The Hidden Palace

Kyoto's Imperial Palace
By Sol March in Travelogue

Kyoto’s Imperial Palace blends into its surroundings so well that you could easily miss it if you’re not paying attention.

From the outside, the palace’s outer wall does not appear to contain anything particularly special. You might think there’s a nice garden on the other side, not the former nexus of the Japanese empire.

Outside the Palace Grounds

There are even houses right across the street from the palace.


Once a Palace, Now a Park

The grounds of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace have been converted into a public park. Where Japan’s nobility once lived, you can now take a relaxing stroll or ride a bike on gravel paths.

Benched Shortcut

You can even catch a game of baseball here at the imperial palace.

Baseball at the Palace

The Inner Wall

Head a bit deeper into the palace grounds and you’ll reach the palace’s inner wall. Here, high curved rooftops and strong walls that stretch out to the horizon give you a sense of the palace’s former grandeur.

Palace Entrance The Gates are Closed Beside the Gate Roof Line Spiral Along the Wall

Nonetheless, you can still enjoy casual walk or ride a bike with a friend here along the inner wall.

Bike Ride around the Palace Two Wheels Wide Path The Long Way

The Palace’s Many Paths

As the sun sinks below the horizon, all is quiet along the palace’s inner wall. The gates are closed, so instead we turn down one of the many verdant paths that branch out from the palace.

Forest Path Couple Fuzz Signs House at the End of the Path

Kyoto’s Imperial Palace defies expectations in that it does not stand apart from its surroundings. Instead, Japan’s former seat of power welcomes its neighbors in with open arms.


Dreaming of Kyoto

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