Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and spared from air raids during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today. Kyoto Prefecture is a sightseeing center where people worldwide return time and time again. From the end of the Nara Period (794), Kyoto has functioned as the crossroads of Japanese history. From its beginnings as the Kunikyo and Nagaokakyo settlements until the Emperor moved to Tokyo, it was the capital of Japan for over 1000 years. Even today, Kyoto is the cultural center of Japan, and continues to be loved by Japanese and people of the world alike. The ancient capital of Kyoto, whose traditions have been matured through the ages, is now making startling advancements. Its rich culture and experience are being utilized in modern technological industries. For example, semiconductor and liquid crystal displays have been made based on the techniques of Kiyomizu Pottery. Traditional skills developed more than 1000 years in this ancient capital are now being utilized in cutting-edge technologies. You may meet some ‘maiko,’ young dancing entertainers, who walk in long hanging-sleeved kimono in the Gion district, see the townscape characterized with popular 19th century style latticework, and visit the Nishijin where they weave traditional ‘Nishijin-ori’ textiles with vividly colored threads. The festivals in Kyoto are famous not only in Japan, but are also known worldwide. The three major festivals of Kyoto are the Aoi-matsuri Festival in early summer, the Gion-matsuri Festival in mid-summer and the Jidai-matsuri Festival in fall. There is also the Gozan-no-Okuribi, more commonly known as Daimonji-yaki, held on the night of Urabon (August 16th). During this festival numerous torches are ignited on the five mountains surrounding Kyoto, with the flames laid out to form a letter or figure. It is a summer event known both at home and abroad.