kyoto bamboo forest

Photo: Soh Morishita/Moment/Getty Images

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The Inspiration: "For a time / I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."
— Wendell Berry

The Place: Kyoto, Japan

The Reason to Go: It's rare that the words "peaceful" and "city" can be used to describe the same place. Kyoto, the winner Travel + Leisure's 2014 Best City Award, is home to Zen gardens, UNESCO World Heritage sites, traditional tea ceremonies, as well as, the bullet train, futuristic Kyoto Station and Nintendo's headquarters. An added bonus to this past-meets-present city: It also boasts the Sagano Bamboo Forest, where you can take in swaying sky-high bamboo stalks.