If you want to enjoy in Kyoto, can you try to think and find out what values Kyoto has today and what other places in Japan don't have like Kyoto.
Kyoto was used to be a centre place for an aristocratic society for about 550 years since the 14th century until Meiji Restoration in 1868. At same time Kyoto had been all the time influeced and reflected by each generation of Samurai Shoguns for territorial wars, therefore, its culture had been mixed between two of them. In short, you may see traditional cultures but mixed ones.
Arashiyama / Sagano area, where natures still remain by surrounding forests and rivers, give you a fresh feeling, when you walk around and enjoy some scenic views. Togetsu-kyo (bridge), which is over the Katsura River, is a nice view spot when you look up Arayashiyama. If you take a trolley train car along the Katsura river, you could get better feeling on Arayashiyama atomsphere. If you like to go by boat in the river, you could have another way to feel Arayashiyama. If you extend to walk to Sagano area, you can reach surprisingly beatufiul bamboo forests nearby. You may get another image on Kyoto.
Gion area is the centre of Kyoto-style traditional entertainment places, including Kyoto tea houses, Kyoto cooking-style restaurant, Kabuki theatre, Gaisha / Maiko houses and so on. There are still a lot of old and traditional Kyoto houses available there and Gion's streets still give you a old Kyoto town image. If you are fortunate, you may happen to see Gesha or Maiko walking out with a traditional kimono and make-ups.
Lastly, other recommendation for your trip is Amano Hashidate, where it faces with Japan Sea on the northen side of Kyoto prefecture. It is approximately 2.5-hour drive from Kyoto city. This Amanoo Hashidate is one of the top 3 greatest scenic places in Japan. It has total 3.6km-length sandbar from north to south line, which give you a really beautiful scenery. There are some Onsen spots where you can stay and take outside hot-bath for the best scenic view. You can be really relaxed.
< Arashiyama / Sagano >
< Gion >
< Sagano Bamboo Trees >
< Amano Hashidate >