Kyoto and its temples

Japan's capital for a thousand years, Kyoto is in many ways the cultural heart of the country - home of tea ceremony, geisha culture, and the Zen garden, and where Japanese cuisine is believed to have reached its pinnacle in the elaborate kaiseki meals served at the city's top restaurants.

Kyoto was founded in 794 when the capital was moved from neighbouring Nara, and many of Japan's most famous temples and shrines were built in the following centuries, and still stand as reminders of Kyoto's ever-present history. Best known of these are Kinkuakuji, the golden pavilion nestled in lush gardens in Kyoto's western hills, and Kiyomizu Temple, which overlooks the cobbled streets of Gion, the most famous geisha quarter of the old capital.

Kyoto is where the Japanese go to see Japan. An unrivalled mixture of the ancient and modern - where bright lights and rowdy karaoke co-exist with Zen gardens and women in traditional kimono - makes Kyoto an unbeatable destination.

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