If you look at an aerial photograph of Kyoto, you will notice a large rectangular-shaped green area in the middle of the city. 1.3 km north to south and 0.7 km east to west, this is the Kyoto Imperial Palace and the surrounding Kyoto Gyoen park. Called Gosho, the palace functioned as the emperors' residence until 1869 when Emperor Meiji moved the capital to Edo or current Tokyo.
The Palace, which was moved from its original site in the late twelfth century, has burnt down and rebuilt many times over the years, and the current building was completed in the late Edo period (1855). The building was designed to reproduce the original Heian Period architectural style.