Kyoto is what you would expect Japan to look like: low houses along the river, old temples surrounded by amazing gardens, hand-stretched noodles and for the luckiest (it’s not easy to see them), geishas walking with silent and short strides and disappearing behind a door made of rise paper. To make the most of this magical experience, sleep in one of Kyoto’s historical houses, now open to tourists. Staying in one of the traditional machiya (old townhouses with workshop) is an experience in itself. Relax on the unexpectedly comfortable futons, enjoy take-away sushi on a low table, try the sauna with views on the zen courtyard. Not only it’s cheap, it’s well worth the expense.