Kyoto
The temples, shrines, and gardens of Kyoto transport travelers to the glory of ancient Japan. Kiyomizu-dera temple sits in repose halfway up Otowa Mountain; breathtaking views of Kyoto and the surrounding mountains expand from the balcony of this 1,200-year-old structure. Fushimi Inari-taisha, the most revered Shinto shrine in Kyoto, is immediately recognizable thanks to its more than 10,000 crimson gates, which wind up Inari Mountain for 2.5 miles. In Kyoto's center rule the masterpieces of Japan's feudal ruling class: Nijo Castle, built by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the graceful Imperial Palace, once home to Japan’s emperors.