I post this here since the thread has wandered down the page a bit.
If she can, I would strongly recommend visiting both Kyoto and Nara. Nara is near Kyoto and well worth the side trip.
Most Japanese cities of any importance were heavily damaged during WWII by bombing, especially incendiary bombs that were used to burn out the highly flammable local construction. Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, etc., are big and interesting cities but their architecture is very much second half of the twentieth century. Yes, there are some treasures (the castle in Osaka or the Imperial Palace - well, both the Palace and the Frank Lloyd Wright hotel - in Tokyo, for instance) in those cities but Kyoto and Nara are special.
These cities were deliberately spared the bombing visited upon the others; as a consequence, the architectural and cultural treasures of these cities were preserved.
Kyoto was the capital of Japan before it was moved to Tokyo, and Nara was the capital before Kyoto. The palaces and temples in both cities are spectacular. I consider them to be 'must visit' places as part of trying to understand or appreciate Japan.
Posted on Apr 11, 2001, 8:22 AM from IP address 22.214.171.124