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Katsura Imperial Villa (j{, Katsura Rikyū) is one of the finest examples of 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.

Visiting Katsura Imperial Villa requires joining a free tour. Tours last about one hour and are in Japanese only; however, audio guides in several foreign languages are available. The tour follows the garden's circular walking trail around the central pond. Palace buildings can be viewed only from the outside, and photographing is allowed only from designated spots.

Access

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 & Fees

Free tours of Katsura Imperial Villa are held six times per day except on Mondays (or the following day if Monday falls on a national holiday).

To book a tour, you need to apply in advance with your passport at the Imperial Household Agency's office in Kyoto Imperial Park (Monday to Friday from 8:45 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00). Alternatively, 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.

In addition, a limited number of same-day tickets for some of the tours are distributed at the Katsura Imperial Villa from 11:00 on a first-come first-serve basis.

Hotels around Kyoto

Recommended Hotels
Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
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Agoda Booking
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.
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New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.
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Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.
Book:
Agoda Booking

Tours and Experiences

Page last updated: December 7, 2016