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Yokoso Japan: Kyoto

 
Kyoto was Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. It is now the country's seventh largest city with a population of 1.4 million people and a modern face.

 
Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and spared from air raids during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.
 
Sento Imperial Palace is located in Kyoto Imperial Park across from the Imperial Palace. It was built in 1630 for the occasion of Emperor Gomizuno's retirement, and became the palace for subsequent retired emperors.
 
The palace building burned down in 1854 and was not rebuilt; however, Omiya Palace was constructed on the Sento grounds in 1867. Omiya Palace has become the lodging place for the current prince and princess when they visit Kyoto.
 
Visiting Sento Imperial Palace requires booking a free tour through the Imperial Household Agency, who manages all of the Imperial properties. The tours take visitors through the Sento gardens which are comprised of the North Pond and South Pond areas. Both are beautiful examples of Japanese gardens.
 
Tour of Sento last about one hour and are conducted only in Japanese. It is not possible to enter any of the Sento Palace buildings along the tour route. However, some of the buildings, such as the Seikatei teahouse, are left open so that visitors can see inside and get an impression of imperial design and style.
 
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.

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