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“If you have time, go.”

Kyoto Imperial Palace
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Ranked #38 of 1,119 things to do in Kyoto
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Owner description: 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.
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“If you have time, go.”
Reviewed June 4, 2013 via mobile

I am gonna be frank, i loked it but adhering to the group rules was VERY annoying. As some one said, there are many other beatiful placws to see that are not so time and patience consuming and where you can take good pics without 'roberts'. The nijo castle is much nicer and a lot less hassling.

Thank Eduardo K
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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English first
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
132 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Nice Garden!”
Reviewed May 27, 2013

The imperial palace garden has been kept with quite delicacy and care, its amazing how they have shaped the pine trees not to grow tall but wide instead, that requires a lot of manual labour. Definitely worth a visit.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank faisalm88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wabash, Indiana
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“A gorgeously devine place”
Reviewed May 12, 2013

Uniquely architectured buildings and palace grounds. It is important to either travel with a tour group or arrive their early if you want to stroll around the palace. I traveled with a group and we all had a great time, even in the peak summer heat.

Visited July 2012
Thank hanuelsurfer311
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Not worth the effort to get in”
Reviewed May 9, 2013

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.

Visited April 2013
Thank Jeanne B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Beautiful buildings...make reservation first!”
Reviewed May 8, 2013

Our hotel was within walking distance of this huge site. The area within the outer walls (the walls you see from the street) is a huge park and you walk around anytime. The palace grounds are within a second walled area...and it's huge.

You have to make reservations first! It's free to take the tours, which are given 2x a day I believe. Fortunately my wife went online the first day we were there because the earliest appointment available was 10 days later. Once you're given a day and time save AND print out the ticket. We had no way to print from our iPad but they accepted just looking at the ticket on my wife's iPhone. No problem.

Get there 20 minutes early. Then you're directed to a Holding Area Room where you watch a video for a while. Our group was 152 people! There are lockers in the room so you can lock up anything you don't want to carry.

You MUST stay with the group
You MUST stay behind the guide
You MUST stay ahead of the rear guard (seriously)

I guess they don't want people wandering around and hiding out in the bushes (?)

The tour is nice, informative, and the guide spoke English very well.

You DON'T go INTO any of the buildings, and you don't see all of the grounds (fine by me).
There are two tour lengths; long & short, but I don't know what or how that is determined. We of course were on the long one.

Lots of photo ops but I had to wrangle my way past the rear guard to take some pix without other tourists in the shot. :-)


Typical with several of these places we visited, there is nowhere to sit down, nor could you with the rear guard.

You are walking on loose gravel, so if you have problems with long walks on loose stone be aware. Not sure about wheelchairs.

I think there was food nearby, but not within the walls.

This was the only place we visited that had this rear guard & point guard situation.


Visited April 2013
3 Thank Rob G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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