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Kyoto

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  • The Imperial Palace


    The Palace Grounds include a number of buildings, along with the Imperial Residence, or dairi (内裏). The neighboring building to the north is the sentō (仙洞), or residence of the retired Emperor (in this case it's unoccupied), and beyond that, across Imadegawa Avenue, sits Dōshisha University. The Imperial Household Agency maintains the building and the grounds. The main building on the Palace Grounds includes, among other halls, the Shishinden (紫宸殿, Hall for State Ceremonies), Seiryōden (清涼殿, lit. 'cool, refreshing hall'), Kogosho (小御所, Court Room), Ogakumonsho (御学問所, 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. This gate would have been used on the rare occasions of the Emperor welcoming a foreign diplomat or dignitary, as well as for many other important ceremonies of the State. 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. The Shishinden was used for such important ceremonies as the coronation of an Emperor and installation of a Crown Prince. It is 33 by 23 meters in size, and features a traditional architectural style, with a gabled and hipped roof. On either side of its main stairway were planted trees which would become very famous and sacred, a cherry (sakura) on the eastern, left side, and a tachibana tree on the right to the west. The main gate on the front, south, side of the Palace has a cypress-wood roof, and is supported by four pillars. This gate is used on the rare occasions of the Emperor welcoming a foreign diplomat or dignitary, as well as for many other important ceremonies of the State. 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. The Shishinden was used for such important ceremonies as the coronation of an Emperor and installation of a Crown Prince. On either side of its main stairway were planted trees which would become very famous and sacred, a cherry (sakura) on the eastern, left side, and a tachibana tree on the right to the west. The center of the Shishinden is surrounded by a hisashi (庇), a long, thin hallway which surrounded the main wing of an aristocrat's home, in traditional Heian architecture. Within this is a wide open space, crossed by boarded-over sections, leading to the central throne room. The Throne itself, called takamikura (高御座), sits on an octagonal dais, five meters above the floor, and can be separated from the rest of the room by a curtain. The Palace's Suzaku-mon Gate is walking distance from JR Nijo Station.
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