The Imperial Palace Park houses the former residence of Japan’s (日本) imperial family, Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho(京都御所)). In 1868, The emperor and Japan’s capital were moved to then Edo, which is known as Tokyo (東京) today.
Kyoto’s Imperial Palace can be visited during its opening hours, it is however not allowed to enter any of the buildings. Note that you will be asked to have your bag checked shortly upon entering, similar to the Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku (新宿).
This is of course just a security measure and nothing to worry about if you don’t carry any prohibited items.
Surrounding the Palace is the spacious Imperial Palace Park with another smaller palace and other buildings spread through.
Visiting the Imperial Palace Park
North of the Imperial Palace lies a small pond with some cherry trees besides it. This can also be a nice spot to enjoy the Cherry Blossom season in late March/early April. It’s also not the most popular viewing spot, so it should be less crowded compared to others.
With the park’s central location, you can visit and combine it with other sites comfortably. Taking a stroll through this huge park is a relaxing activity, in the center you don’t really notice the surrounding business of Kyoto city.
Opening Hours & Admission Fee of the Imperial Palace
- 9:00 – 17:00 (from April to August)
- 9:00 – 16:30 (September and March)
- and 9:00 – 16:00 (from October to February)
The palace is closed every Monday (except when it’s a national Holiday, then it’s closed on the following day) and from December 28th through January 4th.
Admission into Kyoto Imperial Palace is free of charge.
How to get to the Imperial Palace Park
You have two possibilities you can choose from:
- Take the Karasuma Subway Line from Kyoto Station and get off at Marutamachi Station. This takes about 7 minutes and costs 260 Yen (2€/$2.36). Although quicker, it takes longer to get to the Imperial Palace from here.
- Board the same Subway line as mentioned above but get off one stop later at Imadegawa Station. It costs the same and takes 3 minutes more but is closer to the entrance of the palace.
Imperial Palace Park is a huge block of nature and historical sites, a must-see for every fan of nature and history.
Speaking of Kinkakuji, the temple is not that far away from the park, so you could do both in one day. Same goes for Ginkakuji (銀閣寺), although that lies in the opposite direction of the Golden Pavilion.
I came here nearly at the end of my trip in July 2017. Because of the spontaneous decision at that time, I just barely made it in before closing time. It was pretty quiet and only a handful of visitors were there besides me. This was on a Saturday by the way.
So overall your experience should be quite relaxing here in comparison to other touristic sites.
That shall be it for this one! Thank you very much for reading.
I hope you found it useful!
See you there!