Kyoto Imperial Palace Tours

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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.

Practical Info

The Kyoto Imperial Palace and gardens are a short walk from Imadegawa train station in Kyoto’s central northwest.

Location
Address: Kyoto-Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 601-8151, Japan
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Hours: Open daily; tours by appointment only Mon - Fri and some Saturdays at 10am and 2pm
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Admission: Free
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12 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Kyoto Sushi-Making Class

Become a sushi chef for the day, and then enjoy your creations for dinner, during this small-group, 90 minute sushi-making lesson with instructor in Kyoto. Join your professional instructor inside a traditional Japanese townhouse as you immerse yourself in the techniques for 'makizushi,' a rolled form of sushi made with dried seaweed. After a short demo, try your hand at making this uniquely Japanese cuisine, using your choice of ingredients. This small group class, limited to no more than 7 guests, also includes an English-speaking guide to help with translation.
  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
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$57.00 USD
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  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
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$57.00 USD

Nijo Castle and Imperial Palace Visit with Private Guide

Get a deeper insight into Japanese history than would be possible independently on this private guided tour of Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace. As you explore the historic buildings, enjoy the undivided attention of your guide who introduces you to Japan's Edo period when it was under the control of a shogunate, and the establishment of Kyoto, the ancient capital.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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$34.00 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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$34.00 USD

Kyoto Cooking Class

Combine Kyoto cuisine with Imperial history during this 1.5-hour cooking class. Led by a food-loving local, the class is set in one of Kyoto’s age-old wooden houses and includes the meal — after you’ve cooked it, of course. Choose to create an ‘obanzai’ vegetarian meal or a teriyaki chicken dish with soup and salad. This experience runs with just six people for an intimate and authentic experience.
  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
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$57.00 USD
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  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
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$57.00 USD

Private Half-Day Kyoto Tour with a Professional Photographer

Spend half a day on a Kyoto photo shoot with a professional photographer-guide. As you explore the city, you'll pose against landmarks such as Nijo-jo Castle and the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Check out Shimogamo Jinja, one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, and learn about its history as your guide snaps pictures of its elaborate cherry-red backdrop. At the end of the tour, you'll take home an SD card of your guide's unedited photos to keep.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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$1,784.00 USD
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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$1,784.00 USD

Kyoto Full-Day Sightseeing Tour including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple

Immerse yourself in the captivating culture of Kyoto on a full-day sightseeing tour. See the tranquil Kiyomizu Temple amid its verdant surroundings; absorb the Imperial majesty of Kyoto Imperial Palace; and stroll amid the botanical beauty of Kinkaku-ji Temple. Behold the beguiling beauty of the Heian Shrine and enrich your knowledge of Kyoto’s rich historical heritage with commentary from an informative guide. Moderate levels of fitness are advisable for this tour, on which a lot of walking occurs.
  • Duration: 9 hours
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$122.00 USD
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  • Duration: 9 hours
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$122.00 USD

Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

Discover the history and religions of ancient Japan during this 10-hour exploration of Kyoto and Nara. See Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kinkaku-ji and Nijo Castle, along with its Imperial Palace. Then drive from Kyoto to Nara to explore its own World Heritage site, Todai-ji Temple (including Great Buddha Hall), plus Kasuga Shrine. You’ll also visit Nara’s deer park and sample a Japanese and Western-style meal for lunch. Your Nara and Kyoto visit also includes a guide, coach transport, all entrance fees and pickup at select hotels.
  • Duration: 10 hours
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$135.00 USD
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  • Duration: 10 hours
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$135.00 USD

Kyoto Highlights Private Tour

Kyoto is packed with standout sights, making it tough to know where to start. Tick off the top attractions on this full-day private outing, which includes stops at the Gold Pavillion, Nijo Castle, and Geisha district of Gion. Tours include free time for lunch at a local restaurant, plus the services of your very own photographer guide.
  • Duration: 7 to 8 hrs
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$699.00 USD
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  • Duration: 7 to 8 hrs
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$699.00 USD

SPECIAL OFFER

Kyoto Small-Group Bike Tour

Pedal through the historic streets of Kyoto as you visit its magnificent temples and shrines by bike during this 3- to 4-hour small-group tour limited to 9 participants. Take a spin down the Path of Philosophy on this Kyoto tour that gives you an overview of the city while using a mode of transport preferred by locals: the humble bicycle. See shrines, temples and mountains — this is an enlightening escape from the city.
  • Duration: 3 hours
From
$56.00 USD
$70.00 USD  $14.00 USD savings
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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$56.00 USD
$70.00 USD  $14.00 USD savings

Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle

Marvel at the some of the top UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples and palaces of ancient Kyoto on this 4.5-hour tour. This quick introduction to the sights of Kyoto, covering the Nijo Castle, golden Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavillion) and the Japanese Emperor’s former Imperial Palace, is the perfect way to see the city if you’re short on time. Your morning Kyoto excursion also includes pickup from select hotels, transport between sites by coach, entrance fees and an English-speaking guide.
  • Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes
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$59.00 USD
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  • Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes
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$59.00 USD

Kyoto Morning Tour of Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace from Osaka

Experience the top cultural highlights in the ancient city of Kyoto during this 6-hour tour departing by train from Osaka. Head out with a local guide to explore two UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites, including Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-Ji (also known as the Golden Pavilion). Then spend additional time visiting Kyoto’s regal Imperial Palace before browsing for authentic souvenirs at the Kyoto Handicraft Center. This guided excursion of Kyoto also includes pickup from select hotels in Osaka, round-trip JR rail ticket from Osaka to Kyoto and all admission fees.
  • Duration: 6 hours
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$85.00 USD
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  • Duration: 6 hours
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$85.00 USD

Kyoto Small-Group Cultural Experience: Calligraphy or Origami Class

Learn the intricate arts of Japan during a small-group origami class or calligraphy lesson, taught by an instructor inside an authentic Kyoto home during a 1- or 1.5-hour lesson. Choose between a calligraphy session, involving the methodical practice of applying brush to paper, or try your hand at origami, the delicate skill of paper folding. You can also upgrade your origami session with an optional dress-up in a traditional kimono. No matter your choice, you’ll receive personal attention during this small-group lesson, limited to just 7 participants.
  • Duration: 1 hour
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$37.00 USD
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  • Duration: 1 hour
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$37.00 USD

Exploring Kyoto - (Rakusei) Northwest

Kyoto is known as exotic sightseeing places and numerous historic, quaint old monuments are seen all over the town. This tour covers part of Rakusei (Northwest district) and Central district. Visiting Rakusei , Tenryu-ji temple represents the Kitayama culture. Nijyo-jyo castle, Kyoto Imperial Palace in Rakuchu (Central district) are the cultural center during Heian, Momoyama and Edo periods.
  • Duration: 8 hours
From
$234.00 USD
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  • Duration: 8 hours
From
$234.00 USD


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