Kyoto Imperial Palace (京都御所, Kyōto Gosho) was the residence of Japan's Imperial Family until 1868 before the emperor and family were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo permanently.
Visitors are only allowed to visit Kyoto Imperial Palace through guided tours (in English or Japanese) held by Imperial Household Agency. The free tours of Kyoto Imperial Palace are held several times in a day in English and Japanese. No tours are held on Sunday and national holidays.
Visitors are required to make reservation for the guided tours (in English or Japanese) by registering yourself in an advance on the official website of Kyoto Imperial Palace.
However, if the online reservation is full for the particular date, you can try to register for the guided tour at the Imperial Household Agency Office which is located at the northwestern corner of Kyoto Imperial Park. The office is open from Monday to Friday (8:45am to 12:00pm and (13:00pm to 17:00pm). It is strongly advised to visit the office early in the morning so that you can join the guided tours on the same day before the tour groups arrive. Most of the tour groups will arrive at the Kyoto Imperial Palace starting at 11am.
The guided tour of Kyoto Imperial Palace takes about an hour. This is a very strict tour as visitors are guided through buildings and gardens of Kyoto Imperial Palace but visitors aren't allowed to enter any of the buildings. At the main entrance gate of Kyoto Imperial Palace, the officers will begin counting the number of visitors for every group before starting the tour. From the beginning till the end of the guided tour, there will be some officers walking behind of every group in order to make sure none of visitors are allowed to wander around within Kyoto Imperial Palace.
So, is this guided tour to Kyoto Imperial Palace worth for a visit? It depends on every individual. If you have more time at Kyoto then, you can take a visit at Kyoto Imperial Palace otherwise, it is not highly recommended.
How to get to Kyoto Imperial Palace?
Subway Station :
Karasuma Subway Line: Get down at Imadegawa Station as it is closer to Imperial Agency Office and the main entrance gate of Kyoto Imperial Palace
Opening Hours :
Guided Tours (in English) from 10am to 2pm (except Saturday, Sunday and National Holidays)
|Queuing up and waiting for the guided tour by the Imperial Household Agency at the main entrance of Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) in Kyoto, Japan|
|The first ceremony hall building to be seen during the restricted tour at Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan|
|Shunkoden with copper roof, was built to place the sacred mirror on the occasion of the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Taisho at Kyoto Imperial Palace, Japan|
|Kenreimon is one of the main entrance gates from the outer to the inner courtyard at Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan|
|The side view of Kenreimon which is one of the main entrance gates from the outer to the inner courtyard at Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan|
|Japanese traditional thatched roof made of bark trees at Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan|
|The Hall of State Ceremonies but it is not open for public viewing at Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan|
|The influential of Chinese and Japanese culture design for the main entrance to the Hall of State Ceremonies at Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan|
|Ogakumonjo is the study hall for reading rites, poetry recital and for the Emperor to receive nobles at Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan|
|Ending the guided tour by leaving this gate at Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan|
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