Kyoto is Japan's ancient capitol and a large modern city steeped in history and home to roughly one quarter of the country's national treasures, shrines, and temples. Once Japan's capital city and the residence of the emperor from 794 to 1868, Kyoto is known for its stunning beauty. Travelers are drawn to Kyoto for its majestic palaces, statues, and villas, as well as by the carefully tended gardens. Each spring, dozens of varieties of cherry trees bloom in Kyoto, and visitors are treated to time-honored hanami (blossom viewing) parties. Some of Japan's oldest traditions, such as the tea ceremony, flower arranging, and geisha schooling originated in the city. These ancient customs, while still practiced throughout Japan, can only be observed in their original setting in Kyoto.
Kyoto is dedicated to preserving Japan's oldest traditions, yet it is also a dynamic, contemporary city that never sleeps. Modern conveniences are everywhere, making Kyoto a perfect destination for visitors looking to explore Japan's past without sacrificing the comforts of today. Kyoto is part of the Kansai region, which includes Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Wakayama, Nara, and Otsu. All of these cities are accessible within an hour by train from Kyoto.