Kyoto Imperial Palace and other Imperial Palaces and Villas in Kyoto

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Photo Description
Kyoto Imperial Palace
(Photo: Imperial Household Agency)

Since 794 when Emperor Kanmu moved the capital to Kyoto, Kyoto Imperial Palace had been the residence of the Imperial Family for more than 1,000 years until 1868 when it was moved to Tokyo.

Surrounded by an earthen wall called Tsuiji, Kyoto Imperial Palace is rectangular in shape, with the length of 450m from north to south and 250m from east to west, covering an area of approximately 110,000 square meters. It has six gates, including the main gate Kenreimon.

The Palace burned down several times. Each time it was reconstructed faithfully in the ancient style. The last rebuilding of the Palace was completed in 1855.

The Shishinden, which was used for ceremonies such as enthronement ceremonies, the Seiryoden, the Kogosho, and several other structures are also located here.

To the south of the Shishinden, there is the Dan-tei, an inner south garden covered with white gravel. The garden is surrounded by a white-walled corridor with bright vermilion pillars. Along the corridor, there are three gates including the Jomeimon gate facing onto the Shishinden.

Kyoto Omiya Imperial Palace

Photo Description
Kyoto Omiya Palace
(Photo:Imperial Household Agency)

The construction of the original Kyoto Omiya Imperial Palace was begun in the early seventeenth century during the reign of Emperor Gomizuno-o for the Empress Tofukumon-in. The present palace was built for the Empress Dowager Eishou, (the spouse of Emperor Komei) and was completed in 1867. The palace is currently used as an Imperial accommodations during their visit to tours of the provinces.

Sento Imperial Palace

Photo Description
Sento Imperial Palace
(Photo:Imperial Household Agency)

The construction of the palace was begun at the time, when Emperor Gomizuno-o abdicated the throne in the seventeenth century. The palace was lost by fire in the mid-nineteenth century, and today only the gardens and the teahouses remain.

Katsura Imperial Villa

Photo Description
Katsura Imperial Villa
(Photo:Imperial Household Agency)

This detached villa was built in the seventeenth century by Prince Toshihito, the first generation of the Hachijo family. The garden is renowned as the most beautiful garden in Japan.

Shugakuin Imperial Villa

Photo Description
Shugakuin Imperial Villa
(Photo:Imperial Household Agency)

This detached villa was built for the retired Emperor Gomizuno-o in the mid-seventeenth century, and has one of Japan's most famous gardens, making use of the surrounding landscape to complete the design. It consists of upper, middle and lower detached villas.