Tokyo and Kyoto may have the exact same letters in their English spelling, but that’s pretty much where the similarities of the two cities end. All things considered, part from both being major cities in Japan, they are both very different.
You can think of Tokyo a stylish, cosmopolitan city girl, up-to-date and constantly on the go and looking for the next best thing. Meanwhile, Kyoto could easily be the quiet, laid-back country girl, the girl next door that is slightly more traditional and conservative than it’s sister city.
But while Kyoto is seen as more traditional, there is a regal quality about it that is unmistakable. That regal quality could perhaps be because Kyoto was actually the Imperial Capital of Japan, until the emperor moved to Edo (now known as Tokyo) in 1868. And so, Kyoto had several hundred years to establish itself in Japan’s history.
In fact, so much of Kyoto is so lush in history, that the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. These are composed of 17 locations within the vicinity of Kyoto, including Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavillion.