Kyoto is a Japanese city unlike any other. Modern office towers and a city center sit next to one of the highest concentrations of UNESCO World Heritage Sites on earth, somehow in perfect harmony. Business people do their thing while monks tend to their temples and visitors marvel at it all. Perhaps this shouldn't be a surprise as most of the stunning temples that dot the city's landscape are all about peace and tranquility at their heart.
The city is also home to real geishas who manage to live highly traditional lives, going to and from in their kimonos as they have for thousands of years, seemingly unaware of the modern world around them. This is a place where different worlds literally intersect, collide, and work well together, creating a fantastically rich social canvas to watch go by. Kyoto is a fascinating city, but also a wonderful spot to slow down, take a seat, and watch its people live their lives. Here are three of our favorite spots to get a sense of the social fabric of this most traditional of Japanese cities and watch its people live their lives.