Past & Present

The main Library

Kyoto University was founded in 1897, the second (following The University of Tokyo) of seven imperial universities established in Japan. The first faculty to be established was the College of Science and Engineering, which was followed by other colleges, such as the Colleges of Law, Medicine and Letters as the university developed into an increasingly comprehensive institution with a characteristic emphasis on fundamental and applied research.


Since its foundation, Kyoto University’s academic style has been characterized by academic freedom, self-reliance and dialogue. For over a century, the university has consistently produced world-class researchers in a wide spectrum of fields, including nine Nobel Prize laureates. In recent years the university has been making efforts to integrate the academic fields which are most vital for the future of the human race.


At present, Kyoto University has 18 graduate schools, 10 faculties, 14 research institutes and 17 centers. As of May of 2016, we have approximately 9,300 graduate and 13,500 undergraduate students, 2,700 faculty members and 2,700 administrative staff members.


Yoshida Campus, the main campus of Kyoto University, is located near the center of Kyoto city. Its facilities are housed in century-old red brick buildings which stand side-by-side with state-of-the-art laboratories. The other two campuses are the Uji campus; where the university’s natural science and energy research facilities are located, and the Katsura Campus; which comprises four clusters of buildings, and where the goal is to merge technology and science disciplines to form a Techno- Science Hill.


The Main Library, the first library of Kyoto University, has continuously expanded its collection since its establishment in 1899. The total collection of all Kyoto University libraries including faculty and departmental libraries, amounts to 6,800,000 books and 118,700 periodicals – one of the largest collections in Asia. The Main Library’s most recent addition is Learning Room 24, a study room open 24 hours on weekdays.