Kyoto, indisputably one of Asia's most fascinating destinations, was also one of Asia's longest-running capitals. From its founding in 794 to its rejection as Japan's capital in favor of Tokyo in 1868, Kyoto harbored and absorbed most of Japan's major cultural, social, and historical shifts.
Old Kyoto provides a rich social history of the city throughout its six major eras, starting with the Heian period, when the Emperor reigned supreme over a hierarchical court modeled on that of China. This rigidity gave way to the insular, sensual Fujiwara period, famous in part as the setting for The Tale of Genji, written by one of Kyoto's most famous natives, the novelist Lady Murasaka. As the city grew, so did the power of the warrior class, the Shogunate, supported by their mercenary soldiers, the samurai. By the seventeenth century, Kyoto was presided over by wealthy merchants who spawned the 'floaring world' culture of woodblock prints, Kabuki theater, and the geisha quarters.
With its rich variety of illustrations and historical anecdotes, Old Kyoto brings the city to life, providing a delightful companion to this remarkable city.