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Kyoto Prefecture

Kyoto Prefecture in Kansai DistrictKyoto PrefectureKyoto Prefecture is located to the north of Osaka, and has a long area.
The north area faces the sea of Japan.

The whole area of the prefecture is hilly, but has no high mountain and the highest peak in the prefecture is under 1,000 meters.

In the south part of the prefecture, there are some historic cities such as Kyoto and Uji.

Kyoto Kyoto city is the prefecural capital and is well-known historic city in Japan. The population is about 1.46 million (2009).
"Kyoto" is pronounced as "Kyooto".

From the 5th to the 8th centuries, the capital of Japan was mainly around current Nara city.
In 794, Emperor Kanmu moved the capital to Kyoto, and Kyoto as the Japan's capital had continued until 1868.
During the period, this city had had Emperor, nobilities, samurais and ordinary citizens. And they created various cultures.

Kyoto, Kiyomizudera temple The central city has been built on a grid, and many temples, shrines and the other historic buildings are dotted around the area.
And 17 constructions of them are designated a World Heritage Site as Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
Kyoto escaped the damage of World War II, so it has about 20 percent of Japan's national treasures.

Kamo River flows on the east side of the main area, and Katsura River flows on the west side from north to south.
To the east of Kamo River, many gentle mountains line from north to south, and the area is called "Higashiyama".
And, to the west of Katsura River, there are nice areas such as "Arashiyama" and "Saga".

Please enrich your view of Kyoto about the followings.

Streets in central Kyoto
Kyoto Cuisine

The official websites by local governments are the followings.

Kyoto Travel Guide : Official website by Kyoto Tourism Council
Kyoto City Web : Official website of Kyoto City
Welcome to Kyoto : Official website of Kyoto Prefecture

Useful and unique websites about Kyoto are the followings.

Kyotokyoto.jp : The best informational website when traveling to Kyoto. Sightseeing spots, Temples, Hotels, Ryokan, Kyoto Maps, Transportation, Dining, Cafes, Shops
Kyoto Accommodation : Find the best Kyoto hotel or Kyoto ryokan.
WAK JAPAN : Please enjoy Japanese traditional cultural experience.
Kyoto Weddings : Your local planner for ceremonies and photo plans. Would you have a wedding in Kyoto?
Sightseeing of Kyoto - Go aroung to get the "GORIYAKU"
CycleKyoto : There is information on popular tourist routes for the temples and shrines, off the beaten trail routes, safety information, bike law, bike rental and much more.

The climate in Kyoto city
Highest Temperature (deg C) 8.9 9.7 13.4 19.9 24.6 27.8 31.5 33.3 28.8 22.9 17.0 11.6
Lowest Temperature (deg C) 1.2 1.4 4.0 9.0 14.0 18.8 23.2 24.3 20.3 13.6 7.8 3.2
Mean monthly rainfall (mm) 50 68 113 116 161 214 220 132 176 121 71 48

How to get to Kyoto

From Tokyo

  • By Tokaido-Shinkansen, about 2 hours and 20 minutes by "Nozomi".

From Nagoya

  • By Tokaido-Shinkansen, about 36 minutes by "Nozomi".

From Osaka

  • By Tokaido-Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka station, about 14 minutes by "Nozomi".
  • By JR Tokaido Line from Osaka station, about 29 minutes by rapid train.
  • By Keihan Line from Kyobashi to Sanjo, about 46 minutes by limited express.
  • By Hankyu Line from Umeda to Kawramachi, about 44 minutes by limited express.

From Kansai International Airport

  • By JR limited express "Haruka", about 1 hour and 16 minutes.

From Itami Airport

  • By Osaka Airport Limusine bus, about 55 minutes.

Transportation of Kyoto city

Kyoto is the international tourist city, and about 50 million people a year visit here.
And the sightseeing area spreads within 5-10 km.
To tour around Kyoto, we can use route bus, subway and taxi.

The network of subway is not so enough, then the main transportation is route bus.
But the route bus is very crowded in high season, and some buses sometimes overflow with passengers.
So I suggest you give yourself enough time to tour around Kyoto.

To tour around main spots, it is convenient to use a tour bus.
Tour buses with various tourist routes leave from Kyoto station.

If you want to visit by car, you should be prepare to get struck in a jam and stray into any narrow, one-way street.

Public transport in Kyoto : The page in Kyoto City official website
Kyoto Regular Tour Bus
Kyoto Bus Information : Information about bus system in Kyoto and how to get around to the various tourist sites conveniently and inexpensively.
Convenient tickets to tour around Kyoto
Yuyu Kyoto : Official website of a group of sightseeing taxis in Kyoto

Tourist spots in Kyoto Prefecture

Major and popular spots

Sanjusangendo /12/ , Kiyomizu-dera /14/ , Gion /19/ , Ginkakuji /29/
Nishiki Market /44/ , Kyoto Gosho /45/ , Nijo Castle /47/ , Shimogamo Shrine /50/
Kinkakuji /61/ , Ryoanji /63/ , Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine /83/

Surrounding popular areas of central Kyoto

Arashiyama /69/, Katsura Imperial Villa /75/ , Nara city

Map of Kyoto cityAround Kyoto station

Kyoto Tower /1/
Nishi-Honganji temple /2/
Higashi-Honganji temple /3/
Shosei-en Garden /4/
Toji temple /5/
Kyoto Railway Museum /6/

East part of Kyoto city (Higashiyama)

Kyoto National Museum /11/
Sanjusangendo temple /12/
Chishaku-in temple /13/
Kiyomizu temple /14/
Ninen-zaka / San'nen-zaka /15/
Yasaka Pagoda /16/
Kodaiji temple /17/
Ken'ninji temple /18/
Gion district /19/
Minamiza theater /20/
Yasaka Shrine /21/
Maruyama Park /22/
Chion-in temple /23/
Shoren-in temple /24/
Nanzenji temple /25/
Heian Shrine /26/
Eikando temple /27/
Honen-in temple /28/
Ginkakuji temple /29/
Tetsugaku-no-michi /30/

North part of Kyoto city

Pontocho district /41/
The Museum of Kyoto /42/
Rokkakudo temple /43/
Nishiki Market /44/
Kyoto Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace) /45/
Kyoto International Manga Museum /46/
Nijo Castle /47/
Kitano Tenmanguu Shrine /48/
Daitokuji temple /49/
Shimogamo Shrine /50/
Kamigamo Shrine /51/
Shisendo temple /52/
Shugakuin Imperial Villa /53/
Temples in Ohara district /54/
Kurama Temple /55/
Kifune Shrine /56/
Mount Hiei /57/

West part of Kyoto city

Kinkakuji temple /61/
Toji-in temple /62/
Ryoanji temple /63/
Nin'naji temple /64/
Myoshinji temple /65/
Toei Kyoto Studio Park /66/
Koryuji temple /67/
Tenryuji temple /68/
Arashiyama area /69/
Sagano area /70/
Jingoji temple /71/
Kozanji temple /72/
Saihoji temple (Moss temple) /73/
Bell cricket temple /74/
Katsura Imperial Villa /75/

South part of Kyoto city (Fushimi) and Uji city

Tofukuji temple /81/
Sennyuji temple /82/
Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine /83/
Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum /84/
Daigoji temple /85/
Manpukuji temple /86/
Byodo-in temple /87/
Ujigami Shrine /88/
The Tale of Genji Museum /89/

Kyoto prefecture map

Other spots in Kyoto Prefecture

Hozu Gorge /91/
Amanohashidate /92/

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

Main events in Kyoto Prefecture

Aoi FerstivalAoi Festival (May 15th)

It is the annual festival of Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine.
It had been the festival for nobility since the 9th century, but it had been lost in the samurai period.
In 1884, Emperor Meiji commanded to resume the festival, and it has been held every year since that.
About 500 people wearing the graceful costume of ancient nobility parades on the road in Kyoto city. The route is from Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace) through Shimogamo Shrine to Kamigamo Shrine.
"Aoi" means "hollyhock". The people wear the flowers of hollyhock.

Gion FestivalGion Festival (July 1st-31st)

It is the annual festival of Yasaka Shrine. and is one of the three major festival in Japan, along with Kanda festival in Tokyo and Tenjin Festival in Osaka.
And it is the famous festival with beautiful floats as well as Takayama Festival.
It is said that this festival has been held since 970.
As the festival of the shrine, it is held from the first day to the end day in July. Various events are held.
But the most popular events are the Yoiyama in the evening from the 14th to 16th and the parade of floats on the 17th.
In Yoiyama, the beauriful floats with lighted lanterns are set up at many town, and many stalls line there.
And in the 17th day, 32 beautiful floats parade from Shijo-Karasuma through Shijo street, Kawaramachi street and Oike street.

Daimonji OkuribiDaimonji Okuribi (August 16th)

It is the famous event in the Obon period. The foemal name is "Gozan Okuribi".
In the evening, five giant bonfires are lit on mountains to the northwest, north and northeast of the city.
They form kanji characters and signs. Espcially the character "Dai" is simple and clear. "Dai" means "big" or "large", and "monji" means "character".
In Obon, dead souls return to their families, and Kyoto people send the souls to the heaven at the last day of Obon.
We can see the characters in the darkness.

Jidai FestivalJidai Festival (October 22th)

It is the annual festival of Heian Shrine. Heian Shrine was built in 1895, and this festival has been held every year since the first year.
"Jidai" means "era" or "period". Eighteen groups of seven historical periods in Japan parade in the city.
About two thousand people wearing the costume of each era parade. The length of the procession is about 2 km.
The head of the procession is the group of Meiji Period (the late 19th century), and the following groups extend back in sequence.
The route is from Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace) through Marutamachi Street, Karasuma Street, Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street to Heian Shrine.

Local foods and products in Kyoto Prefecture


It is a confectionary made in Kyoto. It is made from rice flour, sugar and cinnamon.
Baked Yatsuhashi is similar to senbei (Japanese cracker or cookie).
Unbaked Yatsuhashi has a soft and mochi-like texture, and is often eaten wrapped around "an" (sweet red bean jam).
In the 17th century, Kengyo Yatsuhashi, a leading Japanese harp musician, gave the idea of this confectionary to his acquaintance of tea house.
The acquaintance made a confectionery baked into the shape of Japanese harp, and he gave this the name of "Yatsuhashi".

Pickles of KyotoPickles of Kyoto

Kyoto has a culture that some pickles are served at meals. And various pickles are produced and are selled as one of daily foods and souvenirs.
It is said that the three major pickles in Kyoto are "Shiba-zuke", "Suguki" and "Senmai-zuke".
Shiba-zuke is made by salting chopped eggplants with red perilla for about a year.
Suguki is a kind of turnip, and is made by fermenting it in a cask for a year. It has a unique sour taste.
Senmai-zuke is made by pickling thin-sliced turnip with konbu (seaweed) and hot pepper in vinegar.

Kyoto Yuzen DyingKyoto Yuzen Dying

It is the famous dying in Japan, and was invented by Yuzensai Miyazaki living in Kyoto in the 1690s.
He was a popular painter of folding fan, and he created the method to draw a picture on silk fabric and to color with dyes.
The method had made Kimono very beutiful and gorgeous.
To complete a work, there are many processes. And many craftmen get involved the works.

Nishijin TextilesNishijin Textiles

Nishijin is the area to the northwest of Kyoto city.
Since the 16th century, many excellent craftmen had gathered in this area and silk textile industry had developed.
And in the 1870s, mechanical looms were introduced from France, and various Nishijin works enabled the mass production.
Nishijin is still the Japan's leading traditional textile.

Kyoto Nishijin : Nishijin Textile Industrial Association official website

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