2011/05/23

KYO: Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace

Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace

Shishin-Den


Usually, many of the people in Kyoto visit the palace at the time of open house in spring and autumn. I visited some times when I was a child, but not these days. This time, I visited there to explore more deeply about the palace, and it was successful. I had to apply for the entry to the palace except the time of open house, but it was worth doing. The day I visited was with around 20-people, and we were led by a wonderful guide. He talked about each building, room, garden, stone, tree, and historical background of the royal family. Because he was there, it was easy to imagine the old days how the royal family used there. First, at Okuruma-Yose, there is an entrance for official visits of noblemen. Then, they will be let to the waiting room called Shodaibu-no-Ma. Here, according to their ranks, they were distributed into three different rooms. Each room has its own selvage of tatami mat. Also, the folding screens have three kinds of drawings of a tiger, a crane, and cherry trees. At the present age, everybody is equal, so it is good opportunity for me to see such class-oriented rules. Passed over a huge garden, there is a building called Shishin-Den, the most prestigious place in this palace. We cannot enter the building, but could see from outside. At that time, the guide explained the gates of this palace. There is a gate called Kenrei-Mon, and it is used only for emperors. We moved to Seiryo-Den. It was originally built as the emperor’s residence in 8th century and used till 11th century, and it was rebuilt in 1790 on a smaller scale. But it tells us very well of the original structure. It was raining, but it enlarged the beauty of its circuit style garden called Oikeniwa Garden. Especially, the stones spread in front of the garden like a wave-washed beach were glistened with rain. It took around 1-hour, and after I went out from the gate, I decided to come back to this palace to admire its beautiful four seasons.

Oniwaike Garden
<Overview>
The Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace is an imperial palace of Japan, though the emperor of Japan does not live since the Meiji Restoration on 1868. At that time, the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. But the palace in Kyoto has been preserved by the order of the emperor of Meiji, and now administrated by the Imperial Household Agency. The palace was destroyed by fires many times, and locations were changed. The building now is preserved since 1855. So, the palace has collections of buildings and gardens in each era since the Heian Period, around from 8th century.
 
<High Spots>
When you visit here, I would like to suggest these;
-      Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace is located in a huge park called Kyoto-Gyoen. Before or after your visit to the place, you can walk around the building to see wide varieties of trees and flowers. I personally love to just walk on the white gravelly roads.
-      It is nice to visit the Sento Gosho Palace. (I will try at some future date to see the small palace in the Kyoto-Gyoen park.)