The beauty and cultural treasures of Kyoto are hidden behind its high walls and paper screens, only revealing themselves when you venture off the street and out of view. Here you’ll find monks, geisha, zen gardens, tea ceremonies, singing floorboards, serene temples and shrines, and a mood and calm rarely found elsewhere. Kyoto exists as a discreet counterpoint to the overwhelming neon metropolis of Tokyo, and to the Japanese it best embodies their cultural achievements and national pride. It was the only city General MacArthur spared from bombing in the Second World War; having lived there as a boy he knew of its beauty and significance, and today its old glories are alive and intact while Tokyo’s were bombed into memory. Tour the hidden temples and gardens and wander its streets, and you too will experience Kyoto’s serenity, and perhaps the illusory ‘Japaneseness’ for which the city is renowned.