Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace
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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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Neighborhood: 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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4.0
2,430 reviews
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411
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Terrible
35

Komator
Barcelona, Spain664 contributions
Jul 2019
Kyoto Imperial Palace is formed by several palaces, gardens, halls.. and the main palace. You have to follow a path and look at the temples, halls and gardens from a distance. Everything is very taken care of. The buldings are quite impressive
Written March 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Siddharth B
Seattle, WA546 contributions
Sep 2019
The official seat of Emperor till Meiji era begun, there is a lot of historic value associated with this palace. Entrance is free, and you get a ID card when entering. You get to walk past the palatial buildings where the kings resided, although no entry is allowed into any of these and one must take solace in appreciating and photographing them from outside.

As you walk through palaces, you enter into a Japanese garden- one of the more beautiful ones in Kyoto where the early autumn colors made it stand out. Overall not a mind-boggling attraction, but given it’s free price and immense historic value as Emperor’s residence for ~1100 years (renovated multiple times), I’d say the place is worth a visit if you have time.
Written February 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

caj68
Staines, UK145 contributions
Feb 2020
The title "Imperial Palace" gives the impression that this will be quite grand and perhaps once upon a time it was but I have to say there was little to see. The video in the information centre was interesting but the buidlings themselves were less so.

There is free WIFI so you can get your bearings and plan your next stop.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kyle S
Brooklyn, NY3 contributions
Nov 2019
In all of my travels, I've never experienced a destination quite like this. The grounds are meticulous and the architecture is elegant and blends in beautifully with the landscape. If you're a tree lover it's a must see any time of the year....fall/spring is best.
Written March 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Richard G
cheltenham301 contributions
Jan 2020
We would not have come, and spent yen4000 on taxis of we had realised it was free to enter. If you have a lot of time in Kyoto, maybe worth a visit. In winter the surrounding gardens do not offer much to see. A 15 minut walk to the Castle which is more worthwhile.
Written January 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jane O
Seoul, South Korea35 contributions
Jan 2013 • Solo
In general that excursion made very bad impression on me. It showed deep emptiness and backwardness of Japan nowadays. About the site:

1. The site can be visited only with a guided group. So you will be herding and treating as a baby. All tour takes 1 hour. You can't walk and look around with your own speed.

2. If you want to enroll in to that group you must show your passport. They said it's for security reason. When I asked them how it helps to protect the site or visitors they were not able to tell me anything reasonable. They just told over and over again that it's for security reasons.

3. When finally you get inner yard you discover that you are not allowed to come inside palaces and surrounding building! All of them are enclosed and all that you can do is just to stay not closer then 5 meters to buildings' walls. There is no even a small path which could allow you to come inside and to have a look. I visited dozens of palaces in different countries and all of them are open to people. If you'll come to tzar's palace in St.Petersburg or Royal palace in Kathmandu you will able to see almost every room in the palace, you'll see hundreds of details of interior, you'll form an opinion about the way of life in that place, etc. But not here.

4. During you tour you should be ready to hear lot of superstitions, fairy-tales and other fictions without any analysis from your guide. All that stuff mixed with historic facts and events in a weird proportion. I was shocked when I heard all that medieval stuff like it's an ordinary thing and like it is equal to historic facts. Guide told us about magic emperor's mirror which afraid of being photographed coz that process could stole it's sorcery! She told it in 21 century! People flew to the Moon, operate Large Hadron Collider and she talks to people about magic mirrors. And it's not only her believes. Government hide that mirror, they even erected special building for it and they prohibited any public access to it. It's so ridiculous. (and by the way, what kind of magic it is if it is evaporate only because of taking photos?)

5. Even gardens are enclosed to visitors. You can just stay near them and take photos.

6. Everything (exept gardens) looks extrimely dull and boring. Vast spaces of courtyards just covered with gravel. No imagination, no design, no any impressive elements.

In my opinion, Japanese government put as much obstacles as possible to prevent access to that historic site. It looks like something forced them to make that place public, but they realy resist to that state of affairs.
Written February 26, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SFBayAreaTrekker
San Francisco Bay Area (CA)564 contributions
Aug 2016 • Couples
The "original" Imperial Palace is still in remarkable great condition. The palace and gardens are well maintained, keep your eyes open for artwork and craftsmanship.

Wander the grounds and imagine the pomp and circumstance of the old imperial ages. Enter the gardens and take a stroll with that special someone.
Written September 14, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tracy P
Hong Kong, China683 contributions
Nov 2019 • Friends
It’s a good sightseeing activity, I can see the royal garden and walk around freely. No online reservation in advance is required and free entry. Besides, I can buy the royal souvenir in the waiting room. Actually, not many visitors are here. Remember to bring sunglasses and hat, and apply sunblock cream, all outdoor walk. Outside the imperial palace garden, there is a big park, good for children’s playing on grassland.
Written November 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ozjamesq8
Melbourne, Australia162 contributions
Apr 2014 • Family
We were fortunate to visit inside the Kyoto Imperial Palace as it's opened for the Public only twice a year for only 3 days. It was truly an unique experience and shows the rich past history of Kyoto. Overall: 5 Stars
Written April 15, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mike R
Boston, MA3 contributions
Sep 2019
I see a lot of high star reviews, so maybe I just have different, taste, but I didn't think the palace was anything special. I went my first day in Kyoto because my hostel was close by. Most of the grounds have been converted to a park, which is a nice walk and no doubt something I would do often if I lived here. The actual palace grounds are free to peruse, which is nice, though you cannot go inside the actual buildings. Overall, while a nice example of traditional japanese architecture, it's very understated and relatively underwhelming for being the palace of the worlds longest reigning monarchy. It makes sense when you consider it was built when the imperial family was just a figurehead, so they didn't have access to the finances for something lavish.

My advice, see it if you have time to kill, but otherwise check out Nijo Castle instead for a much grander picture of medieval japanese architecture and style.
Written September 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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