The Shugaku-in Imperial Villa (修学院離宮, Shugaku-in Rikyū), or Shugaku-in Detached Palace, is a set of gardens and outbuildings (mostly teahouses) in the hills of the eastern suburbs of Kyoto, Japan (separate from the Kyoto Imperial Palace). It is one of Japan's most important large-scale cultural treasures; its gardens are one of the great masterpieces of Japanese gardening.
Although styled as a "detached palace", often translated as "imperial villa", there were never any large-scale buildings there, as there are at the Katsura Imperial Villa. The 53-hectare (133 acre) grounds actually include three separate gardens, the Lower Garden, Middle Garden (a later addition), and Upper Garden, of which the latter is the most important.
|Monday||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Tuesday||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Wednesday||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Thursday||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Friday||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Saturday||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Sunday||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
alyssa dueck | Mar 16, 2018
My husband and I visited the property earlier this morning and I would highly recommend signing up if you're in the area. Be sure to sign up online a few days in advance as there is a specific selection process that takes a few days (and is not guaranteed). Our group was about 30 people in size and the tour was in Japanese but we received free headsets that gave us the necessary information in English. The grounds are beautiful and it was fun to imagine what the views and property would of looked like when emperors and princesses visited this area hundreds of years ago. Was a very nice way to spend the morning and the tour lasted about 80minutes. Mostly easy walking terrain with minimal uphill and well worth it overall!
Kelsi Hendriks | Feb 1, 2018
I booked my tour the day beforehand at the office of the Imperial Household Agency. It all went very smoothly. The Shugakuin Imperial Villa is a bit far from downtown Kyoto, but well worth the trip. The villa’s and gardens itself are amazing. The view that the site grants over the city itself is stunning. Walking through this place gave me a wonderful insight into the luxuries of old Japanese nobility and as such is a great cultural experience.
Ali Low | Nov 11, 2017
One of the best gardens I've visited in Japan! I've wanted to visit one of the imperial villas in Kyoto for some time but the online bookings are go very quickly. Thanks to another google reviewer pointing out that there are slots in the afternoon tours (1:30 and 3:00) are available on a first come first served bases I was able to visit. The tour is in Japanese, but you can borrow an earphone guide for free in several languages and lasts about 1 hour 20 minutes. In order to apply for the tour you'll need your passport or a residency card. You visit 3 different areas on the tour with the final area a spectacular walk around a lake.
A129 | Mar 28, 2017
I highly recommend this tour of the breathtaking Shugakuin Imperial Villa. The tour is approximately one hour with a Japanese guide but audio tours are available in English and Chinese. Please be aware that this is a reservation only tour which must be done prior online. Otherwise you can wait for an availability on the spot for the afternoon slots.
Robin Lenogue | Mar 21, 2017
Very much worth it and Free, BUT: it can only be visited with a tour. Tours in the morning NEED to be reserved, tours in the afternoon can be joined on the spot. Only 2 afternoon tours available, so check out their schedule online!! Gardens are splendid, and the villas and history totally worth your time.
Yosuke Suzuki | May 1, 2018
The palace consists of three main areas that are connected with walking paths getting through the rustic view of rice paddies. From the top garden you can even see the great over view of entire Kyoto city. It's almost unbelievable you can enter and look around inside with a guided tour with a very knowledgeable guide although you have to book it well ahead - for peak season it sometimes fully booked months before. Audio guide available for non-Japanese speakers.
Ben Khoo | Jun 15, 2018
Toured the Palace with a guide and was an interesting and scenic experience altogether while learning about Japanese history. Remember to book in advance on their website.
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