Sep 11, 2010

Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Fortunately, Mr SSG and I visited the Kyoto Imperial Palace as part of a tour group.  Formal permission needs to be applied for before visiting and it can take days to confirm.  On tour groups, the procedure is more streamlined.  The form is filled in on  the bus ride to the palace.

There is a security procedure before being admitted to the palace.  The completed forms have to be counted and each tour group has to line  up in rows of 4 people across to facilitate counting of visitors by  security.

We started of in lines of 4 across but it was rather hard to walk 4 abreast....

The present Kyoto Imperial Palace was initially a residence belonging to a member of the aristocracy.  There was a custom that when the palace was unable to be used, the Emperor would stay as a guest at a notable person's house.  This palace was used by Emperors as a permanent residence from 1331 until 1869, the year that the capital of Japan moved from Kyoto to Tokyo.

It is a breathtaking place to visit.  The palace compound is defined by an earthen wall and has a total area of 27 acres.  

The Okurymayose (below) was the entrance used for official visitors to the palace.


We were not permitted to take photographs within the palace.  Shoes had to be removed before entering. In the more peripheral parts of the palace, were 'commoners' were allowed to visit, the wooden floor boards creak like the sound of nightingales, one of many security measures that can be found in the palace.  There are concealed spaces in the walls of the main rooms where the Emperor's security guards sit should they be needed.  All visitors to the palace needed to surrender their long swords at the gate and also had to wear long and heavy gowns, which served to slow them down.

There were different themes to the artwork on the walls. Gold leaf was used to help reflect light.

I love the vivid red orange of the more peripheral gates and pillars.  The Sieroyden is visible in the photo below.  It is where the Emperor stayed.

In front of the residence are 2 trees,  The one on the right is a cherry blossom tree.  
Aren't royal gardens magical wherever in the world they may be?

The Oikenwa Garden.

The back steps of Ogakumonjo, the Emperor's study.

Which overlooks the garden and a pebble beach created just for him.

Our morning tour ended at the Kyoto Handicraft Centre.  On the second floor is a canteen where hungry tourists can lunch buffet style, the cost of the meal is included for most of the day long tours.  There was a wide variety of foods to choose from including my favourite Japanese curry.


  1. Wow... beautiful photographs and how fascinating - lovely you were able to visit this magnificent palace. x

  2. Hi girl:)
    Looks like you love food as much as me:)

    Have a great day -SP


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