Gion, the city’s most famous geisha district, is the best area to stay in Kyoto if you want to experience traditional Japanese customs. Here you’ll be in the heart of historic Kyoto, with ancient Buddhist temples and shrines, impressive Japanese architecture, traditional teahouses and picturesque old wooden shops. Visit Yasaka Shrine, Ebisu Shrine and Kennin-ji Temple, or explore the nearby shopping area of Shijo. Another must-visit is Minamiza Theatre, the most prominent kabuki theatre in all of Kyoto, dating back as far as the early 1600s. If you’re visiting during July, you’ll be able to experience Gion Matsuri, the biggest annual festival in Kyoto. The festival is a huge celebration of Kyoto’s local culture and events take place throughout July. The two main events are the processions of traditional parade floats. The city lights up during this time and the incredible cultural energy in Gion is something you have to experience at least once.