Ancient Kyoto was the imperial
capital of Japan for over a thousand years.
Surrounded by scenic hills to the
north, west and east, which the founding Emperor Kammu described as a natural
fortress, the city reigned from 794 to 1868 as the cultural and artistic centre
of the nation - a position it still holds today thanks to being unscathed by
war, allowing its many temples and shrines to flourish.
Before Kyoto, Nara was the first established
capital of Japan in 710. Nara, located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka
is now famous for its Deer Park with hundreds of wild deer roaming Naras
streets. Deer are considered messengers of the Gods in Japan’s Shinto religion
so are treated no different to people in Nara.
Due to its past as the first
permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of
Japan's oldest and largest temples, especially Todaiji Temple which is the
largest wooden structure in the world and home to a magnificent statue of
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