The erstwhile capital of Japan, Kyoto is arguably the most beautiful city in Japan. Situated amidst the mountains of Western Honshu, Kyoto was the capital of Japan and the Emperor's residence from 794AD to 1868. The word 'Kyoto' means 'capital city' and though the city is not the capital anymore it has retained its name. The once capital was at the height of its glory when the Emperor ruled the country from here and its variety of architectural landmarks like palaces, temples and shrines were built mainly in this period. Kyoto was the only city that was spared in the devastating World War 2 bombings. Many are of the belief that the city's beauty was spoilt despite this, citing the development of modern steel and glass buildings as an example.