One of the reasons I would like to visit Kyoto in Japan is its sense of history. 11 Centuries of it. Kyoto is where you find the Imperial court. Kyoto was the capital up to 1869
Kyoto was not bombed during WWII so lots of old buildings survived
More than 1700 Buddhist temples and 300 Shinto shrines. I would probably avoid the really popular temples and shrines and try to visit some less busy ones.
Charming cobblestoned lanes.
Walk the Philosopher's Path – not too long a walk – less than 2 miles. A number of temples along the path as well as restaurants and shops.
Nijo Castle and Gardens
Nishiki market – food market since the 1600's
Visit Gion – it is the Geisha district – loved Memoirs of a Geisha which is set in Gion . Apparently there are only about 50 Geisha left in Gion.
Good view from the rooftop terrace of Kyoto Station. There is also a Kyoto Tower – why is it that cities have towers – I bet all the architects were men!
Japan's most photographed cherry tree is found in Maruyama Park.
If you want to be there during one of their 3 major festivals book well in advance. Or if you want to go at cherry blossom time. Best times – cherry blossom in April, Jidai festival Oct 22, Aoi festival May 15 and Gion festival July 16-17
You can get to Kyoto from Tokyo in less than 3 hours by bullet train. A train leaves Tokyo every 10 minutes for most of the day.