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Shugakuin Imperial Villa, Kyoto

4.6
#8 of 66 in Parks in Kyoto
Garden 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. Put Shugakuin Imperial Villa on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Kyoto tour planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
306 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • For this place you need a reservation, and I was happy my friends could take care of it. They check quite thoroughly and they might ask you to show a passport. In the little shop/waiting room they pla...  more »
  • The good news is that like the Katsura Villa this is now available on a same day standby basis. You show up at the villa office in the morning and get tickets. There are 2-3 tours in the afternoon, an...  more »
  • This garden is the complement to Katsura imperial villa. It is in the north east of Kyoto and easily reached by train or bus. Again you have to book places by going to the Imperial Household Agency ne...  more »
Google
  • I highly recommend this tour of the breathtaking Shugakuin Imperial Villa. The tour is approximately one hour with a Japanese guide but audio tours are available in English and Chinese. Please be aware that this is a reservation only tour which must be done prior online. Otherwise you can wait for an availability on the spot for the afternoon slots.
  • Very much worth it and Free, BUT: it can only be visited with a tour. Tours in the morning NEED to be reserved, tours in the afternoon can be joined on the spot. Only 2 afternoon tours available, so check out their schedule online!! Gardens are splendid, and the villas and history totally worth your time.
  • The Imperial Villa is one of my favorite spots I've ever visited, in Japan or elsewhere. The garden's beauty is breathtaking.
  • Great to visit the Imperial Villa/gardens. Be sure to make a booking in advance to preventie any disapointments.
  • Beautiful gardens and ponds along with a few old structures. The tour is by reservation only which can be made in person at a Office of the Imperial Household Agency or online. The tour given in Japanese but there is an audio tour available in at least English and Chinese. The tour requires a bit of walking but it is well worth it. Access is easy by taking the number 5 bus to Shugakuin-michi followed by a short walk or taking the Eizan railway to Shugakuin and a moderate walk.

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Where to stay in Kyoto

Kyoto spoils visitors for choice when it comes to good accommodations, offering everything from traditional ryokans to luxury Western-style hotels. In a city used to receiving foreign travelers, you'll find that most establishments know exactly what to offer tourists and how to help newcomers to the area. To avoid paying premium prices during the cherry blossom season, consider staying in Osaka, located just a 30-minute train ride away. If you must stay in Kyoto itself, keep in mind that centrally located hotels charge more than those in the outer neighborhoods.
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