Kyoto is the second most popular spot for visitors coming to Japan after Tokyo. Where Tokyo is the city of dazzling neon lights, uber-modern inventions and architecture, explosive excitement and a bustling population, Kyoto feels like the exact opposite. It's the perfect balance to any trip to Japan. Kyoto is history. It's ancient Zen gardens perfect for internal contemplation, peaceful walks along aged pathways, spiritual visits to sacred temples and traditional creative arts and culture. Whereas Tokyo is a city designed with curated, instagrammable spots, Kyoto is just naturally photogenic. If you're only visiting Kyoto for a short period and are looking for the best spots to soak in the visual beauty of this city, these are my favourite places to hit up while on your photographic journey in the old capital of Japan, Kyoto.
Near the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, you'll come across the entrance to the Ōkōchi Sansō Villa Gardens. After traipsing through the groves and narrowly escaping peak tourist hour, we were in need of a break from the selfie sticks and loud tour groups. Before entering we poked ours heads in the front gate. From there, it looked like there wasn't a soul inside. Immediately as we passed through the gate and started to walk up the hill, the noise from the tourists below disappeared. We could hear our footsteps on the stones below and the sound of the wind in the trees. It wasn't until the very end of the tour that we ran into another person. It was the perfect escape from the crowds below and more beautiful that we could have imagined.