Kyoto prefecture’s history is largely denoted by the city of Kyoto’s role as the capital for much of its history and the home of the imperial court until the Meiji Restoration.
The history of Kyoto traces back in recorded history to as early as 544 when the Aoi Matsuri was held there, praying for good harvest. In 741, the previous capital of Nara was moved by Emperor Shommu to Kuni-kyo, which is currently located in the Kyoto Prefecture. In 784, it was moved again to Nagaokakyo and then again in 794 to Heian, what is present day Kyoto. The grid line structure of Heian still exists today in Kyoto as do many of the imperial era temples and shrines.
While the power over the country shifted to the Kamakura Shogunate in 1192, Kyoto remained the imperial capital as it was believed the emperor still derived power from the gods and it was merely channeled to the samurai clans running the country. In 1333 the country was once again ruled by Kyoto, but only for three years before a new shogunate arose.
In 1467, the Onin no Ran took place in Kyoto as the warring states period took hold of the country, resulting in the destruction of much of Kyoto during the time. When Tokugawa Ieyasu took power in 1603, he moved the shogunate to Edo where government power has remained ever since.
In 1868, when imperial rule returned to Japan, Emperor Meiji moved the imperial court from Kyoto to Edo, renamed to Tokyo. Kyoto has since then been more of a historical site as the imperial court has and will remain in Tokyo.
Kyoto Prefecture is located in the center of Honshu, covering an area equivalent to about 1.2% of Japan, making it the 31st largest. On the north, Kyoto Prefecture is bordered by the Sea of Japan and Fukui Prefecture. To the south sit Osaka Prefecture and Nara Prefecture and to the east sits Mie Prefecture and Shiga Prefecture. Hyogo Prefecture is the last surrounding prefecture to the west. The Tanba mountains, located in the middle of the prefecture split the area in half from north and south.
Cities located within Kyoto Prefecture include the following:
Within Kyoto Prefecture, the following districts and towns exist:
Kyoto’s primary source of income, in its city centers is tourism, as the ancient capital has long attracted international visitors. However, other industries include fishing and transportation as well as forestry and agriculture. Nintendo is also headquartered here in the city of Kyoto.
Kyoto is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Japan thanks to its 1500 year old history and status as the capital for more than 1,000 years. Many young students visit Kyoto regularly for field trips and the festivals held here date back to the first Aoi Matsuri in 544. Dozens of shrines and temples still stand in the city and they all hold multiple events annually.