Kyoto Imperial Palace – Kyoto | Travel Information

Garden at Kyoto Imperial Palace

The Kyoto Imperial Palace once served as the home for the Japanese emperor and the Imperial family, up until the Imperial Capital was moved to Tokyo by Emperor Meiji in 1868. The Imperial Palace has been moved around the city of Kyoto a couple times as the original palace had burnt down. The current rendition was built in 1855, and was only used into the late 1860’s. 

Many Hisotic buildings are situated at the Kyoto palace, such as housing complexes for the royal family and their prestigious guests. 

Despite the capital moving in 1868, the nearby Sento Palace (Located within The Kyoto Imperial Park) is occasionally used by the Japanese princesses and princes as a holiday home should they decide to visit Kyoto. As such, security is quite tight in and around both the former palace and the Sento Palace. The Royal Guards are constantly on patrol around the perimeter, and you have to have your bags and belonging checked as you enter the palace grounds, followed up by having to wear a security badge which you must wear and display constantly as there are guards around every corner of the palace grounds. Previously, you could only enter the Palace grounds via a prior appointment and security check, and then you had to be part of a guided tour. Thankfully, that has since been abolished, and you can enter freely without having to book a tour – tours are still available for those who want them though.

The Kyoto Imperial Park is an expansive recreational space that spans 1300 meters by 700. To give you a size comparison, there are 6 baseball diamonds located within the grounds, and that only takes up a small fraction of the park. Many locals and tourists alike come to the grounds and just enjoy themselves in the vast palace grounds, whether it be for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing bike ride, people from all around the world come to enjoy the park.

Expansive Kyoto Imperial Garden

Hours and Admission

  • Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm (April Through August)
  • Hours: 9:00am-4:30pm (September & March)
  • Hours: 9:00am-4:00pm (October Through February)
  • Free
  • Average Time Spent: 30-45 minutes
  • Official Website


The Kyoto Imperial Palace can be accessed by a short walk from Marutamachi Station along Kyoto’s Subway line – JR Rail passes of any kind can not be used on such railway as it’s not a JR line. The Subway to the Kyoto Imperial Palace departs from Kyoto Station costing 260JPY one way. Marutamachi Station will place you at the bottom of the Kyoto Imperial Park. Alternatively, you can get off one station later at Imadegawa Station, as the station is located closer to the entrance, and will cost the same as Marutamachi.

Where To Stay

Nearby Attractions

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha, better known as Fushimi Inari Shrine, is one of Kyoto’s most popular destinations – if not the most popular. It gained fame by have literally thousands of bright orange Torii gates which line the pathways that scale the mountain side.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Located in Western Kyoto city, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a popular destination among locals and foreigners alike. Thousands of bamboo stalks have grown to enormous heights, which create one of Kyoto’s most scenic destinations, attracting photographers from all around the world.