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.
Kyoto originally called Heiankyo Capital of Peace doesn't live only in the past. The seventh largest city in Japan with a population of 1.4 million, also has kept pace with the modern world. The comprehensive Kyoto International Conference Hall located in the north-eastern part of the city is a marvel of state-of-the-art technology. Combined with the remarkable array of other superb attractions, it has made Kyoto a world-class convention destination. Some of the most prestigious universities in the country are also situated here, forming a major educational enclave.
Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara.
Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples.
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