See the Heart of Japanese Culture in Kyoto
Kyoto was once the capital of Japan for over a thousand years and remains its cultural capital, still brimming with the architecture and customs of old Japan. If you’ve ever wanted to see Japan’s grand temples, refined gardens and intriguing geisha, Kyoto is the place to go.
One of the reasons Kyoto has so many Imperial age gardens, palaces, temples and streets is that it was largely spared from the bombings of World War II, thanks to the intervention of the Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, who had fallen in love with it during his travels.
Kyoto is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the famous Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, with its beautiful gold leaf exterior. Another popular site is Kiyomizu-dera, a temple that resides on a mountain’s edge among the tree tops, offering a spectacular view of the city below. The huge Chion-in temple will impress with its size, while the Honen-in temple is quietly beautiful with moss-covered gates and gardens. Kyoto has been called the City of Ten Thousand Shrines so it can be hard to choose which to visit!
Once you’ve had your fill of temples and shrines, Nishiki market, also known as ‘Kyoto’s kitchen’ should be on your travel list. This is a long bustling street lined with hundreds of shops and restaurants selling fresh seasonal produce and local Kyoto delicacies such as sushi, dried seafood and Japanese sweets. Then explore the magical Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, the rows of orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine, and as night falls upon Kyoto be sure to stroll through the famous geisha quarter of Gion.
With so many stunning sights and remnants of old world Japan, Kyoto is a must for any lover of history, photography, food or Japanese culture.