Kyoto prefecture is considered by many to be the cultural heart of Japan, with its iconic image of traditional palaces, temples and shrines. Kinkakuji, or Golden Pavilion, is perhaps the most recognized landmark with its dazzling golden exterior and blend of architectural styles in a calm natural setting. Nearby, the Fushimi Inari Shrine, dedicated to the Shinto god of rice, has become famous for the thousands of beautiful vermillion-colored tori gates that mysteriously line trails leading upward to the sacred Mount Inari.
Hidden beneath this outward beauty is an equally impressive world of traditional crafts. Kyoto is widely revered for its kimono culture and beautiful Nishijin-ori silk fabrics that are expertly handwoven in the Nishijin district using colorful threads. Kyo ware / Kiyomizu ware describes a broad category of pottery from Kyoto, each with its own unique characteristics as artisans can freely choose materials and techniques that define their individual styles, from clay composition to firing methods.