In 794 the Emperor Kammu chose a lowland area to build his mansion at and there he founded the capital town formerly called Heian-kyō, later Kyoto. The town was originally of a square pattern with streets organised like a chessboard. During many years Kyoto was altered by the richness of Japanese architecture. Nowhere else in Japan you would find so many domes, gates, shrines and temples from the Middle Age. For its cultural and historical importance Kyoto was even crossed out from the list of cities meant to be destroyed by atomic bombs during World War II. In 1997, an agreement called the Kyoto Protocol was made here that limits greenhouse gas emissions.
There is the Imperial Palace with the Coronation Hall in the north of Kyoto. The palace was burnt many times but renewed after each fire, with the last renovation taking place in 1855. Nowadays it is accessible to the public. Over 200 of Shinto shrines are also a significant sight of the town. The oldest one is Fushimi Inari which consists of 3 km long line of gates devoted to goddess Inari. Kyoto blossomed mainly because of the Buddhists who built around 30 ancient temple buildings. The oldest one, Chion-in, was built in the 13th century. Other places to see are the famous Kyoto Gardens, for example Saiho-Ji founded in the 14th century. Beautiful view of the city is possible from a 131 m high observation tower. The city is also known for its traditional Japanese production of mainly Kyoto kimonos.
Apart from historical buildings, there is also a new area with many shops, hotels and restaurants. The main shopping centre of the city is surely the Shijo-dori street.