The Sento Palace was built in the 1630's for Emperor Go-Mizunoo's retirement. A second palace, Ōmiya Palace, was built for the Empress Dowager Nyoin. Unfortunately, fire destroyed both palaces in 1854; while the Ōmiya Palace was rebuilt and still in use, that wasn't the case for Sento Palace. Now, the Sento Palace name refers the 22 acres of gardens that once surrounded the palaces.
If you want to visit the garden, however, you will have to organise it in advance. The site is under the Imperial Household Agency's management, and you can search for their website to learn more.
Tours are free of charge, and the garden is without a doubt one of the most impressive gardens in the whole of Japan.
The tours take about an hour, and while you cannot enter the palace grounds themselves, you will get a good look at the garden, and you can stop by at the Seikaitei teahouse to get an idea of how the inside looks. Audio guides in English and other languages are available.
Yet, if tours of the palace is not your interest, another option for a view of the entire Sento Imperial Palace is to head to the Palace Side Hotel where a clear view of the palace is available from the hotel’s café terrace.
- Open Daily
- +81 75-211-1215
- 3 Gyoen, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 602-0881, Japan.
- Located within Kyoto Imperial Park. About 15 min walk from Marutamachi and Imadegawa Stations. See Google Maps for more details. From Kyoto Station to Marutamachi: Take the Karasuma Line to Marutamachi Station (7 min); From Kyoto Station to Imadegawa: Take the Karaumsa Line to Imadegawa Station (10 min).