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Kyoto Travel Guide

Kyoto is the city located on the central part of Honshu, Japan. It was formerly Japan's capital for over 1 and now the imperial heart of the country for its rich ancient culture. It has become one of the main tourist destinations in Japan for its countless temples, shrines, and historical structure that survived throughout the years. Kyoto was once the residence of the Emperor from 794 to 1868 until the capital was moved to Tokyo. It was known as Heian-kyo, means 'capital of peace and tranquility.' Kyoto's population is 1.46 million, making this the seventh largest city in Japan.

The best time for tourists to visit Kyoto is during spring and autumn for the weather is stable and predictable. It is also known for its spectacular cherry blossoms. The weather begins to improve by the end of March and the beginning of April, and the flowers will soon bloom its color. During autumn season, the weather is pleasant, experiencing warm temperature and great fall colors. The leaves usually change its color by the end of October. The month of June is their rainy season, July and August have high summer temperature, and flurries of snow during the month of January and February. The average winter temperature is 37 degrees F (2.8 degrees C) and the average summer temperature is 78 degrees F (25.5 degrees C).

The city of Kyoto has an excellent number of tourist attractions. It attracts 8.3 million foreign visitors. It is well known for its ancient temples and one of them is the Kinkaku-ji. Kinkaku-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple that represents the Kitayama Culture of the Muromachi period. The word literally means 'Temple of the Golden Pavilion' for the top two floors of the temple is completely covered in gold. This temple was built in 1937 as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu but his son Ashikaga Yoshimochi, converted the building into a Zen temple.

Another historical temple located in Kyoto is the Ginkaku-ji. Also known as the 'Temple of the Silver Pavilion,' is a Zen temple that represents the Higashiyama Culture of Muromachi period. Like the Kinkaku-ji, it was also originally built in 1482 as a retirement villa for Ashikaga Yoshimasa until he converted into a Zen Buddhist monk in 1485.

The Sanjisangen-do is also a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, also known as the 'Hall of the Lotus King.' The word Sanjisangen-do literally means hall with thirty three spaces between columns, as described on the temple's architecture. It is well known for its 1,001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.

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