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KYOTO PALACE
Kyoto Gosho, or Kyoto Palace, was the Imperial Palace of Japan for much of its history, from the Heian Period, when the Imperial capital was moved from Nara to Heian-kyo, now called Kyoto, until the Meiji Restoration, when the capital was moved to Tokyo. However, the Taisho and Showa Emperors still had their coronation ceremonies at Kyoto Gosho. Today, the grounds are open to the public, and the Imperial Household Agency hosts public tours of the buildings several times a day. The version currently standing was completed in 1855, the Heian Period architecture and style reproduced perfectly.

The Palace Grounds includes a number of buildings, along with the Imperial Residence, or daidairi. The Imperial Household Agency maintains the building, and the grounds, which are generally known as Kyoto Public Gardens, or Kyoto Gyoen. The main building on the Palace Grounds includes, among other halls, the Shishinden, Hall for State Ceremonies, Seiryoden, Kogosho, Court Room, Ogakumonsho, Imperial Study or Library, and a number of residences for the Empress, high-ranking aristocrats and government officials.

The main gate on the front, south, side of the Palace has a cypress-wood roof, and is supported by four pillars. To the sides lies a fence separating the inner areas from the general Palace Grounds, and just past this main gate is a second gate, painted in vermillion and roofed in tile, which leads to the Shishinden, the Hall for State Ceremonies. It is 33 by 23 meters in size, and features a traditional architectural style, with a gabled and hipped roof. The center of the Shishinden is surrounded by a hisashi, a long, thin hallway which surrounded the main wing of an aristocrat's home, in traditional Heian architecture. Here was where the Emperor could conduct formal affairs. On the north side of the hall was an enclosed area where the Emperor would sleep at night; later, Emperors began to use the official residence. The west side was set aside for the Emperor's breakfasts, and also contained the lavatories, while the south side was used by the keeper of the Imperial Archives.


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