Kyoto is a city of festivals. Join the outdoor tea ceremony at the plum blossom festival (25 February) at Kitano Tenmangu shrine, where maiko (apprentice geisha) serve matcha tea and Japanese sweets.
In the past, these traditional wooden townhouses hosted both a home and a shop. Today, they are restaurants and hotels. Japanese-Western fusion Omo Café is a cosy example.
Don a kimono from one of Kyoto’s many rental shops and take to the streets. You can buy one to take home from Eshiborianne, where fabrics are tie-dyed using traditional methods dating back to the Nara period (710-794AD).
Following the 2014 opening of The Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons launched in November 2016 alongside Kyoto’s traditional ryokans. For a dash of quirk, Tokyo hostel Book and Bed (top image) opened here in December 2016.
Tofu is the star of local kaiseki cuisine. Try yuba (tofu skin) hotpot: dip pieces of translucent yuba, cooked in tonyu nabe (soy milk hotpot), into soy sauce with tangerine zest.
Find zen over a glass of whisky at Bozu Bar. Discuss your troubles with monk owner Takahide Haneda over a Japanese single malt or local beer before joining one of the bar’s walking tours.