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Buddhism has had major influences on Japanese society and culture since its introduction from the continent in the sixth century. Coexisting with Shinto shrines, Buddhism temples have been the places where local people worship their ancestors as well as Buddhist deities. Some temples were built for royalty and nobility to reside during the Heian period and the Kamakura period. There are more than 1600 temples in Kyoto city. Temple buildings in Kyoto with high historical value include Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion) and Kiyomizu-dera, to name a few.
Shinto is a polytheistic religion originated from Japan. Shinto shrine is a sacred place to enshrine gods of different attributes and characteristics. Local people visit shrines to pay respect to the gods and ask them for divine protection. There are many hundreds of shrines in Kyoto. Some of the shrines were built in Heian Period by aristocrats to deify their ancestors, and others to enshrine shamanic gods referred in Kojiki, the Japan’s most ancient historical document.
There are two major castle ruins in Kyoto – Nijo Castle, which was built at the very beginning of Edo period, and Fushimi-momoyama Castle, which was built during the Azuchi-momoyama Period, about ten year before Nijo Castle. Nijo-Castle is registered for the UNESCO World Heritage.
Regular grid of streets in Kyoto city are divided into square blocks because the city was built based on strict urban planning more than 1,200 years ago. Today, Kyoto is a modern industrial city with nearly 1.5 million residents, but you can feel and touch the history everywhere in the city.
Maiko are the girls who are being trained to become Geiko. They are famous for their beautiful make-up and traditional kimono fashion, and highly sophisticated behavior. Maiko attend customers in a tatami room at high-class Japanese restaurants to entertain them, performing traditional dances.
Kyoto has three major festivals: Gion Festival (one of Japan's three greatest festivals), Aoi Festival and Jidai Festival. It is said that a greater number of festivals in a year take place in Kyoto than any other city in Japan. Besides, Kyoto holds many other important festivals with their own distinguished history.
We will introduce you to many other attractive places and areas to visit in Kyoto, including Kyoto Tower from whose observation deck you can view the entire city.
Historical, custom basis, georaphical, cultural stuff of the Kyoto :)