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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
Name/address in local language
Phone Number: +81 75-211-1215

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 275 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 46
  • 20
    Very good
  • 3
  • 0
  • 1
gorgeous garden

the villa itself does not look "imperial". It is simple. But the gardens around are absolutely amazing and planned with consideration, every tree in its place. It is free but YOU... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 weeks ago
Risskov, Denmark
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275 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 70: English reviews
Risskov, Denmark
Level Contributor
94 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

the villa itself does not look "imperial". It is simple. But the gardens around are absolutely amazing and planned with consideration, every tree in its place. It is free but YOU MUST BOOK IN ADVANCE, 3 months in advance. You can have a audio guide in several languages, the tour itself is in japanese. If you cannot afford a taxi;... More 

Thank Ouistity
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2016

It is one of the three Imperial places in Kyoto. Only guided tours are available and you should apply before your visit. I am not sure if there are English speaking guides as I went with a Japanese group. The tour takes all in all around one hour and a half. The premises are totally beautiful and picteresque.

Thank Assa_Bnw
Newark-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
222 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 14, 2016

We rate this one of the top three gardens that we visited in Japan. It more than repays the effort to book a visit. You can book online at the Imperial Household Agency website if you time your application just right. All the online places were gone when we tried some weeks before our visit. So we went to the... More 

1 Thank Aitku
Level Contributor
70 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 29, 2016

Shugakuin Imperial Villa comprises three monastic cottages built on the foot of Higshiyama Mountains, the best of which is Emperor Gomizuno's retreat high up the hillside. There is considerable logistics involved in making the trip. First you need to obtain permission to visit in advance; next there is the 50-minute bus ride from Kyoto Central, and finally a 20-minute walk... More 

1 Thank PonsSingapore
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2016

We went there but were not admitted. You need to get a permit from the office in kyoto. Don't just turn up, they will not let you in because it is a guided tour only due to being "Imperial" You can thank me later.

Thank asiatraveller5000
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
61 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 18, 2016

Lovely place where we finally had peace and quiet in Kyoto. Very calming to sit at the edge of the beautiful and impeccable garden.

Thank luv2travel19941953
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 12, 2016

The place is surrounded by a high wall and bamboo thicket, so unless you have one of the pre-arranged permits ― booked out weeks in advance ― then you may as well save yourself the bother of going. I knew that I would not be able to get inside, but I was hoping that like other similar sites I would... More 

Thank red_wolf_uk
Gdynia, Poland
Level Contributor
87 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2016

WE managed to visit this Imperial palace by good luck. You have to apply for a permit to visit. The permits may be obtained from a local office near to the entrance and if your are English speaking then there guided tours which you can join. You can not enter unless you are on a guided tour - which are... More 

Thank Melvin B
Dublin, California
Level Contributor
39 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2016

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
20 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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

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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.
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