Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace is a building of much history with a beautiful garden

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Generations of emperors up to the early Meiji Era once resided in Kyoto Imperial Palace. The Japanese garden within the expansive grounds is also elegant. In spring, it is known as a famous place for cherry blossoms which open wonderfully.
Business Hours

April~August  9 am~5 pm(Last entry 4:20 pm) September and March  9 am~4:30 pm(Last entry 3:50 pm) October~February 9 am~4 pm(Last entry 3:20 pm) Close: Mondays (If the Monday falls on a holiday, then the following day is closed) New year's holiday (December 28th~January 4th)
Address
京都御所, Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Phone
(075) 211-1215

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Touring Kyoto Imperial Palace

Generations of emperors once lived in Kyoto Imperial Palace from the Kamakura Era to the Meiji Era in Kyoto in the center of the country. The buildings from that time were reconstructed due to fire, but currently, they are preserved as National Tangible Cultural Properties. Kyoto Imperial Palace has a huge area spreading about 110,000 sq. meters beginning with the main building of the Shishin-den (Hall for State Ceremonies) at the south end, the Seiryo-den (Emperor’s Habitual Residence), and other buildings used for ceremonial and state affairs. At the north end, there are buildings such as the Ko-gosho (Court Room) that were used for the Emperor’s daily life. In front of the Ko-gosho, there is a Japanese garden with a pond in the center where you can get a glimpse of the elegant lifestyle of those times.

There are two ways to tour Kyoto Imperial Palace. One way is by applying for a tour by mail, online or in person. You can check the homepage for the Imperial Household Agency. Since only adults aged 18 and over are allowed and there are restrictions on the number of visitors, it is suggested that applications be made early after making a check of the homepage. The second way is visiting when the palace is open to the general public during spring and autumn. At these times, reservations are unnecessary so anyone can freely enter the palace grounds. You can check the homepage for the yearly schedule.

A famous place for cherry blossoms

Kyoto Imperial Palace is known as a famous place for cherry blossoms. Starting from the cherry tree planted in front of Shishin-den, Sakon no Sakura, there are about 1100 cherry trees and weeping cherry trees in the Kyoto Imperial Gardens surrounding the palace. The period when the palace is open in the spring and many of the sakura are in full bloom is also when the plum blossoms are finishing their time and when the peach blossoms can also be seen. The deep red peach blossoms are also incredibly gorgeous. How about taking a leisurely stroll viewing the blossoms of cherry and peach all over the grounds? The palace grounds are also open to the public in the fall where you can also enjoy the autumn colors.

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Reviews

2 years ago
Beautiful palace
Unfortunately I have had only chance to visit it when they only let people in with f¥guided tours. The tour was nice and helped me learn a lot about different things about the palace, but it did not give you as big of a chance to see everything closely and to just wander around the place, which now days you can. You should visit it, if you are in Kyoto
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4 years ago
Interesting enough
The place is huuuuuuuuge. You can easily kill an hour or two here, wandering around. But that's all there really is to do...wander around. There's not really much to see here. Most building have no entrances, and the majority of the palace grounds is empty unused space (Which is kind of cool in its own right). You don't feel like you're in central Kyoto when you're inside the palace grounds. So if you need a not-so-far-away getaway, this may be the place for you. Add half a star if you enjoy walking. You'll be doing a lot of it.
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4 years ago
Can’t see the palace for the trees.
The gardens within the grounds of Kyoto Imperial Palace are quite impressive, they feature Omiya Palace, Sento Palace, multiple shrines, a peach grove, and of course, Kyoto Imperial Palace. The peach grove is odd, the peaches are within arms reach, I can steal a few if want to, but don’t. The best looking shrine is the Isukushima Shrine; it sits quietly over a lake. There are signs in some areas of Kyoto Imperial Palace Park that say, “Not to be visited by tourists.” There are little to no other tourists here anyway; perhaps the signs have driven them all away. As I wander, I find that some of the paths are overgrown, others forgotten many years ago. I see one gardener delicately pollarding the branches of a tree. Just one gardener for a park 1.3 kilometres in length. As for the Kyoto Imperial Palace, it is behind a moat and a tall wall. The water in the moat has dried up. The wall too high to see the palace beyond. Even if the wall wasn’t there, the palace would be completely shrouded by trees anyway. There is one thing I do like though, and that is the sound made by the Cicadas. These little insects just love to sing. The trees here are full of them. And there are a lot of trees; ten thousand trees in the Palace Park alone. The noise these insects make sounds alien to me, maybe robotic; but calming. I spend a full hour wandering the park, and despite not being able to see the palace, I do enjoy the other little distractions the palace grounds have to offer.
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