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Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, embodies Japanese tradition, with hundreds of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, zen gardens, tea houses, pagodas and palaces.
Shuzenji: Hot Spring Ryokan
Madeleine Stratton slips into the simple, austere style of luxury that is what traditional, high-end Japanese guesthouses are all about. That, and the extraordinary food.
Kyoto is home to many festivals, including some of Japan's biggest. Gion Matsuri in July is the liveliest, with other famous festivals including Aoi Matsui, Kurama no Hi-Matsuri, Jidai Matsuri, Daimonji Gozan Okuribi and Mifune Matsuri.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Immortalised in the film Memoires of a Geisha, don't miss the hundreds of red gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine.
The most famous geisha district in Japan, Gion is a beautifully preserved collection of wooden teahouses and exclusive restaurants.
Kiyomizu Temple is just one of 17 World Heritage Sites listed in Kyoto by UNESCO in 1994.