Kyoto, Japan, the capital of Kyoto prefecture. It is on the island of Honshu near Biwa Lake, just north of the large urban complex around Osaka, Kobe, and Sakai. Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan for almost 1,100 years and has hundreds of exquisite buildings, art treasures, and gardens. Among them are the Old Imperial Palace, Nijo Castle, and Kiyomizu Temple. Museums and theaters are numerous. Many festivals and celebrations are held in the city each year.
Tourism and the making of traditional handicrafts, such as silk fabrics, embroidery, porcelain items, and lacquerwares, are of major importance. There is also modern manufacturing. Kyoto is one of Japan's leading educational centers; the chief institution is Kyoto University, one of the most prestigious schools in the nation.
Kyoto was founded in 794 A.D., succeeding Nara and Nagaoka as the imperial capital. It was modeled after Changan (now Xian), capital of the Tang dynasty in China. Kyoto remained the imperial capital until 1868, when Emperor Meiji made Tokyo his capital. Because of its historical and cultural importance, Kyoto was spared Allied bombing during World War II.