Kyoto is located in a valley, part of the Yamashiro (or Kyoto) Basin, in the eastern part of the mountainous region known as the Tamba highlands. The Yamashiro Basin is surrounded on three sides by mountains known as Higashiyama, Kitayama and Nishiyama, with a height just above 1,000 metres (3,281 ft) above sea level. This interior positioning results in hot summers and cold winters. There are three rivers in the basin, the Ujigawa to the south, the Katsuragawa to the west, and the Kamogawa to the east. Kyoto City takes up 17.9% of the land in the prefecture with an area of 827.9 square kilometres (319.7 sq mi).
The original city was arranged in accordance with traditional Chinese feng shui following the model of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an (present-day Xi'an). The Imperial Palace faced south, resulting in Ukyō (the right sector of the capital) being on the west while Sakyō (the left sector) is on the east. The streets in the modern-day wards of Nakagyō, Shimogyō, and Kamigyō-ku still follow a grid pattern.
Today, the main business district is located to the south of the old Imperial Palace, with the less-populated northern area retaining a far greener feel. Surrounding areas do not follow the same grid pattern as the center of the city, though streets throughout Kyoto share the distinction of having names.
Kyoto sits atop a large natural water table that provides the city with ample freshwater wells. Due to large scale urbanization, the amount of rain draining into the table is dwindling and wells across the area are drying at an increasing rate.
Historically Kyoto was the largest city in Japan, later surpassed by Osaka and Edo (Tokyo) towards the end of the 16th century. In the prewar years, Kyoto traded places with Kobe and Nagoya ranking as the 4th and 5th largest city. In 1947, it went back to being 3rd, but its population has gradually declined ever since. By 1960 it had fallen to 5th again, and by 1990 it had fallen to 7th, in 2012 it is now 8th. If current trends continue it could fall to 9th after Kawasaki.
Kyoto has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), featuring a marked seasonal variation in temperature and precipitation. Summers are hot and humid, though contrarily, winters are relatively cold with occasional snowfall. Kyoto's rain season begins around the middle of June and lasts until the end of July, yielding to a hot and sunny latter half of the summer. Kyoto, along with most of the Pacific coast and central areas of Japan is prone to typhoons during September and October.
Climate data for Kyoto, Kyoto
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Source #1: 平年値（年・月ごとの値）
Source #2: (record temperatures) 観測史上1～10位の値（年間を通じての値）
Politics and government:
The directly elected executive mayor in Kyoto as of 2013 is Daisaku Kadokawa, an independent supported by Democratic Party of Japan, Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito Party, Your Party and Social Democratic Party. The legislative city assembly has 69 elected members.
Kyoto City Assembly:
Number of seats
Liberal Democratic Party
Japanese Communist Party
Democratic Party of Japan
New Komeito Party
Kyoto mayoral election, 2008,
Kyoto mayoral election, 2012,
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wards_of_Kyoto
Kyoto has eleven wards. They are
Nakagyō-ku (中京区) - administrative center,
Together, they comprise the city of Kyoto. Like other cities in Japan, Kyoto has a single mayor and a city council.
Although ravaged by wars, fires, and earthquakes during its eleven centuries as the imperial capital, Kyoto was spared from much of the destruction of World War II. It was removed from the atomic bomb target list (which it had headed) by the personal intervention of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, as Stimson wanted to save this cultural center which he knew from his honeymoon and later diplomatic visits.
With its 2000 religious places- 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and architecture intact, it is one of the best preserved cities in Japan. Among the most famous temples in Japan are Kiyomizu-dera, a magnificent wooden temple supported by pillars off the slope of a mountain; Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion; Ginkaku-ji, the Temple of the Silver Pavilion; and Ryōan-ji, famous for its rock garden. The Heian Jingū is a Shinto shrine, built in 1895, celebrating the Imperial family and commemorating the first and last emperors to reside in Kyoto. Three special sites have connections to the imperial family: the Kyoto Gyoen area including the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Sento Imperial Palace, homes of the Emperors of Japan for many centuries; Katsura Imperial Villa, one of the nation's finest architectural treasures; and Shugaku-in Imperial Villa, one of its best Japanese gardens. In addition, the temple of Sennyu-ji houses the tombs of the emperors from Shijō to Kōmei.
Other sites in Kyoto include Arashiyama, the Gion and Pontochō geisha quarters, the Philosopher's Walk, and the canals which line some of the older streets.
The "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto" are listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. These include the Kamo Shrines (Kami and Shimo), Kyō-ō-Gokokuji (Tō-ji), Kiyomizu-dera, Daigo-ji, Ninna-ji, Saihō-ji (Kokedera), Tenryū-ji, Rokuon-ji (Kinkaku-ji), Jishō-ji (Ginkaku-ji), Ryōan-ji, Hongan-ji, Kōzan-ji and the Nijō Castle, primarily built by the Tokugawa shoguns. Other sites outside the city are also on the list.
Kyoto is renowned for its abundance of delicious Japanese foods and cuisine. The special circumstances of Kyoto as a city away from the sea and home to many Buddhist temples resulted in the development of a variety of vegetables peculiar to the Kyoto area (kyōyasai, 京野菜).
Japan's television and film industry has its center in Kyoto. Many jidaigeki, action films featuring samurai, were shot at Toei Uzumasa Eigamura. A film set and theme park in one, Eigamura features replicas of traditional Japanese buildings which are used for jidaigeki. Among the sets are a replica of the old Nihonbashi (the bridge at the entry to Edo), a traditional courthouse, a Meiji Period police box and part of the former Yoshiwara red-light district. Actual film shooting takes place occasionally, and visitors are welcome to observe the action.
The dialect spoken in Kyoto is known as Kyō-kotoba or Kyōto-ben, a constituent dialect of the Kansai dialect. When Kyoto was the capital of Japan, Kyoto dialect was the de facto standard Japanese and influenced on development of Tokyo dialect, the modern standard Japanese. Famous Kyoto expressions are a polite copula dosu, a honorific verb ending -haru and etc.
The key industry of Kyoto is information technology and electronics: the city is home to the headquarters of Nintendo, Intelligent Systems, TOSE, OMRON, Kyocera, Shimadzu Corp., Rohm, Horiba, Nidec Corporation, Nichicon, GS Yuasa and Murata Machinery.
Tourism also forms a large base of Kyoto's economy. The city's cultural heritages are constantly visited by school groups from across Japan, and many foreign tourists also stop in Kyoto. In 2007, the city government announced that a record number of tourists had visited Kyoto for the sixth year in a row., and it was chosen as the second most attractive city in Japan, in a regional brand survey.
Traditional Japanese crafts are also major industry of Kyoto, most of which are run by artisans in small plants. Kyoto's kimono weavers are particularly renowned, and the city remains the premier center of kimono manufacturing. Such businesses, vibrant in past centuries, have declined in recent years as sales of traditional goods stagnate.
Sake brewing is Kyoto's traditional industry. Gekkeikan and Takara Holdings are major sake brewers headquartered in Kyoto.
Other notable businesses headquartered in Kyoto includes Aiful, Ishida, MK, Nissen, Oh-sho, Sagawa Express, Volks and Wacoal
The concentration of population to the capital city area is 55% which is highest among the prefectures. The economic difference between the coastal area and inland area including Kyoto basin is significant.
Colleges and universities:
See also: Higher education in Japan
Home to 37 institutions of higher education, Kyoto is one of the academic centers in Japan. Kyoto University is considered to be one of the top national universities nationwide. According to The Times Higher Education Supplement top-ranking university, Kyoto University is ranked the second university in Japan after University of Tokyo, and 25th overall in the world. The Kyoto Institute of Technology is also among the most famous universities in Japan and is considered to be one of the best universities for architecture and design in the country. Popular private universities, such as Doshisha University and Ritsumeikan University are also located their campuses in the city.
Kyoto also has a unique higher education network called the Consortium of Universities in Kyoto, which consists of three national, five public (prefectural and municipal), and 41 private universities, as well as the city and four other organizations. The combination does not offer a degree, but offers the courses as part of a degree at participating universities.
In addition to Japanese universities and colleges, selected American universities also operates in the city for education and research. Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies (KCJS) is a combination of 14 American universities that sponsors an two-semester academic program for undergraduates who wish to do advanced work in Japanese language and cultural studies. Stanford University has its own Japan Center in Kyoto.
See also: Transportation in Greater Osaka
See also: Keihan Electric Railway, Hankyu Railway, and Kintetsu Corporation
Kyoto Station is the center for transportation in the city. The second-largest in Japan, it houses a shopping mall, hotel, movie theater, Isetan department store, and several local government facilities all under one fifteen-story roof. The Tōkaidō Shinkansen Line (see below) as well as all conventional rail lines operated by JR West connect here.
The Keihan, Hankyu, Kintetsu, and other rail networks also offer frequent service to other cities in the Kansai region. JR West and Kintetsu connect at Kyoto Station. Hankyu has a terminal at the intersection of Shijō Kawaramachi, Kyoto's most thriving shopping and amusement district. Keihan has a station at Sanjō Keihan which is not far from Shijō Kawaramachi.
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Municipal_Subway
The Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau operates the Kyoto Municipal Subway consisting of two lines: the Karasuma Line and the Tōzai Line.
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karasuma_Line
The Karasuma Line is colored green, and its stations are given numbers following the letter K.
The line has following stations, from north to south: Kokusaikaikan (terminal) and Matsugasaki in Sakyō-ku; Kitayama and Kitaōji in Kita-ku; Kuramaguchi and Imadegawa in Kamigyō-ku; Marutamachi and Karasuma Oike in Nakagyō-ku; Shijō, Gojō and Kyōto in Shimogyō-ku; Kujō and Jūjō in Minami-ku; and Kuinabashi and Takeda (terminal) in Fushimi-ku.
Between Kitaōji and Jūjō, trains run beneath the north-south Karasuma Street (ja:烏丸通, Karasuma-dori), hence the name. They link to the other subway line, the Tozai Line, at Karasuma Oike. They also connect to the JR lines at Kyoto Station and the Hankyu Kyoto Line running cross-town beneath Shijō Street at the intersection of Shijō Karasuma, Kyoto's central business district. At Shijō Karasuma, the subway station is named Shijō, whereas Hankyu's station is called Karasuma.
The Transportation Bureau and Kintetsu jointly operate through services, which continue to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line to Kintetsu Nara Station in Nara. The Karasuma Line and the Kintetsu Kyoto Line connect at Kyoto and Takeda. All the stations are located in the city proper.
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C5%8Dzai_Line_(Kyoto)
The Tōzai Line is coloured vermilion, and its stations are given numbers following the letter T. This line runs from the southeastern area of the city, then east to west (i.e. tōzai in Japanese) through the Kyoto downtown area where trains run beneath the three east-west streets: Sanjō Street (ja:三条通, Sanjō-dori), Oike Street (ja:御池通, Oike-dori) and Oshikōji Street (ja:押小路通, Oshikōji-dori).
The line has following stations, from east to west: Rokujizō (terminal) in Uji; Ishida and Daigo in Fushimi-ku; Ono, Nagitsuji, Higashino, Yamashina and Misasagi in Yamashina-ku; Keage, Higashiyama and Sanjō Keihan in Higashiyama-ku; Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae, Karasuma Oike, Nijōjō-mae, Nijō and Nishiōji Oike in Nakagyō-ku; and Uzumasa Tenjingawa (terminal) in Ukyō-ku.
The Keihan Keishin Line has been integrated into this line, and thus Keihan provides through services from Hamaōtsu in the neighbouring city of Ōtsu, the capital of Shiga Prefecture.
The Tōzai Line connects to the Keihan lines at Rokujizō, Yamashina, Misasagi and Sanjō Keihan, to the JR lines at Nijō, Yamashina and Rokujizō, and to the Keifuku Electric Railroad at Uzumasa Tenjingawa. All the stations except Rokujizō are located in Kyoto.
High speed rail:
See also: Central Japan Railway Company and West Japan Railway Company
The Tōkaidō Shinkansen operated by JR Central provides high-speed rail service linking Kyoto with Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo to the east of Kyoto and with nearby Osaka and points west on the San'yo Shinkansen, such as Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka. The trip from Tokyo takes about two hours and twenty-two minutes. From Hakata in Fukuoka, Nozomi takes you to Kyoto in just over three hours. All trains including Nozomi stop at Kyoto Station, serving as a gateway to not only Kyoto Prefecture but also northeast Osaka, south Shiga and north Nara.
See also: Kansai International Airport and Itami Airport
Although Kyoto does not have its own airport, travelers can get to the city via Kansai International Airport and Osaka International Airport in Osaka Prefecture. The Haruka Express operated by JR West carries passengers from Kansai Airport to Kyoto Station in 73 minutes.
Osaka Airport Transport buses connect Itami Airport and Kyoto Station Hachijo Gate in 50 minutes and cost 1,280 yen for a one-way trip. Some buses go further, make stops at major hotels and terminals in downtown area.
Kyoto's municipal bus network is extensive. Private carriers also operate within the city. Many tourists join commuters on the public buses, or take tour buses. Kyoto's buses have announcements in English and electronic signs with stops written in the Latin alphabet.
Most city buses have a fixed fare. A one-day bus pass and a combined unlimited train and bus pass are also available. These are especially useful for visiting many different points of interest within Kyoto. The bus information center just outside the central station handles tickets and passes. The municipal transport company publishes a very useful leaflet called "Bus Navi." It contains a route map for the bus lines to most sights and fare information. This too is available at the information center in front of the main station.
Buses operating on routes within the city, the region, and the nation stop at Kyoto Station. In addition to Kyoto Station, bus transfer is available at the intersections of Shijō Kawaramachi and Sanjō Keihan. The intersection of Karasuma Kitaōji to the north of downtown has a major bus terminal serving passengers who take the Karasuma Line running beneath Karasuma Street, Kyoto's main north-south street.
Cycling is a very important form of personal transportation in the city. The geography and scale of the city are such that the city may be easily navigated on a bicycle. Bicycle theft is not common, but finding permitted bicycle parking areas can be difficult. Bicycles parked in non-permitted areas are impounded.
The city is connected with other part of Japan by the Meishin Expressway, which has two interchanges in the city: Kyoto Higashi (Kyoto East) in Yamashina-ku and Kyoto Minami (Kyoto South) in Fushimi-ku. The Kyoto Jūkan Expressway connects the city to northern regions of Kyoto Prefecture. The Daini Keihan Road is a new bypass (completed in 2010) to Osaka.
Although Kyoto has fewer toll-highways than other comparable Japanese cities, it is served with dual and even triple-carriageway national roads. As of 2010, only 8.2 kilometres (5.1 miles) of the Hanshin Expressway Kyoto Route is in operation.
There are nine national highways in the city of Kyoto: Route 1, Route 8, Route 9, Route 24, Route 162, Route 171, Route 367, Route 477 and Route 478.
There are a number of rivers, canals and other navigable waterways in Kyoto. The Seta and Uji rivers (Yodo River), Kamogawa and Katsura river flow through Kyoto. Lake Biwa Canal was a significant infrastructural development. In present days, however, the waterways are not used for passenger or goods transportation except for limited sightseeing purpose such as Hozugawa Kudari boat on the Hozu River.
See also: Tourism in Japan
Kyoto contains roughly 2,000 temples and shrines, and receives over 30 million tourists annually.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site:
See also: Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)
About 20% of Japan's National Treasures and 14% of Important Cultural Properties exist in the city proper. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities) includes 17 locations in Kyoto, Uji in Kyoto Prefecture, and Ōtsu in Shiga Prefecture. The site was designated as World Heritage in 1994.
Nijō Castle (二条城)
Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum (梅小路蒸気機関車館),
Onishi Seiwemon Museum (大西清右衛門美術館),
Kitamura Museum (北村美術館),
The Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Museum (京都嵐山オルゴール美術館),
Kyoto City Heiankyo Sosei-Kan Museum (京都市平安京創生館),
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art (京都市美術館),
Kyoto City Archaeological Museum (京都市考古資料館),
Kyoto Art Center (京都芸術センター),
The Kyoto International Manga Museum (京都国際マンガミュージアム) attempts to acquire every manga published. For an entrance fee visitors are able to view exhibitions and freely read approximately 200,000 titles of manga.,
The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto (京都国立近代美術館),
The Kyoto National Museum (京都国立博物館),
The Kyoto University Museum (京都大学総合博物館),
Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts (京都伝統産業ふれあい館),
The Museum of Kyoto (京都府京都文化博物館),
The Kyoto Botanical Garden (京都府立植物園),
Garden of Fine Arts, Kyoto (京都府立陶板名画の庭),
Kyoto Prefectural Insho-Domoto Museum of Fine Arts (京都府立堂本印象美術館),
Koryo Museum of Art (高麗美術館),
Joutenkaku Museum (承天閣美術館),
Ryozen Museum of History (幕末維新ミュージアム 霊山歴史館),
Sen-oku Hakuko Kan (泉屋博古館),
Toei Kyoto Studio Park (東映太秦映画村),
Nomura Art Museum (野村美術館),
Namikawa Cloisonne Museum of Kyoto (並河靖之七宝記念館),
The Yurinkan Museum (藤井斉成会有鄰館),
The Tin Toy Museum (ブリキのおもちゃ博物館),
The Hosomi Museum (細見美術館),
Hakusasonso Hashimoto Kansetsu Memorial Museum and Garden (白沙村荘 橋本関雪記念館),
The Raku Museum (楽美術館),
Kyoto Museum for World Peace of Ritsumeikan University (立命館大学国際平和ミュージアム),
Ōkōchi Sansō (大河内山荘),
The Kyoto Kaleidoscope Museum (京都万華鏡ミュージアム),
Kyoto is well known for its traditional festivals which have been held for over 1000 years and are a major tourist attraction. The first is the Aoi Matsuri on May 15. Two months later (July 1 to 31) is the Gion Matsuri known as one of the 3 great festivals of Japan, culminating in a massive parade on July 17. Kyoto marks the Bon Festival with the Gozan no Okuribi, lighting fires on mountains to guide the spirits home (August 16). The October 22 Jidai Matsuri, Festival of the Ages, celebrates Kyoto's illustrious past.
Gion Matsuri (祇園祭)
Aoi Matsuri (葵祭)
Jidai Matsuri (時代祭)
Gozan Okuribi (五山送り火)
In football, Kyoto is represented by Kyoto Sanga F.C. who won the Emperor's Cup in 2002, and rose to J. League's Division 1 in 2005. Kyoto Sanga has a long history as an amateur non-company club, although it was only with the advent of professionalization that it was able to compete in the Japanese top division.
Amateur football clubs such as F.C. Kyoto BAMB 1993 and Kyoto Shiko Club (both breakaway factions of the original Kyoto Shiko club that became Kyoto Sanga) as well as unrelated AS Laranja Kyoto compete in the regional Kansai soccer league.
Between 1951 and 1952 a Central League team Shochiku Robins (ja:松竹ロビンズ, Shochiku Robinzu) played their franchised games at Kinugasa Ballpark (ja:衣笠球場, Kinugasa Kyujo) in Kita-ku. In 2010, Nishikyogoku Stadium in Ukyo-ku became the home of a newly formed girls professional baseball team, the Kyoto Asto Dreams.
Additionally, Kyoto's high school baseball teams are strong, with Heian and Toba in particular making strong showings recently at the annual tournament held in Koshien Stadium, Nishinomiya, near Osaka.
Kyoto Racecourse in Fushimi-ku is one of 10 racecourses operated by Japan Racing Association. It hosts notable horse races including Kikuka-shō, Spring Tenno Sho and Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup.
Kyoto having been the capital city of Japan, a seat of learning and culture, Kyoto has long-established ties with other great cities around the world. Many foreign scholars, artists and writers have stayed in Kyoto over the centuries, and it continues to be a hub of international interest, from intellectual to industrial.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Japan
Twin towns and sister cities:
The city of Kyoto has sister city relationships with the following ten cities.
Boston, United States,
Paris, France (Friendship Pledge city),
Prague, Czech Republic,
Xi'an, China (Friendship city),
Jinju, South Korea
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license