In early periods of Western contact with Japan, Kyoto was known by the name Meaco (which also appeared in Latin as Meacum). This name derives from the Japanese "miyako", meaning "capital" —and is not to be confused with the Japanese town of Miyako in Iwate prefecture.

According to Ioannes Petri Maffei the name Meaco was by extension used to refer to the whole island of Honshu.

In 1698, Johann Jacob Hofmann wrote in his Lexicon Universale:

Urbs ipsa duplex est, Superior, ubi palatium Imperiale planè regium, & Inferior, quæ extenditur versus oram littoralem & portum, ubi arx permunita Fuxima.

(The city itself is double: the Upper, where the Imperial or royal palace is, and the Lower, which extends to the seashore and harbor, where the fortified citadel Fuxima is.)

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