Kyoto Imperial Palace, which was the residence of the Imperial family until the capital was moved to Tokyo in 1869, is located in Kyoto Gyoen park. Within the Imperial Palace grounds, which are enclosed by a roofed earthen wall, are the Seiryo-den (Palace Hall) and the Kogosho (Minor Palace) – reminiscent of the dynastic age.
Other than five days during spring and fall when the Imperial Palace is open to the general public, you must apply in advance to receive permission to view the palace.
The Imperial Household Agency, located inside the walled park surrounding the palace, controls entry to the Palace. Permission is usually granted on same-day only for the people joining guided tour held by Agency. To make a reservation for the tour you have to fill out an application form in person and show your passport. Guided tours in English are given at 10am and 2pm from Monday to Friday and at 10am on the third Saturday of the month. Once get permission, you should arrive at meeting point 20 minutes before tour time.
The Katsura Imperial Villa (桂離宮 Katsura Rikyū?), or Katsura Detached Palace, is a villa with associated gardens and outbuildings in the western suburbs of Kyoto, Japan (in Nishikyō-ku, separate from the Kyoto Imperial Palace). It is one of Japan’s most important large-scale cultural treasures.
Its gardens are a masterpiece of Japanese gardening, and the buildings are even more important, one of the greatest achievements of Japanese architecture. The palace includes a shoin (“drawing room”), tea houses, and a strolling garden. It provides an invaluable window into the villas of princes of the Edo period.
The palace formerly belonged to the princes of the Hachijō-no-miya (八条宮) family. The Imperial Household Agency administers it, and accepts visitors by appointment. The current Prince Katsura, whose title is an Imperial grant and is unrelated to the former Katsura-no-miya family, does not live there, but like all the other members of the Imperial Family lives in Tokyo.
Katsura Rikyu 桂離宮
Shugakuin Rikyu 修学院離宮
If you have a time to visit these palace, please profit this occasion. because it is FREE of charge and sublime gardens.
Please read or prepare your guide book before you visit, there is no guiding in the gardens.