2. Kyoto, Japan
This old city is famous for its stunning beauty. From visits to shrines and temples to relaxing walks in parks and a vibrant, far-from-frantic city life, all can be found within the proximity of Kyoto.
A modern city getaway
If you want more than the ordinary sightseeing and shopping in central Kyoto or near the railway station, visit some Zen temples or meditation retreats at one of Kyoto’s many shrines.
Enjoying great quality Japanese food is never a problem in Kyoto. Have lunch at the city’s best food market – Nishiki Market, and then enjoy a cup of coffee at its coolest cafe – Café Bibliotic Hello.
The Zen traveler’s oasis
Kennin-ji is the oldest Zen monastery in Kyoto, which was founded in 1202 by the monk Eisai. It is located in the historic district of Higashiyama. Being the main temple of the Rinzai School, it is the place where Zen was taught for the first time.
Spend some moments in the morning quietly sitting in the gardens or experience a sutra copying workshop at Ryosoku-in temple inside Kennin-ji. There is no better way to find your Zen and inner peace.
If Zen temples aren’t your deep passion, another option is to walk The Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku-no-michi in Japanese), along the canal in the North of Higashiyama, running between Ginkaku-ji Temple in the North and Eikan-do Temple in the South. This pathway is named after professor Nishida Kitaro who managed to solve complex issues while following a walk to refresh his mind.
Enjoying the beautiful ancient architecture of a shrine or pagoda among the flowers or greenery is a great way to escape the city for a while. We seem to need to recharge our batteries before returning to the constant stresses of our tackle life, and Kyoto provides the perfect balance between a modern city life and a peaceful countryside setting.