After a weeklong exhaustive tour of the modern day capital of Japan, Tokyo, we set off for the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto. We arrived at the Tokyo Station, a modern glass edifice from where the famous Shinkansen Nozumi bullet train whisked us away to Kyoto. The concrete jungle of Tokyo gradually gave way to lazy, rural pastures of the Japanese countryside. Cruising along at 320km p/h in hushed silence we saw the world famous Mt Fuji rise on the horizon on the distant horizon to come within view, perennially snow-capped and eternally beautiful, truly a sight to behold. If Tokyo was the modern metropolis filled with crowds of formally dressed office workers hurrying into gleaming skyscrapers and a hypnotic nightlife Kyoto was sublime, relaxed, effortless and completely peaceful. Kyoto was the capital of Japan until about 100 years ago when it moved to Tokyo. The city has several buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, Zen gardens and wooden homes in classic Japanese architectural style. Arriving at midday, we checked into the hotel and headed straight for Gion Corner. It’s an area famous for performing arts, traditional tea ceremonies, dancing geishas, puppet shows and most notably kyo-mai dances performed by maiko dancers Arriving at midday, we checked into the hotel and headed straight for Gion Corner. It’s an area famous for performing arts; traditional tea ceremonies, dancing geishas, puppet shows and most notably kyo-mai dances performed by maiko dancers. We took in a few shows and after strolling around the maze-like neighbourhood headed for some sushi which was available almost everywhere. The one thing about Japan, which is astonishing, is the incredible politeness you encounter with absolutely everyone. If you ask anyone for directions, there is a very good chance they will guide you with meticulous detail and if there is a slight language barrier, they will actually walk you to your destination and point it out for you. I have never experienced such hospitality anywhere else in the world, though I have heard people in Italy are similarly helpful too. The evening was spent discovering quaint back allies and tucked away art galleries and bars. Dinner was in a traditional Japanese tavern alongside a sakura-lined canal with twinkling fairy lights and the hypnotic sound of flowing water. The following morning, we set off for the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine originally dedicated to the rice and sake gods by the Hata family in the 8th century, the Fushimi Inari Shrine is considered to be one of Japan’s most popular and iconic shrines.It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, and belong to the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Even though there were thousands of tourists from all over the world visiting the shrine it was serenely peaceful and there was a feeling of being one with nature. The writer is Quality Editor at Daily Times. He Tweets at @FaizalKhanzada and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, July 22nd , 2017.