Kyoto Gosho   京都御所

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In front of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.

The Imperial Palace, Kyoto-Gosho, secondary residence of the emperor.

The Imperial Palace, Kyoto-Gosho, secondary residence of the emperor.

My neighbor Akihito

Emperors, empresses, princes and concubines lived for centuries behind the walls of Kyoto-gosho. Today residence of the sovereign, the former imperial palace welcomes visitors and transports them closer to the son of heaven.

Built in 794, the castle was destroyed by fire and rebuilt many times, including six times during the Edo period alone (1604-1868). The current buildings date from 1855. During the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Kyoto lost its capital status to Tokyo, where the Imperial family moved. However, the coronation of the emperors YOSHIHITO (or TAISHO of his name of reign 1879-1926) and HIROHITO (or SHOWA, 1901-1989) took place here. The current emperor, AKIHITO, was the first to choose Tokyo for his accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

This iconic symbol of power was in Shishinden. This room, thirty-three meters by twenty-three, with a gabled roof, is the centerpiece of the complex. Its main staircase overlooks the dantei, a gray gravel yard where two trees spread their branches. The cherry tree (sakura) in the East and the orange tree (tachibana) in the West keep the memory of past ceremonies.

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