The city had been called Kyo or Miyako or Kyo no Miyako, in Japanese and in the 11th century the city was named Kyoto after the Chinese word for capital city. Kyoto the ancient capital of approximately 1,000 years was moved to Tokyo by the Emperor, Kammu, after the Meiji Restoration who established the capital `Heian Kyo in the city in 794. Kyoto is surrounded by mountains and one can witness the amazing changes of nature all through the four seasons in Kyoto. Ancient Japanese traditional customs and heritage still continues through their festivals and in their everyday lives,
Combination of Modern and Old Japan
Kyoto is filled with history of beautiful old city packed with famous temples, shrines and markets which creates a combination of modern and old Japanese world and is the best city since it has everything appealing from a tourist point of view transporting them to a different era altogether.
It has been the centre of Japanese culture in art, literature as well as education and all of the National Treasures in culture are situated in Kyoto and nearby areas of Nara. Besides the temples, shrines and markets they also have many beautiful gardens screen paintings and soft meditating statues of Buddha which have been restored with care.
Birth Site of Quintessential Japanese Culture and Traditions
The city flourished as the capital of Japan and was the birth site of the quintessential Japanese culture and traditions. After its transfer of the capital to Tokyo with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the city continued to maintain its position as Japan’s cultural capital and is a home of various treasures of the country, worthy of global pride together with various historical buildings as well as traditional crafts and arts.
Moreover, Kyoto is also noted as the spiritual home of the Japanese and it is believed that without knowing Kyoto, it is impossible to grasp the true essence of Japan. Kyoto is a perfect blend of tradition, industry and culture with the combination of its rich and colourful history together with its geographical and climatic factors which is laid out in a grid pattern with the Palace placed at its centre.
Modelled on Modern Day Xian
The city was modelled on modern day Xian, the capital of the Tan dynasty of China and the surrounding were named according to their positions related to the Imperial Palace – Rakucha for central Kyoto, Kitayam – northern Kyoto, Higashiyama - eastern Kyoto and Nishiyam – western Kyoto.
The river that flows from north south through the middle of the city known as the Kamo river, serves as a useful reference point and the areas besides the river bank have been developed into walking trails, parks as well as playing fields thereby making the riverside a favourite spot for both the locals as well as tourists who can relax within the city.