Kinkakuji (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) - One of Kyoto's best-known attractions, Kinkakuji was constructed in 1397 as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. This impressive palace features a three-story pavilion covered in gold leaf with a roof topped by a bronze phoenix, and was said to evoke paradise on earth. Kinkakuji was converted to a Zen temple after Yoshimitsu's death in 1408. If you come here on a clear day, the Golden Pavilion shimmers against a blue sky, its reflection captured in the waters of a calm pond.
Tucked away in the corners of Kyoto, the curious visitor can discover quiet Japanese gardens, tea-houses, traditional Japanese restaurants, cobbled alleyways, and shops selling antiques or the products of traditional artisans.
Though it's not technically a sport, you can witness some of the most in-shape athletes in the world: Kyoto's rickshaw drivers. These men are capable of pulling several passengers up the steep hill to the Kinkaku-ji temple.
As the nation's capital for more than 1,000 years, Kyoto became home to a number of crafts and exquisite art forms that catered to the elaborate tastes of the upper classes. There are several crafts specific to Kyoto. Kyoningyo are display dolls, kyoshikki is lacquerware with designs formed using gold or silver dust, and kyosensu are ritual fans made from bamboo and Japanese paper. And Kyoto's markets are the best place to find antiques and bric-a-brac at reasonable prices. Make sure you bargain for better prices, and the markets are the only places in Japan where you are able to do so.
The yen (JPY) is the currency of Japan.
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