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Kyoto is Japan's former capital city with a history spanning more than 1,000 years. Kyoto served as Japan's cultural center for centuries. Kyoto also escaped much of the destruction of war and many old buildings, shrines and temples still exist. Kyoto culture was supported by the court nobles (aristocrats directly employed by the Imperial Court). That is why Kyoto-style food is beautiful, refined and delicious. Kyoto is surrounded by mountains and developed a style of cooking unique from the rest of Japan. Traditional Kyoto cuisine makes full use of the seasonal flavors offered by the mushrooms, fruits and vegetables obtained from the surrounding mountains.
Kyoto has been known for having long-standing Japanese restaurants that cater mainly to a regular, select clientele. However, there has been a big increase in the number of restaurants courting foreign guests and many of these establishments even have prepared English menus.
Gion 祇園: Gion is one of the most famous tourist areas in Kyoto in front of Yasaka Shrine. It is known for its Hanamachi (Flower Towns) where maiko and geiko live. Exclusive Japanese restaurant and tea houses add a dignified appearance. If you are lucky, you can see maiko and geiko elegantly walking along the area's historical streets.
Shijo Kawaramachi 三条河原町: This is the most bustling area in Kyoto where new and old are uniquely combined. Between Sanjo and Shijo, a variety of entertainment spots are waiting for you: department stores, karaoke, Japanese and western restaurants and more. Kiyamachi and Pontocho, east of Kawaramamchi, have a wide range of restaurants, bars, sushi, traditional ryotei. Many people enjoy those areas until midnight.
Nishiki Food Market 錦小路: This market, about 400m long from east to west (Teramachi to Takakura) is called "Capital kitchin"As the name represents, everything is here; Kyoto vegetables, tofu, pickles, dried food, seafood, obanzai (Kyoto home made dishes) , etc. about 150 shops stand along both side of street. It is always crowded with people from all over Japan and the world.
Kyoto's Flower Towns 京都花街: Flower Towns the districts where maiko and geiko live, are an important part of Kyoto's historical heritage. There are five districts in Kyoto: Gion, Kobu. Miyagawa-cho, Kamishichiken, Ponto-cho, Gion Higashi. There is a mysterious world of maiko, a symbol of Kyoto, that people rarely see. However, one you see their traditional beauty, it never goes out of your memory.
Recommended souvenirs from Kyoto