Imperial Palace & Around

This expansive park is an excellent place for a stroll or picnic in natural surroundings. Far from the throngs in the city centre, it is a popular place for birdwatching and has spacious gardens. There is a 1.8km loop around the main pond, where rowboats can be hired for ¥1000 per hour and paddleboats are ¥1000 per 30 minutes.

In the northeast of the park, the Kyoto International Conference Hall is an unfortunate attempt at replicating Japan’s traditional thatched-roof gasshō-zukuri style in concrete. Behind the conference hall, the Hosho-an Teahouse (designed by Soshitsu Sen, Grand Tea-Master XV of the Urasenke school) is worth a look.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Imperial Palace & Around attractions

1. Shimogamo-jinja

1.08 MILES

This shrine, dating from the 8th century, is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is nestled in the fork of the Kamo-gawa and Takano-gawa, and is approached…

2. Kyoto Botanical Gardens

1.09 MILES

The Kyoto Botanical Gardens occupy 24 hectares and feature over 12,000 plants, flowers and trees. It is pleasant to stroll through the rose, cherry and…

3. Enkō-ji

1.14 MILES

It might be best known for its autumn maple leaves, but this small temple is well worth a visit any time of the year. It has two stunning gardens – the…

4. Shisen-dō

1.16 MILES

A highlight of the far northern Higashiyama area, Shisen-dō (House of Poet-Hermits) was built in 1641 by Ishikawa Jōzan, a scholar of Chinese classics and…

5. Manshu-in

1.36 MILES

The charmingly intimate temple of Manshu-in, which served as a retreat for former emperors, is a great place to escape the crowds that descend on other…

6. Kamigamo-jinja

1.57 MILES

Around 2km north of the Botanical Gardens is Kamigamo-jinja, one of Japan’s oldest shrines, which predates the founding of Kyoto. Established in 679, it…

7. Shūgaku-in Rikyū Imperial Villa

1.58 MILES

One of the highlights of northeast Kyoto, this superb imperial villa was designed as a lavish summer retreat for the imperial family. Its gardens, with…

8. Yoshida-jinja

1.99 MILES

Yoshida-jinja is the largest shrine on Yoshida-yama, the small mountain that rises just east of Kyoto University. It's most famous for the fire festival…