World Heritage #0688 – Kyoto

Last modified 03.04.2022 | Published 18.01.1985Japan, North, Central and East Asia, World Heritage Sites

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Kyoto, the old capital of Japan offers a very fine selection of temples and gardens. The Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto is also a world heritage.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.


Official facts

  • Official title: Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)
  • Country: Japan
  • Date of Inscription: 1987
  • Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 688:

“Built in A.D. 794 on the model of the capitals of ancient China, Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan from its foundation until the middle of the 19th century. As the centre of Japanese culture for more than 1,000 years, Kyoto illustrates the development of Japanese wooden architecture, particularly religious architecture, and the art of Japanese gardens, which has influenced landscape gardening the world over.”


My visit

I wrote this in 1985:

“Kyoto is one of the most visited cities in Japan, both by natives and foreigners. The reason is that the city for centuries was the capital of Japan. And certainly one in such places will find magnificent buildings of many kinds. Emperors and shoguns do not usually sit idle by. And if you add that the Japanese as a people are fond of everything traditional, are religious and that the Americans bombed every major city in Japan in 1944/45 except Kyoto, you realise that there is much to be seen here in Kyoto.

There indeed were a lot splendid things I was to see in the days to follow; so much actually that I got tired of temples and the like for months. Although everything is great, it can get too much of it.“

Read more about my visit. 

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