Thursday, 17 April 2008

Day 8 Part 4 - Kyoto (京都) Kyoto Gyoen (京都御苑) (Imperial Palace)

Our last stop for the day is Kyoto Gyoen (京都御苑) - a national park that features nothing less an an Imperial Palace, the former residence of the Emperor of Japan . It is still an Imperial Palace, although the Emperor now resides in Tokyo.

We got off the bus and had great difficulty finding where the park was (it was concealed from the main street), but we eventually found one of the gates - the Ishiyakushi Gate (石薬師御門):

Here's a handy map of the park:

We would have liked to visit the Imperial Palace, but unfortunately we didn't realise we had to apply for permission (in writing) beforehand, and in any case by the time we have arrived all the guided tours have finished. The Palace itself is enclosed by an earthen wall - Tsujibei (築地塀):

This is the north facing gate - the Sakuhei Mon (朔平門):

We entered a side garden - the site of the former Konoe Mansion, now a children's playground but also containing a grove of pretty weeping cherry blossoms (Shidarezakura):

There is an interesting sign here that describes the three varieties of cherry blossoms found in this park: from top to bottom: Yamazakura, Shidarezakura, and Satozakura:

Photo of a Satozakura:

And Yamazakura (this is the "wild" or "common" variety typically seen on mountainsides):

This is the main entrance - Seisho Mon (清所門):

And this is the Gishu Mon (宜秋門):

The southern park of the park features this extremely old tree:

The Kenrei Mon (建礼門):

Whilst waiting for the bus, we saw the huge pachinko parlour:

No comments:

Post a Comment