Katsura Imperial Villa 桂離宮
One of the finest examples of Japanese architecture and landscaping
Katsura Imperial Villa was constructed in the 17th century for the imperial family. It is set in immaculately landscaped grounds dotted with teahouses. To visit the villa, you must apply to join one of the regularly scheduled daily tours.
- The four teahouses, each an exquisite example of Japanese architecture
- The subtle differences in the lanterns and hand washbasins along the strolling path
- Making your reservation ahead of time (online etc.) is highly recommended
How to Get There
From Kyoto Station , take the Hankyu line to Katsura Station. The villa is a 20-minute walk from there.
A favorite of architects worldwide
The spacious garden and the architecture of the teahouses blend perfectly according to the highest aesthetic standards. Famous names in architecture and design including German architect Bruno Taut have expressed great admiration for Katsura Imperial Villa.
A trip through the islands
In old days, visitors viewed the scenery of the spacious pond and its many islands from a boat. This is why the bridges spanning the pond are arched to enable the passing of boats. Currently, you can enjoy the garden while strolling around the pond.
Exemplifying the highest aesthetic ideals
The teahouses were built to be hidden out of sight from visitors until the guests happen upon them. Each structure has subtle and rustic details that enhance the highest principle of the wabi-sabi aesthetic and in keeping with the tea ceremony's goal of blending the natural with the spiritual.
The perfect balance of stone, wood, and water
The layout of the pond, with its six buildings standing on the grounds, as well as an artificial hill known as a tsukiyama form a superb composition. Great care has been given to even the smallest details, such as the paving stones, and the stone lanterns that are both practical and beautiful. Katsura Imperial Villa is a garden worth seeing in all seasons, and visitors will discover something new with each visit.
How to visit
You can only visit the villa by joining one of the regularly scheduled tours. The fee is 1,000 yen for adults, and is free for children aged 12 to 17 years old, and for visitors with a physical disability certificate. Please note that children under the age of 12 are not able to join this tour. Tours can be booked online on the Imperial Household Agency's website starting three months in advance, in person at the Kyoto office of the Imperial Household Agency within the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park grounds at least one day before the desired day, or in person on the day at the villa. Advance online reservations are strongly recommended.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.