Steeped in history, the once-capital of Japan and the former seat of the Imperial House, Kyōto is famed for being home to endless Buddhist temples, Shintō shrines, Zen gardens and palaces, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Aside from the magnificent architecture and fascinating history, the Kyōto of today is a youthful and vibrant city that stays close to its spiritual and historical roots.
Nestled among the mountains of Western Honshu, Heian-kyō (which translates to "capital of peace and tranquillity"), the former name of Kyōto, was the capital of Japan and the seat of the imperial court from 794 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The city, built on the model of the ancient Chinese capital, modern-day Xian, was the religious, commercial, and artistic hub during the Heian period, and preserved its significance as a seat of power even after 1868 when the capital was moved to Edo (now Tōkyō).
Nowadays, Kyōto is the 8th largest city in Japan, with a population of close to 1.5 million. With over 1,200 Buddhist temples and 400 Shintō shrines, it is depicted as the heart of Japan where past and present coexist together in perfect harmony.
Despite the major industrial revolution of the Meiji period, wandering around Kyōto is still like a blast from the past: the ancient temples, shrines, inns, and palaces are a delight for the eyes, and represent exactly what old Japan is in the global imaginary.Read More