Tour of Japan: Kyoto Prefecture

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Kyōto (京都Kyōto)

Kyōto Prefecture is located in the west-central area of the main Island of Honshū.  It is surrounded by mountains on three sides in the scenic valley of the Kamo River.  Its historical name is Heiankyō and dates back to 794.  August is the hottest month in Kyōto with an average temperature of 83°F, and the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 40°F.  Kyōto’s time zone is CMTG+9; its Country Dialing Code is 81; and, its Area Code is 075.  The Japanese Yen is its currency.

Kyōto City is the capital of the Kyōto Prefecture in the Kansai region and was the capital of Japan for more than 1000 years.  It is considered to be the heart of traditional Japanese culture and is known as the “City of Ten Thousand Shrines.” One of the most venerated shrines is the Shimogamo Shrine in honor of the Mother of the God of Thunder.  The Fushimi Inari Shrine 伏見稲荷大社 was established in 711 and is home to thousands of vermilion torii gates.  There are also many fox statues on the grounds of the shrine because they are thought to be the messengers for Inari, the Shinto god of rice and success in business.  The entrance to the torii-gate lined road up to the Shrine’s main building is called the Senbon Torii which translates to “thousands of torii gates.”  It is estimated that there are 10,000 torii gates lining the road to the Shrine’s building.  Kyōto is also known worldwide for its festivals.  The three major festivals of Kyōto are the Aoi-matsuri Festival in early summer; the Gion-matsuri Festival in mid-summer; and, the Jidai-matsuri Festival in fall.

Kyōto (京都, Kyōto) is famous for:



Nishijin Textile Museum

Nijo Castle – built by Tokugawa leyasu, the 1st Shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867).

Pilgrimages along the Kii Path

Kiyomizudera Shrine – “Pure Water Temple”

Takoyaki (octopus dipped in batter and grilled)

Buddhist vegetarian delicacies (albino potatoes, shogun Kabul turnips, kamo nasu eggplants, and shogoin radish)  

Amazing street food

Green tea treats