Kyoto Prefecture, located in nearly the center of the Japanese archipelago, is bordered on the north by the Sea of Japan and Fukui Prefecture, on the south by Osaka and Nara Prefectures, on the east by Mie and Shiga Prefectures, and on the west by Hyogo Prefecture. Kyoto Prefecture is long and narrow on its north-south axis, and the Tamba mountain region in its center splits the prefecture into two types of climate: Sea of Japan and inland.
The Finance Ministers' Meeting is to be held in Kyoto City, located in the south of Kyoto Prefecture. A metropolis home to 1.47 million people, Kyoto is also a city of greenery and pristine natural surroundings. It is surrounded on three sides by mountains, and two rivers -- the Kamo and Katsura -- run through its heart.
Kyoto is also very accessible, being about two and a half hours by high-speed train from Tokyo and Fukuoka, and only about ninety minutes from Kansai International Airport.
Kyoto's traditional industries have had a significant impact on Japanese culture and traditions. These aspects of Japanese cultural life have been transmitted to the present day, and even now play a role in the lives of Kyoto's people. While protecting these traditions, Kyoto has simultaneously collected an array of globally competitive, environmentally friendly, high-tech companies that, thanks to their ingenuity, regularly introduce new products. The close collaborations between industry, academia, and government at Kansai Science City -- a joint venture straddling Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara Prefectures -- have turned that area into a new center of culture, academics, research, and commerce.
Kyoto -- formerly called Heian-kyo -- was the center of Japanese politics and culture for over a thousand years after it was made capital in 794. Because of this legacy, historical and cultural properties remain in Kyoto to this day. The spirituality and environmental values that formed in this environment are still now reflected in the lives of Kyoto's people. There are beautiful buildings and cultural assets in Kyoto representing every part of its long history, and while in this timeless city, one can sense Japan's historical essence and the splendor of each era's culture.
While much of Kyoto's rich culture was nurtured by its 1,200-year history as a crossroads of history and civilization, Kyoto has also been strongly influenced by other cultures, both foreign and domestic, which it accepted and assimilated, giving birth to a new, unique culture. These historical and cultural assets are internationally lauded, and 17 shrines, temples, and castles have been designated as World Heritage Sites. Additionally, Kyoto is a center for disciplines aimed at hospitality, such as tea ceremony and flower arrangement. It is also known as a source of Japanese food culture, famous for its set-courses and Buddhist vegetarian meals. Many of Japan's most famous festivals and seasonal traditions take place in Kyoto, including Aoi Matsuri (Hollyhock Festival), Gion Matsuri, Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages), and Gozan-no-Okuribi (bonfire festival held during the Obon holidays).
Kyoto is known as a city of universities, and there are over 40 universities and community colleges with about 5,000 foreign students, many of whom are international students from Asian Pacific countries. Kyoto promotes exchange with local residents and hands-on events to deepen these students' understanding of Japanese culture and arts.
Additionally, Kyoto has promoted exchange with many APEC economies; Kyoto Prefecture has concluded friendship agreements with several regions, including Shaanxi Province (China), Yogyakarta Special Territory (Indonesia), Oklahoma State (USA), and Leningrad Region (Russia). Kyoto City has signed sister city agreements with Boston (USA), Xi'an (China), Guadalajara (Mexico), and Jinju (South Korea).
Kyoto is a hub of international tourism cities, and attracts 80 million domestic and international tourists every year, making Kyoto symbolic of Japan. In Kyoto's north, in order to respond to the increasing size of freight ships and the increased demand for shipping, as well as take advantage of China and Russia's economic development, Maizuru Port in Kyoto has been retooled to serve as an "Asian Gateway" on the Sea of Japan.
Also, autumn 2011 will see various people and cultures from all over Japan gather in Kyoto Prefecture for the National Cultural Festival, the largest cultural event in Japan. At this festival, there will be music, dance, drama, art, literature, and other artistic endeavors along with displays of traditional culture and lifestyle. Kyoto, as host prefecture, will also be sure to highlight international cultural events that will be held throughout the period of the festival.
In order to ensure the success of the Finance Ministers' Meeting in November, the "2010 Japan APEC Kyoto Finance Ministers' Meeting Support Committee" was formed with Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto City, and members of the business community as its core members. This committee is working to make certain that participants in the meetings can develop an understanding of Kyoto and experience all of its hospitality without imposing a heavy burden on sightseers during the busy autumn tourist season.
Information will be posted as soon as it is available.
(Information on this page was offered from Kyoto Prefecture.)