Tokyo and Osaka may have the edge in terms of dynamism, but no city in Japan is more evocative than Kyoto. The former capital is famous for its classical Buddhist temples, gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It is an endlessly fascinating place, and its quiet lanes and gentle inclines make it perfect for exploring by bike. The full day starts with a visit to Nishi Hongan-ji Temple, one of the largest temple complexes in the city. From there it is an easy ride to other highlights including Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple and Ryoan-ji, which is famous for its amazing rock garden. The journey ends in typically serene fashion in the scenic Arashiyama area. Located on the fringes of Kyoto, this enclave is world-famous due to its serene bamboo forest, massive temples and vibrant dining and shopping alleys.
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