Things to do in Kyoto
Women of the flower and willow world are notoriously shy, but you’ll increase your chances of a photo opportunity with one of them (and learn about the city) on one of geisha-expert Peter Macintosh’s "lecture walks."
Imperial Household Agency
Home to the Imperial family until 1868, visitors can only enter the palace with a guide – reserve a tour online with the Imperial Household Agency at least four days ahead.
Japanese Traditional Arts
This course offers a chance to try your hand at a variety of traditional Japanese arts, including tea ceremonies, Noh drama dances, calligraphy, martial arts, flower arrangements, and Zen meditation.
Built in 1397 as Shogun Yoshimitsu’s retirement villa, this glittering pavilion has burned down numerous times (now only the top two stories are covered in genuine gold leaf). Avoid daytime crowds; visit during early evening.
Enjoy stellar views of Kyoto from this hilltop temple’s large terrace. While you’re here, drink the spring water – many believe it has healing powers (the name translates to “pure water temple").
This temple contains 1,001 statues – each slightly different – of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The gilded carvings line Japan’s longest wooden structure, a 328-foot-long hall.
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Take regular transport rather than tourist buses – it's cheaper and you'll get to mix and mingle with the locals.
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