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Shugakuin Imperial Villa

Certificate of Excellence
Northern Kyoto
As featured in One Day in Kyoto
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Address: 1-3 Shugakuin-yabusoe, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8611 , Kyoto Prefecture
Phone Number: +81 75-211-1215
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Created as an imperial summer retreat, the garden complex is a fine...

Created as an imperial summer retreat, the garden complex is a fine example of Japanese landscape design.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 205 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 138
  • 56
    Very good
  • 10
  • 1
  • 0
A Must See

Although it is outside of the standard fare bus zone, it is easily reached by bus or subway but is a bit of a walk from there through a residential neighborhood. The garden and... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 3 weeks ago
Brooklyn, New York

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205 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
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English first
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
707 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 390 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Although it is outside of the standard fare bus zone, it is easily reached by bus or subway but is a bit of a walk from there through a residential neighborhood. The garden and view from the teahouse is one of the most scenic of all the area. Definitely a top attraction and not to be missed. There are no... More 

1 Thank drichrx
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
40 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I have read about the discipline and the attention to detail of the Japanese. It was in Shugakuin where I really saw this concretized. As our small group of 20 was led around the villa by a Japanese guide (I had to rely on an audio guide), I found myself silently in awe as I listened to the reason behind... More 

Thank clayman79
San Jose, CA
Level Contributor
23 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2015

This is one of my favorite places but you have to make reservations months in advance. One of the great things is that they have small groups so you don't have to fight the crowd like the other places. Tip: Wear comfortable shoes.

Thank mona100
Siem Reap, Kyoto
Level Contributor
26 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015

This is my favorite of the Imperial properties in Kyoto. It is like taking a step back in time and the experience of moving through the space and the gardens is fantastic. As with all the Imperial properties you need to visit Shugakuin with a guide and in a group. So, occasionally, you need to be ready to be herded... More 

Thank Karavansara-SR
Vilnius, Lithuania
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2015

Definitely worth a visit and a wait in line (you have to make reservations). Do not forget to go in spring or fall, and ask for an English audio guide!

Thank Evelinaxii
Port Huron, Michigan
Level Contributor
32 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2015

Stepping back in time was amazing! You can go inside and walk on he tatami floors. Even sit on the porch over looking the ponds and gardens!

Thank Li F
Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan
Level Contributor
27 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015

Emperor Gomizuo made this fantastic villa. You can see the mountain as a part of scenery of the garden of villa. Spectacular view!

1 Thank Hiro_Nakajima
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
214 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 185 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015

If you are foreign, bring your passport to the Kunaicho office (not here, in the Imperial Palace) to book your place as soon as you arrive in Kyoto. Places are limited particularly during the best seasons although in Kyoto every season is special. Be prepared to walk about a mile inside, so wear suitable footwear. Once I was with Japanese... More 

1 Thank Enjoydifference
Level Contributor
20 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2015

To visit this imperial villa, we applied and received the approval about a month ago. Along with a group of 20 people, we made the tour in a hot summer day at 3PM. Among the 3 villas in Shugakuin, I like the upper villa in particular. Sitting at the edge of "Rinuntei" listening the sound from waterfall, you fell refreshing... More 

Thank 翊 李
Level Contributor
113 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2015

Advance bookings are necessary (at least for foreigners) but worth the effort to fit into your Kyoto schedule. Tour is in Japanese but with a recording for English - Thanks. Beautiful buildings/grounds.

Thank actonma

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Staying in Northern Kyoto

Neighborhood Profile
Northern Kyoto
Hot springs and historic temples characterize the leafy landscapes of Northern Kyoto. Acres of tranquil residential streets are interrupted by some of Kyoto's most gorgeous architectural gems, including the majestic Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji, the serene artistry of the Ryoanji Temple rock gardens, and the bold red paint across the structures of Enryakuji Temple. Once a religious core of the city, the district now boasts some of its most remote and peaceful hot springs, as well as a few of its best family-run mom-and-pop restaurants. A blend of extremely local at its outskirts, and highly peopled at its tourist centers, Northern Kyoto nonetheless retains a halcyon air in harmony with nature.