Useful information about Kyoto
General Information about Kyoto Prefecture
Kyoto is a prefecture in the Kinki region of Japan, with a population of around 2.56 million people. It has an area of 4,612 km2, 75% of which is hilly or mountainous. Kyoto is rich in nature, culture, and history, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. It is famous for many local specialty products such as Kyogashi traditional sweets, Kiyomizu pottery, Kyoyasai vegetables, and Kyotsukemono pickles.
There are 241 train stations in Kyoto Prefecture, some of the major ones being Kyoto Station, Kyoto-kawaramachi Station, and Karasuma Station. Kyoto Station is the main station of Kyoto City, the prefectural capital, and is used by many tourists as well as local residents. It is served by many railway lines, and acts as a transport hub for the city. The area around the station is a large commercial district that features numerous hotels usually filled with tourists. Kyoto-kawaramachi Station is located in Shijo Kawaramachi, one of the central commercial districts of Kyoto City. It is the terminal station of the Hankyu Kyoto Main Line. Located nearby is Karasuma Station, which is situated in the business district that features many banks and financial institutions.
Access to other parts of Kyoto Prefecture is quite convenient from the urban center, with many trains and buses interconnecting the region.
Foreign Residents in Kyoto Prefecture
As of 2020, there were 61,139 foreign residents living in Kyoto Prefecture, the vast majority of which reside in Kyoto City (more than 10 times the number in Uji City which comes second). By nationality, Koreans are by far the most in number, with a population of 23,809. Next come Chinese with 17,037 residents, followed by Vietnamese, Filipinos, Americans, Nepalese, Indonesians, Thai, Brazilians, French, and so on. For all nationalities, the population is mostly concentrated in Kyoto City, but there is also a significant number of Brazilians in Yawata City.
Data source: Kyoto Prefectural Government "Status of Internationalization in Kyoto Prefecture: Foreign Resident Population", published 2020
Popular Residential Areas in Kyoto Prefecture
The most popular residential areas for foreigners in Kyoto Prefecture are in Kyoto City, specifically the wards of Kamigyo-ku, Nakagyo-ku, and Shimogyo-ku. Although rents are on the high side, these areas are conveniently located near shopping districts, and are close to Kyoto Station, making it easy to get on the Shinkansen to travel to other parts of Japan.
The wards of Kita-ku and Sakyo-ku in northern Kyoto City are also popular areas to live in. These areas are rich in nature, and are home to many famous temples, letting you feel the deep culture and history of the place.
Nishikyo-ku in western Kyoto City is also a highly sought-after area. Its main attraction is the beautiful townscape backed by the famous Arashiyama Mountain. It also has many historical temples and shrines, giving an atmosphere of harmony between nature and culture.
Other popular residential areas include Yamashina-ku in southeastern Kyoto City and Fushimi-ku in the south. Yamashina-ku is replete with commercial centers, while Fushimi-ku is conveniently located close to Osaka.
Transportation in Kyoto Prefecture
Kyoto has an extensive public transportation network that interconnects every area in the prefecture. Major railway lines in Kyoto include the Tokaido Shinkansen, the JR Kyoto Line (Tokaido Main Line), the Kansai Main Line, and the Fukuchiyama Line. There are also private railway operators such as Hankyu and Kintetsu, and the Kyoto Municipal Subway that operate in Kyoto City.
The Tokaido Shinkansen is a high-speed rail that connects Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, stopping at Kyoto Station before terminating at Shin-Osaka. The JR Kyoto Line is a short portion of the Tokaido Main Line that connects Kyoto and Osaka. The Kansai Main Line is a local line that connects Nagoya and Nanba in Osaka with several stops in Kyoto, and is used by many local residents. The Fukuchiyama Line connects Osaka and Fukuchiyama in Kyoto, and is commonly used by people commuting to work. The Kyoto Municipal Subway has two lines, the Tozai Line and the Karasuma Line, which provide access to many parts of the city, making it a convenient mode of transport for tourists.
Kyoto also has a network of buses that supports the transportation needs of its residents. Major bus operators include the Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau, Kyoto Bus, Keihan Bus, Hankyu Bus, West Japan JR Bus, and Kintetsu Bus. The Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau provides many bus routes in and around Kyoto City, and is an important mode of transport for local residents. There are also buses that travel to the northern and southern parts of the prefecture.
Expressways also play an important part in the transportation of Kyoto. One important route is the Meishin Expressway that connects Nagoya and Kobe. It has several major interchanges in Kyoto Prefecture, such as the Kyoto-Minami Interchange and the Oyamazaki Interchange.
Recommended Sightseeing Spots in Kyoto Prefecture
Kyoto is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, and is famous for its historical townscapes, Buddhist temples, and Shinto Shrines. One of the most famous spots in Kiyomizu-dera, a temple that has been designated a World Heritage Site. The majestic temple complex features a main hall, a pagoda, and other structures that were all constructed without using any nails. The view of Kyoto from the main hall's veranda and the surrounding scenery that changes with the seasons is a must-see.
One very popular photo spot in Kyoto is the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The highlight of the shrine is the rows of red torii gates known as Senbon Torii. It is said that if you make a wish while passing through the torii gates, your wish will come true.
Another famous Kyoto spot is Amanohashidate, one of the Three Scenic Views of Japan. It is a thin strip of land spanning across a bay, with a white sandy beach covered in pine trees. This dynamic sight is best viewed from the mountains on either side of the bay.