Shugakuin Imperial Villa, Kyoto

#8 of 89 in Parks in Kyoto
Garden · Hidden Gem · Historic Site
Take a tour of Shugakuin Imperial Villa, a set of three villas and associated gardens owned by the imperial family. Built between 1655 and 1659 by Emperor Gomizuno, the complex features three main buildings, all showcasing different aspects of traditional Japanese imperial architecture, including dark wood facades, sliding doors, elevated tatami mats, and painted wall panels. The sprawling park that surrounds boasts plentiful natural sights: waterfalls, woods, and ponds, as well as enclosed areas made into fine examples of traditional Japanese gardens. Though entry to the buildings is not allowed, many remain open so visitors can see inside as part of the tour. Using our online itinerary creator, Kyoto attractions like Shugakuin Imperial Villa can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Shugakuin Imperial Villa reviews

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400 reviews
  • The villa is in three widely separated sections connected by gravel paths. These paths are well graded and easy but the villa gardens contain many steps. The whole tour takes a good hour. An audio...  more »
  • i'm glad i did a early book of this tour. .the aesthetic ! and lwarning little arigato here . .i highly recommend and do early tickets .  more »
  • A lot of the reviews do agree that you can get access if you are already in Kyoto, sometimes they have free slots in other tours. This can be fine during low seasons but I think during the cherry...  more »
  • Every detail in this Imperial garden was so perfect that I felt some dizziness. Too much, isn’t it? Every corner, even single tiny stone, and glass and moth seemed to be calculated. All these efforts make me feel mixedly the laborious work of labors. Anyway, sturdiness of Imperial properties I saw, even though the builder insisted to design the garden humbly.
  • A large Japanese Loyal Family's summer palace complex with typical but well-arranged landscape and gardens.
  • This place is beautiful! The audio tour is useful, but very soft. I recommend covering you other ear if you can't hear over the tour guide. The place take a while to get from Kyoto Station but it's worth the visit.
  • Get your passports ready because they are required for entry. We took a chance on showing up without a reservation and there were 2 left - lucky. Beautiful tour and visit. There is an English guided tour device that you can listen to.
  • I booked my tour the day beforehand at the office of the Imperial Household Agency. It all went very smoothly. The Shugakuin Imperial Villa is a bit far from downtown Kyoto, but well worth the trip. The villa’s and gardens itself are amazing. The view that the site grants over the city itself is stunning. Walking through this place gave me a wonderful insight into the luxuries of old Japanese nobility and as such is a great cultural experience.

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