Japan Kyoto Imperial Palace Area

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Home to emperors and a focal point of Japanese architecture

Photo of Kyoto Imperial Palace, Japan (Shishinden Hall by David Stanley)

The Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) is a significant site that has played a central role in Japan’s history. Located within the spacious Kyoto Imperial Park, it was the residence of the Imperial Family until 1868. Today, it remains a vital ceremonial site and showcases traditional Japanese architecture and serene gardens, inviting visitors to reflect on the legacy of emperors.

About Kyoto Imperial Palace

The Kyoto Imperial Palace, with structures that have been rebuilt over time, including in 1855, reflects the architectural style of the Heian period. Its grounds, spanning approximately 11 hectares, contain buildings and gates of historical significance, such as the elegant Shishinden, the Seiryoden, and the Kogosho.

The palace is known for the “Six Palace Gates,” each with its own historical relevance. The Shishinden, the main ceremonial hall, is where the Charter Oath was proclaimed in 1868, and it houses the Takamikura and Michodai, thrones representing imperial authority.

Throughout its history, the Kyoto Imperial Palace has been reconstructed multiple times. The traditional Shinden-zukuri architectural style is predominant in the ceremonial buildings, while the residential areas exhibit Shoin-zukuri and Sukiya-zukuri styles.

Fusuma paintings by artists of the Kano, Tosa, and Maruyama-Shijō schools decorate the palace, and while access to the buildings is restricted, the Imperial Household Agency manages guided tour access to the grounds.

Nearby are the Kyoto Omiya Palace, accommodations for the Emperor and Empress or state guests during visits to Kyoto, and the Kyoto Sentō Imperial Palace, which once served as the residence for retired emperors and now showcases a garden and tearoom.

The Kyoto Imperial Park, adjacent to the palace, is a public park that features gravel paths, lawns, tree groves, and weeping cherry trees that bloom in the spring.

For a comprehensive experience of the imperial history, visitors can also explore the park’s other historic sites, including the Kaninnomiya Mansion and the affiliated shrine of Miyajima’s Itsukushima Shrine.

Getting There the easiest way to reach Kyoto Imperial Palace

K 06

 Karasuma Line

 5-10 minute walk (800m)

Around Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Imperial Residence in Kyoto

closed Monday (and other days)


京都御所, 京都

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Updated 14 Mar 2024 • Report an error

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