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京 都市
Geographical location in Japan
Kyoto (Japan)
Red pog.svg
Region : Kinki
Prefecture : Kyoto
Coordinates : 35 ° 1 '  N , 135 ° 46'  E Coordinates: 35 ° 0 '42 "  N , 135 ° 46' 5"  E
Basic data
Surface: 827.83 km²
Residents : 1,466,264
(October 1, 2019)
Population density : 1771 inhabitants per km²
Community key : 26100-9
Flag / coat of arms:
Flag / coat of arms of Kyoto
Tree : Maple , Babylonian weeping willow , cake tree
Flower : Camellia , azalea , Prunus lannesiana
town hall
Address : Kyōto City Hall
488 Teramachidōri - Oike Agaru - Kamihonnōjimae-chō
Nakagyō-ku , Kyōto -shi
Kyōto  604-8571
Website URL:
Location Kyōtos in Kyōto Prefecture
Location Kyōtos in the prefecture

Kyōto ( listen ? / I , in German mostly Kyoto , seldom also spelled Kioto ; Japanese. 京 都市listen to Kyōto- shi ? / I ) is one of the most historically and culturally important cities in Japan . It is located in the southwest of the Japanese main island of Honshu in the metropolitan area of Kansai . Both characters of today's city name are read alone " Miyako " and literally mean "imperial residence" in Japanese . In today's Sino-Japanese reading, the syllable "Kyō-" corresponds to a go-on reading and the syllable "-to" corresponds to a Kan-on reading . Audio file / audio sample Audio file / audio sample

Kyōto was the seat of the Imperial Court of Japan from 794 to 1868 and is now the administrative seat of Kyoto Prefecture .

14 temples and Shinto shrines were declared together with three others in the neighboring cities of Uji and Ōtsu in 1994 to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Ōtsu) .


Kyoto is located about 400 km southwest of Tokyo in the mid-west of the Japanese main island of Honshū, about ten kilometers southwest of Lake Biwa and about 40 km from Osaka . Due to its location in a basin that is only open to the south, the humid air accumulates in summer; the northern part of the city becomes considerably colder in winter than the neighboring cities of Osaka and Kobe . In contrast to the latter, Kyōto is largely protected from typhoons by the mountains that are up to 1000 meters high and also hardly threatened by flooding.

The city is laid out like a chessboard according to the classical Chinese geomancy . The center and the south are the economic heart of the city. The tourist sights are partly in the center; however, most of the famous temples are located in the northeast and northwest of the city or on mountain slopes in the area.

Looking west over the city center from Mount Daimonji-yama

City structure

Kyoto is divided into eleven districts ( - ku ):

The boroughs
the districts of the city of Kyoto
with check digit
Surname Area (in km²) population Population
density (inh / km²)
Rōmaji Kanji January 1, 2020 1st October 2019 01/10/2015 3
26101-7 Kita-ku 北区 94.88 117.933 119,474 1248.86
26102-5 Kamigyō-ku 上京 区 7.03 84,539 85.113 12036.98
26103-3 Sakyō-ku 左 京 区 246.77 167.822 168.266 680.52
26104-1 Nakagyō-ku 中 京 区 7.41 110,821 109,341 14957.35
26105-0 Higashiyama-ku 東山 区 7.48 36,957 39,044 5000.00
26106-8 Shimogyō-ku 下 京 区 6.78 82,680 82,668 12200.15
26107-6 Minami-ku 南 区 15.81 101.192 99,927 6400.76
26108-4 Ukyō-ku 右 京 区 292.07 203,670 204.262 698.44
26109-2 Fushimi-ku 伏 見 区 61.66 277.421 280,655 4512.89
26110-6 Yamashina-ku 山 科 区 28.7 134.259 135,471 4681.74
26111-4 Nishikyo-ku 西京 区 59.24 148.970 150,962 2517.99
26100-9 Kyōto-shi 京 都市 827.83 1,466,264 1,475,183 1774.49

Population development of the city

year population Gender
men per 100 women
density (Ew. Per km²)
in km²
all in all male Female
1889 279.165 —— —— —— 9377.4 29.77
1899 358.573 180.756 177.817 101.7 12,044.8 29.77
1909 453.046 232.504 220,542 105.4 14,483.6 31.28
1920 591.323 299,686 291,637 102.8 9785.3 60.43
1925 679.963 350,759 329.204 106.6 11,252.1 60.43
1930 765.142 396.756 368.386 107.7 12,661.6 60.43
1935 1,080,593 555.792 524,801 105.9 3743.6 288.65
1940 1,089,726 545.107 544.619 100.1 3775.3 288.65
1947 999,660 483.028 516,632 93.5 3463.2 288.65
1950 1,101,854 533.426 568,428 93.8 2054.0 536.45
1955 1,204,084 585.963 618.121 94.8 2188.2 550.27
1960 1,284,818 628.250 656,568 95.7 2104.2 610.61
1965 1,365,007 670.157 694.850 96.5 2235.5 610.61
1970 1,419,165 697.418 721.747 96.6 2324.2 610.61
1975 1,461,059 718.213 742.846 96.7 2392.8 610.61
1980 1,473,065 721.402 751.663 96.0 2412.5 610.61
1985 1,479,218 721.281 757.937 95.2 2422.5 610.61
1990 1,461,103 708.601 752.502 94.2 2394.4 610.21
1995 1,463,822 706.859 756.963 93.4 2398.9 610.21
2000 1,467,785 704.281 763.504 92.2 2405.3 610.22
2005 1,474,811 703.210 771.601 91.1 1781.4 827.90
2010 1,474,015 701.088 772.927 90.7 1780.4 827.90
2015 1,475,183 699.748 775.435 90.2 1782.0 827.83
2018 1,468,980 695,829 773.151 90.0 1774.5 827.83
2019 1,465,448 694.130 771.318 90.0 1770.2 827.83

Source: Kyōto city PDF file on population change 人口 及 び 世 帯 数 の 推移 (京 都市)

  • For the years 1889 to 1909 - status at the end of the year (population register)
  • For the years 1920 to 2015 - status on census day (October 1st)
  • 2018 - as of October 1st - population update
  • 2019 - as of March 1, 2019 - population update


Model from the 8th century Heian-kyō

Under the name Heian-kyō , Kyōto was 794 after the abandonment of Heijō-kyō ( Nara , 784) and a failed attempt in the nearby Nagaoka-kyō ( Nagaokakyō ) under Emperor Kammu (781-806) the second permanent capital of Japan .

After the Dōkyō incident, the influence of Buddhist monasteries should be pushed back by banning them from the inner city area of ​​about 4500 × 5200 meters in the new capital.

The Heian period in which political power is essentially ran out of Kyoto (but soon no longer by the Emperor himself), lasted until 1185. During the Muromachi period 1333-1568 resided then the formed first on the East Coast shogunate again Kyōto, but constantly lost power. With the devastation of the Ōnin War (1467–1477), the city began to fall into disrepair, and it finally consisted of only two separate areas in the eastern half of the city. Reconstruction only began under Hideyoshi in 1580. Only now were temples built within the city, which was forbidden in previous times. In 1568 the first Christian place of prayer was built, popularly called Namban-ji .

In the Edo period from 1603 the political center of Japan finally shifted away from Kyoto to the east coast. Court culture continued to be cultivated at the seat of the Tennō.

Kyoto, Main Street, 1891

From the shogunate administration for the city of Kyōto and shogunate or imperial goods in the surrounding area, the (in the early years: city) prefecture (-fu) Kyōto emerged in the Meiji Restoration , but this changed with the consolidation of the prefectures in the 1870s expanded to extensive rural areas in several provinces. In 1878/79 the prefectures were subdivided into rural districts (- gun ) and urban districts / "districts" (- ku ) , with Kamigyō-ku and Shimogyō-ku being set up in the urban area of ​​Kyoto on April 10, 1879. From these emerged on April 1, 1889 in the course of the reorganization of the Japanese community system, the modern city (-shi) Kyōto, and the -ku became districts. Until 1898 the city of Kyōto remained after an exception of the three largest cities of the empire from the city order (shisei tokurei) but without an independent administration and was ruled directly by the governor of Kyoto. Only then were independent mayors appointed. On April 1, 1929, the new districts of Higashiyama-ku, Nakagyō-ku and Sakyō-ku were separated from both. On April 1, 1931, a large number of surrounding places were incorporated, resulting in Fushimi-ku and Ukyō-ku.

During World War II , Kyoto was originally high on the list of targets for the first use of the atomic bomb. In particular, General Leslie R. Groves called for the drop on Kyoto, as the situation in a valley would have exacerbated the effects of the explosion. However, at the urging of US Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson , who had once visited the city and was aware of its cultural significance, it was removed from the list. For the same reason, Kyoto was spared from heavy air strikes.

On September 1, 1951, Kita-ku was separated from Kamigyō-ku and Minami-ku from Shimogyō-ku. The last change in the city structure took place on October 1, 1976, when Nishikyō-ku were separated from Ukyō-ku and Yamashina-ku from Higashiyama-ku.

Politics and administration

Political groups in the city council
(as of May 9, 2019)
A total of 67 seats
  • LDP : 21
  • CPY : 18
  • Kōmeitō : 10
  • Minshu ・ shimin forum ("Democrat, Citizen Forum"): 7
  • Nippon Ishin no Kai : 5
  • chiiki seitō Kyōto-tō ("Regional Party Kyōto Party"): 5
  • Non-attached: 1

The mayor of Kyōto (Kyōto shichō) , elected directly in all municipalities , has been Daisaku Kadokawa since 2008 . In the mayoral election on February 2, 2020, he was re-elected for a fourth term with the support of LDP , Kōmeitō , KDP , DVP and SDP and 45.1% of the vote. There were two opposing candidates: lawyer Kazuhito Fukuyama was supported by the Japanese Communist Party as well as by the Reiwa Shinsengumi and received 34.6% of the vote; in addition, the former Kyōto Party city parliament member Shōei Murayama (20.3%) applied. Voter turnout recovered by around five points compared to 2016 to 40.7%.

The Kyōto City Council ( Kyōto shikai ), which was last elected in April 2019, consists of 67 members. The LDP became the strongest party with 21 MPs, closely followed by the Communist Party of Japan (KPJ), which won 18 seats in its traditional stronghold. KDP , Ishin no Kai and the local Kyōto party ( 京都 党Kyōto-tō ) recorded seat gains, while DVP and Kōmeitō lost one seat each .

In the 60-member prefectural parliament of Kyoto (Kyōto fugikai) , the city of Kyoto has a majority with 34 members. General elections to the prefectural parliament also take place in a single election cycle.

In elections to the House of Representatives , the lower house of the national parliament , the city of Kyoto extends into four of the six constituencies of the Kyoto prefecture. Constituencies 1 and 2, which are completely in the city, won constituencies 3 and 4 in the 2017 parliamentary elections, unchanged, by the liberal democrat Bunmei Ibuki and the democrat Seiji Maehara (after being elected to the Party of Hope , now DVP) extend to other communities, held Kenta Izumi (Party of Hope → DVP) and Hideyuki Tanaka (LDP).

Mayoral election 2008

The election itself took place on February 17th. Daisaku Kadokawa narrowly prevailed against the candidate Kazuo Nakamura , who was supported by the CPJ. The lead was only 951 votes.

The election was of particular importance because a successor was sought for Yorikane Masumoto , who had announced his resignation after three terms in office (equivalent to twelve years).


The Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) in the northwest of the city
The Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion)
Torii arch at the Inari Shrine in Fushimi
Maiko henshin in Kyoto

Kyoto has the status of the cultural center of Japan.

Kyōto was one of the few cities to be consciously spared from the bombings of World War II . This makes it one of the best preserved cities in Japan with its 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines , palaces and gardens. In modern times, a number of museums such as the National Museum of Kyoto and the National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto were added. Quite a number of famous buildings in Japan are located in Kyoto, many of which were in 1994 by the UNESCO for World Heritage declared. This makes Kyoto the most popular tourist destination in Japan.

A selection of the sights:

  • the Imperial Palace Kyōto Gosho ( 京都 御所 ), until 1868 residence of Tennō
  • the Imperial Katsura Villa ( 桂 離宮 Katsura-rikyū ), one of Japan's most beautiful architectural treasures
  • the Shugakuin Imperial Villa (Shugakuin-rikyū, 修 学院 離宮 ) with one of Japan's most beautiful gardens
  • Gion ( 祇 園 ), center of geisha culture
  • Gion-Matsuri
  • Pontochō ( 先 斗 町 ), an old entertainment district
  • the Arashiyama ( 嵐山 ) on the scenic Hozugawa River
  • the Philosopher's Path ( 哲学 の 道Tetsugaku no michi ), a route in the east of the city that leads past numerous temples

Castles and castle ruins

Temples and shrines

The main sights of Kyoto are spread over three areas, the east, north and west of the city, because most of the temples are built on the surrounding mountain slopes or somewhat remote (in the north).

Kyōto is also known for its cuisine, which typically mainly uses plant-based ingredients and is particularly stylish despite its simplicity (for example yudōfu , a tofu dish). Different types of pickled vegetables ( Tsukemono ) are also part of it: The vegetables around Kyoto are usually a bit smaller and sometimes more flavorful than in the rest of Japan.

Kyoto is the center of the tea ceremony and ikebana and the birthplace of the classical Japanese theater arts ( theater, Kyōgen and Kabuki ).

Another specialty is the Kyoto dialect , a more sophisticated, elegant variant of the Kansai dialect , which reflects the old court culture of the former capital. The Kyōto dialect has its own gradations of keigo , the Japanese language of politeness, which modern standard Japanese lacks.

Since 2011, the city has had a German cultural institution, Villa Kamogawa , in which German scholarship holders can live and work for three months.

The opera festival has been taking place since 2013.

Economy and science

Kyōto University
The Kyoto International Conference Center in the northeastern district of Sakyō-ku , here the exterior view, accommodated the participating delegates for eleven days during the working sessions of the Kyoto Protocol
GDP (PPP) per capita
year Int .- $
1975 5,324
1980 9,523
1985 13,870
1990 19,438
1995 22,738
2000 26,978
2005 32,189
2010 36,306
2014 40,794

Tourism is an important source of income . The city's attractions attract Japanese of all ages, and many foreign tourists visit the city. The city has a well-developed tourist infrastructure.

Another branch of the economy are small businesses and family businesses that have dedicated themselves to traditional Japanese handicrafts. Kyōto is famous above all for its silk factories ( Nishijin , after the district of the same name) and its kimono production. At the end of the 17th century, Yūzen Miyazaki in Kyōto developed a special dyeing technique (Kyō-yūzen), which today is practiced almost exclusively in Kanazawa , except in Kyōto . However, this sector has stagnated in the last few decades.

The southern district of Fushimi-ku is next to Niigata and Nada (Kobe) one of the most famous places where sake is made .

The third mainstay of the city is electronics. The headquarters of Nintendo , OMRON , Kyocera , muRata Electronic and Wacoal are located in Kyoto . The high-tech industry can only partially compensate for the decline in traditional handicrafts, so that a large number of workers commute to Osaka every day.

Kyoto is a university city with students from all over the country. Among the around 40 universities and colleges are well-known such as:

Numerous foreign cultural institutes also maintain facilities in Kyoto.

Kyoto protocol

From December 1 to 10, 1997, an international climate conference took place in Kyoto, at which the industrialized countries undertook to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.


Kyōto Central Station, view from the top visitor's terrace

The central station of Kyoto is located south and slightly off the city center. Since the opening of the first Shinkansen route in 1964, Kyōto has been served by high-speed trains. JR also operates other long-distance routes and numerous local routes. The main train station of Kyoto was completely rebuilt in 1997 and is architecturally as attractive as it is controversial, as it contrasts with the traditional cityscape of Kyoto.

Several private railways run in Kyoto, including Hankyū and Keihan to Osaka. The Kyōto urban tram - Japan's first electric transport system - has ceased to exist in 1978, only the Keifuku tram runs in the north-west of the city, and the Kyoto subway has existed since 1981 , which now comprises two lines. One of them is also linked through the Keihan tram route to Ōtsu.

The road network of Kyoto is laid out like a chessboard based on the pattern of old Chinese cities. The major streets are numbered, which makes navigation easy. However, road traffic in the city is insufficiently regulated by Japanese standards.

Kyōto has a well-developed bus system, which, however, suffers from chronically congested streets. For tourists, the bus day ticket is an inexpensive way to get to the sights. The ticket sales point at the main train station also provides bus timetables in English.


Yatsuhashi, a candy from Kyoto

A popular souvenir ( miyage ) from Kyoto is yatsuhashi , a Japanese sweet made from rice and cinnamon .


Kyōto is the home of the football club Kyōto Sanga from the J. League Division 2 , whose games are played in the Nishi-Kyōgoku Stadium .

Neighboring cities and communities

Town twinning

Sister cities:

Sister cities:


See also


  • Kyoto: residence of the emperors and gods. In: Geo-Magazin. Hamburg 1979, 3, pp. 40-66. Informative experience report: "Hisako Matsubara, daughter of a high Shinto priest in Kyoto, describes her hometown and the impulses that emanated from here and changed the country". ISSN  0342-8311

Web links

Commons : Kyōto  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Kyoto  travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Roy Andrew Miller: The Japanese Language . Translated from the revised English original by Jürgen Stalph. Iudicium-Verlag: München 1993, p. 113
  2. In pure can-on reading the city would be called "Keito", in Go-on "Kyōtsu"
  3. Kokudo Chiriin : 令 和 2 年 全国 都 道 府 県 市区 町 村 別 面積 調 (1 月 1 日 時点) , 26 京都 府 (Japanese), accessed June 13, 2020.
  4. [ s { v l . ] 京都 府 , October 1, 2019, accessed October 31, 2019 (Japanese).
  5. PDF file on population development (Japanese) , accessed March 17, 2019
  6. In Japan one speaks of the Kyoto Renaissance .
  7. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa: Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan . Harvard University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-674-01693-9 , pp. 67–68, 149–150 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  8. Arthur Waldron: Henry L. Stimson . In: Robert Cowley, Geoffrey Parker (Eds.): The Reader's Companion to Military History . Houghton Mifflin, 1996, ISBN 0-618-12742-9 , pp. 445 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  9. Kyoto City Council: MPs by faction (Japanese), accessed on May 20, 2019
  10. 京都 市長 選 現 職 の 門 川 大作 氏 4 回 目 の 当選 確 実 . In: NHK News Web (limited availability). February 2, 2020, accessed February 2, 2020 (Japanese).
  11. 2020 京都 市長 選 . In: NHK Senkyo Web. February 3, 2020, accessed February 3, 2020 (Japanese).
  12. 京 都市 議 選 各 党 議席 . In: NHK Senkyo Web. April 8, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2019 (Japanese).
  13. Kyōto prefecture parliament: MPs by constituency
  14. Kadokawa narrowly wins Kyoto mayoral race ( Memento of March 2, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) - National - DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)
  15. 県 民 経 済 計算 ( Japanese ) cabinet office . Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  16. Purchasing power parities (PPP) - OECD Data
  17. ^ Sister Cities of Kyoto City . City of Kyoto, March 27, 2012, accessed January 21, 2014 .
  18. Partner Cities of Kyoto City . Kyoto City, February 17, 2016, accessed August 19, 2016 .