Enjoying a central location on Honshu, Japan's main island,
Kyoto was first settled in the 7th century AD, and by 794 it was
the capital of Japan. Holding this position until the Imperial
Restoration in 1868, Kyoto naturally developed into a large city of
wealth and affluence. Kyoto was always the country's largest city,
and though this has changed since Tokyo became the capital, it is
still a considerable size, and is home to the headquarters of huge
companies such as Nintendo.
Kyoto is also known for being a seat of learning, and for this
reason it - along with its size - was originally a target for
atomic bombing by the Americans in the Second World War. However,
it was spared from this fortunately, and even much
of the conventional bombing, making Kyoto one of the few cities in
Japan to have an abundance of pre-war buildings, right down to
small buildings such as standard townhouses.
As a result of its history and subsequent preservation, Kyoto is
home to many of the 'typical' images of Japan, and ranks as one of
the world's most culturally rich places. The city boasts 17 UNESCO
World Heritage sites, and more than 2000 temples and shrines.