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Imperial Palace Park

At the heart of contemporary Kyōto lies the Kyoto Imperial Park (Kyoto Gyoen 京都御苑), often simply called “gosho” 御所, “the palace”, by locals. A large rectangular enclosure spanning 1,300x700 meters, the Park today serves as an area of recreation for residents of central Kyoto.
In its present shape, however, the palace only dates back to the Meiji Period (1868–1912). Following the moving of the Emperor to Tōkyō, many of the noble’s estates have been demolished, and a park — at the time a new, Western concept — was constructed on its grounds. Furthermore, the location does not correspond with the original Heian period Imperial palace, which was situated much further West at present-day Senbon street.
Today, Kyoto Imperial Park is home to the Imperial Palace, the Sentō Palace, the Kyoto State Guest House, and several smaller structures such as the Shūsui-tei pavilion. The palaces are under administration of the Imperial Household Agency. While Sentō Palace requires a visit on a guided, registered tour, the main palace can, as of 2022, be visited freely.
On 15 May and 22 October, the Aoi Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri processions depart from the southern gate of the Imperial Park.

Admission: palaces only with prior registration, park open 24/7
Nearby places of interest: Shūsui-tei, Myōken-ji, Rozan-ji, Nashiki Shrine, State Guest House

The Imperial Palace Park in winter.

The Imperial Palace Park in winter.

Imperial Palace 御所
Palace Gardens 御苑
Aoi Matsuri 葵祭 and Jidai Matsuri 時代祭 (selection)
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