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Kyoto Imperial Palace

#38 of 1,077 things to do in Kyoto
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Address: 3 Kyoto-Gyoen Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-0881, Kyoto Prefecture
Name/address in local language
Phone Number:
+81 75-211-1215

This location was the home of the Imperial Family until 1868 when the...

This location was the home of the Imperial Family until 1868 when the formal residence was relocated to Tokyo. Free, guided tours are given daily but only to those who have made reservations in advance.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Living up to the hype

First leg of my central Kyoto experience was the Kyoto Imperial Palace but wasn't able to visit other tourist spots since it's raining all-day long which makes it harder to... read more

Reviewed 2 days ago
via mobile
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1,612 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 704: English reviews
Tallinn, Estonia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed today NEW

I mean, Japanese style palaces are not chic and made out of gold or anything. They are quite modest if anything. The visit of Imperial Palace itself is for free, but the Imperial Family Residence you have to prebook (sign up) and pay an entrance fee (we did not go there, decided to check only the Palace). You get a... More 

Thank Konstantin A
Level Contributor
16 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

First leg of my central Kyoto experience was the Kyoto Imperial Palace but wasn't able to visit other tourist spots since it's raining all-day long which makes it harder to navigate the city. If you're traveling to the Prefecture of Japan, the name Kyoto Imperial Palace would likely come up as one of the top tourist destinations. I wasn't expecting... More 

Thank Hethler
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
90 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We have been to quite a few temples / palaces over the last week whilst in Kyoto and found this place to be boring even though it's fairly well kept it lacks soul.

Thank GregGeelong
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

I am glad I was able to see the palace when I did. It reminded me of all the classical poetry of the Heian Period. With its wide spaces you could imagine all of the grand events that could cause it to swell up with crowds. The gardens were gorgeous and definitely something to see anytime, any day.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
83 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

The palace grounds are beautiful with trees, water features and several paths cross crossing it. The palace itself can be accessed for free. On entering the palace you get a visitor pass, then just follow the route as shown inside. The lake, bridges, and garden is wonderful. The architecture is stunning. This is a must see. It is easily reached... More 

Thank ExiledDonkey
Windsor, California
Level Contributor
212 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Trying to imagine how it felt and looked in ancient times in the Kyoto Imperial Palace, I feel awed. The vastness and elegance of these buildings. The hierarchy within ranks of daimyos seem unbelievable. I wonder how they felt to be the bottom of it waiting in the waiting room. The gardens so peaceful.

Thank Diane H
Dundee, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

During our one day tour from Viator we paid a visit to the palace.The tour went smoothly but was quite rushed. We found that we could have visited ourselves and spent more time.

Thank Julie M
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

We primarily went to see the Cherry blossom's particularly the Philosophers Walk. We arrived too early- but we had an amazing time and saw such a wonderful variety of stunning architecture and ancient places. This palace and the gardens were breath taking.

Thank d_rose_wicham
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
235 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

If you're in Kyoto it's the centrepiece and was the house of the emperor. Many rooms including the reception rooms and the private rooms of the Emperors Gardens and grounds are well kept and beautiful.

Thank Jennifer G
Clinton, Washington
Level Contributor
490 reviews
246 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 253 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

A visit to Kyoto isn't complete without touring the imperial palace. The grounds are huge. A good exercise: compare the imperial palace to the Shogun's castle. The palace exudes understated elegance. I think the god-emperor didn't need to beat his chest though macho paintings and drapings and gilding. He inherited his power through his family from the gods. You can't... More 

Thank culturevulture94

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Staying in City Center

Neighborhood Profile
City Center
No district of Kyoto is quite as representative of its blended nature as the City Center. By day, the covered shopping arcades along Kawaramachi and Shijo Street bring deal hunters and fashionistas out in droves to peruse the clothing, accessories, gifts, and home goods offerings. When it grows dark, the City Center is a hip spot for nightlife, alive with bars and clubs. A trendy culinary scene and an abundance of local watering holes give the Center its youthful vibrancy. In contrast, the quieter areas of the City Center seem a world away, shielded from noise by the foliage of the public gardens and zen spaces surrounding the area's shrines, castles, and the Imperial Palace. These ancient and sacred spots are seamlessly folded into the scenery, providing a respite from the energy of the city, but close enough to put you directly back onto the pulse of the city when you're ready.
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