The Japanese empire was largely based in Kyoto as far back as 794 until the Meiji Restoration(明治維新) in 1868. When the emperor resided in Kyoto, he lived at an inner palace(内裏) within a walled complex(大内裏). At times the inner palace was destroyed and the emperor moved to temporary residences; after the abandonment of Heian Palace(平安宮), the original walled palace complex, the emperor moved to a temporary residence nearby which became today’s Kyoto Imperial Palace(京都御所) and served as imperial residence from 1331 until the Meiji Restoration.
The palace features a compound of several walled buildings in a rectangular formation. Stately traditional architecture and courtyard gardens offered regal settings for the emperor’s exclusive lifestyle.
Kenrei Gate(建礼門) and Shinmi Carriage Porch(新御車寄), both south-facing in the tradition manner, are reserved for the emperor. O Carriage Porch(御車寄) is reserved for high-status attendants. Elegant Japanese gates throughout the complex known as karamon(唐門) indicate the high status of the palace.
The palace complex includes painted guest rooms(諸大夫の間), state ceremony hall(紫宸殿), thrones for the emperor(高御座) and empress(御帳台), rites and rituals hall(清涼殿), palace for ceremonies(小御所), palace for study(御学問所), residential palace(御常御殿), and gardens. Though the emperor no longer resides here, they are still used for ritual purposes.