For this installment of my Memories of Japan series, let’s talk about the last place in Kyoto I went to before getting in the bullet train: the Imperial Palace.
During World War II, Kyoto was the only major Japanese city that was not bombed by the U.S. Air Force. Thanks to it, it’s still one of Japan’s most important cities with a rich historical, artistic and architectonic heritage today.
Among the treasures of this ancient city, we can find the Imperial Palace. Kyoto was Japan’s capital city between 794 and 1868, hosting the Imperials Court’s headquarters and other institutions before it finally moved to Tokyo.
Remember to forget the western notion of “Palace” and let yourself be charmed by the oriental magic. One is not allowed to get inside the buildings, but you will be able to walk along the palace grounds. During the walk, you will be able to get a glimpse of some of the rooms that are open from time to time in order to ventilate; the use of wood as the primary building material, the greatness of the buildings, amazing ceilings and magnificent Japanese gardens.
When the capital was moved to Tokyo during Meiji Restoration, the nobles residences, which were inside the Palace Grounds were demolished and much of the Kyoto Gyoen became a public park. You will come across many tourists but also with locals riding their bikes, walking with their children or reading bellow a tree.
In the next installment we will catch the bullet train and leave behind fascinating Kyoto, but first let’s have dinner in our favorite restaurant. In Kyoto, you will be able to meet some charming and kind people that you will spend great moments with.
I hope to come back soon with another memory of Japan and take you to another breathtaking corner of this fascinating country.
You might also like:
- Memories of Japan I: Fushimi Inari, Temple of the Thousand Torii
- Memories of Japan II: Kinkaku-ji, Golden Pavilion Temple
- Memories of Japan III: Nishiki Market