Aug. 31, 2020 UPDATE
Former Main Building of the Kyoto Prefectural Office- 京都府庁旧本館 -
Pamphlets are available in Japanese, English, Classical Chinese, and Simplified Chinese. There is no registration, so you can freely walk around during the opening time.
Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese
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Japan’s oldest government building remains unchanged
The Former Kyoto Prefectural Head Office remains unchanged since its completion. The former government building is the oldest among existing government buildings in Japan and is still used for meetings. Music events and other entertainment are also regularly held here. When it was built in 1904, during the Meiji period (1868-1912), it was a time of European culture flooding into Japan. Therefore, the architectural design of the building is based on the Italian renaissance style of symmetry. Inside, you will find a Main office, central garden, Former Assembly Hall and so on. Each area was made with Japan’s finest crafts. This Western-style building, which resembles a villa, is a five minute walk to the west of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. It also really stands out in amongst the classic Kyoto scenery of temples and shrines. How about taking a stroll and enjoying some European architecture in Kyoto?
Former Assembly Hall
This is Japan’s oldest governmental assembly hall. For 64 years from 1905 to 1969, Kyoto prefectural assemblies were held here. In 2015, it was renovated to restore it to its original state, to mark its 110th anniversary. However, all of the photographs used in the restoration were in black and white, so the red carpet and green seats placed in a curved configuration were guessed. It's a mystery what the actual colors were.
The main hall is the symbol of the building, and where numerous formal events were held. The high class Japanese style ceiling, using the method of oriage-kogumigo, creates the feeling of a large space. Astronaut Yuri Gagarin, who accomplished the first space flight, visited here in 1962. Take this rare opportunity to stand in the same place as someone world famous.
Visit and see cherry blossom in April
Large cherry blossoms stand tall as the masters of the courtyard. In spring, many people come to see the blossoms. Enjoying cherry blossoms from a European building has a completely different feel from viewing them in shrines and temples. Have a seat on the nearby bench and burn the image of this majestic tree into your memory. A hot spot for photos is the second floor windows. Go around and peek a view of the trees from various different angles!
Take a look at Mt. Hiei from the Former Governor’s Room
Take a look out the window from the former governor’s room. The windows in this room were made with hand-crafted glass called Tesuki, which is why they are wavy. You can get a slight glimpse of Mt. Hiei in Shiga Prefecture, which sits next to Kyoto. The past governors of Kyoto must have loved the view from this window.
- Manner & Tips -
Tripods are not to be used when taking photographs due to a concern that they may damage the building. Note that the walls and windows are extremely fragile; please do not touch them.