Kyoto is where Japanese people go to see Japan. The capital from 794 to 1868, Kyoto is home to Japan’s best known Buddhist temples as well as many famous Shinto shrines, and streets corners are dotted with jizo statues and paper garlands decorating sacred trees and stones.
Kyoto is quite simply a must-see destination. Known for its Zen gardens, geisha, tea houses, and palaces, Kyoto is very much a vibrant modern city proud of both its past and present, where rowdy karaoke coexists with the subtlety of kaiseki cuisine.
Many of the stock images of Japan are shot in Kyoto – striking and familiar photographs of ornate temples, dramatic pagodas or geisha strolling down old cobbled streets. The famous Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and Kiyomizu temple are both Kyoto sights. Sometimes you will see well-organised uniformed school groups or fanatical photographers – aspects of the culture which can be as entertaining as the sights themselves.