Kyoto Gyoen National Garden (京都御苑)

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden is a national garden located in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. It indicates an area around the Kyoto Imperial Palace.


After the Emperor Meiji moved to Tokyo in 1869, the area around the Kyoto Imperial Palace where residences of the nobility existed fell into ruin, and the Emperor who grieved over this situation ordered the preservation of the Imperial Palace in 1877. In response to this order, Kyoto Prefecture removed empty residences of the nobility around the Imperial Palace as a precaution against fires which could spread due to the close proximity of the buildings, and developed Kyoto Gyoen National Garden. Kyoto Gyoen National Garden was opened to the people as a national garden in 1949. At present, the sites within the mud wall with a roof of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Sento Imperial Palace and Kyoto Omiya Imperial Palace is managed by the Imperial Household Agency, and other sites are managed by the Ministry of the Environment.

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden is an area surrounded by Imadegawa-dori Street (north side), Karasuma-dori Street (west side), Marutamachi-dori (south side) and Teramachi-dori (east side), and covers sixty-three hectares. Kyoto Gyoen is a relaxing place for citizens with abundant trees, together with facilities related to the Imperial Household Agency and Imperial Guard such as the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Sento Imperial Palace, Kyoto Omiya Imperial Palace, Kyoto Office of the Imperial Household Agency and Kyoto Guard Station of the Imperial Guard Headquarters, several remains of residences of the nobility such as Shusui-Tei which used to be Kujo House, Kyoto Gyoen National Garden Office, Ministry of the Environment which manages the garden, and athletic facilities such as a playground and tennis court. Additionally, the Kyoto State Guest House opened in April 2005.

Some people enjoy casual strolls or bird-watching in the park. Since Doshisha University and the Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts have their own campus (Imadegawa Campus) next to the northern part of Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, students are often seen relaxing on benches. Citizens pass through Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, but, since the passage is sanded and not paved, it is difficult to traverse by bicycle. However, wheel ruts made by bicycles in the sand make it easy-going in some areas. These ruts are sometimes called a narrow road to the Imperial Palace. However, since these ruts are only for one bicycle, there is an unspoken rule of giving the right of way to each other when a bicycle comes from the opposite direction.

The Kyoto Prefectural Police and Imperial Guard always patrol the park; anyone who comes close to the wall of the Kyoto Imperial Palace or the Sento Imperial Palace is detected by a sensor, and receives a warning.

Hamaguri-gomon Gate
The above Hamaguri-gomon Gate was originally unopened, but, was opened for the first time when the Great Fire of Tenmei occurred in 1788. Because of this, the gate was called Hamaguri-gomon Gate using an analogy from a phrase that "a shell is opened by fire." In 1864, the Kinmon no Hen (the Rebellion at the Hamaguri-gomon Gate), which was the battle between the faction (the Choshu clan) under the slogan advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners, and the faction (the Aizu clan) supporting the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), broke out. The bullet holes, marks of this historical battle, remain in the gate even now.


Kyoto City Bus
Marutamachi Station (Kyoto Municipal Subway) and Imadegawa Station on the Karasuma Line of Kyoto Municipal Subway
Demachiyanagi Station and Marutamachi Station (Keihan) on the Keihan Oto Line

[Original Japanese]