Kyoto, The Imperial Capital Nara, Kasuga shrine *** Local Caption *** Whether Kyoto is visited in spring when the cherry trees bloom, or in the fall, when the leaves turn to glorious red, orange and yellow, this city with the long history is just as beautiful. Although a modern city and the 7th largest in Japan, Kyoto is much more peaceful than Tokyo and Osaka. It was Japan?s imperial capital for 10 centuries, and is still considered a cultural and artistic center. Kyoto is an open museum, with shrines and palaces, literally thousands of temples of all sizes, picturesque narrow streets and beautiful gardens. People here still have time to wander in the streets of the city as the pace of life is much slower, and if one is lucky will catch a glimpse of the geishas dressed in traditional kimonos, going to work.