If you find yourself in Kyoto, set aside a morning for the Philosopher’s Walk. Best un- (or lowly-) populated, early morning will afford you a quiet path upon which to calmly take in the song of the water and contemplate life’s mysteries. The entire path is a little over a mile and is lined with shops, street vendors, restaurants, and temples. Decorated with hundreds of sakura trees, this area is popular during cherry blossom season and is a great spot for fall color.
If you’re there early enough, you might also catch the cats who take up residence along the path, many marked as part of a capture-neuter-release initiative by a notch cut from an ear. Some are even friendly enough to join you on your walk for a brief span, philosophizing over their own quandaries.