Kyoto Imperial Palace (Shishinden,location,history)

Kyoto Imperial Palace, Shishinden

The information about Kyoto Imperial Palace is presented here. Kyoto Imperial Palace is currently about 453 meters from north to south and about 254 meters from east to west. Kyoto Imperial Palace is several times larger than Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono, the predecessor of Kyoto Imperial Palace. Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono was a small sato-dairi that was used as both Shishinden and Seiryoden, but the site was repeatedly expanded while being burned down and rebuilt.

【Kyoto Imperial Palace Location Map & Directions】

Address: 3 Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Karasuma Imadegawa bus stop (about 3 minutes on foot), Subway Imadegawa Station (about 5 minutes on foot), Sabway Marutamachi Station (about 10 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Registration closes at 16:20)
Closed: Mondays (the following day if Monday is a national holiday), year-end and New Year holidays (December 28 – January 4), days when events are held, etc.

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Free

【Kyoto Imperial Palace History】

Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono (土御門東洞院殿), the predecessor of the Kyoto Imperial Palace (京都御所), was built as a temporary sato-dairi (palace) to replace the dairi of Heian-kyo when the capital was moved to Heian-kyo. Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-den was located in the Sa-kyo of Heian-kyo, surrounded by Ogmachi-dori to the north, Tsuchimikado-dori to the south, Takakura-dori to the east, and Higashinotoin-dori to the west, and was also called “Ogmachi-dono”. When the capital was moved to Heian-kyo, the dairi was built along Suzaku-oji (Senbon-dori), but it was often destroyed by fire due to fires or political upheaval, and it is said to have been almost completely destroyed by fire in 1227 during the early Kamakura period (1185-1333), and was never rebuilt after that. The 73rd Emperor Horikawa used Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono as his palace before his accession to the throne in the late Heian period. In 1133, when Fujiwara no Yasuko, daughter of Fujiwara Tadazane, entered the court as a consort of the 74th Emperor Tobotenno, Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono was built and repaired as her palace. When Yasuko Fujiwara became Koyoin in 1140, Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono officially became her palace and was called “Tsuchimikado-dono”, “Ogimachi-dono”. After Koyoin’s death, Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono became the residence of Fujiwara no Kunitsuna. In 1167, the 79th Emperor Rokujo used Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono as sato-dairi (palace), and in 1177, the 80th Emperor Takakura used Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono as sato-dairi (palace). From 1191, Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono became the property of Senyomonin, the princess of the 77th Emperor Go-Shirakawa. However, Senyomonin loved Rokujo-dono, which was associated with her father, Emperor Go-Shirakawa, and the Konoe family occasionally borrowed Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono for ceremonial purposes. In 1208, when Rokujo-dono was burned down, Senyomonin moved the palace to Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono. Later, Chokodo, Butsuden of Emperor Go-Shirakawar was also moved to Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono, but after that, Chokodo was rebuilt on the site of Rokujo-dono, but even after the reconstruction, some Buddhist ceremonies were held and Chokodo was called Shin-Chokodo. After the death of Senyomonin in 1252, Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono became the property of the 89th Emperor Go-Fukakusa, and a part of Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono was given to Yotokumonin, but Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono became the property of Jimyoin-to. In 1331, the 96th Emperor Go-Daigo, the 1st Emperor of the Southern Court, fled Kyoto, and Emperor Kogon, the 1st Emperor of the Northern Court, ascended to the throne, and Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono is said to have been established as the imperial palace of the Northern Court. However, it is said that Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono was a small palace that was used as both Shishinden and Seiryoden. In 1336, when the imperial palace of Jimyoin-to in Nijo Tomikoji was burned down, Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono became the palace of the Northern Court. When the Northern and the Southern Courts were unified in 1392, Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono became the official imperial palace. After that, the imperial palace did not move to another location. The peace between the Northern and the Southern Courts was established at Shoshinden of Daikaku-ji Temple, and the Sanshu-no-Jingi (three kinds of sacred artifacts) were handed over by the 99th Emperor Go-Kameyama, the 4th Emperor of the Southern Court, to the 100th Emperor Go-Komatsu, the 6th Emperor of the Northern Court. In 1401, the imperial palace was destroyed by fire. Later, when Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 3rd shogun of the Muromachi shogunate, rebuilt the imperial palace, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu moved Shin-Chokodo to Tsuchimikado Aburanokoji. Tsuchimikado Higashinotoin-dono was destroyed by fire in 1443. It is said that in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), the Onin War (1467-1477) occurred and the imperial palace was devastated. In 1569, Oda Nobunaga began rebuilding the Imperial Palace. In the Azuchi Momoyama period (1573-1603), Toyotomi Hideyoshi built the Tensho Dairi (Imperial Palace). The residence of the court nobles was also located around the Tensho Dairi. The Dairi (Imperial Palace) was rebuilt in 1613, 1642, 1655, 1662, 1675, 1709, 1790 and 1855. In the reconstructions in 1613 and 1642, the old buildings were demolished and rebuilt. The area of the Imperial Palace was completed in 1866. With the transfer of the capital to Tokyo in 1869, Kuge-machi (the residence of the court nobles) fell into disrepair. From 1877 to 1883, Kyoto Prefecture carried out the Ouchi Preservation Project. In 1915, a major renovation was carried out at the time of the enthronement ceremony of the 123rd Taisho Emperor. In 1945, nearly half of the total building area was demolished due to the evacuation of buildings.
*reference・・・Kyoto Imperial Palace website

【Kyoto Imperial Palace Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Shishinden (紫宸殿) was rebuilt in 1855. Shikinden is the main hall of Dairi (Imperial Palace). The most important official ceremonies, including the accession to the throne, were held in Shikinden. In Shikinden are Takamikura, where the emperor sits at the time of his enthronement, and Michodai, where the empress sits.
★Seiryoden (清涼殿) was rebuilt in 1855. Seiryoden was originally a building for the emperor’s residence during the Heian period (794-1185), but after the construction of the Otsunagoten during the Tensho period (1573-1592), Seiryoden became a building for the emperor’s office and ceremonies.
★Shodaifu-no-ma (諸大夫の間) was rebuilt in 1855. Shodaifu-no-ma is divided into Kugyo-no-ma (Tora-no-ma), Tenjobito-no-ma (Tsuru-no-ma) and Shodaifu-no-ma (Sakura-no-ma). The names of Tora-no-ma, Tsuru-no-ma and Sakura-no-ma come from the wall paintings of these rooms. The name of Shodaifu-no-ma is derived from the main room, Shodaifu-no-ma.
京都御所見どころ (Kyoto Imperial Palace Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Kyutei Bunka-no-shokai (宮廷文化の紹介) is held in spring and fall. In Kyutei Bunka-no-shokai, Shinden, Seiryoden, Shodaifu-no-ma, Gogakumonsho, Otsunegoten and other buildings are open to the public. Gagaku and kemari are performed during this period.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see cherry blossoms (桜) is from late March to early April. Sakon-no-sakura is planted in front of Shishinden and weeping cherry trees are planted in front of Omima and Ogakumonjo, and the scenery of the cherry blossoms, Shishinden and Omima is beautiful.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-75-211-1215

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Kyoto Imperial Palace is to take a walk in Kyoto Gyoen National Garden. Plum trees, cherry trees, maple trees, etc. are planted in Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, and visitors can enjoy the flowers and plants in every season. In addition to Kyoto Imperial Palace, Sento Palace, Omiya Palace, Kyoto State Guest House, Munakata Shrine, Itsukushima Shrine, and Hakuun Shrine are also located within Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, and a walk around them is also recommended.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Kyoto Imperial Palace, be sure to check the latest information.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山