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Shugakuin Imperial Villa in Kyoto

Do you want to visit a place in Kyoto that is not very crowded and somewhat exclusive? Try Shugakuin Imperial Villa (修学院離宮, Shugakuin Rikyū). It is not easy to access, especially for a foreigner, but it is very scenic and traditional.

ShugakuinWhile visiting Kyoto, my Japanese husband and I stopped by the Imperial Household Agency’s office in Kyoto Imperial Park. At that time I couldn’t read or write Chinese characters at all, so he filled out the postcards they gave to us. I’m not sure what kind of questions you need to answer, but we were granted permission to participate in a free public guided tour very quickly. You can also apply for it online at the official website of Shugakuin Imperial Villa.

I’ was even given an English audio guide. Not that I listened to it very carefully, but it was an interesting tour.ShugakuinLooking at rice paddies is a relaxing experience.ShugakuinYou may want to go to Shugakuin in the fall. That’s the time when one can appreciate both the red maple leaves and all three villas: Lower, Middle, and Upper. But that is also the time when everyone, Japanese and tourists alike, want to see this place.

ShugakuinYou are not allowed to enter Imperial properties, but you will see several painted panels and, as a certain culmination of the tour, a tea room.

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Shugakuin Imperial Villa

Address: Kyoto, Sakyo-ku, Shugakuin-yabusoe 1-3
Access: 15 minutes walk from Shugakuin Station on the Eizan Railway Line
Guided tour times: 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 13:30 and 15:00
No tours: Sunday, national holidays, most Saturdays
Phone: 075-211-1215
Distance from airport: About 50 km from Osaka Airport
Official website: Shugakuin

Article by Olga Kaneda

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