Kyoto’s Imperial Palace (known as Gosho in Japanese) is the Emperor’s official residence in Kyoto. The structures, though modern reconstructions, are lovely.
Kyoto Imperial Palace: beibaoke / Shutterstock.com
Sitting in the middle of the sprawling Kyoto Imperial Palace Park, the Kyoto Imperial Palace is a walled compound containing several sumptuous buildings built in the classical Japanese style. If you’re expecting a European-style palace, you might be surprised to discover the low rooflines and wooden construction of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. It’s a bit troublesome to apply to visit (see below) and touring the compound as part of a guided tour with a big group can make you feel a bit like you’re on a school excursion, but the Imperial Palace might hold some interest for serious fans of Japanese history. That said, of the four imperial properties in Kyoto – Kyoto Imperial Palace, Katsura Rikyu, Sento Gosho, and Shugaku-in Rikyu – this is probably our least favorite – the buildings are a little too new, the gardens are not as good as others in Kyoto and the tour tends to be a little too structured.
Admission To Kyoto Gosho
Unlike previous years, you do not have to apply to visit the Kyoto Gosho/Imperial Palace. Admission is free and children are welcome. Simply walk to the main entrance on the west side of the palace.
Kyoto Gyoen 3, Kamigyo-ku
Guided Tour Hours:
Tours in Japanese:
Standard tour route (Approximate time required: 60 minutes):
9:00am, 11:00am, 1:30pm, 3:00pm
Short tour route: (Approximate time required: 35 minutes):
11:00am or 3:00pm
Tours in English (Approximate time required: 60 minutes):
10:00am or 2:00pm
Non-smoking area:: Yes
10min walk from Imadegawa Station, Karasuma subway line
211-1215 (8.45am-noon, 1pm-5pm, Mon-Fri)
Official website (English)
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world