Are you into Japanese history and culture? Then you may be excited to know that you can visit Kyoto Gosho or Kyoto Imperial Place – a place holding so much history and memory. Unlike modern palaces that are generally modern, the construction and design of this palace are still traditional and classic. It is meant that way to preserve the old-school and classic look from the old time. As the official residence of the Emperor (in the past), it is interesting to explore inside the palace and imagine what it felt like to live there.
About the Gosho
Imperial Family used to live in this palace before1868. After the year, the capital (along with the emperor) was moved to Tokyo. The palace itself is situated in a lovely, spacious, and natural Kyoto Imperial Park (known as Kyoto Gyoen). The park is right in the centre of the city, encompassing Sento Imperial Palace and other spots.
How to Visit the Palace
You will have to take the tour in order to see the inside of the palace. You need to have special permission to get into the palace so it is crucial to make an application first. The application can only be done in person directly. Go to the Imperial Household Office (known as Kunaicho) and show them your passport. There is a form that you must fill in. If you apply in the morning (like, very early in the morning), it is possible to join the tour to the palace within the same day. But if you apply it pretty late during the day, big chances that you need to re-visit the palace the following day.
However, there are two special periods within a year when you can visit it without permission. It happens in the mid of November and in April (within the last weeks). Be ready 30 minutes before the tour starts. You won’t have to pay anything as the admission is free but be punctual and follow all the rules.
Here are some of the available guided tours:
- The standard tour, which takes 60 minutes and in Japanese, is on 9 AM, 11 AM, 1.30 PM, and 3 PM.
- The tour in English, which takes 60 minutes, is on 10 AM and 2 PM
- The short tour, which takes 35minutes, is on 11 AM and 3 PM
Things to Consider
There are some important considerations that you need to address carefully:
- In the event that you need a wheelchair, it is available. Just contact the staff and they will help you.
- You won’t find a bicycle or car park facilities because using public transportation is more recommended
- Big luggage (like the suitcase) and pets aren’t allowed
- Taking photos is allowed but big cameras (with business purpose or complex equipment such as the tripod or camera stand) aren’t allowed
- The palace is covered in gravel stones. Visitors are advised to wear comfortable shoes that make them easy to walk
- Visitors may obey the Imperial Palace staff members’ introduction
- There are some activities are strictly not allowed, such as eating, smoking, carrying propaganda signboard, using a megaphone, or carrying objects that can harm other visitors.
- The public opening can be cancelled because of sudden visit scheduling or other reasons.
Getting to the Palace
Take the Karasuma Subway line from Kyoto Station. When it stops at Marutamachi, you should get off here. It takes ¥260 per person and a total of 7 minutes for the trip. It may also stop at Imadegawa Station and you can also get off here. It takes ¥260 per person and a total of 10 minutes for the trip. You can continue on foot to reach the (entrance) gate. If you choose Imadegawa, it is actually closer to the gate than the Marutamachi.
If you want to explore Japan, there are some places that require a reservation or extra planning. In general, though, you want to be prepared. For the flights, go to airpaz.com and pick the available services like Japan Airlines or ANA All Nippon.