Kyoto City (京都市)

Kyoto City is the capital of Kyoto Prefecture and an ordinance-designated city, located in the south of Kyoto Prefecture (formerly Yamashiro Province).


Kyoto City, as designated by government ordinance, has the seventh-largest population of all the cities in Japan, including the special wards of Tokyo, and during the daytime the city boasts the sixth-largest population, surpassing that of Kobe City.

From the benchmark Urban Employment Area, Kyoto City is the center of the Kyoto urban area, or 'Keiji,' which stretches over the southern part of Kyoto Prefecture and the southwest part of Shiga Prefecture.
Based on the standard of 1.5% metropolitan area, Kyoto City is part of the 'Keihanshin (Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe) Metropolitan area.'

In the same city where Heian-kyo was established during the Heian period, the Ashikaga bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) was placed in the Muromachi period. Kamakura bakufu, the government of the Azuchi Momoyama period, and Edo bakufu all placed their capitals in Kyoto City and placed them under heavy guard. During the approximately 1080 years from the establishment of Heian-kyo to the Emperor Meiji's relocation from Kyoto City to Tokyo City, nearly all the emperors had resided in Kyoto City (see 'Capital of Japan' for further discussion).

Beginning in the Heian period, commerce and industry for urban dwellers in Heian-kyo developed; particularly in the Edo period when domestic distribution became prevalent, Kyoto City became an industrial city, shipping goods nationwide and providing technicians to local clans upon request. Kyoto City maintains its legacy, as can be seen in traditional handicraft; furthermore, with industry-leading companies such as Nintendo and Wacoal Holdings Corporation, along with high-tech companies such as Kyocera Corporation and Shimadzu Corporation, which are headquartered in the city, Kyoto is becoming one of the areas capable of sustaining current industries.

Together with Nara City and Kanazawa City, the city is one of the few major cities in Japan that did not suffer any damage in World War II. Therefore, Kyoto City still has a wealth of old historic sites, old streets and culture, making it one of the major tourist cities and centers of international tourism and culture for people from around the world.


Kyoto City is located in the south of Kyoto Prefecture, having the Katsura-gawa River (Yodo-gawa River system), Uji-gawa River and Kamo (賀茂)-gawa River, (which merges into the Takano-gawa River (Kyoto City) and is then referred to as the Kamo (鴨)-gawa River (Yodo-gawa River system)). Located in the Kyoto Basin (or the Yamashiro Basin), Kyoto City has an inland climate and a significant difference in temperature between summer and winter as well as between day and night.

The streets in the downtown area are laid out in a grid running north-south and east-west like a Go board, and each street in the city has a name. However, this system applies only to the downtown area; moreover, there are exceptions to this: some streets end halfway or merge into another, often having a new street name, and at some points there are curves. A few streets do not run at a right angle from the north-south and east-west grid, such as Kawaramachi-dori Street, which extends from the south of Shijo.

Often street names, together with the official names of towns, are used for addresses in the downtown area. The address begins with the name of the street on which a building is located, followed by the direction from the nearby intersection: "Agaru (up)" when the building is to the north of the intersection, "Sagaru (down)" when to the south, "Higashi-iru" when to the east, and "Nishi-iru" when to the west.

As for the address of the Kyoto City Hall 'Kyoto-shi Nakagyo-ku Teramachi-dori Miike Agaru Kami-Honnojimae-cho 488 Banchi / 488 Kami-Honnojimae-cho, Teramachi-dori Miike Agaru, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City,' for example, 'Kami-Honnojimae-cho' is the official town name (to which a ZIP code is assigned) in the land registry, 'Teramachi-dori' is the name of the street on which the building is located, and 'Teramachi-dori Miike Agaru' points to 'the place to the north of the intersection of Teramachi-dori and Miike-dori streets.'
However, outside the downtown area of Kyoto City, town names and house numbers without street names are used to indicate addresses, as is the custom.

An intersection is often named by combining the two crossing streets.
For example, the intersection of Shijo-dori Street and Karasuma-dori Street is called 'Shijo-Karasuma,' and the one of Kawaramachi-dori Street and Marutamachi-dori Street is called 'Kawaramachi Marutamachi.'
Even though there are no established rules for which street name is used first for an intersection, the names of many intersections follow the rules below:

The name of the north-south street comes first.

For example: Karasuma Marutamachi, Karasuma Miike and Nishi-no-Toin Takatsuji
The name of the east-west street comes first if the street is a large, multiple-lane road.

For example: Shijo-Karasuma, Shijo-Omiya and Imadegawa Shinmachi. However, the name of the north-south street comes first if the north-south street is the main one.

For example, Horikawa Gojo. Because the section of Kawabata-dori Street between Sanjo and Shiokoji was recently opened to traffic, and the Keihan Main Line (now underground) had crossed the section before, Kawabata-dori Street cannot be used for the names of the intersections between the two streets.

The names of bridges are instead used to name those intersections, such as 'Sanjo Ohashi Bridge,' 'Shijo Ohashi Bridge,' 'Gojo Ohashi Bridge,' 'Shichijo Ohashi Bridge' and 'Shiokojibashi, Shiokoji Bridge' instead of 'Kawabata Sanjo,' 'Kawabata Shijo,' 'Kawabata Gojo,' 'Kawabata Shichijo' and 'Kawabata Shiokoji'; or the word Keihan is used, such as 'Sanjo-Keihan,' 'Shijo Keihan,' 'Gojo Keihan' and 'Shichijo Keihan.'
Even the following intersections to the north of Sanjo are named in the same way: 'Takanobashi (Takanobashi Bridge) Higashizume' in place of 'Kawabata Kitaoji,' and 'Kamo Ohashi Bridge' or 'Keihan Demachiyanagieki-mae (Demachiyanagi or Demachi)' in place of 'Kawabata Imadegawa.'
However, the bus stop for 'Kawabata Marutamachi' is called 'Marutamachi Keihan,' but its intersection is called 'Kawabata Marutamachi.'

There are many exceptions for the intersections on Higashi-oji-dori Street. This is because the station names of the former City Trams Higashiyama Line and the names of the bus stops of the City Bus became generalized in many cases (although some have now been changed), and as a result the word 'Higashi-oji' is not basically used for the names of the intersections, but instead the word 'Higashiyama,' from the alias of the street Higashiyama-dori Street, is used. Still, the word 'Higashi-oji' can be used for intersections in the area to the north of Imadegawa-dori Street, as in 'Higashi-oji Higashi-Kurama-guchi,' since the area is outside Higashiyama.
If the crossing east-west street of an intersection exists only in a short section to the east of the Kamo-gawa River, or the street name changes to the east of the Kamo-gawa River, the name of the intersection is by either 'the name of the east-west street' or the combination of '"the intersection" of the name of the east-west street.'

For example: Higashiyama Sanjo, Higashiyama Gojo, Higashiyama Shichijo, Higashi-Ichijo (the intersection of Higashi-oji-dori Street and Higashi-Ichijo-dori Street)

There are still a few exceptions to these rules, but most of the intersection names follow them.

Meanwhile, there are some intersection names that do not use the names of their crossing streets; for example, the intersection of Shijo-dori Street and Higashi-oji-dori Street is 'Gion,' that of Nishioji-dori Street and Marutamachi-dori Street is 'Emmachi' (or Nishinokyo Enmachi), and that of Imadegawa-dori Street and Higashi-oji-dori Street is 'Hyakumanben Crossing.'
These names can be found in relatively new streets. Moreover, in some cases a section of a street has a different street name, such as Nawate-dori Street of Yamatooji-dori Street.

In writing, the official name of a street omits 'ri (り),' the declensional Kana ending of 'do-ri (通り),' or 'street.'

Nakagyo Ward in the mid-north and Shimogyo Ward in the mid-south constitute the urban area of Kyoto City, and Shijo-Kawaramachi in particular is known as the downtown (accordingly, the area to the north of Shijo is Nakagyo and the one to the south of Shijo is Shimogyo, but Shijo belongs to Shimogyo).

Mountains: Mt. Atago (Kyoto City), Mt. Hiei-zan
Rivers: Kamo-gawa River (the Yodo-gawa River system), Katsura-gawa River (the Yodo-gawa River system)


(See the section on 'Kyoto' for the history of Kyoto City before the Meiji Restoration.
This section will focus on the history of Kyoto city after the Meiji Restoration.)

At the end of the Edo period, Kyoto City suddenly became the political center and thrived more than ever with the explosive growth in population, but soon it fell into decline because a large part of the city was burned down in the Kinmon Rebellion; moreover, several members of the Imperial Family and court nobles moved to Tokyo. Consequently, local authorities such as the governor of Kyoto Prefecture (who also served as the mayor of Kyoto City at the onset of municipality) requested the development of industry. As a result, waterways such as Lake Biwa Canal were built, the first hydroelectricity in Japan was generated with such canals, and the first electric train (streetcar) in Japan was propelled by hydroelectricity. With the success of these innovative measures, for a time after the middle of the Meiji period the population increased by 10,000 every year.

To satisfy the growth in population and the needs of urban development, 'three big projects' were undertaken from the end of the Meiji period: road extension and the construction of the Kyoto City Trams, the construction of canals at Lake Biwa, and the construction of the water-supply system. Subsequently, the road plan under the Municipal Improvement Act (roads under the City Planning Act) and the construction of city trams were carried out, and the population of Kyoto City exceeded a million some time after the city absorbed the surrounding municipalities such as Fushimi City (the central part of the present-day Fushimi Ward) in the first year of the Showa period.

Kyoto City still has a relatively large number of pre-war buildings, not typical of Japanese cities, since it was the only city that did not suffer major damage from air strikes during World War II among the six largest cities of the three major metropolitan areas (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagoya).

The Meiji period
1868: First Machi-gumi (community associations) Reform

1869: The second Machi-gumi Reform was carried out, being reorganized to have 33 associations in Kamigyo and 32 in Shimogyo (33 later in the same year as a result of the division of an association). Bangumi Shogakko elementary schools, the first schools in Japan administered by the school district system, were opened in the same year.

1872: The city held Kyoto Expo. The exhibition was held annually until 1896. A municipal improvement project to change from the bangumi system to the ward system was carried out.

February 5, 1877: Kyoto Station opened with the extension of the railway from Kobe Station.

1879: The Kamigyo and Shimogyo wards were established by the Law for Reorganization of Counties, Wards, Towns and Villages (gunkuchoson henseiho). The established wards were changed to 'kumi' (gumi, or associations).

1888: Seven villages of the Otagi district were merged into Kamigyo Ward, and two of the districts were merged into Shimogyo Ward.

April 1, 1889 Kyoto City was awarded city status, being comprised of the Kamigyo and Shimogyo wards. The governor of Kyoto Prefecture served as the mayor of Kyoto City. The area of the city, when it was awarded city status, was 29.77 sq. km. Keijun YAMAZAKI and some other people established Kyoto Law School (京都法学校).

1890: The first phase of construction of Lake Biwa Canal was completed.

November 1891: The Keage Power Plant, the first hydroelectric facility in Japan using water from Lake Biwa Canal, became operational.

February 1, 1895: Kyoto Electric Railway (the latter-day Kyoto City Trams), the first streetcar in Japan, opened.

1895: The Heian Jingu Shrine was built. The fourth National Industrial Exhibition was held. The 1100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital to Heian-kyo was celebrated. The Jidai Gyoretsu, or a procession of people in historical costumes, was held (the first Jidai Matsuri Festival).

1897: Kyoto Imperial University (Kyoto University) was established. The Kyoto National Museum opened.

October 15, 1898: The city hall was opened. The governor of Kyoto Prefecture concluded his service as the mayor of Kyoto City.
This day marks 'the day of autonomy.'

May 19, 1900: Kyoto Hosei School was established.

1902: Shimogyo Ward absorbed part of the Kadono district.

1908: The city held groundbreaking ceremonies for three big projects: road extension and the construction of the Kyoto City Trams, the second construction phase of Lake Biwa Canal, and the construction of the water-supply system. The 16th Division of the Japanese army was stationed in Fukakusa.

1910: Jintan began to place boards showing the name of each town in Kyoto City.

1912: The Keage Purification Plant was completed. The operation of the city trams commenced.

Taisho period
1915: The enthronement ceremony of the Emperor Taisho was held.

1918: Kyoto City purchased Kyoto Electric Railway Co., Ltd.

Showa (Up to the end of World War II)
1927: The main building of City Hall was completed. The Kyoto Central Wholesale Market opened.

1928: The enthronement ceremony of the Emperor Showa was held.

1929: Separated from Kamigyo Ward, Sakyo Ward was established. Separated from Shimogyo Ward, Higashiyama Ward was established. Nakagyo Ward was established through separation from the Kamigyo and Shimogyo wards. As a result of municipalization, Fushimi-machi Kii District became Fushimi City.

1931: Fushimi City and one town and six villages in the Kii district, as well as one village in the Uji district, were combined to form Fushimi Ward, which then merged into Kyoto City. One town and nine villages in Kadono district were combined to form Ukyo Ward, which then merged into Kyoto City. Two villages in the Kii district were combined and merged into Shimogyo Ward. The Yamashina-cho part of the Uji District was merged with Higashiyama ward.

March 31, 1931: The first subway system in the Kinki region opened with the extension of the Keihan Electric Railway Shin-Keihan Railway (the present-day Hankyu Corporation Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) to Omiya Station (Kyoto Prefecture).

1932: The population exceeded a million.

April 1, 1932: The first city trolley (Kyoto City Trolley (京都市営トロリ-バス)) opened.

January 16, 1945: U.S. B-29 Superfortresses (bombers) flew over in formation and launched an air raid. 41 people were killed.

1945: People were evacuated from the buildings on Horikawa-dori, Miike-dori and Gojo-dori streets.

After World War II
1946: The first National Sports Festival was held in Kyoto.

1948: Two villages in the Kadono district were merged into Kamigyo Ward.

1949: One village in the Otagi district was merged with Kamigyo ward and seven other villages in this district were merged with Sakyo ward.

1950: One village and two villages of the Otokuni district were merged into Ukyo ward and Fushimi Ward, respectively.

1955: Separated from Shimogyo Ward, Minami Ward (Kyoto City) was established. Separated from Kamigyo Ward, Kita Ward (Kyoto City) was established.

1956: Kyoto City was designated by government ordinance.

1957: A part of the Kitakuwada district and one village of the Kuse district were merged into the Sakyo and Fushimi wards, respectively.

1960: One village and one village of the Otokuni district were merged into the Minami and Ukyo wards, respectively.

October 1, 1964: Kyoto station on the Tokaido Shinkansen line opened. (Incidentally, there was a social movement against the opening (see also "Railroad" and "Politics").

1966: Kyoto International Conference Center opened.

October 1, 1969: The city trolley service was terminated.

October 1, 1976: Yamashina Ward was established through its separation from Higashiyama Ward. Separated from Ukyo Ward, Nishikyo Ward was established.

October 1, 1976: All the city trams were terminated.

May 29, 1981: A portion of the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line opened as the first line on the Kyoto Municipal Subway.

1994: '{Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto}' was listed as a world heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

1997: The third session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (the third session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Conference on Climate Change) was held.

April 1, 2005: The Keihoku-cho Kitakuwada district was merged into Ukyo Ward.


Politics and government

Mayor Daisaku KADOKAWA (inaugurated on February 25, 2008, first term)
Mayors after the 1970s: Motoki FUNAHASHI, Masahiko IMAGAWA, Tomoyuki TANABE and Yorikane MASUMOTO


Customarily, the City Assembly is referred to as Shi-kai instead of Shigi-kai. This custom is also maintained in cities such as Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe.

City assembly

There are 69 assembly members.

Chairperson: Takao UTSUMI (party affiliation: Kyoto City Assembly Members of the Liberal Democratic Party, inaugurated on May 17, 2007)
Vice Chairperson: Toru MIYAMOTO (party affiliation: Kyoto City Assembly Members of the Minshu Miyako-Mirai Party, inaugurated on May 17, 2007)


Kyoto City Assembly members of the Liberal Democratic Party: 23
Kyoto City Assembly members of the Japanese Communist Party: 19
Kyoto City Assembly members of the Minshu Miyako-Mirai Party: 14
Kyoto City Assembly members of New Komeito: 12
No party affiliation: 1 member

Traditional crafts


Nishijin Textile


Japanese liquor (sake)

Kyoto household Buddhist altars

Kyoto Buddhist religious objects

Characteristics of commerce
The city imposes severe restrictions on the opening of large retail stores in the old urban area. even though they aren't as severe as before. This might explain why Kyoto City is reported to have the largest number of convenience stores per capita; small and medium-size grocery stores are also scattered throughout the city.

Sister and associated cities


Kyoto City has not established a sister-city relationship with any other city in Japan.

The city, however, attends to the National Conference of Little Kyoto (全国小京都会議) where cities which are referred to as 'Little Kyoto' get together.


Paris (France): Kyoto City entered into a friendship treaty with Paris on June 15, 1958. Boston (Massachusetts, USA): The city established a sister-city relationship with Boston on June 24, 1959. Cologne (Germany): The city established a sister-city relationship with Cologne on May 29, 1963. Firenze (Italy): The city established a sister-city relationship with Firenze on September 22, 1965. Kiev (Ukraine): The city established a sister-city relationship with Kiev on September 7, 1971. Xian City (People's Republic of China): The city established a friendship-city relationship with Xian City on May 10, 1974. Guadalajara (Mexico): The city established a sister-city relationship with Guadalajara on October 20, 1980. Zagreb (Croatia): The city established a sister-city relationship with Zagreb on October 22, 1981. Prague (Czech Republic): The city established a sister-city relationship with Prague on April 15, 1996.

International partnership

Jinju City (South Korea, or the Republic of Korea): The city established a partner-city relationship with Jinju City on April 27, 1999.



Kyoto City is composed of the following eleven wards:

Ukyo Ward

Kamigyo Ward

Kita Ward (Kyoto City)

Sakyo Ward

Shimogyo Ward

Nakagyo Ward

Nishikyo Ward

Higashiyama Ward

Fushimi Ward

Minami Ward (Kyoto City)

Yamashina Ward

Area names

Being aware of the way the Tang dynasty designated Chang'an in the west as the capital and Luoyang in the east as the second capital, Heian-kyo referred to the area to the west of Suzaku-oji Avenue as Choan (Chang'an) or Ukyo and the one to the east as Rakuyo (Luoyang) or Sakyo. Ukyo, being located on damp ground, declined over the years, and Rakuyo was mainly used to refer to Heian-kyo as the population and main facilities were concentrated in Sakyo.

For example, there are folding-screen paintings to depict the town and suburbs of Kyoto called 'Rakuchu-Rakugai-zu,' created mainly during the early modern period.
The following area names in Kyoto City are still used today:
Even though these names are often used by the administration and are mentioned in guidebooks, there is no rigid system of classification.

The word 'raku' still stands for 'miyako (capital),' but this usage applies only to Kyoto.

Rakuchu: An area name around Kamigyo, Nakagyo and Shimogyo
Rakugai: The surrounding area of Rakuchu
Rakuto, Higashiyama: from around Jisho-ji Temple in Sakyo Ward to Higashiyama Ward
(Rakuto includes Yamashina Ward, but Higashiyama does not.)

Rakuhoku, Kitayama: from Kamigamo, Kita Ward to around Kitaoji-dori Street
Rakusai, Nishiyama: the south of Ukyo Ward and around Nishikyo Ward;
For example, Arashiyama

Rakunan: The area to the south of the JR Kyoto Line and Biwako Line (the Tokaido Main Line)

Listed above are the general classifications of the area names, but at the same time the area names from the elementary-school districts established in the Meiji period are also widely used. See also "Old School Districts in Kyoto."

Moreover, except for urban areas such as Rakuchu or the recently developed areas, many of the town names in Kyoto City come from the old town/village names, such as Oaza and Koaza before the merger into the city (e.g., formerly Aza Kaijiri, Matsugasaki village for current Kaijiri-cho, Matsugasaki, Sakyo Ward).


Average age: 41.3 years old (2001)

Status of the infrastructure

Sewage coverage: 99.1% (end of fiscal year 2005)

Colleges and universities

Kyoto City is known as a student city, as it is home to 36 universities and junior colleges. The city has a unique foundation called the Consortium of Universities in Kyoto (or simply called the Consortium) to bring local universities together and link them to the business community. The Kyoto Intercollegiate Festa has been held annually in early October since 2003.


Additionally, American universities are energetically engaged in activities in Kyoto. The Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies, a consortium of 14 American universities, sends approximately 50 students to Japan annually. Additionally, Stanford University maintains the Stanford Japan Center in Kyoto City.

Access to the center of the city

Although access from places in the Kansai area is via JR lines or private railroads, depending on the city of departure, these lines cluster into two areas: around Kyoto Station for the JR and Kintetsu lines, and around Shijo-Kawaramachi for the Hankyu and Keihan lines. Most of the medium- to long-distance bus (transportation) routes start and end in front of Kyoto Station.

From places along the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines, the Shinkansen has a clear advantage over airplanes since, compared to Osaka City and Kobe City, Kyoto City is far away from airports in the Kansai area (at least an hour away from the nearest, Osaka International Airport) and every train (including the Nozomi) stops at Kyoto Station. Moreover, Kyoto Station is the Shinkansen's gateway not only to places within Kyoto Prefecture but also to the northeastern part of Osaka Prefecture, the southern part of Shiga Prefecture and the northern part of Nara Prefecture.

Fixed-route buses in the city

Fixed-route buses are the main means of transportation in the city. During the tourist season, however, it is impossible to calculate the travel time by bus because buses often cannot carry all the people waiting at once and the chronic traffic jams get even worse, so some passengers minimize these risks by transferring to the trains of various railroad companies.

The common commuter ticket has been utilized by Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau (City Bus), Keihan Kyoto Kotsu, Kyoto Bus Co., Ltd., Keihan Bus Co., Ltd., Hankyu Bus Co., Ltd. and West JR Bus Company, and bus tickets with discount subway coupons have been sold. Also available are the 'Kyoto Sightseeing One-Day and Two-Day Pass Cards,' which can be used for the City Bus and Kyoto Bus (excluding certain routes) and for all subway lines; and there are other kinds of tickets available, such as a one-day bus pass for the allocated zone of the city and discount tickets to the city with a one-day pass for all lines in the city.

The City Bus operates mainly around the old urban area: Keihan Kyoto Kotsu from Nishikyo Ward and Kameoka City to the central area, the Kyoto Bus around the Saga area in Ukyo Ward and Iwakura, Kurama, Ohara area in Sakyo Ward, the Keihan Bus around Yamashina Ward, the east area of Fushimi Ward and Mt. Hiei-zan, the Hankyu Bus around Nishikyo Ward (Rakusai New Town), and the West JR Bus from former Keihoku-cho to the central area (some routes overlap).

Passengers get on a bus through the back door and get off through the front door, paying the flat fare (220 yen) in the old urban area. Outside the flat-rate area, block rates with numbered tickets are used.

Kyoto City Bus (Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau)[1]
Kyoto Bus Co.,Ltd.[1]
Keihan Bus Co.,Ltd.[1]
Hankyu Bus Co., Ltd.[1]
Kintetsu Bus Co., Ltd[1]
Keihan Kyoto Kotsu[2] (scheduled to be introduced in stages after around March 2008)
Yasaka Bus Co., Ltd.
West JR Bus Company
Keihoku Furusato Bus
Princess Line Bus
1. KANSAI THRU PASS compatible cards including free passes can be used for payment. 2. KANSAI THRU PASS compatible cards are scheduled to be introduced in the future.

3. The common commutation tickets for buses in the city can be used for payment.

Highway Buses

The Meishin Highway Bus between Kyoto Station and Nagoya Station, many highway buses between the Tokyo metropolitan area to the Keihanshin area (including Kyoto) and charter buses for tours are in operation.

See also the section on highway buses in Kyoto Station for highway buses arriving at, departing from and traveling via Kyoto Station, and the section on the Fukakusa Bus Stop for highway buses that do not stop at Kyoto Station.
(There is some overlapping.)


Kyoto Station is the central station. It is important to note that many stations have more than one name and there are numerous stations nearby. The J-Thru Cards can be used on the JR West lines and the Kintetsu lines, and the KANSAI THRU PASS can be used for all private railroads and subways except for the Sagano Scenic Railway. As for IC cards, the ICOCA, Suica, PiTaPa and TOICA cards can be used for the JR West lines (only the ICOCA and Suica cards can used as electronic money), and the ICOCA and PiTaPa cards can be used for the Kintetsu lines, the Keihan lines and Hankyu lines (each company is scheduled to expand the service gradually).

As for the use of private cars, the traffic on local roads and highways in and around the city is always heavy, and the traffic gets even worse during the tourist season. It is also necessary to remember that there aren't enough parking spaces in the city. If more space for bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles was made available in the city, they would be more flexible modes of transportation. Kyoto is the birthplace of the velotaxi in Japan. As bicycles have attracted attention as a means of curbing global warming (particularly in recent years), the availability of rental bicycles is increasing, and more and more hotels and Japanese-style inns now offer free rental bicycle service for their guests.


See "Streets in Kyoto City."

Media organization

The Kyoto Shinbun Newspaper Co., Ltd.
NHK Kyoto
Kyoto Broadcasting System Company Limited
FM Kyoto (α-Station)

Kyoto Community Broadcasting (Nakagyo Ward Kyoto City / NPO Kyoto Community Broadcasting)

Kyoto City FM (Kyoto City FM, Fushimi Ward Kyoto City) (京都シティエフエム)

{Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto}

Kyoto City retains 20% of Japan's national treasures and 14% of its important cultural properties, mainly because the city has long been the center of politics and culture in Japan and was spared the destruction of World War II. In 1994, 17 cultural properties in Kyoto City and the nearby cities of Uji and Otsu were registered as world heritages (historic monuments of Ancient Kyoto).

Major tourist spots

Shrines and temples

Eikando (Zenrin-ji Temple (Kyoto Prefecture))

Kamigamo Shrine (Kamowake-Ikazuchi Shrine)

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Kibune-jinja Shrine

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kinkaku-ji Temple (Rokuon-ji Temple)

Ginkaku-ji Temple (Jisho-ji Temple)

Kurama Temple

Kennin-ji Temple

Kozan-ji Temple

Kodai-ji Temple

Koryu-ji Temple

Sanjusangendo Temple

Sanzenin Temple


Shimogamo-jinja Shrine (Kamomioya-jinja Shrine)

Jingo-ji Temple

Senyu-ji Temple

Daikaku-ji Temple

Daitoku-ji Temple

Daigo-ji Temple

Chion-in Temple

Chishaku-in Temple

Tenryu-ji Temple

To-ji Temple (Kyoogokoku-ji Temple)

Tofuku-ji Temple

Nanzen-ji Zen Temple

Nishi Hongwan-ji Temple (Hongwan-ji Temple)

Ninna-ji Temple

Higashi Hongwan-ji Temple (Shinshu Hombyo)

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Heian Jingu Shrine

Manshuin Temple

Myoshin-ji Temple (its sub-temples include Keishun-in Temple, Shunko-in Temple, Taizo-in Temple, and so forth.)

Yasaka-jinja Shrine

Yasaka Pagoda (Hokan-ji Temple)

Ryoan-ji Temple

Other spots




Kyoto Imperial Palace

Katsura Imperial Villa

Shugakuin Imperial Villa

Sannei-zaka slope

Tetsugaku no Michi (Philosopher's Walk)

Maruyama Park (Kyoto Prefecture)

Okazaki Park (Kyoto Prefecture)

Kyoto Tower


Nijo Castle, Nijo-jo

St. Agnes' Episcopal Church (Anglican), Kyoto, (built in 1898, an important cultural property)

Heian Jogakuin Meiji-kan (built in 1894, an important cultural property)

The Orthodox Church in Kyoto (Cathedral of the Annunciation) (京都ハリストス正教会(生神女福音聖堂))

Yagi House (former Shinsengumi Tonsho or headquarters)


IKE no Taiga Art Museum

Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum

Onishi Seiwemon Museum

Kachuan Takeuchi Seiho Kinenkan

Kahitsukan Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art

Kawai Kanjiro Kinenkan

Kawashima Textile Museum

Kitamura Museum

The Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Museum

Kyoto Craft Centre, Kyoto Kogei Kan

Kyoto City Heiankyo Sosei-Kan Museum

Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

Kyoto City Archaeological Museum

Kyoto Art Center

Kyoto International Manga Museum

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

Kyoto National Museum

The Kyoto University Museum

Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts

The Museum of Kyoto

The Kyoto Botanical Garden

Garden of Fine Art, Kyoto

Kyoto Prefectural Insho-Domoto Museum of Fine Arts

Guild House Kyogashi Shiryokan

Koryo Museum

Koryu-ji Temple Reiho-den

Kompira Ema-kan

Chado Research Center Gallery

Shibunkaku Museum

Shimadzu Foundation Memorial Hall

Jotenkaku Museum

Sen-oku Hakuko Kan

Treasure house at Daikaku-ji Temple

Daigo-ji Temple Reihokan (Museum)

Chishakuin Temple

Toei Movie Land (Kyoto Uzumasa Eigamura)

To-ji Temple Homotsu-kan

Kyoto Prefectural Insho-Domoto Museum of Fine Arts

Ninna-ji Temple Reiho-kan

Nomura Art Museum

Namikawa Cloisonne Museum of Kyoto

Costume Museum

Fujii Saisei-kai Yurin-kan Museum

Tin Toy & Doll Museum

Hosomi Museum

Hashimoto Kansetsu Museum

Raku Museum

Kyoto Museum for World Peace, Ritsumeikan University

Festivals and events

Gion Matsuri Festival
Aoi Matsuri Festival
Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages)
Gozan no Okuribi (Daimonji no Okuribi, or Mountain Bonfire)


Since the Meiji Restoration, Kyoto City has maintained a proper balance between development and conservation. However, since World War II policies designed to prioritize the economy have been implemented, and as a result the landscape has gradually been destroyed, stirring up a debate on the issue of landscape.

Kyoto Tower, built in 1964, gave rise to the first cityscape dispute in Kyoto City. During the period of economic growth in the 1970s, the Building Standards Act of 1950 made the traditional methods of construction illegal despite the systems of fuchi-chiku (landscape area) and bikan-chiku (aesthetic area) established before World War II; and consequently, during the bubble years when many of the houses were rebuilt, the streetscape of Kyo-machiya or traditional Kyoto town houses were destroyed. This is known as the second cityscape dispute.

The landscape of the mountains is also an important element in the cityscape of Kyoto. Development in the mountain area was generally restrained, but high-rise buildings constructed in the city in the 1990s spoiled the view of the mountains from the city.

The city enacted an ordinance prohibiting flashy advertisements in the urban area that might spoil the cityscape. As a result, even well-known chain stores often refrain from using their bright corporate colors for the store signs but instead use plain coloration that is different from the stores in other parts of Japan. McDonald's and Sukiya change the colors of their store signs to reddish brown in Kyoto City, even though they use bright red in other areas. Some of the LAWSON stores in the city use blue black instead of bright blue. Also, companies such as Japan Energy Corporation and Nippon Oil Corporation use white or subdued colors for their logos instead of using their usual corporate colors.


The area code is '075' in most of the areas (Message Area of Kyoto). However, the area code is '0771' in the areas of Sagashikimigahara and Sagakoshihata in Ukyo Ward and the former Keihoku-cho area (Message Area of Kameoka).

When distinguishing between Tokyo and Kyoto, the following abbreviations are used: 'kyo' for Tokyo and 'raku' for Kyoto. The word 'jo-raku-suru,' meaning 'climb up Kyoto,' is used to describe when one visits Kyoto from another area such as Tokyo.

The city is home to Kyoto Sanga F.C.

The outer barley of Kyoto City Web is purple, based on the word 'sanshisuimei,' or scenic beauty.

The city doesn't have an airport, but it has the IATA airport code 'UKY.'

[Original Japanese]