Kyoto is an ancient city with a 1200 year history. It was established as Japan's capital under the name "Heian-kyo" in the year 794. Although many transformations have taken place over the years, Kyoto has always adopted the most advanced standards of the times. It has greatly contributed to the nation's industrial, economic and cultural development and strength. The dauntless and leading spirit of Kyoto's past as a capital city, is still felt here today.
Kyoto also preserves the beloved properties of its culture as testimonials of time. This is shown in the ancient temples and shrines built in styles unique to Kyoto, as well as private houses. Moreover, many festivals, ceremonies and traditional industries reveal the will of this city to transmit and develop its 1200 year culture.
Heian-kyo was a remarkably large area with a vast cityscape planned around the grounds of the old Imperial Palace, located in the north. It extended 5.2km. from north to south, and 4.7km. from east to west. On either side of the main road, Suzaku-oji (85m. wide), were areas called Sakyo and Ukyo, inhabited by up to 150,000 residents. The national markets in each of these areas were the largest in all of Japan, and a great number of commodities were brought in from around the nation. The Government was directly managing the manufacture of many handicrafts, and craftsmen who practiced the most advanced techniques of the time also gathered to live here.