For the past few weeks I have been on an awesome Asia adventure- starting in Tokyo, then to Beijing and Tianjin in China, a night in Osaka and Nara... all ending with a few days in Kyoto. Rich in nature and local traditions, Kyoto is always a favorite stop off when we come to Japan. If you haven't yet been, you MUST go! The soba alone is worth it! The shrines are too numerous to visit in one trip, so each time you come back you can visit previous ones that resonated with you and still find new gems to add to your treasure trove. The other great thing about Kyoto is the old Japanese style inns called Ryokans. You stay in a convertible room with tatami matts that host you at a low table (so you can sit on the floor) for breakfast and dinner, and then is moved aside to make way for futons that are rolled out for sleeping. The best part is that many of these ryokans have baths in the basement filled with hot (sometimes therapeutic) water. A daily visit to the bath eases sore muscles from grand days out sightseeing, and is boasted as beneficial for one's skin.