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Courtesy of Ninna-ji Temple

Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto
(Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)

  • HOME
  • Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)

Ancient capital with 1200 years of history
and successive generations of Emperors in residence.

“Ancient capital with 1200 years of history and successive generations of Emperors in residence.Ancient capital with 1200 years of history and successive generations of Emperors in residence.Courtesy of Nijo Castle Office

Beginning with the birth of Heian-kyo, the original name for Kyoto, in 794, a succession of Emperors resided in this old capital right up until 1868, and for over 1000 years this was a political, economic, and cultural center.
The deciding factor for designation as World Heritage was that “it played a decisive role in the creation of Japanese cultural traditions which, in the case of gardens in particular, had a profound effect on the rest of the world from the 19th century onwards”, with a great deal of important cultural assets from the Heian Period up to the Edo Period still existing.
Temples and shrines in 17 locations over a wide area including in the neighbouring city of Otsu in Saga Prefecture were registered on the World Heritage list in 1994.

Huge number of important cultural assets conveying Japanese history!

Huge number of important cultural assets conveying Japanese history!Huge number of important cultural assets conveying Japanese history!Courtesy of Ninna-ji Temple

All of the 17 locations listed are popular tourist spots. For example, Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple established by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro in 798, very soon after Heian-kyo was created. Or Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei that has been the main center for Buddhism for over 1200 years and produced a long line of head priests including the monks Honen and Shinran. Ninna-ji Temple with its remarkable important cultural asset, a 5-storey pagoda, is mentioned in classical literature like the monk Kenko’s Essays in Idleness and the monk Chomei’s An Account of My Hut. Byodo-in Temple, where the Amitabha Buddha figure by the master scultor Jocho is enshrined, is famed for the beautiful Phoenix Hall with its symmetrical architecture. Then there is Nijo Castle, built by Tokugawa Ieyasu and in 1867 was the stage for Tokugawa Yoshinobu the 15th and final Shogun when he carried out the restoration of political power to the Emperor. In this way, the old capital of Kyoto has a tremendous number of cultural assets that convey Japanese history and that draw many tourists from Japan and all over the world to come and visit every year. This landscape can definitely be said to meet the criteria of being an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history.

Data

Site : Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)
Location : Kyoto and Shiga Prefecture
Date of Inscription : 1994
Criteria : (ii) (iv)
Property : 1,056 ha
Buffer zone : 3,579 ha

The official website of The World Heritage Centre
"Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)"
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/688

Location map

No. Heritage Assets
1 Kamo-wake-ikazuchi-Jinja (Kamigamo shrine)
2 Kamomioya-jinja Shrine (Shimogamo shrine)
3 Kyo-o-gokoku-ji (To-ji)
4 Kiyomizu-dera
5 Enryaku-ji
6 Daigo-ji
7 Ninna-ji
8 Byodo-in
9 Ujigami-jinja
10 Kosan-ji
11 Saiho-ji
12 Tenryu-ji
13 Rokuon-ji
14 Jisho-ji
15 Ryoan-ji
16 Hongan-ji
17 Nijo-jo
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