The Kyoto Gosho is the former Imperial Palace located at the center of Kyoto. Kyoto Gyoen Park is a large luxurious garden surrounding the Palace and the Sento Gosho Palace, the residence of the retired emperor, and is a relaxing spot with rich greenery enjoyed by the people of Kyoto. The park measures 700 meters east to west and 1300 meters north to south. Before the Imperial Palace was moved to Tokyo in the latter half of the 19th century, this vast park was the residential quarters for the members of the court. Today, it is a public park with a pebbled promenade and green lawns, with seasonal trees and flowers.
To the southwest of the palace stands Nijo-jo Castle, built in the early 17th century. Ninomaru-goten, renovated in 1626, is renowned as a priceless example of the architectural style of that period. The best known section of the splendid interior with its paintings and carvings on the walls is the "Happo-nirami no Shishi-zu", in which the eyes of the painted lion look straight at viewers no matter where they are standing. Some interesting devices used in defense against enemies are also worth a look - e.g. The "Uguisubari-no-roka" corridor, where the planks sound like a nightingale when someone walks along, then, and the "Musha-kakukshi" - special doors designed to hide guards. Scenes from the period are reproduced inside the palace using mannequins.




From Kyoto Station to Kyoto Gyoen, take the subway to Imadegawa Station (10 minutes). To Nijo-jo Castle, take a subway
to Karasuma-oike Station and change, then travel 6 minutes to Nijo-jo-mae Station.