Kyoto aerial video courtesy of our friends at Awadrone

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The History

Without a doubt, Kyoto is one of the finest historical locations in Japan, if not the entire world. The Japanese famously acknowledge that visiting Kyoto is like stepping back in time. Founded in 794 by Emperor Kammu, Kyoto remained the imperial capital of Japan for over one thousand years until 1868. Vast palaces and temples were constructed over the centuries, many of which are still standing today. Seventeen of Kyoto's most important locations have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites, and together these properties tell a vivid story of the development of Japanese culture over a long period of time. Spared from Allied bombing during WW2, Kyoto remains a rich collection of monuments unparalleled anywhere else in Japan.

Beyond the temples and shrines themselves, Kyoto is also renowned for its preservation of Japanese culture. Many unique handicrafts and special religious rites originated in Kyoto, and are still practiced here to this day. Lovers of history will feel right at home in Kyoto, but fans of architecture, gardens, Eastern religions, and art will have plenty to see as well. After more than a millennia, Kyoto remains the heart of Japanese history and culture.


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The Location

Kyoto was chosen as the ancient capital partially because of its excellent location in the center of Japan. From here, the emperor and his court could lord over all the provinces and send armies in any direction at a moment's notice.

A modern traveler would agree with the emperors of the past, as Kyoto is perfectly situated for anyone who wants to explore the vast Japanese landscape. All shinkansen bullet trains stop in Kyoto, making it an easy trip to and from Tokyo, Osaka, or other regional destinations. Located in a valley, Kyoto remains a much smaller city than other Japanese metropolises while still offering all the modern comforts of Tokyo. From one location to another, there is always plenty to see in this city where the ancient meets the modern.

As the central prefecture of the Kansai region, Kyoto is an excellent location from which to explore other areas. No visit to Kyoto is complete without a day trip to Nara, Osaka, or Shiga prefectures. Take your experience even further by visiting the amazing Koyasan. From Kyoto, all of the Kansai region is yours to explore.


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The Experience

Your time in Kyoto is more than a visit, it's an experience. Other cities can be seen from a bus, read about in guidebooks, or hurried through on a group tour, but Kyoto... well, Kyoto is special...

Wash your hands in a stone basin and pray at a shrine founded before Kyoto existed as a city...

Ascend a mountain where gods dwelt with warrior monks and look down at the clouds covering an ancient landscape...

Collect goshuin temple seals and calligraphy from some of the world's most important Buddhist monasteries and ancient Shinto shrines...

Savor the flavors of the city, from a quick bite at an outdoor market to the finest kaiseki cuisine served in a traditional Kyoto townhouse...

Try your hand at traditional Kyoto crafts, and carry on artistic traditions dating back centuries...

Ring a massive temple bell and fell the reverberations deep within your soul...

With KyoTours, you won't just see Kyoto, you'll experience it. This is what sets us apart from other tours, and we know you'll leave Kyoto with a deep appreciation of the beauty and culture of this ancient city. To begin your journey, check out our tours.