Apr. 21, 2021 UPDATE
Story & Recommendation
Free English tours at the Kyoto Imperial Palace
Many locals can be seen freely visiting the Kyoto Imperial Palace courtyard for a stroll or even for a picnic when the weather is nice. Originally the palace was home to the emperor when the capital of Japan was known as Heian-kyo, or present day Kyoto city. The palace consists of several different structures that display traditional architectural styles. Throughout history, these structures were destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. However, the palace still stands today because of the rebuild ordered by the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1854, which made a speedy reconstruction of the palace possible. Today, English tours are offered at 10am and 2pm. Making a reservation online to reserve a spot is recommended. Your passport or residence card is required to enter.
The Structures through the lens of a Free Walking Tour
Your guide will carefully explain the history of the structures that you pass by on the tour. The tour will guide you to Shishinden¬ーan important building within the palace. The tour also takes visitors to Shodaibunoma, a building that was used as a waiting room for visitors of the Palace. The guide will explain the separation of rooms by rank, and the display of beautiful paintings that are impressively painted with only black ink. Details of the structures and the layout of the palace can be closely seen through this tour.
The precinct Gardens
There are two gardens the tour will take you to: Oikeniwa Garden and Gonaitei Garden. Both are well-maintained to this day. The gardens were created so you can view their scenery from many different angles. These beautiful strolling-gardens feature ponds, bridges, and greenery. Also, the colors of the garden will change throughout the year with the different seasons.
Stamp to Prove that You Were Here!
Are you collecting stamps throughout your trip? Look for the stamp on the counter in the area where shiny souvenirs are being sold for you to stamp away. Leave proof in your book that you visited the Kyoto Imperial Palace!
- Manner & Tips -
The walking tour is about 1 hour. There will be lockers provided for free.
For an informative tour, listen carefully to the guide.
Pamphlets will be provided in Japanese, English, or Chinese.