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Shugakuin Imperial Villa

#42 of 1,109 things to do in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Northern Kyoto
As featured in One Day in Kyoto
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Address: 1-3 Shugakuin-yabusoe, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8611 , Kyoto Prefecture
Name/address in local language
Phone Number:
+81 75-781-5203

Created as an imperial summer retreat, the garden complex is a fine example...

Created as an imperial summer retreat, the garden complex is a fine example of Japanese landscape design.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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  • 49
  • 20
    Very good
  • 3
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  • 1
One of the best Japanese garden

I visited the villa in late April guiding three friends from foreign countries. This is my third visit, and in all cases, I truely enjoyed the landscape. This time, fresh leaves... read more

Reviewed 2 June 2014
Nagoya, Japan
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300 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 73: English reviews
Nagoya, Japan
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 June 2014

I visited the villa in late April guiding three friends from foreign countries. This is my third visit, and in all cases, I truely enjoyed the landscape. This time, fresh leaves give vivid and gentle impression to the landscape. Its garden ia a typical and one of the best Japanese garden. The visit is conducted as a walking tour lasting... More 

1 Thank Takashi-TM
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2014

Built back in the 13th century, it used to be the Imperial residence. It remains one of the few places in Kyoto that has not been burned down and rebuild in the numerous fires that ravaged Kyoto throughout its history. Its great history is only surpassed by its beauty, with the breath taking view over the city, the three Zen... More 

1 Thank crishara
Jakarta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
243 reviews
137 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2014

You will have to make a booking in order to visit the villa, however it's not that busy so you shouldn't have any problems. The villa itself its really beautiful, offers a super ancient-ish feeling of a Japanese garden. The only downside that can occur to non-Japanese speakers is that you will be guided through out your visit, which takes... More 

4 Thank Shin I
Taipei, Taiwan
Level Contributor
35 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 December 2013

Make reservation in person at the office near Kyoto Palace. The most memorable site during my 12 days in Kyoto. Free and the view is astounding. Comparing with other gardens in the temple, they are nothing. Provide Japanese tours only, but English audio guide can be borrowed at the check point, and provide brochures in other languages.

4 Thank Stephanie L
Riga, Latvia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 December 2013

I could say I am lucky because I had the chance to visit this imperial holding; it is simply an awesome place. I loved the attention to details and the breath taking landscapes, it is all quite impressive. Luckily our guide spoke great English, we booked him separately, and we were able to capture the entire story behind this awesome... More 

1 Thank DawnTLongT
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
25 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 November 2013

Coming to the Shugakuin Imperial Villa is not easy (two trains or buses, then a short walk to the entrance will take you approx. 45m from the station), but definitely worth the effort : a wonderful garden, some exquisite tea houses, and one of the best place for a Momiji-gari visit (red leaves hunting) in late november.

3 Thank Paneristo
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
155 reviews
86 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 2013

The tea house at the last part is worth waiting and going to this place!!! Fantastic garden paradise on earth

1 Thank Denmayer
São Paulo, Brasil
Level Contributor
41 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 September 2013

Kyoto for me is the city where you see things and touch them and walk through them but you still cant believe they're there. And Shugakuin, together with the Golden Pavillion, is the utmost example of that feeling. The pond in the upper villa is absolutely gorgeous. I couldnt believe my eyes, I never knew there so many shades of... More 

3 Thank psterzi
Level Contributor
76 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 September 2013

It takes a bit of commitment to see it but once you’re there the payoff will be self-evident. Don’t be cowed by all the guidebook recommendations into taking the train(s). It involves two trains, a walk from one station to the other and possibly the cost of a bus ride (220 Yen, fixed, whether it’s 1 stop or 15 stops)... More 

3 Thank Wanderlust7342
Level Contributor
875 reviews
319 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 425 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 June 2013

3 Imperial villas are in separate place, in the middle of beautiful nature, mountains surrounding Kyoto city, rural landscape. You will see aesthetic sense of Japanese here. This villas are designed to use all season, you will enjoy them to see very much any season. Villas with snow, new green leaves, red Japanese maple … amazing. Wearing walking shoes is... More 

Thank michi123456

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Staying in Northern Kyoto

Neighbourhood Profile
Northern Kyoto
Hot springs and historic temples characterize the leafy landscapes of Northern Kyoto. Acres of tranquil residential streets are interrupted by some of Kyoto's most gorgeous architectural gems, including the majestic Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji, the serene artistry of the Ryoanji Temple rock gardens, and the bold red paint across the structures of Enryakuji Temple. Once a religious core of the city, the district now boasts some of its most remote and peaceful hot springs, as well as a few of its best family-run mom-and-pop restaurants. A blend of extremely local at its outskirts, and highly peopled at its tourist centers, Northern Kyoto nonetheless retains a halcyon air in harmony with nature.
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