A peaceful tranquility permeates Kyoto, a city best known for its historic shrines, temples, and palaces. Cherry-blossom trees line the sidewalks, and pagodas sit atop lush green hills. Step into paradise in one of the city’s Chinese-influenced gardens, which feature budding plants and Zen temples. Visitors can look out over breathtaking mountains at Enryaku-Ji, an ancient temple with intricate architecture. Enjoy traditional Japanese hospitality and lavish amenities at Tawaraya, one of the city’s most elegant inns.

Insider Tip: Western Kyoto is home to some of the city’s best religious architecture: Tour Kinkaku-ji’s golden temple, walk through the rock garden at Ryoan-ji, or stop by Kitano Tenman-gu’s bustling monthly market.