Kyoto (京都市 Kyōto-shi), literally "Capital City", is a city located in the central part of the island of Honshu. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, it is now the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture located in the Kansai region, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area.
In Japanese, the city has been called Kyō (京), Miyako (都), or Kyō no Miyako (京の都). In the 11th century, the city was renamed Kyoto, after the Chinese word for capital city, jingdu (京都). After the city of Edo was renamed Tokyo (東京, meaning "Eastern Capital") in 1868, and the seat of the Emperor was transferred there, Kyoto was known for a short time as Saikyō (西京, meaning "Western Capital"). Contemporary Kyoto is occasionally referred to as thousand-year capital (千年の都).
The Kyoto basin was first settled in the 7th century, and by 794 it had become Heian-kyō, the capital of Japan. Like Nara, a previous capital, the city was laid out in a grid pattern modelled on the Chinese Tang dynasty capital, Chang’an (contemporary Xi’an). Although the city was to serve as home to the Japanese imperial family from 794 to 1868 (when the Meiji Restoration took the imperial family to the new capital, Tokyo), the city was not always the focus of Japanese political power. During the Kamakura period (1185–1333), Kamakura served as the national capital, and during the Edo period (1600–1867), the Tokugawa shōgunate ruled Japan from Edo (now Tokyo).