If someone pinned me down and told me I had to pick my favorite place in Japan right now, I wouldn’t even need the time to blink my eyes before I replied, “Ninenzaka (Two-Year Hill)!”
Located in the Higashiyama ward on the east side of Kyoto, the gently sloping street (and its nearby mate, Sannenzaka (“Three-Year Hill”) offer a view of what Kyoto must have looked like in the past. Both lanes are lined with authentically restored shops, many offering traditional Japanese goods or foods (and samples!), as well as teahouses, restaurants and homes. Unlike the rest of Kyoto (and Japan) there are no overhead electric lines to clog the sight lines making it one of the most beautiful and charming areas in the city. No motor vehicles are allowed on Ninenzaka either; if you don’t want to or can’t walk the only wheeled transportation allowed are jinrikisha (rickshaw).
And, one more thing . . .