Japan's royal family no longer live in Kyoto Imperial Palace, but the imperial furnishings have been preserved. The immaculate parkland surrounding the palace is one of Kyoto’s favorite public gardens.
The palace has been empty since 1868, when the Emperor moved into the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. You need to book ahead to take a palace tour led by the Imperial Household Agency. Tours highlight the ceremonial halls, Imperial Library, the Empress quarters and throne room.
The lovely parklands are filled with flowering trees and grassed areas, carp ponds and cherry blossom trees. Pack a picnic and come for the day.
The Kyoto Imperial Palace and gardens are a short walk from Imadegawa train station in Kyoto’s central northwest.