Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kyoto

Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kyoto (must see)

The Kyoto Imperial Palace is the former residence of the Japanese Emperors that was in use before the country's capital was moved to Tokyo. This is also the venue where the enthronement of the Emperors took place until recently.

The present palace was built in 1855 after a devastating fire had completely destroyed its predecessor. The design features the palatial style of the Heian period. The complex buildings include Dairi – the Imperial Residence, Sento – the palace of the retired Emperor, a library, several ceremonial halls, the Kaninnomiya Mansion – residence of the Fujiwara nobility, and houses for the Empress and other high-ranking officials.

The Kyoto Imperial Palace is surrounded by a long earthen wall, called Tsuji, with six ancient gates, and is encompassed by a green space of Kyōto Gyoen – the Kyoto Imperial Park. The park is well manicured, has gravel paths, lawns and many shady trees. In the northwestern corner of the park is the Konoe Pond surrounded with cherry trees that bloom between March and April. The palace is managed by the Imperial Household Agency.

Why You Should Visit:
While not allowed inside the buildings, you are free to explore the grounds of the inner and outer gardens.
Restrooms are available on the site and there's a common sitting area with free Wi-Fi.

Tip:
Make sure to join one of the free guided one-hour tours (English/Japanese) at either 10am or 2pm, covering the history, architecture, and trivia of the site.
Reservations for the tour can be made at the visitor center in the NE corner of the park.
Alternatively, download the app to your smartphone for the tour – very easy, convenient and cheap.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-5pm (Apr-Aug); 9am-4pm (Oct-Feb); 9am-4:30pm (Mar, Sep); admission ends 40min before closure.
Closed: Mondays, Dec 28–Jan 4

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Kyoto. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Kyoto Imperial Palace on Map

Sight Name: Kyoto Imperial Palace
Sight Location: Kyoto, Japan (See walking tours in Kyoto)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Kyoto, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kyoto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Walk on Philosopher's Path

Walk on Philosopher's Path

Extending about 2 km along a canal carrying water from Lake Biwa to the foothills, the Philosopher's Path (so called because famed Japanese philosopher, Nishida Kitaro, used to walk it as a daily meditation before WWII) is perfect for a leisurely stroll with views that change through the seasons; cherries followed by new green leaves and, then again, the pastel hues of autumn.

It's...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Higashiyama Walking Tour

Higashiyama Walking Tour

Kyoto is a city catering for tourists, especially the ones with love of history, religion and, of course, Japanese culture. Many of Kyoto's attractions are located in the eastern part of the city, which itself is split into wards. One of them is the Higashiyama Ward, home to several famous temples of Kyoto, including centuries-old Zen and Shinto sites such as lantern-lit Yasaka shrine and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Imperial Kyoto Walking Tour

Imperial Kyoto Walking Tour

The former capital of Japan, Kyoto is the city of tradition, history and culture. Attesting to this is the central part of the city, replete with historic attractions – centuries-old imperial palaces, castles and shrines that have seen a lot in the turbulent past of Kyoto. The explore the most prominent of them and to feel the breath of antiquity, follow this self-guided walk.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Arashiyama and Bamboo Grove Walking Tour

Arashiyama and Bamboo Grove Walking Tour

The Arashiyama district is slightly out of way for tourists – but that just means one can enjoy it more comfortably. While arguably the most popular attraction here is the 'bamboo path' with its magnificent, towering bamboos, you should also enjoy other scenic attractions such as the Ōi River and Mount Arashi, or the Monkey Park, all within walking distance and selected/described in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Gion District Walking Tour

Gion District Walking Tour

Famed for being one of the most mesmerizing parts of Kyoto, Gion is the area long associated with traditional Japanese entertainment, stunning temples, geisha and local eateries ideal to while away a day in the ancient capital of Japan. The district forms part of the Higashiyama (“Eastern Mountain”) neighborhood lying north and south of Shijo Street, stretching from Yasaka Shrine in the east...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Kyoto Shopping and Food Tour

Kyoto Shopping and Food Tour

The cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is just as famous as a shopper’s paradise and is, without saying, the best place in the country to buy traditional and modern Japanese goods. Souvenirs, food, bargains and various “one-of-a-kind items” are all up for grabs here. If you would like to walk around Kyoto on your own two feet and enjoy shopping and authentic Japanese cooking, follow this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


18 Japanese Products To Bring Home from Kyoto

18 Japanese Products To Bring Home from Kyoto

The old capital of Japan, the city of Kyoto has once again been the talk of the world lately, thanks to the bestselling "Memoirs of a Geisha" book and the namesake Hollywood blockbuster movie. Renowned for its impeccable craftsmanship, Japan has so much to amaze a foreign eye with. Many of...