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Kyoto, Japan

Don't let the view of Kyoto from a Shinkansen fool you.
Behind the drab gray buildings and the ugly tower lies a city of great beauty, culture, and tradition.

We went to Kyoto at least once a month while we lived in Osaka, and it wasn't enough.
Then again, if you lived in Kyoto for ten years, it wouldn't be enough time to see all that the city has to offer.

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The Torii Tunnel of Fushimi Inari Taishi

So what does Kyoto offer?

Temples and shrines.
There are hundreds of beautiful religious buildings. The temples are rich with history.
Politics, wars, art, culture, jilted lovers, and even some religion found homes and breeding grounds in the temples and shrines of Kyoto.
Gardens, sculptures, architecture, nature, and serenity (if you stay away from the 10 or 12 most popular tourist temples) are available at the hundreds of shrines and temples that are all over this great city.

The neighborhoods of Kyoto have stood for a thousand years. No building is old unless it's been there for 200 years. These buildings set the standard for tastefulness, class, and comfort.
No need for me to write more about the excellence of Japanese architecture. It speaks for itself.

Traditional Street

Gion Matsuri

Geisha. Gardens. Music. Performances. A unique dialect. And Festivals.

The Gion Matsuri started in the 9th century, as an offering to the gods to stop a plague.
It's a procession of centuries-old carts, adorned with carvings and antique draperies.
It's not exciting, but it is beautiful.
Many houses open their doors to the public during the festival, and display family heirlooms. Men and women bring out their best kimono and yukata. Food is available everywhere. Performances abound.
It's a month of pride for this former capital.

No city has been able to retain its' greatness or power forever.
But few cities retain or display their former graces as well as Kyoto.