Kyoto, the city of japan served as the capital of Japan for more than a millennium (one thousand years) and is the most beautiful city of Japan. Currently, it is the capital of Kyoto Prefecture of Kansai region. The city of Kyoto is located in the centre of the island of Honshu in Japan and houses a population of 1.5 million. Visitors will not find the beauty of the city immediately but will have to work to see the actual beauty of the city. The city has hidden beauty which will not appear to you in the first look. There are approximately two thousand temples and shrines in the city and the tourists visiting this place are more than 30 million per year.
They are a lot of tourist attractions in Kyoto and every visitor should better plan an itinerary will in advance. UNESCO’s World Heritage List was expanded in 1994 by addition of 17 sites from Kyoto. These sites were added to the group named Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Out of these, 14 are located exactly in the city while three in the neighboring cities.
The most favorite of the tourists out of all the 14 places of Kyoto is the Kinkaku-ji Temple. Kinkaku temple is also known as the Golden Pavillion. It is a temple build on the land facing the Kyoko-chi pond which shows a reflection of the monument including the reflections of the islets and trees. This reflection of the entire space creates a very pure and beautiful atmosphere to amaze you. The Zen temple is a representation of Kitayama-bunka and the culture that is blending mixture of new samurai culture and traditional aristocratic culture. This entire landscape looks very peaceful and is a historic site giving insight about the place, its culture and history.
Another very famous temple and world heritage site in Kyoto is the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This temple is visited by more than 4 million tourists every year and one of the most famous places in the city of Kyoto. The main hall of the temple is called hondo which is the major attraction of the temple. This is because the hall is constructed on a steep slope with a stage in its front. The entire building of this temple is laid on the foundation of total 139 pillars without the use of any nails. This specialty in its construction will win your hearts. This form of architecture is very rarely anywhere in the world and is a very important place for not just the temple but the whole nation.
Nijo-jo Castle is one of the heritage sites of the country and is a very ancient building. It is called Ninomaru-Goten Building having three gardens around this castle. The castle building is traditional samurai architecture for residential buildings. There are Shoheki-ga paintings in the castle building which are the work of renowned painter Kano Tanyu. The pond stroll garden in the complex of the castle is named Ninomaru teien which is designed in the style of days of Edo era from 1603 to 1867.
There are Imperial villas in the city, managed and maintained by Imperial Household Agency, which will be worth all your attention and time. There are two Imperial villas: Kastura Imperial Villa in western Kyoto and Shugakuin Imperial Villa in north Kyoto. There are two palaces: Imperial Palace and Sento Imperial Palace. There places and palaces have all those teahouses, all the royal furniture and gardens which look best and colorful during spring and autumn season. All the visitors and tourists from the city, country or overseas are allowed to go inside the Imperial houses which offers guided tours of the place (usually in Japanese) and are very amazingly beautifully decorated with antiques from Imperial period. To visit this place, please book in advance on the internet or in person or you may be disappointed otherwise.
An experience that you must have when you are in Kyoto is that of a public bath. Public baths, also called sento, are very famous in Kyoto and have been a part of the society since many centuries. They were first heard about in the 13th century. There are more than 40 bathing houses in whole city and the oldest one among them is the Funaoka Onsen. It has a very classic building and architecture of the place is a perfect example of the ancient architecture in Kyoto. Take out some time from your schedule and be to any newer or older bathing houses in Kyoto to have a relaxing feeling and get an experience of the history of the place.
Other places in the northern region of Kyoto are: Ryoan-ji, Kozan-ji, Ninna-ji and Shimogamo Shirne. Places and sites in the Central Kyoto, apart from the Nijo Castle, are Nishi Hongan-ji and To-ji. In the Eastern region of Kyoto you must visit Ginkaku-ji Temple; visit the Tenryu-ji Temple in the western region; and in the southern region, you should visit the Diago-ji Temple. All these sites are a part of Heritage Sites of Kyoto, Japan. You must also go for blossom viewing in Kyoto which is the best view for the eyes. This is the most famous place in the country to view cherry blossoms during the season which starts at the beginning of April.