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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto - Central Kyoto
Sento Imperial Palace 
# 45   of 60 most visited
sights in Kyoto

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

Entrance to Omiya Palace

Sento Imperial Palace (哴䏊, Sentō Gosho) is a secondary palace complex across from the Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto Imperial Park. It was built in 1630 as the retirement palace of Emperor Gomizuno, and became the palace for subsequent retired emperors.

The original palace buildings burned down in 1854 and were not rebuilt. Instead, Omiya Palace was constructed on the Sento grounds in 1867 and now serves as the lodging place for the current prince and princess during their visits to Kyoto.

The palace garden's South Pond

Visiting Sento Imperial Palace requires booking a free tour through the Imperial Household Agency, which manages all the Imperial properties. The tour leads through the Sento garden which is comprised of the North Pond and South Pond areas. It is a beautiful example of a strolling garden.

Tours of Sento Palace last about one hour and are conducted in Japanese only. None of the palace buildings are entered, however, some of the structures, such as the Seikatei teahouse, are left open so that visitors can see inside and get an impression of imperial design and style.

A tour group is led through the palace garden

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
Sento Imperial Palace is located within the Kyoto Imperial Park. It can be reached from Kyoto Station in about 10 minutes by the Karasuma Subway Line. Get off at Marutamachi or Imadegawa Station. Both stations are about a 15 minute walk from the entrance gate of Sento Palace, however, Imadegawa Station is closer to the office of the Imperial Household Agency.

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours and Fees
Free tours of Sento Imperial Palace are held twice daily at 11:00 and 13:30 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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Hotel Sanoya
3 min from north exit of JR Kyoto Sta. but in quiet area. Cozy, clean Japanese rooms with bath. Internet PC in lobby.
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Tours and Packages
Kyoto Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Kyoto and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Sento Palace:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 95 users):
81/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 805):
343.  Sengakuji Temple (Tokyo)   81/100
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345.  Kosanji Temple (Onomichi)   81/100
346.  Yumoto Onsen (Nikko)   81/100
347.  Ryukyu Mura (Okinawa Island)   81/100
348.  Sento Palace (Kyoto)   81/100
349.  Senjokaku (Miyajima)   81/100
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344.  Sake Breweries (Kobe)   194
345.  Sento Palace (Kyoto)   194
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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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