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Shugakuin Imperial Villa

#43 of 1,082 things to do in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Northern Kyoto
As featured in One Day in Kyoto
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Address: 1-3 Shugakuin-yabusoe, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8611 , Kyoto Prefecture
Name/address in local language
Phone Number:
+81 75-781-5203

Created as an imperial summer retreat, the garden complex is a fine example...

Created as an imperial summer retreat, the garden complex is a fine example of Japanese landscape design.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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  • 49
  • 20
    Very good
  • 3
  • 0
  • 1
Good experience , Nice autumn leave panoramic view

Good experience for tour , Palace so beautiful especially autumn leave and panoramic view.But if you can't advance reserve , You need to waiting about 2 hr to reserve palace tour.

Reviewed 1 December 2016
Rasrisuang N
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300 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 73: English reviews
2 reviews
Reviewed 1 December 2016

Good experience for tour , Palace so beautiful especially autumn leave and panoramic view.But if you can't advance reserve , You need to waiting about 2 hr to reserve palace tour.

Thank Rasrisuang N
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 November 2016

We got an advance reservation at the Imperial Palace to come here. This place is faraway, a good hour from Kyoto Station and we have to arrive 20 minutes early to check in. But this villa is simply beautiful. It's so worth it. One of the best place to visit in Kyoto and it is actually free. Remember to ask... More 

Thank Anna J
Santa Monica, CA
Level Contributor
172 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 November 2016

The grounds are beautiful and would certainly suggest you visit. The audio-guide that is provided helped to create a good experience.

Thank Love vacation time
Risskov, Denmark
Level Contributor
110 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 October 2016

the villa itself does not look "imperial". It is simple. But the gardens around are absolutely amazing and planned with consideration, every tree in its place. It is free but YOU MUST BOOK IN ADVANCE, 3 months in advance. You can have a audio guide in several languages, the tour itself is in japanese. If you cannot afford a taxi;... More 

Thank Ouistity
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2016

It is one of the three Imperial places in Kyoto. Only guided tours are available and you should apply before your visit. I am not sure if there are English speaking guides as I went with a Japanese group. The tour takes all in all around one hour and a half. The premises are totally beautiful and picteresque.

Thank Assa_Bnw
Newark-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
223 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 June 2016

We rate this one of the top three gardens that we visited in Japan. It more than repays the effort to book a visit. You can book online at the Imperial Household Agency website if you time your application just right. All the online places were gone when we tried some weeks before our visit. So we went to the... More 

2 Thank Aitku
Level Contributor
67 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2016

Shugakuin Imperial Villa comprises three monastic cottages built on the foot of Higshiyama Mountains, the best of which is Emperor Gomizuno's retreat high up the hillside. There is considerable logistics involved in making the trip. First you need to obtain permission to visit in advance; next there is the 50-minute bus ride from Kyoto Central, and finally a 20-minute walk... More 

1 Thank PonsSingapore
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 May 2016

We went there but were not admitted. You need to get a permit from the office in kyoto. Don't just turn up, they will not let you in because it is a guided tour only due to being "Imperial" You can thank me later.

Thank asiatraveller5000
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
88 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2016

Lovely place where we finally had peace and quiet in Kyoto. Very calming to sit at the edge of the beautiful and impeccable garden.

Thank luv2travel19941953
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2016

The place is surrounded by a high wall and bamboo thicket, so unless you have one of the pre-arranged permits ― booked out weeks in advance ― then you may as well save yourself the bother of going. I knew that I would not be able to get inside, but I was hoping that like other similar sites I would... More 

Thank red_wolf_uk

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Staying in Northern Kyoto

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Northern Kyoto
Hot springs and historic temples characterize the leafy landscapes of Northern Kyoto. Acres of tranquil residential streets are interrupted by some of Kyoto's most gorgeous architectural gems, including the majestic Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji, the serene artistry of the Ryoanji Temple rock gardens, and the bold red paint across the structures of Enryakuji Temple. Once a religious core of the city, the district now boasts some of its most remote and peaceful hot springs, as well as a few of its best family-run mom-and-pop restaurants. A blend of extremely local at its outskirts, and highly peopled at its tourist centers, Northern Kyoto nonetheless retains a halcyon air in harmony with nature.
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