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2 of 21 . Kyoto-Style Sushi

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Kyoto-Style Sushi

As a landlocked city, traditional Kyoto sushi is typically made with preserved fish. One of the most popular varieties is sabazushi, made from a large piece of pickled mackerel wrapped around a log of rice and encased in a thin sheet of kombu seaweed. Hakozushi is made from rice and eel or mackerel pressed into a rectangular wooden box and then sliced into bite-size pieces. Izuju in Gion, across the street from the Yasaka Shrine, has been making both varieties for over 100 years. ..Readmore

3 of 21 . Yatsuhashi

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Yatsuhashi

The city’s shops sell almost every type of traditional Japanese sweet, but yatsuhashi is one of the most famous. It’s triangular shape is said to represent the koto, or traditional Japanese harp. Thin rice flour dough is rolled thin and then wrapped around red bean paste, or is often baked until crisp like a cookie. Yatsuhashi dough is typically flavored with cinnamon, but black sesame and matcha varieties are also common. There are numerous shops around town, but Izutsu Yatsuhashi Honkan in Gion is a solid choice. ..Readmore

4 of 21 . Kaiseki

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Kaiseki

These multi-course meals featuring elaborate courses and plating were traditionally served before tea ceremonies. For an approachable kaiseki experience comprised of local specialties, reserve a meal at Shoraian. The menu changes with the seasons, but it always includes tofu and sometimes features nama-fu or chirimen sansho. The location inside Prince Fumimaro Konoe’s former resort home provides an unparalleled view of the Katsura River and surrounding green hills. ..Readmore

5 of 21 . Chirimen Sansho

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Chirimen Sansho

At first glance, this condiment looks like dried shallots or perhaps a pickled vegetable—until you notice the little eyes. As a landlocked city, Kyoto is known for preserved fish dishes. These whole, dried whitebaits (tiny fish) are tossed with tingly Japanese sansho pepper and commonly eaten on top of rice. Shoppers at the Nishiki Market are encouraged to sample the dried fish, on display in small bowls, and buy a full envelope to take home. ..Readmore

6 of 21 . Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha)

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Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha)

Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.

7 of 21 . Kyoto-Style Sushi

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Kyoto-Style Sushi

As a landlocked city, traditional Kyoto sushi is typically made with preserved fish. One of the most popular varieties is sabazushi, made from a large piece of pickled mackerel wrapped around a log of rice and encased in a thin sheet of kombu seaweed. Hakozushi is made from rice and eel or mackerel pressed into a rectangular wooden box and then sliced into bite-size pieces. Izuju in Gion, across the street from the Yasaka Shrine, has been making both varieties for over 100 years. ..Readmore

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10 of 21 . Cherry Blossom in Kyoto

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Cherry Blossom in Kyoto

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is “When Is Cherry Blossom Season In Kyoto?” The answer is: from the last week of March through to the middle of April. Organising a trip to see them at the best time requires careful planning. The cherry blossoms (sakura) usually bloom in the last week of March and the first two weeks of April in Kyoto (roughly between 20 March and 14 April). In an average year, the blooms peak on 1 April in Kyoto. Once they bloom, they are notoriously fickle: sometimes almost all the trees will come into full bloom (mankai) at the same time and stay in full bloom for a week or even longer.

11 of 21 . Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

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Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

If you’ve been planning a trip to Kyoto, you’ve probably seen pictures of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – along with the torii tunnels of Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine and Kinkaku-ji Temple, it’s one of the most photographed sights in the city. But no picture can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this sprawling bamboo grove – the whole thing has a palpable sense of otherness that is quite unlike that of any normal forest we know of.

12 of 21 . Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

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Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion) is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuonji, the temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and according to his will it became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect after his death in 1408. Kinkakuji was the inspiration for the similarly named Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion), built by Yoshimitsu's grandson, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, on the other side of the city a few decades later.

13 of 21 . Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

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Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason: standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world.

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15 of 21 . Heian Shrine

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Heian Shrine

Heian Shrine (平安神宮, Heian Jingū) has a relatively short history, dating back just over a hundred years to 1895. The shrine was built on the occasion of the 1100th anniversary of the capital's foundation in Kyoto and is dedicated to the spirits of the first and last emperors who reigned from the city, Emperor Kammu (737-806) and Emperor Komei (1831-1867). Heian is the former name of Kyoto.

16 of 21 . Kyoto attraction

17 of 21 . Geisha in Kyoto

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Geisha in Kyoto

Kyoto is the heart of Japan’s geisha world. In Kyoto, however, fully-fledged geisha are properly called geiko (pronounced “gay-ko”). Young ladies, usually between the ages of 15 and 20, train for five years to become a geiko. During this period, they are known as maiko (pronounced “my-ko”). Knowledgeable insiders estimate that there are about 100 geiko and 100 maiko in Kyoto. Other cities, like Tokyo, have some version of geisha, but they don’t usually undergo the strict training that defines Kyoto’s maiko and geiko.

18 of 21 . Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

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Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkakuji is an impressive structure built overlooking a large pond, and is the only building left of Yoshimitsu's former retirement complex. It has burned down numerous times throughout its history including twice during the Onin War, a civil war that destroyed much of Kyoto; and once again more recently in 1950 when it was set on fire by a fanatic monk. The present structure was rebuilt in 1955.

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20 of 21 . Geishas in Kyoto

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Geishas in Kyoto

Geisha are highly skilled entertainers who appear at high-end dinners, private parties and special events to add a special touch to the proceedings. They are NOT prostitutes, despite various silly rumors and portrayals in certain books and movies. Rather, they are ladies who have trained for years in the traditional Japanese arts to become the perfect entertainers.

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