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A Guide to the Kyoto State Guest House, a Cultural Facility Open Year Round

The Kyoto State Guest House was constructed to accommodate guests from other countries. It was originally open only for 10 days each year, but this system has changed from the summer of 2016, and it is now open all year round. This article introduces must-see places and the types of tours available here!

What is the Kyoto State Guest House?

This guest house was built to accommodate important guests – such as foreign head of states and prime ministers – who come to visit Japan. It is used as a venue for summit meetings, courtesy calls, and dinner parties, among other important state ceremonies.

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What is the Kyoto State Guest House?

23 Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Highlights of the Guest House

The Kyoto State Guest House is built in what is called a “modern Japanese” style, which combines the beauty of traditional Japanese architecture with modern building techniques. The furnishings use a variety of traditional crafts, so that guests may feel the marvelous aspect of Japan through them. For instance, you may find Nishijin brocade, Japanese lacquer, or gold lacquer (a traditional technique of painting designs on the surface of lacquer using gold or silver powder). Next up will be specific highlights of the guest house.

Within the Juraku no Ma

The Juraku no Ma is used as a waiting room for guests and other attendants to dinner parties and other meetings. The room has a warm atmosphere thanks to its flower vase that was made by living national treasure and octagonal table which was crafted using bamboo and Kyo-sashimono* technique.

*The furniture were made by putting wooden pieces together without using nails.

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Inside the Yubae no Ma

This room has a maximum capacity of 60 – 70 people, and is mainly used for meetings among ministers and for Ryurei-style tea ceremonies. The style of this room is changeable depending on the purpose, as the walls can be moved to separate the room into 3 sections. The large wall ornaments at the east and west are woven tapestries, which have the designs of the moon reflecting upon Mt. Hiei and the sunset at Mt. Atago.

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Inside the Fuji no Ma

This banquet hall has a capacity of up to 120 people, and boasts the largest area in the whole state guest house. This room is mainly used for dinner parties and occasional Japanese traditional performing arts shows. Here, you may find "kirikane" on the stage door, which is a traditional way of decoration. What is most eye catching is the gorgeous tapestry at the front, which features 39 types of Japanese flowers from all four seasons.

* Kirikane refers to a traditional technique of putting several layers of golden foil on top of one another to create a design. They are pasted using the tip of a brush with glue to create a linear, circular, triangular, or square shape.

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Inside the Kiri-no-Ma

This banquet hall holds a total of 24 people, and is used to serve mainly Japanese food. The main feature of this room would be the long table which measures around 12m. It has an especially beautiful jet black lacquer painting, which was applied after the wood was sanded to remove any irregularities. The tatami mats were made using traditional weaving techniques, which only makes use of the good parts of the soft rush straw.

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Highlights of the Garden

The well-kept Japanese garden is another place that you should visit. It was created with the concept called “teioku-ichinyo (oneness of house and garden)”, which is why the garden can be found in the center. Here, you may feast your eyes upon the Japanese aesthetic of nature and beauty. It is recommended to come during the occasional days when it is open at night to bask in that dreamy atmosphere.

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How to Visit the Guest House on Normal Days

If you would like to visit the guest house, depending on the time of year, you may choose to freely view the area or go on a guided tour. Please remember to check the calendar posted on the official homepage to see if there are any scheduled holidays or changes in schedule to make room for official meetings at the venue. Take note that only visitors who are junior high school age and above are allowed to enter.

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Free Viewing

You can explore the rooms on your pace along the route.

Time required: 30 – 60 minutes
Admission fee: General: 1,500 JPY, University students: 1,000 JPY, Junior high and high school students: 500 JPY
How to apply: Those who decide to explore the area without a guide can freely enter and view the guest house without a numbered ticket. (Numbered tickets will not be distributed.)

* Admission fees may be subject to change without advance notice. Please check the official homepage for the latest prices.

Guided Tour

You will be guided by a personnel through each room.

Time required: 70 Minutes ※Please arrive 20 minutes prior to the tour.
Admission fee: General: 2,000 JPY, University students: 1,500 JPY, Junior high and high school students: 700 JPY
How to apply: Make a reservation through the official homepage. You can also get a numbered ticket on the day itself without prior reservation (on first come, first serve basis).

* Admission fees may be subject to change without advance notice. Please check the official homepage for the latest prices.

Guided Tour in English

The guest house offers a guided tour in English at 12:00 PM every day.

Time required: 60 Minutes ※Please arrive 30 minutes prior to the tour.
Admission fee: General: 2,000 JPY, University students: 1,500 JPY, Junior high and high school students: 700 JPY
How to apply: Make a reservation through the official homepage. You can also get a numbered ticket on the day itself without prior reservation (on first come, first serve basis).

* Admission fees may be subject to change without advance notice. Please check the official homepage for the latest prices.

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Please come visit the Kyoto State Guest House to experience traditional architecture!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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