Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)

The history of Japan and that of Kyoto are inseparable. From 794 AD when the city was established, Kyoto served as the imperial capital of Japan until mid 19th century. The city was modeled against the capitals of ancient China.

Kyoto was the cultural center of Japan for more than 1000 years and thus its historic center demonstrates evolution of Japanese architecture from wooden structures to stone houses. The religious architecture, art and gardens found within the city form a landscape that has influenced the world for many generations.

The historic monuments of ancient Kyoto include Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities. The 3 cities are made up of 17 component parts.

Most of the 198 buildings and 12 gardens you find in this complex were built between the 10th and 17th centuries and form an integral part of the modern Japanese urban culture. All the 17  components that form the city that have been inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites are religious establishemtns apart from the castle of Nijo-jo. Together, the establishements occupy  1056 hectares of land and have been given a buffer zone of 3579 hectares.


  • Karmwakeikauchi-jinja (Shinto shrine)
  • Amomioya-jinja (Shinto shrine)
  • Kyo-o-gokoku-ji To-ji (Buddhist temple)
  • Kiyornim-dera (Buddhist temple)
  • Enryaku-ji (Buddhist temple)
  • The two large Buddhist temples of Daigo-ji and Ninna-ji from the Heian Period
  • The Buddhist temple of Byodo-in and the Ujigami-jinja
  • The Sekisui-in at Kozan-ji
  • Temples of the Rinzai Zen sect such as Temyu-ji
  • Zen gardens such as Saiho-ji
  • The Buddhist temple Rokuon-ji

The list of attraction in the Historic Center of Kyoto cannot be exhausted by in a simple blog. For a city with a history that spans more than 1500 years, you can expect to see a lot of ancient attractions. You are better off visiting it than reading about it.

Most of Japan’s attractions are affordable. The Japanese are proud of their culture and attractions. They are also very hospitable and would give you more than your fair dosage of history if you show the slightest interest. I guess this is what makes Japan a great country. Why not exploit their hospitality to learn something useful?

By Kennedy Runo about Japan

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