Kyoto Gyoen National Garden

Viewed from a distant mountaintop perspective, Kyoto Gyoen National Garden appears as a vast green enclave in the heart of the great river valley basin of Kyoto. Stretching almost 1 mile (1.6 km) north to south, Kyoto Gyoen encompasses the Imperial and Sento Palaces as well as the Kyoto State Guest House (Kyoto Geihinkan). The spacious grounds also contain a children’s park, forests, Shinto shrines, tennis courts, peach and cherry groves, and miles of wooded paths and wide gravel boulevards that are open to the public all year round.

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden Photo Gallery

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden is a popular spot for joggers, painters, and birdwatchers, for club meetings, picnics, and naps, and for relaxing with scenic mountains as a backdrop beyond the garden’s greenery. The Geihinkan opened in 2005 but was accessible only by foreign VIP guests of the government. However, along with recently relaxed procedures for visiting all of Kyoto’s imperial properties, visitors are now allowed (for a fee) to sample the rarefied air of the Kyoto State Guest House halls and contemplate the beautifully landscaped garden with its pond strikingly incorporated into the architectural design of the complex. Yet only a VIP stands a chance of trying out the pond’s wooden rowboat under a full moon.

A cyclist negotiates a narrow trail through the vast gravel thoroughfare past Kenreimon Gate.

The traditional and the modern blend seamlessly in the courtyard garden of the Geihinkan

State Guest House.

A distant view from Mount Awata reveals the green expanse of the Kyoto Gyoen National

Garden at the very heart of the city.

Ginkgo leaves brighten a rainy fall morning.

A mother and daughter in summer yukata stroll along a wide gravel boulevard.

A squad of Zen monks in indigo blue robes pass the northern Imadegawa boundary of Kyoto


A wood-and-paper lamp made with traditional Kyoto joinery enhances a corridor at Kyoto


Suiren water lilies and koi carp add splashes of color to the Geihinkan’s garden pond.

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