Kyoto Imperial Palace
Kyoto Imperial Palace © Greg Palmer
Japan's imperial family lived in the Kyoto palace from 1331 until 1868 (when they moved to Tokyo), and today visitors can view the furnishings and delicate decorations. Once only accessible via a guided tour that required advanced booking, the palace grounds can now be entered and viewed at the visitor's leisure without any prior arrangements. English guided tours are, however, still possible, and those interested should book a space in advance in order to avoid disappointment by calling at the Imperial Household Agency office. Visitors should note that even on the official tours it is impossible to enter any of the palace buildings, although you should be shown a video and photos showcasing the interiors. There are lockers at the site to store anything you don't want to carry while walking around the complex.
Address: 3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto