If you're looking for traditional Japanese culture, Kyoto is where you'll find it. It has most of the temples you'll want to see, and rickshaws, etc. If you're lucky you'll see a few geishas.
My first priority when going to Kyoto was Kiyomizu. It's one of the most famous temples in Japan located on a huge hill with shops leading all the way up to the temple. The view is beautiful, and I believe the temple is for luck. There are two love stones, legend states that if you walk from one to the other with your eyes closed, you will be lucky in love (Japanese girls will go there a thousand times if they have to) but I did it! Also, they have a lot of cool charms that I brought home for my family for health and long life, but they have others for conception or good grades and stuff like that. There's three fountains that you can drink out of, but you're only allowed one per year in one of three categories: health, love, or education.
The other famous temples are the gold and silver temples. When going to the gold temple, it's really just about
looking at how beautiful and shiny the actual temple is. you go in, take pictures, and leave. The silver temple isn't much of a temple but a beautiful garden that you could walk in for hours if you wanted to, but both were good experiences.
One of my favorite places to go to in Kyoto was Arashiyama. It's a very tranquil place, and the people are so nice. The most famous part of Arashiyama is the bamboo forest, which was beautiful but I love climbing monkey mountain, which has Asian monkeys at the top.
Kyoto also had some really good clubs and places to eat. Favorite place to eat: Ninja cafe. it's a tabehodai (all you can eat) and they're ninja fanatics. Favorite club: butterfly. it's only open until one though, I think.
Kyoto is a blast no matter what you're planning on doing.
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