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The Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Japan’s former imperial city offers awe-inspiring Shinto and Buddhist temples, beautiful gardens, streets lined with old wooden town houses, and narrow stone lanes where you might see modern-day geisha and stop at an izakaya for a meal.
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Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 602-0881, Japan

In 794 C.E., Emperor Kammu moved Japan’s capital to Kyoto, chiefly to keep the large Buddhist monasteries in the former capital of Nara from amassing even more power than they already had. (The capital and emperormoved to Tokyo in 1868.) The...

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294 Kiyomizu 1-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862, Japan

Kiyomizu-dera on Mount Otowa is one of the most famous temples in Japan, a place that appears in every sequence of Japanese travel photos. The landscape is all cherry trees and forest; it is among Kyoto's loveliest spots. The current structure...

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Arashiyama Genrokuzancho, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-0007, Japan
In western Kyoto, there is a very large forest of bamboo. As you can see in the photo, the shoots grow very tall, making those who stroll by look quite small. I'm sure there are times when this road is crowded, but when we were there, people were...
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68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 612-0882, Japan

Fushimi Inari Taisha on Inariyama mountain is dedicated to the Shinto gods of rice and sake, but Inari is also the god of merchants and that brings a lot of businesspeople to worship here. Everyone else stops by to see the thousands...

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1 Kinkakujichō, Kita-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 603-8361, Japan
Built in the 14th century as a villa for a powerful shogun, Kinkaku-ji temple, commonly referred to as the Golden Pavilion, is an easy bus ride from the main bus terminal inKyoto. Thetemple isone of the most popular buildings in Japan,so expect a...
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56 Matsuojingatanichō, Nishikyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 615-8286, Japan
It’s said that the human eye can see more shades of green than any other color. Put the theory to the test at the Koke-dera, or Moss Temple, a veritable spectrum of jades, mints, artichokes, emeralds, and olives. The UNESCO World...
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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
While Japan often remains aloof to many first-time visitors, Kyoto feels intentionally difficult to get to know—even to Tokyoites who visit frequently. Getting some kind of entrée to hidden gems is especially useful here....