Kyoto: Kyoto Gosho (The Imperial Palace in Kyoto) is now free to visit

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It is not the first time to visit the Kyoto Gyoen (御苑) , but those days palaces had not been not opened to visit.

I could visit all the 2 palaces and State Guest House. It is The Imperial Palace The first one let me show you.

About the Imperial Palace in Kyoto

Originally, when the Emperor Kanmu settled the capital in Kyoto, the place is not in this area, a little bit western than here. Original palace was (often) burned, and sometimes the emperors used their mothers’ mansions as the temporary palaces. The eastern of the original palace, there were mansions for the aristocracy.

In 1500s, Emperor Kogen settled this area as his (temporary) palace, even they build new palaces, they did not moved from this area until Emperor Meiji decided to move to Tokyo in 1869.

Even the Gate is QUITE gorgeous.

The current palace buildings are mainly built in 1855, Edo era, the buildings were imitated as the Heian Period (794-1185).

See the roofs of the gates and the building, they are not by tiles, they are by cypress.

There were some buildings, but I show you two important buildings.

Shishinden (紫宸殿, Main Hall)

This is the pretty the image of the “Palace” in “Makurano Soushi” (枕草子) or “The Tail of Genji” (源氏物語). Indeed as I had said  Emperor Ichijo (ruled 986-1011) who is the Emperor when these two books were written, the palace is not settled in here.

Seiryoden (清涼殿)

This building is a little bit smaller than Shishinden. This building was originally Emperor’s living building when it was built, but after another building was built as the living, it was used as for the ritual.

Imagine, Lord Genji and To no Chujyo are dancing Seigaiha (青海波)…


It has a beautiful garden, if it was a sunny day, it could pretty nice to show, myself is a sunny girl, but it was cloudy to rainy.

It was mid of Oct, and the leaves were turning to red. Generally it is Oct, when the air is clean and not pretty humid, and generally sunny in Japan.


It is free to visit, but as I remember I needed to open my bag to show I do not have dangerous products.

Guided Tour

I joined a 50 minute, free, guided tour in Kyoto Gosho, to see the buildings and the garden. The guides are officers, not irresponsible volunteers who are less knowledgeable.

My tour was led by Japanese, but there are speaking in English and Chinese tours too. You don’t need to book to visit. And if you want to take tours, simply jump in the tour.

The guided tour only includes the outside of the buildings and gardens, you cannot go inside. Also, not only this “Gosho” but also in the “Gyoen”, it is full of small stones, please pay attention if you are with wheel chair or pushchair. I felt really tired to walk.

Way to go

I got off the subway on Imadegawa Station, and walked.

Hours: 9:00-15:20 (generally), They often close on Monday. You should better to check it by yourself. They close temporary because of the National VIP and so on.
Admission Fee: FREE
Place : 3 Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo, Kyoto
HP:, but guess Japanese one is more useful to check whether they open or not.
How long Sky stayed: 90 mins
Also worth visiting nearby:Sento Gosho, Rosanji
Check them before your visiting to Japan

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