Visit Guide

The Shugakuin Imperial Villa is located on the slope of Mount Hiei in the northeastern area of Kyoto city. Emperor Emeritus Gomizunō constructed this villa over four years from 1656 to 1659. The estate incorporates three different plateaus named Upper Villa, Middle Villa, and Lower Villa, each with its own building and garden, as well as paddy fields. A graveled path lined with pine trees crosses over the paddy fields and connects the three villas. In the Lower Villa, a mountain range is incorporated as a backdrop of the garden. This gardening method is called Shakkei (borrowed landscapes), which incorporates outside scenery into the garden’s landscape to provide more three dimensional effect to the view of the garden. Kyakuden pavilion situated in the Middle villa contains Kasumidana shelves which was considered to be a novel design in those days. From the Rin’untei Pavilion situated at the highest level in the Upper Villa, visitors can enjoy the dramatic panorama of the pond called Yokuryūchi, which was formed by damming water flowing down the mountain, with the view of the whole city of Kyoto below and the western mountains on the far side. In spring, the garden is ablaze with cherry blossoms, flowers of azalea and rhododendron. In autumn, the spectacle of the surrounding mountains covered with vivid autumn leaves can be enjoyed.

Traffic Access


  • Eizan Railway: 20 minutes from Shugakuin Station
  • Kyoto City Bus: 15 minutes from Shugakuin-rikyu-michi bus stop

Meeting Spot for the Walk-in Registration

Visitor Information Map

Tour Course

Lower Villa

  1. Somon Gate・Miyukimon Gate
  2. Jugetsukan Pavilion

Middle Villa

  1. Rakushiken Pavilion
  2. Kyakuden Pavilion
  3. Matsunamiki(Pine Bordered Path)・Tanada(Paddy Fields)

Upper Villa

  1. Rin’untei Pavilion (in the Upper Villa)
  2. Kaedebashi(Maple Bridge)・Dobashi(Earthen Bridge)
  3. Kyūsuitei Pavilion
  4. Chitosebashi Bridge・Okoshikake Bench (Outer Bench)
  5. Yokuryūchi Pond
  6. Nishihama (West Bank of the Pond)

The Imperial Palace, Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kyoto Sento Imperial Palace, and Imperial Villas
Visit Guide