33 Interesting Facts About Kyoto, Japan

by Tsvete Popp
Bamboo Groove Kyoto

Welcome To Kyoto

Experience the allure of Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, nestled amidst majestic mountains and breathtaking natural beauty. Immerse yourself in a tapestry of timeless traditions, adorned with an abundance of temples, vibrant shrines, meticulously crafted gardens, and a captivating history spanning over a millennium. As the epitome of traditional Japanese culture, Kyoto beckons with its undeniable charm and unrivalled allure. Situated in the heart of Honshu Island, this remarkable city stands as a captivating destination that should be on every history and tradition enthusiast’s bucket list.

Tofukuji Temple Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Kyoto

Where to Stay in Kyoto

As you would expect from a major travel destination in Asia, Japan has no shortage of options when it comes to accommodation. As always, I’d suggest you stay somewhere central, to make accessing all the attractions as easy as possible.

Begin your search for the perfect accommodation now while the excitement is still fresh in your mind. Discover stylish and affordable options, and find the best accommodations at the lowest prices:

Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto: A luxurious hotel blending traditional Japanese design with modern sophistication, offering impeccable service, elegant rooms, and stunning views of the city.
  • Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto: An opulent hotel located in a historic district, featuring exquisite accommodations, a serene garden, and a range of upscale amenities to ensure a memorable stay.

Best Middle-Class Hotels in Kyoto:

  • Hotel Gracery Kyoto Sanjo: A comfortable and modern hotel conveniently situated in the city centre, offering well-appointed rooms, easy access to transportation, and excellent value for money.
  • Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shinmachi Bettei: A stylish and contemporary hotel blending traditional elements, providing comfortable rooms, a relaxing onsen (hot spring) facility, and a central location near popular attractions.
  • Citadines Kyoto Karasuma-Gojo: A modern apart-hotel with spacious and well-equipped rooms, ideal for longer stays, featuring a convenient location, friendly staff, and a range of amenities for a comfortable experience.

Best Hostels in Kyoto:

  • Piece Hostel Kyoto: A trendy and social hostel with a sleek design, offering dormitory-style and private rooms, a communal lounge, and organized activities for guests to connect and explore the city.
  • K’s House Kyoto: A well-established hostel providing a cozy and friendly atmosphere, clean dormitory and private rooms, a shared kitchen, and helpful staff to assist with travel arrangements.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Kyoto


So, here are the 33 facts you probably didn’t know about Kyoto:

1. Located in west-central Honshu, Kyoto is the centre of traditional Japanese culture for more than a thousand years. Nowadays. Kyoto is one of the most historic and interesting cities to visit in the whole world!

2. After Nara, Kyoto (or Kyōto) was the second capital of Japan and held its status for more than one thousand years!

3. Nowadays, Kyoto is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture located in the Kansai (and also called Kinki) region and also in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Kyoto

4. The original name of Kyoto was Heiankyo – the Capital of Peace! Then the city got its second name “Kyoto”, which simply means “the Capital”.

5. With a population of 1.5 million, Kyoto ranks as 8th in population among all Japanese cities. But back in the days, it was the largest city in Japan and one of the largest in the whole World!

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Kyoto


6. Kyoto is the name of both – Kyoto City and Kyoto Prefecture. Both areas have a population of 4.1 million people.

7. The Imperial Palace in Kyoto, also known as the Gosho Palace, is located in the central part of Kyoto. With its simple lines and beautiful proportions, this place perfectly represents the Heian Period.

8. The Western part of Kyoto is surrounded by the hills of Arashiyama! This is probably one of the most beautiful parts of Kyoto, as the full of natural and historical sights. Here you can visit the most Instagrammed Bamboo Groove!

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Kyoto

9. The Eastern part of Kyoto is surrounded by the hills of Higashiyama, Kamo River, and many temples.
10. In the North part of Kyoto, you can visit some of the oldest temples in Kyoto. centuries-old temples and shrines.

11. Built in 1895 to celebrate the 1.100 anniversary of the founding of Kyoto, Heian Jingu is one of the most important Shinto temples in the city.
12. Kyoto is Largely untouched by War because the city was excluded by the American war plans. The Americans were planning to drop the atom bomb of Nagasaki here in Kyoto, but after considering the fact that Kyoto has some of the most important historical buildings in Japan they left the city without bombing it!

Sanneizaka Street Kyoto

Sanneizaka Street

13. When the people of Kyoto talk about war, they don’t really mean the WWII but the Onin War. Onin War was a civil war between two families of samurai warriors in the 15th century which took 11 years.
14. Kyoto has more than 1650 temples, 400 Shinto Shinto Shrines, 800 shrines, a castle, 3 palaces, and countless city parks and gardens!

Sanneizaka Street

15. Probably the most antique Shrine of all is he Shimogamo Shrine which is 1,337 years old. The original structure was built in the year of 678 by Emperor Tenmu who became the first monarch of Japan.

Kyoto Street Style

16. The so-called Mother of all Shrines (Fushimi Inari Taisha) can also be found here in the former capital of Japan. The shrine is famous for its thousands of red Torii gates and fox statues located across the narrow pathways that lead to the top of the mountain. The sacred Mount and Shrine Inari are dedicated and named after Inari – the Goddess (in Japanese “Kami”) of rice. The fox statues “Kitsune” are considered to be the “messengers” of Inari.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

17. There are 17 world heritage sites in Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Ginkaku-ji Temple, Ryoan-ji Temple, Tenryu-ji Temple, To-ji Temple, Saiho-ji Temple, Nijo-jo Castle, Nishi-Hongan-ji Temple, Ninna-ji Temple, Shimogamo-jinja Shrine, Enryaku-ji Temple, Byodo-in Temple, Daigo-ji Temple, Kamigamo-jinja Shrine, Kozan-ji Temple, and Ujigami-jinja Shrine.

Kinkaku-ji The Golden Pavilion

18. There are three historical buildings often mentioned as the most important: the Imperial Palace, the Nijo Castle, and the Katsura Imperial Villa.

19. The Old City is actually a replica of a more ancient one!

20. Kyoto suffers from overcrowding, transportation shortages, and pollution. That’s why the government of the Kensai region developed a law in 1965 that controls land use and transportation.

Kinkaku-ji The Golden Pavilion

21. The paintings made by Kano Tanyu in Nijo Castle (17th century) are considered among the most important paintings in Japan!
22. The Yasaka Shrine (7th century), is dedicated to the patron of the city – Susa-no-wo.
23. Daitokuji (14th century) is the center of Zen Buddhism. The main building that you can visit nowadays was built 2 centuries later.

Tofukuji Temple

Imperial Gardens Kyoto

24. There is a Zen Rock Garden, called Ryoanji (15th century) is meant to be one of the most important places for zen Buddhists in Japan.
25. Probably the best panoramic views over the city can be seen from Kyomizu-dera temple (800 century).

26. Kyoto University (1897) is considered as the best in Japan after Tokyo University.
27. The Golden Pavilion and Silver Pavilion are also located in Kyoto. The Golden Pavilion is covered with gold, but the Silver Pavilion is not covered with silver.

Maruyama Park Kyoto

Maruyama Park

Gion kyoto

28. People in Kyoto Prefecture consume bread and coffee more than people in any other prefecture in Japan do.
29. Kyoto is famous for its festivals! Some of the most important are Aoi-matsuri (spring), the Gion-matsuri (summer) and the Jidai-Matsuri Festival (autumn).
30. The city has seven independent railway services! You will need different tickets for travelling with different railway services. That’s why it is better to get a Suica or Pasmo prepaid card in order to travel with only one card when you change the railway or bus services!

Bamboo Groove Kyoto

Bamboo Groove

Bamboo Groove Kyoto

Bamboo Groove

Bamboo Groove

31. JR Kyoto Station has the longest platform in Japan (564 meters).
32. Kyoto has only 100 Volts of domestic supply!
33. Nintendo was born in Kyoto in the year of 1889. Nintendo first started with producing playing cards for Japanese card games.

Bamboo Groove Kyoto

Planning a trip to Japan?

Japan Accommodation

Begin your search for the perfect accommodation now while the excitement is still fresh in your mind. Discover stylish and affordable options, and find the best accommodations at the lowest prices:

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Enjoy the day!

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