First built in the year 794, Kyoto was the capital of Japan up until the mid-19th century. Kyoto is a city of outstanding wooden architecture and is a center for religious activity. Beautiful Japanese gardens are found throughout this city, many of which had an impact on gardens in other parts of the world.
There are 17 historic monuments in Kyoto, most of which are religious buildings. Monks are seen everywhere, strolling through Zen gardens and meditating on floors with burning incense nearby.
All kinds of specialty shops that have been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years can be found, from tea merchants to tofu sellers.
One of the most famous historic monuments in Kyoto is the Nijo Castle. This is where the former ruler lived from the 1600’s all the way through the 1800’s and is a sign of the power that the rulers and generals of Japan had. Inside the palace there are exquisite features, such as sliding paper doors, rooms that are covered in gold, and nightingale floors, which are floors that make a sound like a chirping bird when they are walked on.
The Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is the most famous shrine in Kyoto and is dedicated to the important Shinto gods of sake and rice. Since 711, the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is known for having thousands of shrine gates that go up the mountain of Mount Inari, which is an impressive view. There are five shrines in total that are spread out across the mountain, with even more sub-shrines scattered about. Visitors will see stone foxes throughout the area, which are considered to be the messengers of the god Inari.
The Kinkaku-ji Temple was originally a retirement home for shogun, built back in 1397, but ultimately became a Buddhist temple. The upper two floors of the temple are covered in gold leaf, which gives a beautiful contrast to the green background and pond that reflects the temple outside.
The Kiyomizu-dera Temple is another ancient temple that was built in 780. Dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, Kannon, this temple features a main hall that overlooks Kyoto up above from the edge of a cliff. The balcony that juts out over the hills was built by ancient craftsmen who did not use any nails. Underneath the main hall, there are sacred waters that are believed to give good health to all who drink it.
17 sites in this World Heritage
- Kamowakeikazuchi-jinja (Kamigamo shrine)
- Kamomioya-jinja (Shimogamo Shrine)
- Kyo-o-gokoku-ji (To-ji)