Once the capital of Japan, a status it gained in the late eighth century, Kyoto has a history of over 1,200 years and is known for its many beautiful old temples and gardens. UNESCO designated 17 temples, shrines, and castles in the cities of Kyoto, Uji, and Otsu as a World Heritage site in 1994.
Since it was founded in the seventh century, Osaka has been a base for trade with foreign countries. Greater Osaka is the second biggest metropolis in Japan behind Greater Tokyo. The city is known for good food and comedy and in 1970 hosted the first ever World Exposition to be held in Asia. In 1994 Kansai International Airport opened on an artificial island in Osaka Bay and is now a major gateway for overseas visitors to Japan.