To mark the twentieth anniversary of the ascension of the current Emperor, the Kyoto Imperial Palace has thrown open its gates to visitors.
What is known as "Gosho" in Japanese is a massive park just north of downtown that contains the former royal residence. It was the imperial family compound for more than 500 years until 1869 when the royal family decamped for Edo (Tokyo).
Normally, the palace is open only on New Year's Day. (The park itself is open 365 days of the year, twenty-four hours a day.)
The grounds within the palace are spacious and filled with many buildings, most of which were rebuilt in 1855 following many fires.
The structures range from Heian to Muromachi in design.
For the anniversary, many imperial items are on display, including painted screens, fabrics, etc.
Moreover, on the afternoon we went, men in period costume were playing kemari, a soccer-like game.
Entrance is free, and the grounds so large that in spite of many other visitors on the Sunday we visited it never felt cramped.
This Tuesday is the final day.
November 1 - November 10
9 am - 3:30 pm (last admittance; you will be asked to leave at 4:30 pm)
Karasuma Subway Line from Kyoto Station to either Marutamachi or Imadegawa Station.
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Monday, November 09, 2009
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