The imperial palace gardens are the largest public park in Kyoto. It is of course the site of the old imperial palace (called 'gosho'), but exploring its grounds will reveal a lot more. You will find several shrines (Shintoism is the cult of the emperor, after all), the Sento palace (still residence of the Emperor when he comes to Kyoto), the offices of the Imperial Household Agency (where you can book visits to imperial villas and the Sneto palace), a museum, a "guest house" (actually a luxurious staying place for foreign states officials on official duty in the city), a primeval forest plot and even a... bird watching spot. There is probably more...
As the largest park it is very popular with families, and the place is teeming with life on sunny weekends. It's a place to go through when walking of cycling in the area, especially given the narrow sidewalks of the streets bordering the palace grounds. Note that most paths are covered with gravel and the palace covers several city blocks; if you need a pram try to get one with larger wheels or it will quickly become a real pain.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Goo-jinja 護王神社 (440m), Arisugawanomiya Residence 有栖川宮旧邸 (470m), Rozan-ji 廬山寺 (550m), Shimogoryō-jinja 下御霊神社 (630m), Kōdō-kan 弘道館 (650m), Gyōgan-ji 行願寺 (670m), Kyōto 京都 (840m), Yōgen-in 養源院 (1.2km)
External links: ウィキペディア, Wikipedia, Wikipédia, Kyoto Navi, Trip Advisor, Kyoto Design, 京都風光, Inside Kyoto, Marutake, そうだ京都
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 中京, 下京, 上京, Imperial Garden, 京都御苑
In Imperial Garden:
Jidai Festival (時代祭)
Sento Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace Goshō
State Guest House
Aoi Festival (葵祭)