Katsura Imperial Villa
Katsura Imperial Villa
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
Application in advance is highly recommended. ------------------------------------------------------------------- This beautiful home belonged to members of the Katsura family, one of the Imperial families of Japan. The home displays some very traditional Japanese architecture and landscape design.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Top ways to experience Katsura Imperial Villa

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles487 reviews
Excellent
358
Very good
88
Average
26
Poor
7
Terrible
8

ZN9999
Mollymook, Australia466 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
One of the best gardens I have seen in Japan. We went in May and expected to see more spring flowers than we did. They were a little early this year. Some Irises were out.

But the spring growth on all the trees was superb and the pines were tortured within an inch of their life. Very impression garden and also quite spacious.

We took the english guided tour which was very informative. While we had to book a fews weeks/months on advance. The process for that was easy and the day we had was bright and sunny.

Getting there was easy a 15-20m flat walk from the nearest rail station. The walk itself was also very interesting. Take a little longer than you need to enjoy that also.
Written July 1, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jeff K
Pittsburgh, PA2,193 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
My wife and I took the last tour of the day 4:20. The tour lasted an hour and the guide was extremely good. She spoke very good English, was very informative and personable. The gardens were very old and very impressive. We were glad we took for the tour

The tour is the only way to see the villa. You need to reserve in advance and bring a passport. We had 10-12 people on the tour which is likely the limit. The place is out of the way but worth the effort.
Written March 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Katya T
30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
I highly recommend the visit to the villa. We went on an English-speaking tour (the only way available), which was rather intimate - only 12 people at the entire villa, huge contrast to all the other Kyoto sites. The villa is exquisite, with every detail thought through (eg, the entrance path ends with a large tree obscuring the view, so that the visitors do not get to experience the view of the pond prematurely). The guide pointed out and explained all of these details and spoke very good English.
Written March 22, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

daymoLiverpool
Liverpool, UK1,026 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
You need to book but so we'll worth it, it more than ticks all the boxes from a architecture and horticultural perspectives of a Japanese Garden - you cannot be disappointed.
Written March 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joane F
Birmingham, MI13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023
The Imperial Villa is historically interesting. The doors were open when we visited and you could see inside, which was a great treat. The gardens are stunning, like a fairy tale. Worth the visit and I would return.
Written July 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Elvira E
Malvern, Australia21 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Solo
The Katsura Imperial Villa is a collection of teahouses, a temple, a viewing platform collectively designed with the purpose of moon watching... not that the premises are open at night to do just that. It is because of the carefully designed landscaping, including use of the "borrowed landscape", the placement of the pavilions and their design that this site has gained the status of icon in the world of architecture and urban design. Architects the world over have visited and gained inspiration from Katsura Imperial Villa. However, the approach to the location where this iconic villa exists is a nightmare. There is a train station marked "Katsura"—the name of the general area. But with respect to the information about how to get to the actual location on public transport, that is nothing short of appalling. Signage is virtually non-existent and the bus staff at Katsura railway station look at you as if you are asking for the way to Mars if you ask for directions to Katsura Villa. Given the villa is one of the wonders of architecture, and the fact you have to book a tour and pay money for the privilege, should it not be a little easier on the tourist to actually get to the right location. I went up and down many blind alleys in the rain to finally determine its whereabouts.
Written July 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Violetvz
East London, South Africa713 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023
The tranquility and beauty of this villa will make you want to sit on the grass and just relax in the atmosphere - beautiful
Written June 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lukumay m
Romania12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
Is a really enjoyable experience, the tour guide speaks really good English, is a plus, is kind of shortyour, only an hour, they let you take time when taking photos, it's a little far from the train station, they have a gift shop, and a vending machine inside the main office, the place is extremely clean and neat, I little gem in the city. Make sure to make a reservation due to not accepting walking, I will recommend this tour over any other in kyoto, has very limited spaces. Also make sure you arrive on time or few minutes early, so you dont missed the beginnin
Written August 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kimitaka S
Taichung, Taiwan15,204 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020 • Solo
Katsura Imperial Villa is one of must-sees in Kyoto. To visit the villa, you should either make a reservation in advance, or go directly to the entrance early in the morning. Only the limited number of people can be admitted for each tour. From 8:40 a ticket is distributed, and after that you can choose the visiting time accordingly. The buildings in the garden are inaccessible. The garden, which is divided into different areas, is beautiful and well calculated.
Written December 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rumples
Tucson, AZ11,680 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
The early 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa provides a stunning example of Japanese architecture and garden design. It features a variety of simple structures in a gorgeous garden setting, complete with a picturesque lake. This villa is one of my favorite attractions in the Kyoto area, so I included it on the itinerary that I developed for a 2-week trip to Japan with a friend. To see the 17-acre property requires advance reservations for a mandatory tour. I managed to secure two tickets via a lottery system for the first English-language tour of our selected day. Each ticket cost 1,000 Y (about $9.50 U.S.).

A Japanese woman with good English-language skills served as the guide for our group's 1-hour tour. She shared history of the villa, which was commissioned by Emperor Goyozei's brother, and discussed the various structures, such as tea houses, that we visited on the property. We followed her in single file on narrow paths and sometimes crossed small pedestrian bridges to points of interest. I noted gardeners working on the meticulously maintained landscape and a big heron, looking for morsels in the water. Photo ops of the estate beckoned constantly.

We went here in early October when the garden was green and lush but offered little color. My last visit occurred in late autumn when the trees showed off red and gold, adding a magical element to the scenery. I would like to return again in spring.

Ticket information is on the Villa's website. Participating in the lottery system is the easiest way to apply for a ticket. I recommend avoiding same-day purchase, which I did on a previous visit. That involves showing up at the Villa in the morning to learn if any tickets are available for that day and for what times. The Villa is located in Kyoto's western suburbs so that approach may be inconvenient for many.

To reach the Villa from Kyoto, we took Hankyu-Kyoto Line, direction Tengachaya, to Katsura Station and walked for about 14 minutes. Cabs are available at the station.
Written September 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Katsura Imperial Villa - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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