Kyoto is the cultural and historical capital of Japan, with its proliferation of shrines and temples that lie hidden between the concrete constructions of the urban sprawl.
Although archaeological evidence places the first human settlement on the islands of Japan to approximately 10,000 BC, relatively little is known about human activity in the area before the 6th century AD. During the 8th century, when the powerful Buddhist clergy became involved in the affairs of the Imperial government, the Emperor chose to relocate the capital to a region far from the Buddhist influence. Emperor Kammu selected the village of Uda, at the time in the Kadono district of Yamashito Province, for this honor.
The new city, Heian-kyō (平安京 "tranquility and peace capital"), became the seat of Japan's imperial court in 794, beginning the Heian period of Japanese history. Later, the city was renamed Kyoto ("capital city"). Kyoto remained Japan's capital until the transfer of the government to Edo in 1868 at the time of the Imperial Restoration. (Some believe that it is still a legal capital: see Capital of Japan.) After Edo was renamed Tokyo (meaning "Eastern Capital"), Kyoto was known for a short time as Saikyo (西京 Saikyō, meaning "Western Capital").
An obsolete spelling for the city's name is Kioto; it was formerly known to the West as Meaco or Miako (Japanese: 都; miyako "capital"). Another term commonly used to refer to the city in the pre-modern period was Keishi (京師), meaning "metropolis" or "capital".
The city suffered extensive destruction in the Ōnin War of 1467-1477, and did not really recover until the mid-16th century. Battles between samurai factions spilled into the streets, and came to involve the court nobility (kuge) and religious factions as well. Nobles' mansions were transformed into fortresses, deep trenches dug throughout the city for defence and as firebreaks, and numerous buildings burned. The city has not seen such widespread destruction since. Although there was some consideration by the United States of targeting Kyoto with an atomic bomb at the end of World War II, in the end it was decided to remove the city from the list of targets due to the "beauty of the city" (See Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), and the city was spared conventional bombing as well.
As a result, Kyoto is the only large Japanese city that still has an abundance of prewar buildings, such as the traditional townhouses known as machiya. However, modernization is continually breaking down the traditional Kyoto in favor of newer architecture, such as the Kyoto Station complex.
For nearly three centuries the city flourished as a centre of religion, culture, politics and economic development. Having been spared the devastating aerial bombardment of WW2 that razed nearly every other important city in Japan, Kyoto is a unique monument to Japan's past.
However, what makes Kyoto especially interesting is the chance to feel the contrasts and contradictions that permeate today's Japanese society; the clash between the hustle and bustle of the modern city and the peaceful serenity of beautiful Zen-gardens; the frantic consumerism that runs so contrary to the minimalism of Japan's Buddhist and Shinto heritage.
The National Museum of Modern Art, one of many museums in the city, is a wonderful chance to see how contemporary artists are interpreting these contrasts. Take some time to explore and Kyoto will offer up countless treats and surprises.
Himeji Castle And Sake Brewery Museum
Visit two popular attractions outside Kyoto on a full-day trip: beautiful Himeji Castle and the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery. You'll take a ride on a famous Shinkansen Bullet train, tour one of the best examples of a Japanese castle in the country, and sample potent sake rice wine.
Your full-day tour starts with a Bullet train ride to Himeji to visit the Himeji Castle, one of Japan's most famous castles and designated a World Cultural Heritage site. The castle's sublime form and white walls have earned it the nickname “WhiteHeron Castle”. The castle grounds are divided into inner and outer-walled zones, with gates built around maze-like spaces to confuse enemies, and a double moat for extra protection.
After lunch at Kokoen Garden, a short distance from Himeji Castle and designed in various styles from the Edo period, it's off to the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery, founded in 1743. The company has maintained old sake-brewing traditions combined with the latest techniques. The museum exhibits the process of sake making and its history, and includes a sake tasting.Arashiyama And Sagano
Arashiyama is a pleasant, touristy district at the outskirts of Kyoto. Its landmark is the wooden (now partially concrete) Togetsukyo Bridge with forested Mount Arashiyama as backdrop.
There are many things to see and do in the Arashiyama area. Tenryuji, a leading Zen temple, shops, cafes and restaurants are found in the district's busy center around Togetsukyo Bridge and Keifuku Arashiyama Station.
North of the central area, there are bamboo groves and a residential district with several small temples, scattered along the base of the wooded mountains. The area with its rural feel is best explored on foot, by rental bicycle (around 700 Yen per day) or on a rickshaw (around 8000 Yen for 30 minutes and 2 persons).
Another pleasant thing to do is taking a two hour boat tour down Hozu River. The river flows through an idyllic, forested valley before reaching urban Kyoto at the Togetsukyo Bridge. Alternatively, you can enjoy views of the valley from the Sagano Romantic Train.
Arashiyama is particularly beautiful and busy during the cherry blossom and autumn leaf seasons.
Finally, You can find a lot of interest things and places at Kyoto. However, Kyoto is a place we can't ignore to get some interest which make our life much attractive.