You need your passports and you need to be advised of specific times that the Palace is open for viewing. There is quite a bit of red tape involved in being admitted and then a wait before the tour starts. Our problem was that we had to see everything from a distance as you are not allowed inside the inner courtyards and buildings, not even under supervision. You are made to stand in a group and shown pictures of what you are supposed to be looking at! The garden is beautiful, but again, only to be viewed from a distance. There is much more to see in Kyoto which is way more worthwhile and enjoyable.
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