A green sanctuary in the middle of the drab plain of Kyoto, the Kyoto Gyoen (Kyoto Imperial Palace Park) is Kyoto’s Central Park.
Kyoto Gyoen © Jason Riedy
This park that surrounds the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Sento Gosho, is the green heart of Kyoto. Unlike the imperial properties it surrounds, the Imperial Palace Park can be entered free of charge and without any application procedure. It’s popular with runners, walkers, romantic couples, picnickers, plant lovers and anyone who just wants to escape the concrete and neon of the city. It’s criss-crossed with wide boulevards and narrower pathways. There’s a plum arbor on the west side of the park that bloom in early March, and a grove of spectacular shidare-zakura (weeping cherry trees) that bloom in late March and early April – when the latter are in mankai (full bloom), they are among the most spectacular cherry trees in the city (and the area doesn’t get as many crowds as other famous cheery blossom spots in the city). Even if you’re not in Kyoto in March or April, it’s well worth visiting the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park.
Kyoto Gyoen 3, Kamigyo-ku
24 hours everyday
Non-smoking area: Yes
1min walk from Imadegawa Station, Karasuma subway line.
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.
See my complete list of hand-picked recommendations for Central Kyoto, including things to do, places to eat and places to stay.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- 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.
- 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
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)