The City of Kyoto was founded as "Heiankyo" in
794 A.D, and flourished as the capital of Japan for approximately
Even after the transfer of the capital to Tokyo
with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Kyoto maintained its position
as Japan's cultural capital. It is home to numerous national treasures,
historical buildings and traditional arts and crafts. Kyoto is known
as the "spiritual
home of the Japanese" and it is often said that without knowing
Kyoto, it is impossible to grasp the true essence of Japan.
Kyoto has a rich and colorful history, with a unique
blend of tradition, culture, and industry. During spring cherry blossom and autumn maple leaf
viewing seasons, the city and its rural outskirts are an irresistible
attraction for nature lovers.
Kyoto was laid out in a grid pattern with the Imperial Palace located
at its center. The city was modeled on Chang-an (modern-day Xian),
the capital of the Tang Dynasty of China. The surrounding areas are
named according to their positions relative to the Imperial Palace:
Rakuchu for central Kyoto, Kitayama for northern Kyoto, Higashiyama
for eastern Kyoto, and Nishiyama for western Kyoto.
The Kamo River flows north to south through
the middle of the city and serves as a useful reference point. The
areas alongside the river bank have been developed into parks, walking
trails, and playing fields. Thus, the riverside is a favorite spot
of both citizens and visitors to relax within the city.