Love of Nature
The Japanese have a very highly evolved, articulated, and ritualized love of nature. Simplicity and naturalness are highly prized. You won't really find highly logical european gardens or english gardens here, but rather great pains are taken for natural and simple settings. In Kyoto, I found that the garden settings were some of the best parts of enjoying the various temples. If you go, make sure to leave some time for the gardens/grounds as well as the temples.
Fun nighttime stroll
Pontocho is a narrow (about a meter wide) little alley that runs between Shijo and Sanjo near the river, and it is full of fascinating little bars, restaurants and yakitori joints for every budget. If you're a photographer, you may enjoy taking pictures of the great doorways and lanterns. Stop and enjoy the food, too! You'll see some people quite dressed up, but you can generally judge by the doorway about each individual establishment.
I love the sushi bar at the JR station. There's a wide selection of delicious sushi. It was my first time visiting a sushi bar in Japan. There's free-flow of Japanese green tea at the table (self-service). Wait to be seated and get a cup and put a tea bag and get some hot water from the tap at the table. Soya sauce and ginger pickles are at the table for your consumption too. There's also an English menu.You can request for the particular sushi that you want from the menu, and if it is not available on the conveyor belt, the "chef" in front of you will make one for you. Just take what you fancy.
Many westerners thought that sushi is all about raw fish. Give it a try, cos sushi is not only raw fish. There are some cooked fish as well. And also other ingredient too, not only fish. For example the one I had is duck sushi, which is cooked and delicious. I like the unagi sushi (cooked) too. 1) Duck sushi... yummy, cannot find duck sushi elsewhere. This is a cooked sushi.
2) Sashimi (raw salmon) and wide selection of raw fish sushi. There's also a raw squid and raw prawn sushi which I dare not try.
3) The crab mayonnaise sushi is great too.
After Tokugawa Ieyasu's victory in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, he started the building of Nijo Castle as his residence in Kyoto. As the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, leader of a united Japan, Nijo Castle came to represent political and military might.
The castle is the site for many historic events in Japanese history, mostly involving Ieyasu. It was where Ieyasu met for talks with his arch-rival Hideyori Toyotomi, and where Ieyasu's descedant Tokugawa Yoshinobu announced his resolution to return his administrative power to the Imperial Household in 1867.
The castle grounds consists of the Honmaru (main compound) and the Ninomaru Palace seen in the picture on left. It also has a lovely pond on its ground.
Visit my Nijo Castle Travelogue
Visit some of the marvelous Temples and Shrines of the ancient capital of Japan, you can choose among hundreds of them.
Very nice places and relaxing atmosphere. If you come from western country (like me) you can enjoy also different architectural style. My favourite are SANJUSANGEN-DO (with 1001 statues of Kannon), KIYOMIZU-DERA (very nice in Cherry Blossom season), HEIAN-JINGU (see intro pic).