Kyoto, the old capital, is a city with an ancient townscape and deeply ingrained customs. It's a place where you can experience traditional culture the most in Japan, so it's also popular with Japanese people. During cherry blossom season and in autumn when the leaves turn color are when the city is especially full of people. There are plenty of scenic places to visit such as the World Heritage Sites of Kinkaku-ji, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and Nijo-jo Castle; Fushimi Inari Taisha, famous for its row of red torii gates and chosen as the top destination for foreign tourists 3 years in a row; Ryoanji, known for its rock garden; Arashiyama, a lush area complete with a beautiful bamboo forest; Gion, the neighborhood where geisha and apprentice geisha named maiko work; as well as plenty of shrines, temples, and other scenic spots. For meals, Kyoto is famous for beautiful kaiseki course cuisine and obanzai homestyle side dishes made with tofu and Kyoto vegetables. You can enjoy them with regional sake in restaurants that retain their ancient facades or the summer tradition called kawadoko, in which you eat on a terrace over a river. If you want to experience Japanese culture even further, you can dress up as an apprentice geisha, learn to make Japanese sweets called wagashi, or visit during festivals like the Aoi Matsuri, Gion Matsuri, or the Jidai Matsuri. You can also enjoy buying traditional products and Japanese accessories like folding fans, kanzashi hair accessories, or matcha sweets.


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