been learning about geisha since I was in middle school and had always wanted to meet those wonderful women in person and thanks to you, I was able to.

Thank you very much,



Hello Mr. MacIntosh,

It was a while ago now but I'd just like to express my enjoyment of your talk given during the Northallerton Forum Geisha performances. The performances were mesmerizing and your talk informative. Sadly I forgot my camera so I couldn't get to take any photos of Miehina,

...ah well.

I must admit I envy your lifestyle somewhat!, but I plan to get to Japan myself (one day). Thanks for travelling up to the wilderness of North Yorkshire!

Best wishes,



Hi Peter,

Thanks for the tour last weekend. We really enjoyed it.  We also ended up buying a kimono from the Kyoto Craft centre so thanks again for the tip along with the Italian place it is was very good and a reasonable price also.  I sent a Spanish guy onto your tour on Saturday. He loved it also .

Cheers and Thanks again,




I just wanted to drop you a line now that I am back in Australia to once again express my great thanks to you, your lovely wife and the delightful (cute!) young maiko Kanasuza for a very entertaining evening last Thursday.

The walking tour, shabu shabu dinner and party were a highlight of our holiday in Japan.  The ways of the geisha are something quite special.

I have recommended the tour to my friends back home and hope to visit Kyoto again soon.

Thank you for your hospitality.




Hi Peter,

We just wanted to thank you for going out of your way to spend your time with us for the evening, your interpreting skills and insider knowledge definitely helped to make our last night in Kyoto one to remember and was very much appreciated!

All the best for the future, and good luck!

Michael and Nicole


Dear Peter:

Thank you so much for the fantastic walk in Gion on June 21st.  We learned so much and had such a good time -- it truly was a highlight of our trip.  Everyone who sees our photo with your maiko friend is speechless!  We never would have such a photo if we hadn't taken your tour.

Thanks for a great experience!  And please put us on the list for your foundation to help support geiko and maiko.  Best of luck to you!

Jim and Cynthia


Hi, Peter.

My husband and I took your geisha walking tour earlier this month, and I thought you might like to see this great photo of me and a pair of maiko who you know.

I saw you on TV a couple of nights ago. Our local cable company in Berkeley CA is offering a whole bunch of free pay-per-view movies. 'Tokyo Girls' was on. We didn't know you were going to be in it- Jose recognized your voice before they even showed you. Neat huh?

Oh- I also wanted to tell you that you were right- Mikoen Restaurant was awesome. We ate there twice before we left Kyoto.

I don't know when we'll next get to Kyoto, but I would love to get in touch if you'll be visiting the San Francisco Bay Area. Thanks so much for everything!



Hi Peter,

Thanks again for the wonderful walking lecture in Kyoto and the Gion district. It was great to see places I'd never see otherwise and very informative as well. I'm back in Holland now but definitely want to come back to Japan some day - I feel I've only scratched the surface in terms of things to see & do of this beautiful country.

Many thanks,



Hello Peter,

Just to say a big thank you for introducing us to Kyoto and the world of the Geisha. We learned so much in the two days with you and really enjoyed the glimpses of such a city of contrasts.

We wish you the best of luck with the documentaries and do let us know if you plan a trip to Switzerland.

With our regards,

Henry and Sabine


About Peter MacIntosh, Founder of Kyoto Sights and Nights

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1971. After a short lived career as a professional soccer player, (due to bankruptcy of his team followed by the entire league) he decided to leave his hometown of 22 years and make his way to the other side of the world. It was his mother's influence (as a folk artist) that persuaded him to try his hand at the arts. It was fall 1993 when he arrived in Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan. First he started with a camera trying to capture the unique beauty of the 1200 years capital in nature and architecture and soon found his niche amongst the geisha in the "Flower and Willow World". He is a professional photographer and has studied the traditional arts:

Sumie (Indian ink painting)
Shodo (calligraphy)
Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement)
Nihon Buyou (Japanese traditional dance)
Kouta (geisha songs accompanied by the shamisen)

In November 2005, Peter earned a nattori, a professional singing name, Yanagi Koufu. He is the first foreign male to be awarded this title in the yanagi style of singing.

He is the only westerner ever to spend most of his life living, studying and being entertained by the geisha and is one of a handful of non-Japanese to have gained such access to their world.

He is the first westerner in history to have taken geisha out of Japan without the help of a Japanese intermediary.