Global MICE Cities


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.

Recent Trends in Regional Industry and
Research in Kyoto and Kyoto Prefecture

Medicine: Life Innovation

The Kyoto municipal government works to promote life science industries, placing priority on mobilizing local resources for initiatives in the areas of next-generation medical care, health, welfare and nursing.
Kyoto has a high concentration of universities and research institutes producing outstanding research results as well as companies with advanced technological capabilities. Among these organizations is Kyoto University, employer of Professor Shinya Yamanaka, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012 for his work on iPS cells, which have a number of promising applications in regenerative medicine. Kyoto University focuses particularly on commercializing the results of its research, collaborating with pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment makers and other manufacturers throughout Japan to develop innovative drugs and cutting-edge medical devices.

Environmental Industries: Green Innovation

The Kyoto municipal government is working to foster the promising growth field of green (environment and energy) business as one of the city’s leading industries.
For example, a joint university-corporate project is developing products using silicone carbide (SiC) devices developed and supplied by a local semiconductor manufacturer, with a view to promote widespread use of SiC, which is expected to feature in next-generation energy-saving semiconductors.

Tourism and Culture

With its long history, Kyoto is renowned as a city harboring some of the richest cultural traditions in the world. Around 2,000 Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are located in the city, 17 of which were listed by UNESCO as world cultural heritage sites in1994 under the heading Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
In addition to preserving its traditional culture and arts, Kyoto promotes manga and other content industries. The city boast many unique local resources including a set of picture scrolls called
Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga, a national treasure reputed to be Japan’s oldest manga, and the Kyoto International Manga Museum, Japan’s first repository of manga culture.
Kyoto’s strengths and charms as a city of tourism and culture are acclaimed worldwide, and the US travel industry magazine Travel + Leisure ranked Kyoto as the No.1 city in its World’s Best Awards in 2014 and 2015.