Secreted among lush forests, Kyoto is the antidote to Tokyo – a serene ensemble of gardens, shrines and temples. Kyoto was the imperial capital until 1868 and is modern day Japan’s cultural center with its white-faced Geishas, traditional tea ceremonies and atmospheric dining. It’s the perfect place to while away a few days, wandering old lanes and getting to know the cultural heart of Japan.
Kyoto’s signature is its temples, palaces and shrines. One of our favorites is the Kinkakuji Temple because of the way its golden layers reflect in the pond below. We also recommend the Ryoanji Temple with its distinctive rock garden, and impressive Nijo Castle, a former shogun residence. To us, Kyoto is also about experiences: ambling around in Gion, the Geisha district, taking part in a traditional tea ceremony or treating your taste buds at Nishiki Market, which is a hive of centuries-old Japanese culinary activity.