Kyoto was Japan’s capital for more than 1,000 years until the mid-19th century, and is thus sometimes referred to as “the thousand-year capital”. While Kyoto is famed worldwide as a tourist destination, it also has another side as a center of commerce and industry, boasting many companies with state-of-the-art technologies. Kyoto University and many other universities located in the city conduct advanced research and development.
Packed with historical buildings and tangible and intangible cultural assets, Kyoto is most commonly associated with tourism, but it also has one of Japan’s leading manufacturing clusters.
As Japan’s capital for more than 1,000 years, Kyoto was the political and cultural heart of the nation, and traditional industrial techniques developed over the course of this long history have deep roots in the city. Even today, those traditional industrial techniques form the foundations of many global corporations and high-added-value industries located in the city.
For example, the competitiveness of Kyoto’s modern-day industries has been boosted by the application of traditional pottery firing techniques to the ceramics industry, brewing techniques to biomedicine, and fabric-dying and processing techniques to technologies for manufacturing semiconductors, printed circuit boards, and pharmaceuticals.
A particular feature of Kyoto’s industrial scene is the high concentration of precision machinery makers, and many of these companies are global suppliers of high-added-value products and components in a wide range of fields including medicine, environmental industries and aircraft manufacturing.
Content industry clusters are another of Kyoto’s features, and the world-leading video game hardware and software corporation Nintendo has its headquarters in the city.