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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto - Western Kyoto
Katsura Imperial Villa 
# 42   of 59 most visited
sights in Kyoto

jump to:   access  -  admission  -  hotels  -  ratings  -  tours  -  links

Katsura Imperial Villa (j{, Katsura Rikyū) is one of the finest examples of purely Japanese architecture and garden design. The villa and garden in their present form were completed in 1645 as the residence for the Katsura Family, members of Japan's Imperial Family.

The villa can be viewed only on tours held by the Imperial Household Agency. They last about one hour and are in Japanese only, however, an English audio guide is available. During the tour, the tour group walks along the garden's circular walking trail around the central pond. The palace buildings can be viewed only from the outside. Photographing is allowed only from a few designated spots.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
Katsura Rikyu is located in western Kyoto, a 15 minute walk from Katsura Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Line. Alternatively, you can reach the villa by Kyoto City Bus number 33 from Kyoto Station in about 20 minutes. Get off at "Katsura Rikyu-mae" bus stop. The bus ride costs 240 yen and is not fully covered by the Kyoto City Bus One Day Card.

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours and Fees

Free tours of Katsura Imperial Villa are held several times daily in Japanese only. No tours are held on Sundays and national holidays. Most Saturdays are also unavailable. Check with the agency for an up to date schedule.

To book a tour, you need to apply in advance with your passport at the Imperial Household Agency's office in Kyoto Imperial Park. Reservations are often possible on the same day as the intended visit. The agency office is open Monday to Friday from 8:45 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00.

Additionally, a small number of tour spots are available for reservation over the agency's website (see links below), however, these often get booked out. Online reservations must be completed several days before the intended visit.

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Hotels and Ryokan
Kyoto offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets and tastes, including historic ryokan, Western style hotels and low-budget hostels. Among the most attractive districts to stay are the Kyoto Station area, the city center around Shijo Street and the Higashiyama District.
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Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
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Tours and Packages
Kyoto Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Kyoto and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Katsura Villa:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of Japan  
User Rating (by 123 users):
87/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 788):
116.  Asakusa (Tokyo)   87/100
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118.  Sankeien Garden (Yokohama)   87/100
119.  Magome (Kiso Valley)   87/100
120.  Old Town (Takayama)   87/100
121.  Katsura Villa (Kyoto)   87/100
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263.  Katsura Villa (Kyoto)   281
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267.  Kusatsu Hot Springs (Kusatsu Onsen)   274

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

English Links
Imperial Household Agency
Official English website.
Application for Visit
English application page.

Japanese Links
Imperial Household Agency
Official website.
Application for Visit
Japanese application page.

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