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Kyoto is a more residential city where you have inhumers temples and the very best of Japans culture. I choose this special place specifically for my birthday to experience the sunset at 7am on the top of fushimi Inari. A truly mindful moment when you pull yourself together at 5am in the morning when you start at the bottom when it's completely dark. (as you could walk up any time as its open 24/7)

Located in Kyoto's Higashiyama district, the Ryozen Kannon is a memorial to soldiers who died in World War 2. The white concrete statue of Kannon is 80 feet high and is clearly visible from the top of Kyoto Station.

I should note that this is not really a Buddha (although many think it is). This Kannon is the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy based on the Indian Bodhisattva Avalokitasvara.

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The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason: standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world.

If you’ve been planning a trip to Kyoto, you’ve probably seen pictures of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – along with the torii tunnels of Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine and Kinkaku-ji Temple, it’s one of the most photographed sights in the city. But no picture can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this sprawling bamboo grove – the whole thing has a palpable sense of otherness that is quite unlike that of any normal forest we know of.

You can access it directly from the main street of Arashiyama, a little to the north of the entrance to Tenryu-ji Temple, but it’s best paired with a visit to that temple (exit the north gate, take a left and you’ll be in the grove in no time). There’s just one main path through the grove, which leads slowly uphill. Once you get to the top of the hill, the entrance to the sublime Okochi-Sanso Villa is right in front of you (go in, you won’t regret it).

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