20 beautiful photos show why Kyoto is a treasure

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2016.

CNN  — 

Never been to Kyoto? Chances are your curiosity is already piqued this city in Japan.

Pretty much every leading glossy travel mag has given it a shout-out for being one of the world’s best cities for travelers.

Last year, Travel + Leisure readers voted it world’s top city.

This month, it was voted the world’s second-best city by Conde Nast Traveler readers, topped only by Tokyo. Why all the accolades?

With a population of nearly 1.5 million, Kyoto is definitely worth visiting at least once in your life – though preferably more given it’s impossible to cram its charms into a single trip.

Japan’s historical heart, the country’s former capital (from 794 to 1869 AD) is home to thousands of architectural wonders, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But it’s also a modern city with a thriving music and arts scene and incredible restaurants.

Still not convinced? We’ve put together a gallery of some of Kyoto’s most captivating sites and scenes that might fix that.