Car Rentals





Home ::  Guides ::  Accommodation ::   ::  Shopping ::  Events ::  Eating Out 

Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) was the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family until 1868, when the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. It is located in the spacious Kyoto Imperial Park. The present reconstruction dates from 1855. The palace complex is enclosed by a long wall and consists of several gates, halls and gardens. The enthronement ceremonies of Emperors Taisho and Showa were still held in the palace’s main hall, but the present Emperor’s ceremony took place at the Tokyo Imperial Palace.The palace can be visited only on guided tours held by the Imperial Household Agency. In order to join a tour, you need to apply for permission in advance with your passport at the agency's office in the Kyoto Imperial Park.

However you should not miss the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park surrounding the Gosho (right) which is open all day with free admission. As with many Japanese parks, the plum- and cherry-blossom season of March and April show it in its full glory. Sento Gosho - a few hundred metres southeast is similarly restricted inside but again the gardens should not be missed. Also in the area are several temples, most notably Shokoku-ji as well as some museums such as Jotenkaku with its exhibits of painted screens and Ming-China-era artefacts.

Nijo-jo and Nijo Jinja are an early 17th century castle and merchant house/inn respectively, each of which is filled with concealed chambers, hidden staircases and chambers and other delights which reflect earlier more turbulent times. The grand Kara-mon (Chinese) gate at the entrance to the castle opens onto a number of wonderful palaces and gardens (including the excellent Ninomaru Palace Garden), rich in history and tradition. Look for the two islands representing a crane and a tortoise - symbols of strength and longevity. 

Kyoto Museum of Traditional Industries, has exhibits of ancient Kyoto, including a recreation of a street scene. Traditional crafts are given pride of place such Kimono-dyeing, bamboo-and lacker-work. A mere 10 minutes walk away is Kanjiro Kawai’s (1890-1966) home in Kyoto - now made into a museum. Once the home and workshop of one of Japan’s most famous potters it is a must see for anyone visiting beautiful Kyoto.

Nishi-koji market is probably Kyoto’s best and therefore clearly worth a visit. For those with a penchant for Japanese cuisine it is a must as the variety of foods on display are incredible. As main supplier to the city’s shops and restaurants, everything from fish to beans and seaweed are available to buy. A welcome change for those needing a break from the temple-hopping (however avoid Wednesday when many stalls close).

Visit Pontocho, just west of Kamo-gawa to experience traditional Kyoto nightlife, including the somewhat elusive geisha (known in Kyoto as maiko for trainees and geiko once fully qualified). Here the view consists of rows of traditional teahouses with lanterns hanging  outside.

Kawaramachi, Kyoto’s main street, is excellent for shopping with its many department stores and shops, as are Shin Kyogoku and Kyogoku - two shopping arcades selling a variety of modern and traditional wares. Teramachi, or temple town is here - good for traditional items.


Precision Reservations

What do you look for most in a holiday?
Range of activities available?
 [tally] 22%
Experiencing different cultures?
 [tally] 45%
Sun, sea and sand?
 [tally] 17%
Value for money?
 [tally] 16%
votes: 58


hit counter

p2codebase v:// 1.2.7