Golden Pavilion – Perhaps the ultimate Kyoto symbol -- or at the very least its most Instagrammed attraction -- Kinkaku-ji was built at the end of the 14th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Zen Buddhist temple is made up of 132,000 square meters of gardens, ponds and stones.
Gion – Gion, with its traditional wooden machiya houses, is a popular area for tourists hoping to snap a photograph of a Kyoto geisha.
Sannenzaka – One of Kyoto's prettiest streets, Sannenzaka is a pedestrian-only lane leading to Kiyomizu temple. It's located in Higashiyama, one of the top places to see preserved Kyoto architecture.
Kawadoko restaurants – Every year, from May to September, "kawadoko" restaurants in the village of Kibune give diners a chance to enjoy their meals outdoors while sitting on tatami mats over the river. Kibune is about 12 kilometers from central Kyoto.
Kimono Forest – This beautiful "forest" of two-meter high pillars, located outside the Randen tram station in Arashiyama, showcases various kimono textiles.
Fushimi Inari Shrine – Another popular site on the Kyoto tourist trail, Fushimi Inari Shrine is made up of thousands of vermillion torii gates.
Kyoto Tower – The 131-meter Kyoto Tower offers panoramic views of the city.
Toji Temple – Yet another Kyoto UNESCO-listed site, Toji Temple features Japan's highest pagoda. Standing 55 meters tall, this five-story wooden structure was founded in 794. The temple complex hosts a flea market on the 21st of every month.
Heian Shrine – Relatively new compared to some of Kyoto's ancient sites, Heian-jingu was built in 1895, on the 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital from Nara to Kyoto.
Kyoto Station – Most Kyoto visitors will pass through this station at least once during their journey. Opened in 1997, it services trains to Tokyo and Osaka, among may other cities. The bullet train to Tokyo takes two hours and 15 minutes, while the journey to Osaka is 28 minutes.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple – Another UNESCO site, this Buddhist temple is located in eastern Kyoto. For worshippers, Kiyomizu-dera -- which translates to "Pure Water Temple" -- is the home of the Goddess of Mercy.
Kyoto International Manga Museum – Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Kyoto International Manga Museum highlights the historical development of manga and features rarities such as Meiji-period magazines and postwar rental books. There are nearly 300,000 titles from Japan and abroad -- including 50,000 manga that can be flipped through and enjoyed.
Daigo-ji Temple – Established in the 9th century, Daigo-ji, in southeast Kyoto, is made up of three different structures: Sanbo-in, Shimo-Daigo (Lower Daigo), and Kami-Daigo (Upper Daigo). You have to hike to get to the third section so you'll find far less tourists there. Guess what? It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pontocho – The historic street of Pontocho, featuring preserved Kyoto architecture, is full of bars, tea houses and restaurants. It's one of a handful of areas you're likely to spot a geisha heading to work.
Nishiki Market – A local restaurant in Kyoto's 400-year-old Nishiki Market. Offering everything from fresh fish and donuts to sake and high-end knives, this massive shopping space is worth at least a couple hours of your time.
Katsura River – Not hard to see why fall is among the most popular times to visit Kyoto. Boat rides on Kyoto's Katsura River, in Arashiyama district, are a great way to take in the season's beauty.
Downtown Kyoto – Can't bear to look at another temple? Kyoto's downtown area is filled with shops, restaurants, hotels and bars.