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KYOTO Prefecture

Area: 4,613 km2
Population: 2,617 million
Region: Kinki
Capital: Kyoto

photo by Sam Ng

Kyoto Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kansai region of the island of Honshu. The capital is the city of Kyoto.

Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is a refined city on the island of Honshu with thousands of classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It’s also known for formal traditions such as kaiseki dining, consisting of multiple courses of precise dishes, and geisha, female entertainers often found in the Gion district.

The central district of Kyoto is home to the Site of Nijō Castle (a former residence of the Tokugawa shōguns) and the stately grounds of the Imperial Palace. The district's southern end is anchored by the massive glass-and-steel building of the city's main gateway, Kyoto Station.
Arashiyama district in western Kyoto is rich in both historic and natural wonders.
The eastern Kyoto is home to many attractions which include the famed geisha district of Gion and the historic sites strung alongside the well-known Philosopher's Path.
Graced with scores of centuries-old shrines and temples, including several World Heritage Sites, the north side is one of Kyoto's most famous attractions - the magnificent gilded pavilion of Kinkaku-ji - can be found here.
The southern district covers a large part of Japan's former capital, stretching from the Ōharano area in the west to Fushimi-ku, Daigo, and the southern tip of Higashiyama-ku in the east.

14 of Japan’s World Heritage Sites are registered in Kyoto only:
Northern Kyoto: Kinkaku-ji, Ryōan-ji, Ninna-ji, Kōzan-ji, Shimogamo Shrine, Kamigamo Shrine
Central Kyoto: Nijō Castle, Nishi Hongan-ji, Tō-ji
Eastern Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera, Ginkaku-ji
Western Kyoto: Tenryū-ji, Koke-dera
Southern Kyoto: Daigo-ji
Kyoto is unquestionably the single best place in the country for those interested in traditional Japanese culture; no other city can compare in terms of number or importance. As the former capital of the nation, many head temples, important shrines, and imperial palaces and villas were built in Kyoto. While many of the nations cultural sites were destroyed by bombings in World War II, Kyoto was fortunate enough to have been spared so many of the buildings are quite old.

Outside the capital, Uji is a popular destination. It is most famous for Byodoin Temple, which is featured on the 10 yen coin. It is much smaller than Kyoto and most sites are within walking distance of one another or one of the train stations.

Beyond these areas the prefecture is quite rural. Foreign visitors rarely venture outward but those that do, will see that the capital is not all that Kyoto has to offer. From Amanohashidate in the north down to the stone Buddha trail in the south, there is a lot more to Kyoto Prefecture than just the capital.
By plane
Commercial service is provided via Kansai International Airport or the primarily domestic Itami Airport, both in neighboring Osaka prefecture.

By train
The high-speed Tōkaidō Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka makes only one stop, at Kyoto Station, a hub for connections to local and regional trains.
Keihan Railways connects Kyoto with Osaka and Shiga Prefecture.

By bus
There are daily night time bus services between Kyoto and Tokyo, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka.
Kyoto has a humid subtropical climate that is mild with no dry season, constantly moist (year-round rainfall). Summers are hot and muggy with thunderstorms. Winters are mild with precipitation from mid-latitude cyclones.
The annual mean temperature is 15.3 degrees Celsius. In the winter time temperatures reach in daytime 9.7°C, falling to 1.1°C overnight.
In spring time temperatures climb up to 18.9°C in the afternoon with overnight lows of 8.4°C.
During summer average high temperatures are 30.5°C and average low temperatures are 21.5°C.
Come autumn, temperatures decrease achieving average highs of 22.5°C during the day and lows of 13.1°C generally shortly after sunrise.
During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket or a sweater should keep you warm.
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