Sep. 09, 2017 UPDATE

Shugaku-in Imperial Villa

- 修学院離宮 -
Shugaku-in Imperial Villa is a retreat with a garden fit for the royal family
The Shugaku-in Imperial Villa is a mountain retreat for the royal family on a 545,000 square meter area. It was built in only two years from 1653 to 1655 by the order of the Emperor Go-Mizunoo. There are three gardens connected by paths lined with pine trees. The gardens are named lower villa, middle villa, and upper villa respectively, and each offer a unique scenery. The best view is from the upper villa near Yokuryu Pond, the harmony between the pond and the mountains behind it is sure to fascinate you. The design of the buildings of the site is also glorious. You can only visit the villa on a guided tour that takes about an hour. They can provide you with a free English audio guide. Feel the aesthetic beauty of Kyoto at the Shugaku-in Imperial Villa.
Yokuryu Pond / Upper Villa
Yokuryu Pond / Upper Villa
This is Yokuryu pond viewed from the upper villa, the highest location of the site at 149 meters. It is said the pond was designed to look like a dragon swimming. The trees reflected on the surface make the pond even more beautiful, and it all comes together with the mountains in the background making the scene jaw-dropping.
Inside Kyakuden hall/ Middle Villa
Inside Kyakuden hall/ Middle Villa
A gorgeous reception hall for welcoming visitors that is sure to charm you. On the lower part of the drawers in the middle of the room is a picture of a pine tree painted using the yuzen dying method, while the walls and sliding doors are decorated using gold leaf making for a resplendent atmosphere. This is the only place connected with the imperial family in Kyoto where the reception hall is open for public.
Look at the great view from Kyusui-tei / Upper Villa
3Good Experiences
Look at the great view from Kyusui-tei / Upper Villa
This is the only structure that still has its original appearance. It was built only for the purpose of enjoying the scenery, and people read poems while gazing at the garden or the moon. You can feel a sense of aesthetic beauty in the way people used nature in the pastime.
Walk alongside Nishihama Shore
4Good Experiences
Walk alongside Nishihama Shore
It is said Emperor Go-Mizunoo rowed a boat on the west side of the Yokuryu Pond. The pond was made to be best viewed by walking round it, so the scenes change as you walk. The sight of the realms of water and sky split in two is something one would like to admire forever.
Manner & Tips
- Manner & Tips -
Since it is a guided tour, do not pass the guide or go to places by yourself. The tour is three kilometers long so take your walking shoes!
3.8 experience4.5 access2.5 photogenic4.5
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
3.8 experience4.5 access2.5 photogenic4.5
The Shugakuin Imperial Villa was constructed in the middle part of the 17th century on the orders of the Emperor Go-Mizunoo. The beautiful, vast garden and the buildings of the villa are elegant in their beauty. The Shugakuin Imperial Villa is one of the best places to see autumn leaves in Kyoto, and because of this it may be a good idea to take some time to see the villa in autumn.
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Shugaku-in Imperial Villa / 修学院離宮
Category Scenery, Japanese Gardens, Landmarks
Phone +81 75-211-1215
Address Shugakuin-yabusoe, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu 606-8052
Directions ・20-minute walk from Hiei Dentetsu Shugakuin Stn. ・15-minute walk from Shugakuin-Rikyu-michi bus stop by Kyoto City Bus #5
Open Hours Tour Time: 9am, 10am, 11am, 1:30pm, 3pm *Maximum number of visitors; 50 persons per each time
Reservations Advance reservation is a necessary for visiting. You can make it up in advance from 3 month before you visit. *Door tickets are available if the number of visitors are not full.
Closed Mondays (It opens on Monday if it is public holiday and following Tuesday is closed), Dec. 28-Jan. 4th, and some important events are held.
Notes ・You must be over 18 years old to enter. ・Your own original passport or residence card is required when you visit.
Price range
Credit cards Not accepted
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
Advance reservation is required. Websites have English page so that you can book from your country. Taking pictures inside is allowed.
Information Japanese, English, French, and Chinese
Lanuages spoken Japanese, some English
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