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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 example...

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 221 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 148
  • 60
    Very good
  • 11
  • 2
  • 0
Autumnal Splendour

A high class visit requiring the basic effort of reserving in advance at the imperial household building near the Kyoto Imperial palace.You can visit the Imperial palace and also... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed January 8, 2016
Leicestershire, United Kingdom

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221 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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  • Italian first
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English first
Dublin, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This is an old villa with very nice gardens. Perhaps I was on temple/garden overload by the time we arrived at Shugakuin but this place did not have the feeling of other similar locations in Kyoto.

Thank whereoff2nxt
Leicestershire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2016

A high class visit requiring the basic effort of reserving in advance at the imperial household building near the Kyoto Imperial palace.You can visit the Imperial palace and also ask about Katsura villa as well. Bring your passport to register and expect to be allocated a slot the following couple of days. Foreigners receive priority as they are not expected... More 

1 Thank TokyoStory
Level Contributor
170 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2015

Our free entry permit was arranged for us by a local and we arrived by taxi. We took the free English audio guide, which was much more pleasant to listen to than the patronising american man on the Nijo-jo audio guide! The tour lasted 70 minutes and takes you through the lovely landscaped moss gardens from the lower villa, via... More 

Thank Mark M
Level Contributor
106 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2015

Like the Katsura Imperial Villa, entry is possible only with the permission of the Imperial Household Agency. But it is worth the small hassle. This villa is more to the east of the city, and is justifiably famous for its three linked gardens, which convey a feeling of a huge expanse of nature even though the confines of the villa... More 

Thank Liars N F
Level Contributor
39 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2015 via mobile

Beautiful garden. You must arrange ticket in advance, but I had no trouble getting a Thursday ticket on Tuesday at the Imperial Household Agency. It is free and they even provide an English audio guide (though you stay with the group on the guided tour). The audio guide was informative without being overwhelming or dumbed down. Spectacular views and buildings,... More 

Thank Bill G
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
85 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2015

The fact that visitor numbers are limited by reservation make it a very attractive place for me. Transport is slightly complicated as it's far from city centre. I booked the tour months in advance but you can visit the Imperial Household Agency office in Imperial Park to apply once in Kyoto. The tour took us through all 3 villas (upper,... More 

Thank Jessica H
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
712 reviews
92 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 401 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2015

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 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2015

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
22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 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 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 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

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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.