Thailand's recent political troubles may have worked in Japan's favor when it came to this year's Travel + Leisure awards, with Kyoto knocking Bangkok off its spot at the top of the magazine's world's best cities list.
The Thai capital, which was placed under curfew earlier this year during a military coup, is nowhere to be seen in this year's top 10, voted for by the magazine's readers, despite repeat appearances in the number one spot.
Kyoto, a city on Japan's Honshu island famed for its ancient temples and spring cherry blossoms, was praised by T + L special correspondent Sarah Spagnolo for "an emerging style scene that's cutting edge."
CNNGo get a dose of "wacky Japan" in Osaka with concept bands and pro-wrestlig to the lift spirits.
Get a taste of authenitc Osaka with CNNGo and discover the historical gems of Kyoto.
A master sake brewer serves up Osaka while we venture to the sacred quietude of Kyoto.
Second on the list is Charleston, South Carolina, which, according to Spagnolo, improved on its 2013 seventh-place ranking thanks to accessibility, standout hotels (including the Planters Inn) and "a mouthwatering culinary scene where shrimp grits are just the beginning."
Several tourism heavyweights, including Rome and Florence, maintain their places in the top 10, while others make the grade after failing to place in 2013.
Siem Reap, the developing resort town near the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, New Orleans, Mexico City and Seville, Spain are all new entries.
Surveys of T + L readers were also used to compile award lists in other categories.
T + L's World's Best Cities 2014
10. New Orleans
9. Mexico City
7. Seville, Spain
4. Siem Reap, Cambodia
3. Florence, Italy
2 Charleston, South Carolina
1. Kyoto, Japan