Temples, Palaces, and Gardens
Kyoto was the capital city of Japan for 1,000 years. Although it no longer enjoys this status, its traditions remain. And to this day, Kyoto remains one of Japan’s best preserved historical cities. Take an enjoyable stroll from the venerated veranda of Kiyomizu Temple through zigzagging lanes down to Yasaka Shrine, marveling at the traditional buildings and feeling all the while that you've slipped magically into a world and time long gone by. As dusk settles in and the lanterns of Yasaka Shrine spark to life, make your way to the nearby entertainment district of Gion to gain insight into the world of the geisha.
On a sunny morning, catch the Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) admiring its own gilded reflection in the pond that surrounds it. Or take a walk on the other side of town, from the gardens of the Temple of the Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku-ji) down the Philosopher's Path and its cherry tree-lined canal, winding past charming boutiques, cafes, and traditional crafts shops all the way to the gates of Nanzen-ji and its Zen gardens.
Head to Ohara for a more rural side of Kyoto, or to Kibune to have your fortune told and to enjoy a traditional "kawadoko" meal on a platform over the river. The Arashiyama neighborhood to the southwest beckons with its atmospheric bamboo groves, poet's dwellings, and blazing autumn colors.
You simply cannot say that you've visited Japan if you have not visited Kyoto. Come - see what all the fuss is about.